Program Details

Six students gather around models in the lab.
In 15 months receive all the instruction, mentoring, and experience necessary to become a certified Earth science teacher for grades 7–12.

This rigorous program integrates academic theory and learning with practical application in a school setting through teaching residencies at schools in New York City and Yonkers. Through intensive mentoring, we instill residents with a deep understanding of scientific content and the importance of an inquiry-based approach to learning.

Graphic with icons and text reading Summer 1, Fall, Spring, and Summer 2 with explanations of what happens during each semester.

Residents who complete the program will be awarded a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, with a Specialization in Earth Science for grades 7–12 from the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. As part of the program, graduates must commit to teaching at high-needs public schools for 3 years.

After graduation, the program offers alumni 2 years of induction support: formal, early-career professional development and support focused on classroom management and curriculum development. 

School Teaching Residencies

Teacher stands and speaks to four students.

School residencies occur between September and June at middle and high schools in New York City and Yonkers, NY. Residents spend their fall and spring semesters at different partner schools, attending 4 full days a week, working alongside teacher-mentors. 

For 10 months, residents are paired with exemplary mentor-teachers selected by school principals and MAT staff. These mentored residencies provide critical clinical-teaching opportunities and the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced science educators. 

The school residency includes rotations with teachers of English Language Learners and students with disabilities. Residents learn student-data-driven instruction methods and TESOL skills to scaffold science learning for ELL students. Residents study how to use data to improve instruction throughout their residencies at their host schools and in program-specific workshops. They also participate in professional development at residency schools, student and family programs, and all regular school activities required of teachers.

School Profiles

Museum Teaching Residency

Resident talks to three students seated at a table.

During their very first summer, residents begin teaching students enrolled in the Museum’s science programs. Under the mentorship of experienced educators, they aid in day-to-day teaching tasks, including co-designing lesson plans and co-facilitating daily teaching activities. 

These science programs serve a diverse group of urban students and make extensive use of the Museum’s collection-rich exhibitions as “learning labs.” Residents and students get hands-on, minds-on experiences with scientific specimens, cultural artifacts, and state-of-the-art digital media, along with opportunities to interact with cutting-edge research conducted by Museum scientists.

Through their experience as teaching assistants, residents learn how informal education resources—distinct from the school experience—can support student learning and be adapted for a variety of learning modes. This experience also enables residents to link theory to practice from the very start of the program.


Large group of residents stands with an instructor on a rocky ledge in New York City's Central Park.

Doctoral-level Museum scientists and educators teach courses using an inquiry-based approach that demonstrates the relevance of science to students’ lives. Residents take 12 required courses (3 credits each) for a total of 36 credits at graduation. Course assignments will constitute the major components of a digital portfolio of practice, which will serve as the equivalent of a master’s thesis.

Course Listing

Science Research Practicum (SCI 680)

Three residents stand in a river, and one stands alongside it as they search the riverbed for specimens.

Residents round out their coursework with a 7-week practicum, where they gain firsthand knowledge of scientific practice under the supervision of Museum faculty. The practicum exposes them to key concepts, scientific questions, tools, and techniques. Through it, residents get to experience and then implement learning activities that align with state and national standards. 

As part of the practicum, residents spend two weeks conducting field research around New York City. Residents also gain firsthand laboratory experience, working alongside Museum scientists and using various lab-based tools to collect and analyze Earth science data. Residents then use their research findings to develop a teaching resource.

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