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Graduate Certificates | Learning STEM in Informal Contexts

Learning STEM in Informal Contexts

Entrance Exam: None
College of Education

The Graduate Certificate in Learning STEM in Informal Contexts (LSIC) is a 12-hour program designed for anyone who wishes to increase their knowledge and skills related to learning in informal settings, including classroom teachers, informal/nonformal science (e.g., museum, zoo, aquaria) educators, or graduate students in STEM or natural science disciplines.

This program offers the opportunity for educators to:

  • Learn about educational theory, research in practice, and how to evaluate learning in informal contexts.
  • Engage in community-engaged scholarship through co-developed projects with community partners who provide informal learning opportunities.


Students must meet the following requirements for admission into the LSIC graduate certificate program:

  • Have a BS/BA degree from a regionally accredited four-year college or university or an MAT/MS/MED.
  • Have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale on the most recent degree earned.

Plan of Study

The program consists of four courses (12 hours). There are two required courses (6 hours) and two additional courses (6 hours) selected from a list of restricted electives. In addition, students engage in community-engaged learning through the two required courses, EMS 551: Theory to Practice and EMS 552: Evaluation. In these two courses, students collaborate on a semester-long project with community partners who provide informal learning opportunities (e.g., museums, science centers, zoos, aquaria). Elective courses provide students with additional opportunities to develop knowledge related to learning STEM in informal contexts given the unique needs of students.

Career Prospects

STEM education is evolving, with informal learning emerging as a pivotal trend. This approach extends beyond structured classrooms, emphasizing experiential, real-world encounters to spark genuine curiosity in STEM areas.

Classroom teachers expanding their skills in this domain stand to benefit immensely in career advancement. As educational institutions recognize the power of hands-on, holistic learning, educators proficient in informal STEM methodologies become increasingly sought-after.

The Graduate Certificate in Learning STEM in Informal Contexts not only rejuvenates classroom teachers but also opens avenues into non-formal education roles, from museum educators to STEM community outreach roles. Mastering informal STEM learning is both an innovative teaching enhancement and a pathway to diverse career opportunities, underlining the importance of staying current with contemporary educational trends.