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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Earth Science Education

Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Eliza Richardson Marone
2217 Earth and Engineering Sciences
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-2507

The graduate certificate in Earth Science Education is designed to meet the professional needs of practicing secondary science teachers who wish to expand their subject matter knowledge in the Earth sciences, particularly in scientific critical thinking, solid Earth science, plate tectonic theory, Earth surface processes in the Critical Zone, and oceanography. Certificate students earn the graduate certificate and 12 graduate credits by successfully completing each of the four required 3-credit, instructor-led online courses with a grade of C or better. If a student is subsequently admitted to the Penn State M.Ed. in Earth Sciences degree program, he/she may count the 12 certificate credits toward the M.Ed. in Earth Sciences degree; however, successful completion of the certificate neither implies nor guarantees admission into a graduate degree program at Penn State.


For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

The student must be admitted to (1) Penn State's Graduate School, and (2) the graduate certificate in Earth Science Education offered by the Department of Geosciences. To apply, the student completes a single online application that provides the necessary information to each organization. Students interested in applying for admission to the Graduate Certificate in the Earth Science Education program should go to the World Campus web site: The Earth Science Education Graduate Certificate Program Admissions Committee reviews and ranks applications as they are received.

List of Courses Included in the Certificate:
EARTH 501. Contemporary Controversies in the Earth Sciences (3)
EARTH 520. Plate Tectonics and People: Foundations of Solid Earth Science (3)
EARTH 530. Earth Surface Processes in the Critical Zone (3)
EARTH 540. Essentials of Oceanography for Educators (3)


Effective Semester: Spring 2014
Expiration Semester: Summer 2018


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