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STEAM specialization for PK-12 educators

Engineering for Educators Graduate Certificate

STEAM Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education

The University of St. Thomas' School of Engineering and School of Education collaborate to provide the STEAM Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education. This graduate certificate is designed for in-service PK-12 educators who want hands-on experience in STEAM education with engineering. This program is a rigorous introduction to integrated STEAM engineering content, with an emphasis placed on how to apply the material in PK-12 classrooms.

Courses in this program may be taken separately or as part of the STEAM Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education and may be transferred into the University of St. Thomas Master of Arts in Educational Studies graduate program.


For questions about how to apply, contact:

Crystal Conway
Assistant Director, Graduate Student Services
email: gradengineering@stthomas.edu
phone: 651-962-5500

For questions about the curriculum, please contact the program director, Dr. Deb Besser.


Deb Besser, P.E., Ph.D.

Program Director
Dr. Kundan Nepal instructs two graduate students.

Specialize in Engineering Education

STEAM Graduate Certificate Curriculum & Requirements

The Engineering for Educators STEAM certificate program consists of four courses (12 graduate credits).

Required core courses:

  • EGED 530 Fundamentals of Engineering
  • EGED 531 Engineering Design
  • TEGR 528 Engineering in the P-12 Classroom

Choose one engineering elective:

  • EGED 611 Fundamentals of Electricity and Electronics
  • EGED 612 Digital and Computing systems
  • EGED 613 Materials Science and Engineering
  • EGED 614 Manufacturing Engineering in the Classroom
  • EGED 615 Statics, Materials and Structures
  • EGED 699 Independent Directed Study

Course Descriptions

All experienced educators are welcome to take these courses, even if you do not plan on finishing the graduate certificate. However, you must apply and gain admission to the certificate program before you can register for these engineering for educator courses.

Dive into the engineering disciplines with experiences and curriculum in electronics, machine design, manufacturing engineering, computer programming, thermodynamics, statics, fluids and mechanics of materials. Engaging engineering professors relate the content to the classroom and curriculum.

Contact course instructor Dr. Deb Besser with any questions.

This hands-on course is designed for educators. Topics include an overview of current P-12 engineering, exploration of pedagogy and content, links to academic standards and assessment of classroom initiatives. Educators will learn of programs, methods and other educators who have introduced engineering into P-12 classes across several disciplines. Engineering resources for teachers will be presented. Educators will create a unit or module focused on a hands-on engineering activity for P-12 students in their licensure area.

Contact course instructors Dr. Debbie Monson or Dr. Deb Besser if you have any questions.

The engineering design process for PK-12 educators: design projects, hands-on computer labs, lectures and field trips will introduce students to how the engineering design process is applied in a variety of fields. Students will learn how to create engineering drawings, apply an engineering design process, use computer-aided-design (CAD) technology and work with rapid prototyping tools. Strategies for incorporating engineering design projects into the K-12 classroom will be discussed.

Contact course instructor Dr. AnnMarie Thomas with any questions.

An introduction to electricity, intended to help those who would like to better understand, use, and teach basic electrical concepts and tools. Topics will include: Physical principles of energy in electrical form (voltage, current, resistance, power), key laws of circuit theory (Ohm's law, Kirchoff's laws, conservation of power), common electronic components (sources/batteries, resistors, capacitors, diodes, LEDs, etc.), basic circuit design and analysis, circuit prototyping and construction (breadboards, soldering, etc.), typical lab tools (hand tools, multimeter, oscilloscope, function generator, etc.) and a brief introduction to concepts of digital electronics. This course offers a mix of theory and hands-on learning, as well as an exploration of techniques, tools, and resources for teaching electrical concepts.

Contact course instructor Prof. Andrew Tubesing with any questions.

This course explores the fundamentals principles that have enabled the digital computing revolution in communications, computing, entertainment, and monitoring systems. Educators will learn about the binary number system, Boolean logic, design of digital systems, the architecture of a microprocessor, interfacing it with external circuitry/sensors and communicating with the processor through a computer programming language.

Contact course instructor Dr. Kundan Nepal with any questions.

Unlock the secrets of how materials marvels, like graphene, shape memory metal, Kevlar, and diamond, attain their exceptional properties. Educators will explore why the materials around us display the collage of properties they do, and how we can engineer materials to attain the properties we desire. This course will step through the various properties of materials (mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic and deteriorative) and reveal how each of these is intimately linked with the underlying structure of the material. A final project will be due at the end of the course.

Contact course instructor Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman for more information.

This course covers the basic principles and processes of how things are made. The topics covered will be a survey of how materials go from their initial acquisition from the earth to useful products. This will include traditional metal shaping processes (casting, forming, machining, etc.), traditional plastic shaping processes (thermoforming, injection molding, extrusion, etc.) and new processes such as micro- and nano-manufacturing and 3D printing.

Contact course instructor Dr. John Wentz with any questions.

Introduction to statics, strength of materials, and structures. Topics include Newton’s Laws, equilibrium equations, analysis of determinate systems, load tracing, stress, strain, deformation, cross-sectional properties, shear and bending moments, axial member analysis and structural systems behavior. Each unit includes historic and critical issue connections. Emphasis is placed on how the material is used in the built environment and is relevant to P-12 education settings.

Contact Dr. Deb Besser with any questions.

How to Apply for the Certificate

  1. Complete the online application for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education. Select the "Engineering for Educators" certificate program.
  2. Attach a brief resume or CV with your work history.
  3. Request your transcript from the college or university where your bachelor's degree was conferred.
  4. Your official transcript should be sent directly from the issuing institution's Registrar department to: Graduate Admissions, University of St. Thomas, TMH 201 Box 5, 1000 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis MN 55403.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact Crystal Conway, Program Manager.

Making an Impact in the Classroom with STEAM Integrated Education

Allison Knoph, STEAM Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education program alumna

"The rigorous content of the courses had me utilizing all my skills as a life-long learner. The professors were fantastic about making sure that I understood what I needed to [know] and more importantly that the material fit my classroom. This experience has increased my confidence in bringing engineering lessons into the classroom."

Anne Dougherty, Director, Creative Learning Lab, Nativity of Our Lord School

"Everything I learned in my first class in the Engineering for Educators program has had an immediate impact in my classroom. This program has helped me develop new and better ways to foster creative confidence in my students, has grown my own abilities as a creative person and has help me raise the bar for the whole STEM program at my school."