Doctor of Philosophy in Collegiate Mathematics Education

85 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree1
Qualifying exam
Comprehensive exam
Dissertation and defense

This joint Ph.D. program is offered through the collaboration of the Department of Applied Mathematics and the Department of Mathematics and Science Education. The objective of the program is to provide advanced education in the teaching and learning of collegiate mathematics through coursework and original research. These advanced studies will enable graduates to teach a wide range of college-level mathematics courses, conduct theoretical and practical research on collegiate mathematics teaching and learning, or develop and evaluate college mathematics curriculum.


32 credit hours maximum transfer from master’s coursework; 42 credit hours maximum transfer of graduate coursework; the number of subjects allowed for transfer credit depends on what subjects have been recently taken and is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Admission Criteria

Admission to the joint Ph.D. program in collegiate mathematics education requires:

  • A master’s or bachelor’s degree in mathematics or applied mathematics. Candidates whose degree is in another related field (such as computer science, physics, or engineering) and whose background in mathematics is strong are also eligible for admission and are encouraged to apply.
  • GRE score 1100 (quantitative and verbal); 3.0 (analytical writing)
  • TOEFL (minimum score of 600 for paper-based, 250 for computer-based, and 100 for internet-based test) if from a non-English speaking country
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 is required
  • Professional statement of goals/objectives (two pages)
  • Vita
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An interview may be required


Applied Mathematics Core Requirements (18)
MATH 476Statistics3
MATH 500Applied Analysis I3
MATH 515Ordinary Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems3
MATH 532Linear Algebra3
MATH 553Discrete Applied Mathematics I3
MATH 577Computational Mathematics I3
Mathematics and Science Education Core Requirements (18)
MSED 598Methods of College Teaching in Mathematics and Science3
MSED 599College Teaching Practicum3
MSED 601Critical Analysis in Quantitative Research3
MSED 602Quantitative Research Design and Practicum3
MSED 603Critical Analysis in Qualitative Research3
MSED 604Qualitative Research Design and Praticum3
Applied Mathematics Electives (12)
Select a minimum of 12 credit hours from the following:12
Complex Analysis3
Any 500-level applied mathematics course
Mathematics and Science Education Electives (9)
Select a minimum of 9 credit hours from the following:9
Advanced Strategies: Mathematics3
Clinical Supervision in Science/Mathematics3
Assessment and Evaluation3
Middle and Secondary Level Mathematics Curriculum3
Problem Solving and Nature of Mathematics3
Elective Courses (3)
Select 3 credit hours3
Ph.D. Research (25)
MSED 691Ph.D. Thesis Research25
Total Credit Hours85

The qualifying exam is fulfilled by achieving better than a 3.5/4.0 GPA  on the MATH 476, MATH 500, MATH 553, and MATH 577 Applied Mathematics (AM) core courses and a 3.5/4.0 GPA on the MSED 601MSED 602MSED 603, and MSED 604 Mathematics and Science Education (MSED) core courses and passing an oral examination within the first five semesters of Ph.D. study. The oral exam consists of two one-hour parts covering AM and MSED core courses respectively. For the AM part, the candidate selects any two out of the four above-mentioned AM core courses plus another AM core course to be tested on during the oral exam. For the MSED part, the candidate proposes five position statements ranked by the faculty. The MSED oral exam is composed of the two position statements with the highest rankings:

  1. Position statement 1: Written defense to support position with empirical research
  2. Position statement 2:  Oral defense

The comprehensive exam consists of an oral examination based on the student’s research proposal. The exam aims to ensure that the student has the background to carry out successful research in his/her chosen area and the proposed research has sufficient scholarly merit.

A minimum of 25 credit hours should be devoted to thesis research (MSED 691). The dissertation is expected to contain a distinct and substantial, original, and publishable contribution to the field of study. An oral examination in defense of the thesis constitutes completion of the degree.