Jun 24, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Science in a Changing World, MA

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This 33-credit MA in science in a changing world prepares students to focus on science in the context of social change or individual intellectual development.

Course material, classroom activities, teaching/learning interactions, and projects focused on real-world problems provide students opportunities to:

  • learn about science and its social and historical context
  • gain a set of models for work in education, policy, and other areas of civic engagement
  • discuss practices and philosophies of science, education, and social change
  • undertake research with a view to engaging with science in a changing social and personal world

Students with diverse backgrounds and career paths—from laboratories to field research, journalism to policy formulation, teaching to activism—are welcome to join the track. In addition to examining science and its social context, students develop valuable professional skills in research, writing, and evaluation for civic engagement and in collaborative processes and problem-based teaching around current controversies involving science and technology.

Degree Requirements

Students take four core courses, four elective courses, and three final research and writing courses, ending with the completion of a capstone project that synthesizes each student’s experience in the program with respect to individual interests.


Four electives can be chosen from across the graduate school, but it is recommended that the combination of foundation, elective, and research and engagement courses meet minimum numbers in each of the three areas of science, interpretation of science in context, and pedagogy and civic engagement:

  • Masters students should aim for at least four courses in each area and, if science is not the student’s undergraduate major or subsequent training, at least six in science.
  • Professional science students must take at least six courses in science and at least three in pedagogy and civic engagement, one of which involves an internship or supervised activities in schools, workplaces, communities, businesses, or the policy arena.

Subject to the approval of the program director, up to two undergraduate courses (300-level or above) may count as electives.

The program director, in consultation with the program faculty, determines which distribution area(s) any course counts for. Contact the program for a current list of courses and areas in which they fit. Courses offered by departments in the College of Science and Mathematics, with the exception of policy-oriented courses, automatically count for the science area. They are explicitly included in the list only if they also count for another area. Within the SICW track, a science professional concentration allows students to meet the published criteria for a Professional Science Master (PSM) degree, but without formal affiliation of the MA as a PSM.

Mid-program Check-in

At the end of the semester in which students take their fifth course toward the CCT MA they must submit:

  1. a self-customized toolbox and set of reminders that students intend to use in their on-going learning and practice embedded in
  2. a narrative, which is updated each semester after reflecting on themes and connections across courses (cctrpp.wikispaces.umb.edu).

The CCT faculty reviews these submissions and meets with the students to make non-binding recommendations (which may include taking a break from courses in order to finish incompletes, improving writing skills, and acquiring more Research and Study Competencies). Although the recommendations from the check-in are non-binding, an advising hold is put on registration until this mid-program check-in is scheduled and completed.


Students enroll in CRCRTH 694 Synthesis of Theory and Practice Seminar  to undertake a supervised synthesis project and exit self-assessment, through which they review and reflect on the integration into their professional lives of critical and creative thinking skills and strategies and demonstrate competencies appropriate and relevant to their disciplines. The synthesis project has two parts: a written essay and an oral presentation. The synthesis project essay follows the Office of Graduate Studies Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations and is expected to incorporate an appropriate theoretical framework and references to relevant scholarly work in its field. The 30- to 60-minute oral presentation is given before members of the CCT faculty. Both the essay and the oral presentation are evaluated by at least two members of the CCT faculty.

The essay (20–40 pages) may integrate exhibits from the student’s work during the program, which may take a variety of forms, such as original curriculum materials, a professional development workshop series, a video case study, a practitioner’s portfolio, or a prospectus for future research and engagement. The form and length of the essay depend on the particular nature of the project. For example, an extended essay that reviews and critiques relevant literatures would be expected with the prospectus, but a shorter essay may accompany a video case study.

Before CRCRTH 694  can be undertaken, students must have no more than one incomplete left, not be on academic probation, have completed CRCRTH 692 , submit a 500–1000-word proposal, and have it approved by the capstone advisor and program director.


Online Option

This degree can be earned entirely or partially online. For information about online tuition and fees, click here .

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication. In addition to submitting all application materials as described in th general requirements, please note the following.

The Critical and Creative Thinking Program will recommend for admission those applicants who present evidence of their ability to do graduate work with distinction. Such evidence will normally include:

  1. A distinguished undergraduate transcript with a grade point average of at least 3.0.
  2. At least three positive and informed letters of recommendation submitted by persons with whom the applicant has worked closely and who have direct knowledge of their abilities. Recommenders should be able to comment in detail about an applicant’s academic strengths, work, and/or life experience. For graduate certificate applicants, at least two such letters.

Optionally, applicants may submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) and/or evidence of teaching or other examples of workplace competence, such as curriculum projects and lessons or business plans, to strengthen their application.

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