Master’s in Secondary Education: STEM Emphasis (Licensure)

Master of Education in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in STEM (Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure)Initial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Education

Prepare for a Potential Career in Secondary Education Teaching STEM Classes

Grand Canyon University's Master of Education (MEd) in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in STEM can prepare you to seek licensure as a junior high or high school teacher who specializes in STEM for secondary education. STEM education involves a practical, interdisciplinary approach that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on projects.1 

STEM education is growing in importance every day with the world becoming increasingly technologically complex and reliant on a knowledge-based economy.1 In this program, you will be taught how to help middle and high school students (grades 6 through 12) apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts and skills, including problem-solving and critical thinking. Furthermore, you'll cultivate an understanding of how STEM shapes our daily lives and contributes to our nation's global competitiveness.

Benefits of Choosing GCU to Pursue Your MEd in Secondary Education: STEM Emphasis

As a future secondary STEM educator, you could make a positive impact on the lives of countless students, some of whom may go on to pursue careers in innovative STEM fields. This online master’s in secondary education is ideally designed for aspiring educators who hold a non-teaching bachelor’s degree and are interested in pivoting their careers toward the education field. Alternatively, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in education and teacher licensure or certification, you may opt to further your own education by concentrating on STEM graduate courses while studying for your non-licensure MEd in Secondary Education program. This degree program may allow you to combine your passion for STEM in secondary education classrooms.

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The digital format for GCU’s institutionally accredited and Arizona State Board of Education-approved program is tailored to meet the needs of the adult learner and maximize the content knowledge that the candidate is expected to already possess. Online courses are taught by faculty who are knowledgeable in the areas of secondary education, STEM and educational psychology.

The final semester of the master’s in secondary education with an emphasis in STEM includes a full-time, 15-week student teaching component. These development and applied teaching opportunities are emphasized through a Christian worldview regarding values and ethics. This program does lead to teacher licensure and/or certification, and therefore requires practicum hours, state exams, student teaching and an institutional recommendation from GCU. Students aspiring to teach should acquaint themselves with the specific licensure prerequisites mandated by the state they aim to work in.

Coursework Covered in This STEM Emphasis

Graduate-level courses for STEM secondary education that lead to initial teacher licensure may prepare you to:

  • Help meet the need for STEM teachers and mentors.3 
  • Instill an appreciation in students for engineering, biochemistry, computer science, robotics, cybersecurity and other STEM fields. 
  • Guide students toward STEM related professions and help students become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators, skilled in medicine, technology and science.
  • Develop engaging lessons and projects related to science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Cultivate an attitude of discovery, exploration and ingenuity in students.

With emphases placed on technology and classroom diversity, you will examine how to combine grades 6–12 subjects, including a variety of 21st century teaching methods and strategies designed to improve student outcomes. You will be taught to introduce your students to STEM, prepare them for post-secondary STEM education, and encourage them to explore careers by developing a strong STEM foundation, hands-on curriculum and integrated instruction.

Career Paths for STEM Emphasis Graduates

These STEM education courses are intended to enable professionals to develop strong competencies in teaching methodologies and strategies. With a foundation of STEM secondary education competencies, you may set yourself up to pursue state licensure or certification as a junior or high school STEM educator. Teacher licensure is a requirement for all aspiring public school teachers, and it may be preferred in private school settings as well. In addition, some states require practicing, licensed teachers to acquire a master’s degree in education after they have already begun working as educators. 

GCU Proudly Offers Accredited Master of Education Programs

The MEd in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in STEM licensure program at GCU is accredited through the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). This accrediting organization is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), acknowledging programs that can prepare students to become effective educators. 

GCU is pleased to be an institutionally accredited university. All graduate-level STEM education courses are directly aligned with standards from the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) and the International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE). Opportunities are provided to apply concepts, theories and research throughout the program, but particularly in secondary education field experiences that guide you through approximately 100 hours of observational and practice-based experiences.

GCU Offers a Non-Licensure Version of This Program

GCU offers a non-licensure version of this master’s in secondary education STEM emphasis to help current educators enhance their expertise in STEM education without pursuing licensure requirements. The non-licensure version may be ideal for professionals already established in their careers and want to deepen their understanding of STEM subjects, pedagogy and innovative teaching methods. Individuals may choose the non-licensure track if they do not require additional licensure credentials or if they seek greater flexibility in their studies.

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Master’s in Secondary Education: STEM Emphasis FAQs 

A career as an educator can be a meaningful one. However, it’s important to carefully weigh your options before determining your career path and degree choice. The following FAQs and answers can help you get started.

Total Credits: 41
Online: 6 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $605 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance


Choosing the non-licensure route may exempt you from the 15-week student teaching component, providing a more expedited program with 33 credits instead of the 41 required for licensure. It's important to note that selecting this option will not lead to an Institutional Recommendation (IR) from GCU, which could impact state certification requirements. Licensed teachers may consider the non-licensure route to enhance their education or meet state master's degree prerequisites. 

Upon graduation, you may be prepared to pursue career opportunities teaching students in one or more STEM subjects, such as mathematics or science, at the secondary level in public or private schools. Teachers may be designated according to their subject matter specialty. Potential positions include a postsecondary education teacher or secondary school teacher focusing on a STEM-related field.4,5

If you are already a licensed or certified teacher, you may decide to pursue an online master’s in secondary education with a STEM emphasis if your initial teacher preparation program was in a non-STEM-related pathway. Some may choose this option to possibly fulfill state requirements based on the new subject area or specialization you will be teaching. Typically, if you already hold a license or certification in secondary STEM education, the non-initial licensure version of this initial licensure master’s program is not an appropriate degree program for you, as you already hold a certification in STEM secondary education. If you already have a teaching license, please be sure to check your state requirements before enrolling in another program that leads to licensure.

