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General Science (5-8) Initial Licensure Teaching Certificate

  • Grade Levels:
  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Degree:
  • Program Approved:
    Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education

Program Description

This program is designed for individuals who hold an undergraduate degree in science and are interested in teaching general science in the Massachusetts public school system at the middle school (5-8) grade level. This is a license-only pathway and does NOT result in a graduate degree; credits earned can be used toward the M.Ed. in General Science. The program will focus on the necessary pedagogical skills needed to teach in Massachusetts Public/Private Schools.

Program credits: 20 credits total if SEI is completed before enrollment, 23 credits if SEI is completed at Cambridge College. Additional credits may be required for competencies not satisfied before enrollment; credits may be reduced if any science methods have already been covered acceptably.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates teach science content through engaging learners in the elementary and middle grade level in the scientific practices and the engineering design process 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 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. They set high expectations and create a safe and collaborative learning environment to engage all students in their learning. They implement well-structured lessons with measurable assessments of learning and engage in ongoing reflection on practice.   


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.


Science Methods
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.

Logistics of Teaching Science
SCI 692 2 credit(s)

This course is designed to provide the elementary science specialist (1-6) and the middle school science teacher (5-8) with the specialized skill set to meet the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers, science safety standards, lab/classroom set-up and design, and management of science equipment. Students will also be guided in the opening of an electronic portfolio system (TaskStream) that will caplture all of their academic and licensure requirements as highly qualified science teachers.

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.
Methods and Materials in Teaching Middle School Chemistry
SCI 688 3 credit(s)
Seated course: This course will focus on providing middle school science teachers with a clear understanding of scientific inquiry and basic chemistry concepts. Grade level appropriate activities will be highlighted with special consideration for the middle school classroom environment and safety issues. Fundamental chemistry concepts discussed and reinforced with experimentation will include: physical properties and physical change, states of matter, density, solutions, mixtures, compounds, chemical change and the applications our elements to technology. This will be a lab-centered course. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Practicum Prerequisites
  • Pass all MTELs required by Massacusetts for this license: Communication & Literacy and General Science 5-8 tests.
  • SEI605    Sheltered English Immersion or ESE-endorsed course or SEI MTEL.
  • Pass all required courses.
  • Pre-Practicum — Successfully complete program-specific hours in diverse settings (0 credit)
  • EDU704    Practicum Readiness (1 credit)
  • Submit Practicum Application and Placement Approval Forms.
SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Content License Endorsement Course
SEI 605 3 credit(s)
This Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Content License Endorsement Course is designed for educator licensure candidates in all core academic areas, to prepare them to address the needs, and build on the multilingual and multicultural assets, of a diverse and ever-changing student population in Massachusetts. The course is a key element of the Massachusetts RETELL initiative (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners). RETELL also includes statewide implementation of the WIDA ELD (English Language Development) standards, and the WIDA-ACCESS assessment tools. Participants will be introduced to ELD standard and WIDA tools, and will practice applying research-based SEI instructional strategies as they teach their content to English language learners (ELLs). They will also be introduced to a variety of professional growth opportunities to prepare them to extend their learning by making SEI the focus of professional practice within the new educator evaluation process.
Practicum Readiness
EDU 704 1 credit(s)

This course is specifically designed to determine readiness for the practicum. It will assist the teacher candidate to develop his/her skills to be ready to assume the role of student teacher from the first day of practicum. Students will understand the requirements of CAP by engaging in and completing the forms for each of the "essentials" and completing their own goals. All of the TaskStream components, other than the practicum documents, will be completed. MTELs will be completed. Those having difficulty with the MTELs will be directed for support. Field work assignments will be required.

Practicum & Seminar

Guided and evaluated by a licensed/certified general science teacher in the classroom and a Cambridge College general science supervisor. Practicum locations are subject to ESE regulations and must be discussed with the program chair and approved by the pre-practicum/practicum coordinator.

Practicum General Science 5-8
SCI 794B 2 credit(s)
300 hours, levels 5-8. Prerequisites: complete pre-practicum with 75 or more hours of directed field-based training in conjunction with selected courses, pass all required courses, pass all teacher tests required by Massachusetts for this license. Practicum Seminar required concurrently. The practicum, required for all concentrations that lead to Massachusetts initial licensure, must be completed in a school that uses the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS). Practicum hours must be in the role and at the level of the license sought under a cooperating practitioner with the appropriate license, with Cambridge College supervision. The Practicum experience provides student teachers with an opportunity to gain insights into the profession and to master the current Professional Standards for Teachers by working with young people in public schools and classrooms. This Practicum experience is geared primarily for those teachers seeking the position of middle school science/engineering technology instructor”. The content delivery within this experience is aligned to the Next Generation of Science Standards at the 5-8 level of comprehension. Students work with the guidance and support of an experienced science teacher and by observing his/her instructional and classroom management strategies in action. Students develop instructional strategies for a variety of learning formats, align lesson plans with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks/NGSS, appropriate curriculum materials for the science teacher, classroom management skills, strategies for creating a learning environment that fosters an appreciation of diversity and interactive learning. Students reflect on their own professional growth and examine theory through actual classroom practice. An Exit Performance Portfolio documents their experiences. The Exit Performance Portfolio and its artifacts will be uploaded to a web-based portfolio system/Task Stream. (3 formal assessment observations required by College supervisor)
Practicum Seminar: General Science (1-6) (5-8)
SCI 791 2 credit(s)
The seminar for classroom experience supports students’ growth as they assume the teaching role. It is the setting for students to interpret their field-based experiences and transform them into skills, knowledge constructs, attitudes and values. The seminar provides a cohort/support for students to address problems and find solutions, while utilizing current academic research and practices. They master understanding and practice of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Science/Engineering Technology, develop the skills necessary for the teacher tests, and become familiar with the current reforms and changes in state regulations on educator licensure. The Next Generation of Science Standards reflecting the national science initiatives is also referenced as a guide to best practices in science education. As evidence of the Practicum experience, each student will develop an Exit Portfolio as an integral part of the Practicum Seminar. The Exit Portfolio will be contained and uploaded to a web-based evaluation program called Task Stream. Each student will open their own Task Stream account and contribute the necessary academic artifacts and evidence that demonstrates their competency as they complete their fieldwork experience in the science classroom. The artifacts and evidence can be viewed in Task Stream.

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

  • School of Education requirements for certificate programs.
  • Bachelor’s or master's degree in a STEM field.
  • Pass Communication & Literacy (MTEL).
  • Transcript analysis: Subject matter competency for General Science 5-8 will be evaluated through transcript analysis by the program chair, following the Massachusetts standards for the license (see www.doe.mass.edu). Only coursework completed within the last seven years, with grades of B or better will be considered.

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:
    $3,415 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2018, 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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