Mathematics Education

Mathematics Education


Student using a calculator to solve a math problem in a classroomMany students in schools in the United States a) perform poorly on mathematics assessments, b) feel that their understanding of mathematics concepts is inadequate, and c) dislike attending math class.

As mathematics education researchers we seek to address these problems by engaging in design research to explore alternative learning environments that make mathematics enticing and empowering. We closely examine students’ thinking in these environments to better understand how tools, collaboration and communication support learning. We also work with teachers to help them to re-envision mathematics instruction and begin to teach in new ways. We are especially interested in enhancing mathematics instruction in under-served communities.

The PhD in Mathematics Education focuses on reform in mathematics curriculum, design and evaluation of effective mathematics instruction, the process of learning mathematics, culture and practice in the mathematics classroom, teachers’ perspectives and development, and the impact of technology on the teaching of mathematics.

Required Courses

32 units are required in mathematics and mathematics education.

In addition to the Ph.D. program core courses and methodology requirements, mathematics education students are required to take the following three core mathematics education courses:

  • 255 – Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Mathematics (4)
  • 256A or 256B – Research in Mathematics Education (4)
  • 294* – Special Topics in Science, Agriculture & Mathematics Education (8 units)

Suggested additional courses to fill out the 32-unit emphasis requirement include:

  • 257 – Computer Technology in Mathematics Education (4)
  • 294* – Special Topics in Science, Agriculture & Mathematics Education (additional units)
  • 210 – The Psychology of School Learning (4)
  • 211* – Social & Situative Perspectives on Learning & Cognition (4)
  • 207 – Concepts of the Curriculum (4)
  • 292 – Experiential Learning (4)

Up to 12 units of appropriate mathematics coursework may be counted toward the 32-unit emphasis area requirement, and a maximum of eight of these units in mathematics may be from graduate work (e.g., the MA or MAT) completed prior to enrollment in the PhD Program in Education. Transcripts should be submitted to the emphasis area faculty for assessment. Students may choose mathematics courses from upper division and graduate offerings in consultation with their faculty advisor. Particularly encouraged are courses in the field of mathematics most closely related to the student’s research plans. Relevant upper division courses include the following:

Mathematics Closest to Dissertation Research

  • Arithmetic: Math 115A, 115B, 115C Geometry: Math 114, 116, 141
  • Algebra: Math 108, 150A, 150B, 167 Probability: Math 131, 132A, 132B
  • Calculus: Math 108, 127A, 127B Statistics: Statistics 108, 130A, 130B

Electives Students in the Mathematics Education emphasis are expected to take a minimum of 6 units (2 courses) of additional coursework in areas relevant to their research interests. These courses, determined in consultation with the faculty advisor, are intended to add breadth and/or depth to the student’s program of study.

*Any course marked with an asterisk is a proposed course with a tentative course number. Proposed courses are offered as sections of EDU 292, Special Topics in Education, until they have completed the approval process.

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