The structure of this program really made it easier to collaborate with my colleagues and see what was happening at all grade levels in the area of science.
Elementary educator enrolled in the STEM Certificate
Graduate STEM certificate students learn how to
create a soil profile, a hands-on science
activity they will incorporate into their
own teaching.

STEM Graduate Certificates

If you are an elementary teacher, you know that soon you may need to be teaching your young charges engineering and technology concepts. Some states already include these concepts in their state education standards. Others are in the process of adding them. Are you ready?

An overwhelming majority of elementary teachers today did not receive adequate preparation to teach STEM concepts. Over two-thirds of teachers name science as the subject they wish had been given more emphasis during their pre-service training. 1

A pioneer in STEM teacher training

The National Center for STEM Elementary Education is playing a leading role in the development and rollout of comprehensive, graduate-level, teacher-preparation programs to improve STEM teaching skills among elementary teachers.

Program planning began in 2004 when the Medtronic Foundation awarded St. Catherine University a multi-year grant to develop a STEM graduate certificate program for Montessori teachers.  This groundbreaking program continues to be the only program of its kind in the country.

We have since developed a STEM graduate certificate program for traditional elementary teachers, also among the first in the nation. Both programs can be customized to meet STEM professional development needs of individual schools and/or school districts.

Collaborative partnerships

The Center works in partnership with elementary schools or school districts, bringing to the table our STEM expertise, experience and collaboration to design programs of study that are uniquely suited to the needs of the local teaching staff.

We draw upon years of successful STEM lessons, proven strategies for integrating STEM concepts into existing curricula and a deep understanding of states’ standards and assessment tools. The St. Catherine team includes both STEM and education faculty

A focus on engineering and technology

Many custom graduate certificate programs are being designed to address new state standards that focus on engineering and technology. Through hands-on activities and projects, teachers learn engineering concepts and design principles, and how to teach them to students in elementary grades. It also focuses on ways to incorporate engineering into existing lessons and curricula. For Minnesota schools, we have developed a comprehensive implementation plan to satisfy the Minnesota elementary engineering standards.

Custom programs

A wide array of components can be included in a customized STEM graduate program of study. They include:

  • Work with schools or school districts to create a customized program that fits the needs of its school or district
  • Hands-on STEM activities – delivered during a week-long summer session or during scheduled in-service sessions throughout the school year
  • Review of the existing science curriculum to find optimum ways to integrate STEM concepts into what's already in place
  • Tool kits filled with relevant STEM teaching/learning materials to use back in the classroom
  • Support and mentoring from St. Kate’s faculty throughout the academic year – onsite and online
  • Observation by fellow teachers who provide feedback on ways to modify and improve STEM-teaching techniques
  • Graduate or continuing education credit. Graduate credit can transfer into MAED Curriculum & Instruction program

More information

To start a conversation about a STEM graduate certificate program for your school or district, email