The Masters Degree in Science Education was initiated in October 2000 to coincide with the introduction of the new Leaving Certificate syllabi in physics and chemistry. The first group of 30 teachers graduated in 2002 with the MEd(Sc) degree. In 2004, following the introduction of the Biology syllabus, the course was expanded to cater for the needs of Biology teachers. To date, over 200 science teachers have graduated with this degree.
The MEd(Sc) course is being offered by the School of Education UCC in collaboration with the Department of Physics UCC, the Department of Chemistry UCC and various Departments in Biological Science – Biochemistry, Physiology, Microbiology and the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The aim of this course is to provide further professional development for science teachers to improve their capacity to teach physics or chemistry or biology at second level.
In recent times, great concern has been expressed about the falling number of students taking science subjects at Leaving Certificate level – particularly physics and chemistry. It is hoped that this course will assist science teachers to create an increased interest in the science subjects in their schools by their enthusiastic and inspirational teaching.
This course will be of interest to science teachers from different backgrounds. Some will be teachers who have specialised in the biological sciences or other branches of science and who wish to acquire the skills necessary to teach physics or chemistry to Leaving Certificate level. Others will be practising physics or chemistry or biology teachers who wish to update their knowledge and skills in these subject areas in line with the requirements of the Leaving Certificate physics, chemistry and biology syllabi.
(a) All applicants must be the holders of a primary degree in science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (HDipEd, PGDE, PDE or its equivalent).
(b) All applicants must have either an honours grade (at least grade 2) at primary degree level
or at the Postgraduate Diploma in Education level (or its equivalent)
or at least five years full time teaching experience.
All applications will be processed by a selection committee.
The course is a part-time course of two years duration.
The present structure of the programme involves participants attending lectures and practical sessions on one night per week (Tuesday 7 p.m. – 10 p.m) and on six Saturdays during the academic year.
However, depending on numbers enrolling, it may be possible to have some parts of the programme (e.g. lectures) taught via online teaching and learning activities and the laboratory sessions carried out on Saturdays.
Each student will opt to study either physics or chemistry or biology and all students will study science education.
- In year 1, each student will take one education module plus either (a) three physics modules or (b) three chemistry modules or (c) three biology modules.
- In year 2, each student will take one education module plus either (a) three physics modules or (b) three chemistry modules or (c) three biology modules
Thus, over two years, each student will take two education modules plus either (a) six physics modules or (b) six chemistry modules or (c) six biology modules.
- The physics component of the course will be divided into modules covering specific areas such as light, wave motion, sound, mechanics, heat, electricity, electronics, modern physics, particle physics, etc.
- The chemistry component of the course will be divided into modules covering specific areas such as atomic structure, periodic table, chemical bonding, stoichiometry, volumetric analysis, organic chemistry, electrochemistry, environmental chemistry, industrial chemistry, etc.
- The biology component of the course will be divided into modules covering specific areas such as cellular biology, biochemical components in biology, genetics, biotechnology, physiological systems of animals and plants, plant biology, ecology, etc.
- All modules have been designed around the Leaving Certificate physics, chemistry and biology syllabi.
- The science education modules will cover topics such as effective teaching of science, use of ICT in science teaching, research methods in science education, case studies of research in science education, science technology and society, how children learn, conceptual difficulties in learning science, theory of multiple intelligences, teaching for understanding, the role and assessment of practical work, language and literacy in science teaching, students’ attitudes to science, etc.
- At the end of year 1 and of year 2, each of the three physics or chemistry or biology modules taught in that year will be examined by means of a 1.5 hour written examination. Examinations will take place in August (usually mid August).
- Students will also be required to keep a portfolio of their practical work in each of the physics or chemistry or biology modules and this will count for one third of the marks for that module.
- The education modules taught in year 1 and year 2 will be examined by means of a project each year (max. 10,000 words). Guidance in the form of individual tutorials will be provided to assist you with the project you undertake.
Due to the strong emphasis on practical laboratory work, it is necessary to limit the number of students to be admitted to 30.
The next intake of students for the course will be October 2014. The final date for applications is 31 May, 2014. You can apply for the course online at www.pac.ie/ucc.
When completing the online application process you will be asked for the code for the course for which you are applying. The course code for the MEd (Sc) is CKE60.
Modules are offered on condition of satisfactory enrolment.