The Science Education Program offers preparation for students considering jobs teaching science in schools or in informal learning settings, such as park naturalists or museum educators. It also provides a foundation for advanced study in education, law, or certain health-related fields.

Why Study at Iowa

Iowa’s Science Education Program gives you a choice of emphasis areas—biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics—and options for specific course work. As a science education major, you’ll do in-depth study in your primary emphasis area, gain substantial knowledge in your secondary area, have experience in the applications of scientific knowledge, and learn about cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives on science.

As you study, you’ll be guided by science education professors, clinical faculty, and staff. The program’s faculty members have expertise in science content areas as well as in their own education research areas.

Iowa also offers teacher preparation programs in Elementary Education and Secondary Education.

Course Work

Students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in science education take courses in two general science emphasis areas (one primary and one secondary), a broad field science block, and complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' General Education Program.

Emphasis areas

Each emphasis area has certain mathematics proficiency requirements. Students who want more mathematics should choose physics as their primary or secondary emphasis area:

  • Biology includes Principles of Biology I–II, Biochemistry, Ecology, Ecology and Evolution, Human Genetics in the 21st Century, and a human or animal physiology course.
  • Chemistry includes Principles of Chemistry I–II, Organic Chemistry I–II, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry Lab, and Analytical Chemistry I (or Physical Chemistry I or Biochemistry).
  • Earth Science includes Evolution and the History of Life, Introduction to Geology, Introduction to Environmental Science, Introduction to Oceanography, Energy and the Environment, and Earth Surface Processes (or Principles of Paleontology or Soil Genesis and Geomorphology).
  • Physics includes Physics I–II, Physics III (or Intermediate Mechanics), a course on astronomy or the solar system or the universe, Electronics (or Electricity and Magnetism I), and Physics of Sound (or Physics of Everyday Experience).

All students in the program also complete the broad field science block:

  • Societal and Educational Applications of Earth and Environmental Science or
  • Societal and Educational Applications of Biological Sciences
  • Societal and Educational Applications of Physical Science Concepts or
  • Societal and Educational Applications of Chemical Concepts
  • The Nature of Science

See Science Education in the UI General Catalog to learn more about course requirements for this major and graduating with honors.

Teaching Licensure

Students who wish to add Teaching Licensure to the BS degree program also complete the College of Education's Teacher Education Program.

Admission Requirements

Students in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The Science Education Program is dedicated to research and service as well as to educating tomorrow’s science teachers. It has a new state-of-the-art teaching lab, where students may conduct research on real-world problems using scientific knowledge and procedures.

The program has a long tradition of close ties with local school districts. These ties give students the opportunity to work with practicing teachers who exemplify the best research-based practices and the National Science Education Standards in teaching and learning.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study. Our science teachers are 100 percent professionally employed after graduation. 

Teaching is one of the few professions offering substantial choices in terms of job location, subject area, schedule, and type of school. Salaries vary by region and by school district. 

Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Scholarships are available to students in the Teacher Education Program, including one specifically for undergraduate science education (chemistry emphasis) students and others for students in their student teaching semester.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Science Education (BS)
Areas of Emphasis
Earth Science
Teaching Licensure
Honors Courses