Mathematics Education

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies

Diana Sherman

How much mathematics should an elementary teacher know? What kind of mathematics should a teacher know? After five years of teaching elementary school, finding answers to these questions is what brought Diana to one of our doctoral programs.

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Mathematics education has been a focus of attention around the world over the last few decades. On one hand, scholars, designers, and practitioners have produced exciting new developments in research, curriculum, and assessment. New standards for instruction and curriculum have been developed and an international discourse community on mathematics education has grown. On the other hand, mathematics education has been the target of intense criticism and debate among different stakeholders and communities. The need for new scholars and leaders in mathematics education is great. New advances in the field—in practice and in research—as well as focused concern make it a particularly good time to earn a graduate degree in mathematics education. Our doctoral concentration prepares graduates to be leaders, creative scholars, and teachers in mathematics education. With a concern for the interdisciplinary nature of the significant problems in our field, we create opportunities for our graduate students to learn to work across conventional domains—mathematics as discipline, the world of schooling, professional education, educational scholarship, and policy.

The concentration in Mathematics Education prepares scholars to work as researchers, expert practitioners, or policy professionals with a special focus on the teaching and learning of mathematics. In this program, mathematics education is considered in its intersections with the nature of mathematics as a discipline; considerations of teaching and teacher learning; the design, implementation and effects of curriculum and instructional interventions and their implementation and effects; contemporary developments in learning theories and technologies; issues of equity and social justice; and the framing and enacting of educational policies.

Students in Mathematics Education take a common set of core courses, dealing with curriculum, learning, teaching, and research in mathematics education. They also select electives from other areas, within the School of Education and from programs and departments elsewhere in the university. In addition, we engage our students in two practicum experiences to provide focused opportunities to learn to use what they are learning in the contexts important to work in mathematics education.

Students in the mathematics education specialization may work on any portion of the span from pre-K through college, and they may focus on mathematics as encountered in or out of school. In an intensive program consisting of coursework, practica, and apprenticeships, students engage in practice and scholarship alongside nationally recognized specialists in their field. Many opportunities are provided for students to work collaboratively with each other and with faculty, but students are encouraged and expected to develop and examine their own research questions and emphases.

This concentration is housed within the Educational Studies program, which fosters links among students and faculty in a number of specializations sharing a commitment to the integration of theory and research on teaching, learning, and educational access in P-16 settings.

Plan of Study

Course planning sheets outline the School of Education course requirements.


Our faculty is engaged in a wide variety of projects, within the school, and nationally and internationally. Hence, myriad opportunities exist for graduate students to gain professional knowledge and skill through their involvement in these projects. Concentrating in Mathematics Education gives you many opportunities to work with faculty members who are leaders in the mathematics education field. Some of the projects that Mathematics Education faculty and students are working on now, or have been involved with in the past include:

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