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Elementary Science Specialist (1-6)

  • Grade Levels:
  • Credits for Licensure:

Program Description

The Elementary Science Specialist Certification in General Science is designed for classroom teachers who hold an initial license in elementary teaching, or another relevant field, who want to “add-on” an endorsement in General Science, 1-6.  The program addresses the subject matter knowledge competencies in science content and scientific practices required for endorsement in General Science, grades 1-6 and integrates essential science content with best practices in hands-on, inquiry-based science education. The program includes a blend of seated and online content science courses. This certificate is firmly rooted in the Massachusetts 2016 Science/Technology and Engineering Standards. Students are required to submit completed coursework to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the license endorsement.

Learning Outcomes

Teachers understand basic principles and concepts of the life sciences appropriate to the elementary school curriculum; basic principles and concepts of the physical sciences appropriate to the elementary school curriculum; philosophical theories in science, and identify common misconceptions; identify socially important issues including the impact of technology on our environment. They design and conduct scientific inquiries to test scientific hypotheses, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data; develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence, communicate scientific procedures and explanations; and know how science, technology, and math inform each other and serve as mechanisms for inquiry into the nature of the universe. They teach science content through engaging learners in the scientific practices and the engineering design process. They use “best practices” in teaching inquiry-based science and develop a balanced approach to hands-on science instruction using appropriate methodology and appropriate safety procedures as described in state standards.


Elementary science specialist, grades preK-5; middle school general science teacher/earth, life, physical and engineering sciences, grades 5-8; science museum educator, nature center specialist/guide, aquarium and zoo educator.


Courses required may vary based on transcript analysis.

Transcript analysis: Subject Matter Competency for General Science will be evaluated through transcript analysis by the program chair, following the Subject Matter Knowledge Standards for the Massachusetts 1-6 Science Specialist License (see www.doe.mass.edu). Only coursework completed within the last seven years, with grades of B or better will be considered.

Program credits: Additional credits may be required for competencies not satisfied before enrollment; credits may be reduced if any competencies have already been covered acceptably.

Science Methods
Teaching Science & Technology in Early Childhood & Elementary Curr.
ELE 653 3 credit(s)
This course provides the knowledge, tools and methods for making early childhood and elementary science an exciting, hands-on learning experience for children. Educators learn how to develop lessons that address student experimentation and design techniques using readily available materials. Safe laboratory practices for the classroom are also addressed. A standards-based approach to science education is our template for lesson development, covering the major domains in science: life, physical, earth, inquiry-applied and engineering technology; and historical scientific discoveries in each area. Alignment of curriculum is emphasized; national benchmark standards in elementary science are also supported. Analysis of elementary summative science assessments, based on the National Science Standards is incorporated in the coursework. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Methods and Materials for Teaching Physical Science
SCI 686 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of physical science. Basic concepts in matter and energy will be illustrated and supplemented with a rich assortment of activities suitable for the classroom Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experiences that best help their students construct understandings in these areas . Attention will be given to the construction and understanding of inquiry skills as they apply to traditional classroom experiments and activities. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Teaching Engineering and Technology
SCI 690 2 credit(s)

This course is designed to support the 2017 Massachusetts Science/Technology and Engineering Standards, specifically aligned to the Technology and Engineering Standards. Students will be instructed utilizing best practices in engineering design processes, material, tools and manufacturing and technological systems at the intermediate level of understanding. Special focus will be directed in the integration of life, earth and physical sciences as they are used to solve problems and challenges in the field of engineering.

Methods and Materials for Teaching Life Science
SCI 682 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of natural science. Basic concepts in chemistry, biology, and ecology will be illustrated with applications suitable for the classroom. Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experiences that help their students construct understandings in these areas. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Methods and Materials for Teaching Earth Science
SCI 684 3 credit(s)
Educators will develop competency in the skills and methods used in the teaching of earth science. Basic concepts in astronomy, geology, geography, and paleontology will be illustrated with applications suitable for the classroom. Educators will demonstrate their knowledge of concepts, methods, and classroom management of the experience that help their students construct understanding in these areas. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Science Content

Online courses, one credit each

Select one: SCI 600 or 601
Select one: SCI 603, 609, or 615
Select one: SCI 607 613, or 629

