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Online Master’s Degree Program

Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Informal Science Education

TT_HZILogo (3)Are you an educator or pre-service teacher that desires to be more effective when taking your students out of the classroom? Or are you interested in teaching in an informal setting and would like to hone your skills, abilities, and knowledge about informal science education and learning? Then this M. Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in informal science education is for you. This unique partnership brings the resources and informal science educational opportunities of the Houston Zoo, one of the top zoos in the country, together with the instructional expertise of the College of Education at Texas Tech University, one of the front runners in an innovative approach to teacher training, to deliver a program aimed to train the world’s greatest informal science educators.

Course Outline:  

FALL 2014 (Online)

  • Current Issues & Research in Informal Science Education
  • Nature of Informal Science Education
  • Human Development in Education

SPRING (Online)

  • Learning Theories and Curriculum Models in Informal Science Education
  • Assessing Learning in Informal Science Settings
  • Action Research I

SUMMER I (Online)

  • Action Research II
  • Creativity in the Classroom

SUMMER II – At the Houston Zoo

  • Informal Science Education Internship About Diverse Audiences: Communication, Instruction, and Evaluation
  • Informal Science Education Internship: Current Trends in Technology

FALL (Online)

  • Directed Research
  • Thesis

Houston Zoo Staff

The Houston Zoo staff are well known in the zoo industry for their support and development of conservation, education, and professional development programs. Throughout this course, students will be engaging with a variety of staff from different departments, who are known leaders in their fields of expertise. Many have years of experience in the zoo industry, informal science education, and sit on committees with their peers from around the world within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. For more information on courses conducted at the Houston Zoo, please email

Ready to Apply? 

Applying for admission to graduate school at Texas Tech is a two-part process. The first part is applying to The Graduate School. With this application you will need to make sure to have your transcripts sent to Texas Tech, along with the $100 application fee.

Step 1: Apply to the Graduate School on the Texas Tech website:


Once that step has been completed, you will be about to apply for admission to the College of Education at Texas Tech. A list of required application materials as well as the online application can be found on the Texas Tech website.

The online application requires you to log on with your “eRaider” id and password. If you have not received your eRaider information, please contact the Texas Tech Graduate School at 806-742-2781 or via e-mail at

Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Research
Texas Tech University
College of Education
Box 41070
Lubbock, Texas 79409

For additional course information and to register, please contact Dr. Patricia Patrick at or (806) 742-1997 x316.

Texas Tech University Faculty

Dr. Patricia Patrick

Dr. Patricia Patrick is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Texas Tech University, and has worked with undergraduate and graduate pre-service science teachers for seven years. She has taught environmental science in the public schools for 12 years. Her research includes informal science education, environmental science education and mental representations. She has published Zoo Talk, which is built on the premise that zoos, their staff and exhibits, and visitors speak distinct languages. She has published 14 peer reviewed papers, presented 30 papers, and given over 30 science workshops for science teachers at various state and national conferences.

Sample Course Information – The Nature of Informal Science Learning

Your summer just got wild! Using the Houston Zoo as a 55-acre classroom, Texas Tech University, in conjunction with the Houston Zoo’s Education Department, has developed a course to provide graduate students with an understanding of informal science education (ISE)  instructional strategies through studies of how to communicate science and the research that is carried out at ISEs around the world.

Course Information