Choosing to pursue another program that leads to licensure in a different pathway may strengthen or expand your ability to empower your students in another specialty area than your initial preparation teaching program. In addition, some states require licensed teachers to obtain a master’s degree after beginning their education employment.4 If you are already a licensed teacher, you may want to choose the non-licensure route

STEM education is important for students for several reasons. First, the integrated approach that STEM uses can enable students to more fully appreciate the link between theoretical knowledge and everyday applications within practical contexts. Teaching STEM can also be a way to contribute to the nation’s competitiveness, as students who then go on to pursue STEM careers may make innovative scientific breakthroughs that propel society forward and further America’s position within the globalized, knowledge-based economy.1

STEM is a broad field, and STEM secondary education encompasses courses in all types of sciences, technology such as computer programming, engineering and mathematics. As a student teacher working toward your degree, you might be placed into high school classrooms that focus on teaching anything from algebra to biology to coding. No matter where you’re placed, you will have opportunities to make a meaningful impact on your students.

Prepare to inspire and encourage the next generation to pursue careers as a STEM secondary educator. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about earning your master’s in secondary education at GCU.

1 National Science Teaching Association (n.d.) STEM Education Teaching and Learning. Retrieved Oct. 4, 2023. 

2 Excluding observational and practice-based experiences, and student teaching.

3 U.S. Department of Education (2022, Dec. 7). U.S. Department of Education Launches New Initiative to Enhance STEM Education for All Students. Retrieved Oct. 4, 2023. 

4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a high school teacher. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Oct. 4, 2023.

5 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a postsecondary teacher. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Oct. 4, 2023. 

If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.

Course List

41 credits
Degree Requirements:
41 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

Teacher candidates will survey the philosophical, historical, and sociological influences upon which secondary educational theories and practices are constructed and explore a variety of the common issues, trends, and opportunities that professional educators encounter in the field. Emphasis is placed on deepening understanding of personal biases and accessing resources to promote ethical practice, build strong relationships, and uphold the expectations of the profession. Candidates will prepare for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University by developing and strengthening the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Education. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

Candidates examine the United States Constitution, and the constitution of the State of Arizona. From this foundational review, candidates will explore application of the United States Constitution and the constitution of the State of Arizona in educational contexts. Practicum/field experience hours: 3. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates will survey how early adolescents and adolescents grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical areas. This survey of the seminal concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the development of adolescents will allow candidates to build foundational knowledge for constructing learning opportunities that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge, and motivation. Emphasis is placed on creating a collaborative environment to enhance student learning and well-being. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: SEC-502.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course is designed to allow the teacher candidate the opportunity to learn techniques involved in the successful engagement and management of a learning environment. Major emphasis is placed to the establishment of a realistic discipline plan to manage student behavior, as well as engagement and management techniques and strategies to maximize instructional time, classroom procedures, and physical space. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-501 or SEC-502 or approved enrollment in the Graduate Certificate of Completion Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach, Secondary Education.

Course Description

Various orientations to curriculum development and assessment are investigated and elements of model curricula are examined specific to the areas of STEM. Emphasis is placed on understanding current structures and trends in middle and high schools, as well as critical issues, as these relate to curriculum and assessment. Course content is strategically planned to enable participants to make informed curriculum decisions in STEM classrooms to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Also emphasized is the alignment of educational objectives to standards and building both formative and summative assessments, including rubrics to analyze student learning. This course focuses on the principles and practices involved in curriculum design for STEM classrooms. Teacher candidates develop their own curriculum unit. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates will investigate multiple methods of assessment that support student engagement, monitor student progress, and guide decision-making, specifically to STEM classrooms. Candidates will build foundational knowledge regarding formal and informal assessment strategies for planning, evaluating, and strengthening instruction to promote continuous intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of each student. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates explore research-based strategies for delivering differentiated reading instruction to promote reading proficiency. Language and literacy development is examined to inform assessment, remediation and intervention practices to support middle to high school readers and ability levels, including students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Using this foundational knowledge, teacher candidates will select, adapt, and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions with attention focused on reading in academic curricula to advance learning for adolescent students. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course is designed to foster application of proven teaching and learning methodologies for both instructor and student in order to make appropriate and data-driven decisions about all aspects of teaching. Major emphasis is focused on planning instructional objectives and lessons, assessing objectives, and developing teaching methodology that encourages problem solving, active participation, and assessment. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-515 or SEC-516 or SEC-517.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. Through Universal Design for Learning they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards based instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates examine fundamental concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Candidates also build foundational content knowledge in core academic areas and utilize student-centered and inquiry-based instructional strategies to apply the engineering process and scientific methods across disciplines. Candidates explore and implement various ways to problem solve with analysis and critical thinking. Additionally, teacher candidates develop skills for integrating engineering and technology concepts into math and science curriculum for middle and high school students. Practicum/field experience hours: 12. Fingerprint clearance required. Practicum/field experience hours: 12. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to develop a Student Teaching Evaluation of Performance (STEP). The teacher candidate will have a GCU course instructor, a GCU faculty supervisor, and be placed in an approved school with a certified cooperating teacher/mentor. Fingerprint clearance required.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.