The Museum is pleased to offer an innovative Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program that leverages its unique scientific resources and long history of leadership in teacher education and professional development. Funded in part by the New York State Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, this 15-month program addresses a critical shortage of qualified science teachers in New York State, particularly in high-needs schools with diverse populations. The MAT program is a partnership with four schools in New York City and Yonkers. Developed and delivered in the context of a natural history museum, the program integrates academic theory and learning with application in a school setting, with a specialization in Earth Science for grades 7-12.
The program employs intensive mentoring and extensive use of technology to provide degree candidates with a deep understanding of scientific content and of the importance of an inquiry-based approach to learning that demonstrates the relevance of science to students' lives. All coursework, both online and at the Museum, is taught by doctoral-level Museum scientists and educators.
The MAT teacher candidates, called Davis Fellows thanks to the generous founding support of Museum donor Kathryn W. Davis, spend two summers working with scientists and educators at the Museum, one in a youth program and the other in a science practicum residency. During the 10-month classroom residency, partner schools pair Davis Fellows with mentors — exemplary teachers selected by school principals. The residency includes a rotation with teachers of English Language Learners and students with disabilities. These mentored residencies provide critical clinical teaching opportunities to the Fellows, as well as the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced science educators. Course assignments completed during residencies will be major components of a digital portfolio of practice, which will serve as the equivalent of a Master’s thesis.
Candidates who complete the AMNH program will be awarded a New York State Board of Regents–conferred Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, with a Specialization in Earth Science for grades 7–12.
The program will also offer Davis Fellows two years of induction after graduation: formal, early-career professional development and support focused on classroom management and curriculum development. Graduates commit to teaching at high-needs public schools in New York State for four years. By that time they will have deep knowledge of Earth and Space science content and pedagogy, a year of classroom experience, and an ongoing support network, anchored by a renowned research and educational institution.
All coursework is taught by doctoral-level Museum scientists and educators with an inquiry-based approach to learning that demonstrates the relevance of science to students' lives.
At the center of the program is the Host School Residency, which takes place during the academic year in middle and high schools, over two semesters.
During the program's first summer, teacher candidates participate in a Museum-based teaching residency, and during the second summer, a Museum-based science practicum.
The 36-credit program involves three concurrent components: courses, residencies, and mentoring.