Teaching Opportunities While Getting Your Degree

The Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department encourages its students to seek careers in variety of fields. Students can take education courses and workshops while working on their Ph.D and MS degrees, giving them opportunities to teach when they leave UCSC.

ISEE Professional Development Program

Teaching science as inquiry, engineering as design

The ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) is a flexible, multi-year program for scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers, with a primary focus on graduate students.

Participants receive training through workshops, work on a design team before and after workshops, continue developing their skills through mini-workshops and expert consultation, and then put their new teaching skills into practice. The practical teaching experience takes place in “teaching labs” — PDP-affiliated educational programs or courses. PDP participants leave the program as well-trained, innovative, and reflective scientist-educators and engineer-educators.

The PDP includes the following:

  • ISEE Inquiry Institute           
  • ISEE Design Institute
  • Facilitation Workshops
  • Teaching experience

This year's program. 

American Society for Microbiology

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) are partners in bringing new professional development opportunities to U.S. graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career scientists. One result of the partnership is the ASM-BWF Science Teaching Fellows Program, which aims to help prepare doctoral-trained students for science teaching positions at a variety of non-doctoral institutions. Fellows in the program take part in a 10-month training experience that combines in-depth webinars, pre- and post-webinar assignments, structured mentoring, and a community of practice. The experience is designed to help fellows deepen their understanding and strengthen their skills for science teaching positions at community colleges, minority-serving institutions, regional or state colleges, and primary undergraduate institutes.
For more information, click here.

Designated Emphasis in Education

The Designated Emphasis in Education enables doctoral students in other departments to pursue interests in education and obtain formal certification of a “minor” level of competence in the field of education. The requirements for obtaining a Designated Emphasis in Education are the following:

  1. Obtain a designated graduate adviser from the faculty in education. This adviser will be in addition to the graduate adviser from the student’s home department. The education adviser must serve on the student’s qualifying examination committee and, as appropriate, may also serve on the student’s dissertation committee.
  2. Complete at least two of the following three core courses in education:
    1. EDUC 261, Thinking, Learning, and Teaching

    2. EDUC 262, Social and Cultural Context of Education

    3. EDUC 263, Foundations of Educational Reform

  3. Complete additional courses as needed to total five graduate courses in education, no more than one of which may be a directed readings course (Independent Studies). Courses must be approved by the student’s graduate adviser in education. Courses in other departments focused on education may be approved by petition to the Education Department’s Doctoral Programs Committee.
  4. Prepare a significant piece of writing in some area of education. This writing may take the form of a substantial position paper (seminar paper, QE paper, dissertation chapter, master’s thesis) grounded in the literature of educational research, as determined by the graduate adviser in education.

Education is an institutional field in which scholars from a wide variety of disciplines—including sociology, psychology, politics, economics, mathematics and science—have scholarly interests. A Designated Emphasis in Education enables graduate students from other departments to ground their work in theory and research on important issues in education.

The Education Department’s core courses, EDUC 261 and 262, are offered every year; and EDUC 263 is offered biennially. The department typically offers six doctoral courses during each year across five concentrations: language, literacy, and culture; teachers and teacher development; mathematics and science education; learning and teaching, and social and cultural contexts of education. The Education Department annually admits 7-10 Ph.D. students, leaving adequate room for doctoral students from other departments to take courses in education.

See the Education Department for more information.



All METX students have to take a Teaching Assistant position for at least one quarter, providing an experience for everyone to become familiar with the teaching process. The graduate division has a list of resources that we encourage all students to look through before beginning their TAship.

The resources are linked here.