Science Education at St. Olaf

Can you imagine yourself teaching science to students, perhaps as a classroom teacher or as a TA in graduate school or even as a professor?

 Do you expect to be training people in your future science career?

Do you want to develop practices that foster culturally responsive and sustaining learning communities and empower students to be agents of change?

Most people will find themselves teaching or educating in some capacity in their future careers. The education department at St. Olaf has resources to help you develop important skills, and we can license you to become a middle or high school science teacher.  If you’d like to explore and develop teaching skills, check out this list of courses, internships, student orgs, job opportunities to consider.  Contact Prof. Emily Mohl (; x3984, RNS432) to join the mailing list or ask questions, and read on to learn more.

Don’t just take my word for it.  See what St. Olaf science majors say about why they want to teach science and their experiences in the education program.

Thanks to Paulo Gladney for producing this video.

The education department at St. Olaf seeks to support students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse goals on a variety of pathways.  Nearly every education class provides you with opportunities to interact with students and observe and practice teaching skills. You can start with EDUC 295 Foundations of Education to learn about education and develop communication and teaching skills.  You can enroll in EDUC 364 The Teaching of Science to learn and develop current best-practices for teaching science.  And, if you are majoring in biology, chemistry, or physics and love working with youth, you can major in Education and become licensed to teach middle or high school science.

Interested students should start by taking Ed295 Foundations of Education

  • Begin to develop your identity as an educator
  • Gain practical skills and experience in a classroom helping students every week.
  • This course is required for the education major.

Education Major and Licensure Program highlights*:

  • Receive lots of individualized support that prepares you to become an excellent teacher.
  • Develop deep content knowledge in your major.
  • Participate in structured field experiences that expose you to real classrooms and students throughout the program, including an Interim of deep engagement with urban education.
  • Study off campus in Hawaii, India, Chicago, or Arizona, if you so choose.
  • Complete student teaching during your 8th or 9th semester.
  • Support, inspire, and teach youth.
  • Graduate ready to start an impactful career with marketable skills and a teaching license.
    • There is a shortage of science teachers in many places, so demand is high.
    • Science teachers are eligible for a variety of loan forgiveness programs like those described here and here. The Ed Department describes costs and resources here.  Research your options carefully.
    • It is typically easy to transfer teaching licenses to other states.
    • Teacher salaries and benefits vary widely and may be better than you think. You can look up average teacher salaries by state at this site (try table 211.60).

Students seeking licensure ideally enter the program their sophomore year, although there is room for flexibility.

*The Education Major prepares students to become licensed teachers and is designed for those wishing to teach middle or high school science in public schools.  If you have different goals, an education concentration or an education course may be more appropriate.

Possibilities for Ed364: The Teaching of Science

  • Designed to prepare students to teach science
    • Involves a field placement in a science classroom
  • Required for the Education Major and Licensure
  • Can be modified for students with other goals
    • Interested in college teaching? Complete a field experience as an SI leader or TA.
    • Interested in environmental education? Consider a placement at a nature center.

Stories of Science Ed Alums 


Questions?  Contact Professor Emily Mohl [mohl], RNS 432, x3984.