Cell Biology
SCI 600 1 credit(s)
This course examines the origin, evolution, fine structure and function of cells. Beginning with single celled organisms such as archaea and bacteria, the student looks at how cells conduct the processes necessary for life. Students examine the processes through which eukaryotic cells differentiate into tissues, organs and systems and review the basics of continuity and genetics. Enzyme function and physiology are linked to genes. Finally, students explore the future of cell biology.
Aquatic Ecology
SCI 601 1 credit(s)
Online course. This course leads teachers to investigate principles of ecology through examples from fresh water, marine, and other water environments. Content includes interactions among living organisms, energy flow within and among living communities, dynamics of adaptive evolution, and survival strategies. Week one focuses on the variety of water habitats from rain puddles to oceans. Week two examines adaptations of organisms for survival in water. Energy flow and interactive relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers are featured in weeks three and four. The final course week considers the human impact on aquatic environments. Each course participant becomes an in-depth expert in at least one ecosystem.
Electricity and Magnetism
SCI 603 1 credit(s)
This course explores concepts in electricity and magnetism by addressing basic topics and fundamental misconceptions. Topics include electrostatic charging; charge separation and its role in electric pressure, current electricity, and the circuits through which it moves; Ohm’s Law; schematic diagrams; and current that flows from wall outlets—all leading to exploration of the intimate relationship between magnetism and electricity.
Transfer of Energy
SCI 609 1 credit(s)
Online course. This course focuses on the National Science Education Standards’ approach to energy and its transformation between forms. Week one begins with common misconceptions in the types and characteristics of energy forms. Week two deals with the transformation of energy and applies this transfer to conservation of energy and fallacy of perpetual motion machines. Week three takes a close-up look at heat to explore the fundamentals of this energy form. Week four shifts focus to sound waves as pressure waves and light, both sun and man made, and a review of electromagnetic spectrum. Week five opens with Rube Goldberg machines, looking at energy transfer devices and energy usefulness and efficiency.
Forces in Motion
SCI 615 1 credit(s)
Online course. Focusing on conceptual understanding, Week one introduces kinematics, the study of how things move on a straight path. Week two advances this understanding into accelerated motion and introduces inertia. During this week, gravity is introduced within a multi-disciplinary arena. Week three introduces dynamics, the study of forces and why things move, and looks at inertia, mass, and weight. Week four presents opportunities to measure forces and to examine their effects. Coverage includes Bernoulli’s principles, friction, terminal velocity, and buoyancy. Week five explores the everyday world with its focus on mechanical advantage, work, and simple machines.
Structure of the Earth
SCI 607 1 credit(s)
Online course. This course examines the physical earth including its internal structure and the processes that make it an ever-changing place. Week one begins by looking at rock formation and its characteristics. The second week explores sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic processes and their contribution to the rock cycle. Week three takes a close-up look at constructive forces of earthquakes and volcanoes and at weathering, erosion, and other destructive forces that re-shape earth’s surface. Finally, in week four, the learner digs deep into the inner depths of the planet to examine plate motion and plate tectonic theory and in week five a geological locale project pulls together greater understanding of the forces which help shape and drive our dynamic earth.
Earth's Place in the Universe
SCI 613 1 credit(s)
This course examines Earth from the perspective of its place in space, its movements and examines Earth’s relationship to the sun and moon, its place in the solar system and beyond. The first week is an exploration of earth bound celestial observations and the origins of modern astronomy. The second week we examine the movement of the Earth within our solar system including a look at gravity and orbits. Week three features an in-depth look at the moon and its motion including eclipses, phases and tides. In week four we explore the sun and the reasons we have seasons on Earth. Our final week we look beyond our solar system to explore that Earth and its solar system are one of many in the Milky Way galaxy. The course is cross-disicplinary when appropriate and is especially designed for teachers who are currently teaching or who are preparing to teach courses in earth science.
Practical Meteorology
SCI 629 1 credit(s)
This course examines meteorology from a practical perspective. The course is cross-disciplinary when appropriate and is especially designed for educators who have degrees and backgrounds in sciences other than meteorology. The course combines technical explanations of weather and climate phenomena with practical guidelines for observing, evaluating and forecasting weather. The course content web pages are supplemented by images of weather phenomena, links to other web-based resources and self-directed reviews of literature on various weather and climate phenomena.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

  • Earned bachelor's degree and other School of Education requirements.
  • Valid Massachusetts elementary PK-2 or 1-6 initial license.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education


State Health Requirements

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $2,938 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2017, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

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