Science Teacher Leadership Institute

The Science Teacher Leadership Institute is an educator-designed graduate certificate program for elementary science teachers. The program empowers teachers to teach science successfully.

Education theory meets practice.
Science is among the most difficult of subjects to teach successfully. Demanding local and national science standards, plus high stakes testing in grades K-8, means that helping all students achieve is more important than ever.

However, district in-service workshops only begin to address the need for deeper science content and broader teaching strategies. Many teachers take graduate courses independently, but their innovations often remain in a single classroom.

In partnership with area science education leaders, Washington University in St. Louis faculty created the Science Teacher Institute to address the demands of challenging science standards and the need for system-wide professional development. The Science Teacher Institute is a unique combination of rigorous graduate level coursework and flexible in-service professional development.

While individual teachers may register for Science Teacher Institute courses, WUSTL faculty recommend that school or district teams apply in order to build collaboration and encourage vertical articulation.

Program of Study

The Science Teacher Institute leads to a 15-credit graduate certificate in science education. All participants are required to start with an introductory course, which provides a practical overview to inquiry science and project-based learning. To complete the certificate, a capstone course allows graduate students to demonstrate how they have applied institute principles to their teaching practice.

Each elective course is designed to blend content and pedagogy in relevant ways. Teams may choose to concentrate on science content or pedagogy. Depending on grade level, subject or district priorities, participants may choose elective course topics. Each course in the series carries three graduate credits in education.

Required courses

  • Scientific Inquiry for the Classroom Teacher (introductory course)
  • Capstone Course in Middle School Science Inquiry (final course)

Content-based electives

  • Teaching Life Science in Intermediate and Middle School
  • Teaching Physical Science in Intermediate and Middle School
  • Teaching Earth Science in Intermediate and Middle School
  • Teaching Engineering Concepts in Intermediate and Middle School

Pedagogy-based electives

  • Assessment Strategies for Intermediate and Middle School Science
  • Differentiated Instruction for Intermediate and Middle School Science
  • Science Education Leadership and Advocacy for Teachers

Custom options

The Science Teacher Institute is an intensive professional development program for school systems seeking to advance science teaching and learning. For districts that can identify groups of teachers to engage in the program, options for customization are available. These can include:

  • Courses taught using district initiatives and/or curriculum as a contextual frame for science content and teaching methods
  • Alternative location to the WUSTL campus, including on-site classes or classes held at a location close to participating schools
  • Classroom coaching and implementation support by WUSTL faculty and local master teachers
  • Courses tailored to school or district needs, e.g., if most participating teachers are new, WUSTL faculty can weave supports for induction years into institute curriculum.
  • Establishing professional learning communities for science teachers from the same school or district
  • Professional development for schools that are adopting a departmental model or lead science teachers for grades four through five

Program advisors

Paul Markovits, PhD, brings the perspectives of a teacher, administrator and science education leader to the Science Teacher Institute. He is the former mathematics and science coordinator for the Pattonville School District. Markovits served as the director of the Mathematics and Science Education Center, a branch of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.


WUSTL faculty in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and education from the schools of Arts & Science, Engineering and Medicine bring their expertise and latest research developments to Science Teacher Institute courses. Only at WUSTL can teachers study sciences from leading researchers.

Master educators from local school districts serve as co-instructors for each course. These teachers have earned master’s degrees and have special expertise in science education. Their perspective ensures that cutting-edge research remains relevant to the classroom and to the multiple needs of different learners.

Admission and tuition

Admission to the Science Teacher Institute for an individual teacher begins with contacting Paul Markovits, 314-935-3620, to discuss the program and receive application materials.

Admission to the Science Teacher Institute by a school/district team begins with a school/district administrator submitting a letter identifying the team members and describing the school/district’s plan for system-wide science education. The administrator will be contacted with applications for individual teachers.

WUSTL discounts tuition for practicing teachers, and final cost is influenced by involvement in other programs offered by the Institute for School Partnership.


Contact or 314-935-6846 to learn more or begin the admission process.