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M.A. in El Ed: STEM FAQ

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

What is the mission/goal for the Five Year Bachelor of Arts/Masters of Arts in Elementary Education: STEM and the BA/MA STEM?

We strive to graduate teachers who actively engage students in discovery and exploratory learning, who inspire students to think critically and creatively to solve problems, who teach students the skills necessary to collaborate with others, and who promote effective and relevant connections between the 21st century learning skills and their real-world applications.  Our STEM courses accomplish these goals by having students create engineering designs, solve problems using hands-on inquiry, and work in teams to craft creative and effective projects.

Who is eligible for this Master’s Degree in ELED – STEM?

Candidates who have a New York state initial certificate to teach early childhood and/or childhood education

What are the admissions requirements for the MA program?

New York state initial certificate to teach early childhood and/or childhood education.

  • An overall GPA of 2.75 or higher in all undergraduate course work.
  • An overall GPA of 2.75 or higher in liberal arts and sciences course work.
  • Two letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s success in the teaching profession and the capacity to undertake graduate study.
  • A written personal statement of professional intent and rationale.
  • An interview with the program director.

The department understands that any single criterion may not reliably predict a student’s potential for success in the program. Students may consider applying even if they fail to meet one of the criteria but feel that other aspects of their experience might compensate.

What makes Hofstra’s MA/STEM different from other Master’s Degree programs on Long Island?

There are no graduate programs on Long Island that specialize in either elementary math, science or STEM,  so our difference is obvious.  The uniqueness of this program and the local, regional, and national call for STEM teachers makes this program a good choice for those seeking a Master’s Degree.

What makes Hofstra’s STEM program unique?

Besides the pre-requisite courses that train degree candidates in the skills that are the hallmark of effective STEM teachers, the culminating courses of this program prepare the candidates to be researchers of their own teaching. These courses use action research to explore how using STEM teaching strategies improve students’ learning.  Degree candidates are required to develop a wide range of assessment techniques such as, performance based assessment, teaching and student journals, interviews and observation scales, as well as, portfolio design and construction. Since teachers are now being held publicly accountable for student achievement results, understanding different methods of assessing students’ learning and teacher effectiveness is a necessary skill.

The capstone project for this program is action research, what is that?

Action research, is a process in which participants examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. Rather than dealing with the theoretical, action research allows practitioners to address those concerns that are closest to them, ones over which they can exhibit some influence and make change. In the STEM program the action research examines the effectiveness of using STEM teaching strategies to improve student learning.

How many students are there in the MA/STEM courses?

All Hofstra’s education classes are small, usually no more than 20 students, the MA/STEM classes are sometimes smaller.

What do students say about the classes they are taking in this program?

  • “Taking Children’s Engineering taught me how to use design with students in order to create meaningful experiences.  When I use design, my students are engaged and easily make connections to real life – what a great teaching tool!”
  • “The professors in the STEM MA program truly care.  They are here to make sure you are successful in all endeavors both in and out of the classroom. “
  • “This program has helped me feel capable, comfortable, and confident teaching any and all of the STEM subjects.”
  • “I have developed a new passion for the STEM content and now know how to use that passion to better my students understanding of the STEM curriculum.”
  • “The STEM program will not only help you generate new ideas and teaching techniques, it will restructure the way you think as a whole. Learning through problem solving, hands-on activities/projects, and real-world connections are just some techniques that will become engrained within your everyday teaching.”

What benefits do graduates experience from having completed this degree?

  • “The STEM program prepared me for my career and gave me the practical experience I needed to assess student data.  I can now create cohesive, experience-based units, which is so useful in today’s educational climate of common core curriculum and the demands it places on educators.”
  • “I struggled with mathematics as a student, but when I took the STEM math class, a light bulb went off!  This class made me a better teacher and the design aspect of the program makes math fun for me and my students.”
  • “I developed a new passion for the content and now know how to use that passion to better my students’ understanding of the STEM curriculum.”
  • “I am grateful to have been a part of this program, because it gave me the foundation to be a successful teacher and leader in my school.” - JC ‘07
  • “As a graduate student in this program you learn the art of inquiry and how it can successfully drive your instruction.” -  DC ‘03
  • “The value is at the end of the experience; you will have abilities and understanding far greater than that of your colleagues.”  - MY ‘04
  • “Because I was encouraged to take academic risks as a STEM student, I was able to instill that quest for knowledge in my students. I am a better teacher as a result of that experience.” - JG‘07
  • “After this program I am confident that I am prepared to create meaningful learning experiences for my students by integrating design with not only math and science but ELA and social studies as well.”
  •  “The STEM program taught me the skills that schools are now just exploring.  I have added many components to my teaching that I learned through the STEM program. These components are aligned with the new Common Core Standards.”  - JG ‘07
  • “The value is that at the end of the experience you will have abilities and understanding far greater than that of your colleagues.  It not that you are better, but you have a different viewpoint about how to go about solving a problem and [have] the skills needed to work with others to achieve a goal.” -  MZ ‘04

What have program graduates done with this degree?

  • “Going through the Hofstra’s STEM Master’s Degree program led to multiple job offers as science specialist, math specialist, and math district wide professional developer.”  - RM ‘99
  • “I feel that without the STEM program, I could never have landed the job I did.  Because of my STEM background I was selected for an Institute of Leadership in Mathematics and Technology upon completion was considered a “math leader” in my school building.” - CR ‘04

What do Long Island Superintendents say about the need to STEM teachers?

All of the ten Long Island superintendents with whom STEM preparation for elementary school teachers was discussed were enthusiastic about such a program because teachers with STEM knowledge are exactly the type of people they are searching for.  

What do national leaders in government, science, and business say about the need for STEM education?

Over the last 50 years much discussion has taken place about the need for a STEM educated population. Recently, the cry has become more urgent. 

President Barack Obama in 2008 said, “America’s leadership tomorrow depend on how we educated our students today, especially in science, math and engineering.” 
Of particular influence has been a report issued in 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, many of whose recommendations were contained in the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative.  Five of the recommendations targeted improving STEM education. The first called for an increase in the number of STEM teachers.

In 2010, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine published “Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5,”which built on the findings of their 2005 “Gathering Storm”report. Notably, the report warns that, “Today, for the first time in history, America’s younger generation is less well-educated than its parents.”

In 2011, Subra Suresh, director of NSF (National Science Foundation) claims that the 21st century is the century of science and technology--not just for people who are in the STEM enterprise, but for the average citizens of the world

Who do I contact to find out more about this program?

For more information, please contact:

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Eileen Simons
    M.A. Program Director
    (516) 463-6468

Is there any financial aid?

Financial Aid

Funds are available in this Masters Program for graduate student scholarships. You may send your request via e-mail to Eileen Simons or Irene Plonzcak.
Your request, in the form of an essay, must include your interest in the MA Program and a description of the financial aid that you seek. The MA program seeks to make small funding awards available to as many individuals as possible.

Where can I view the current curriculum?

Please visit the Hofstra Bulletin for current admission requirements, program courses, and and information regarding graduation and certification.