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Mathematics, Pedagogy and Cognition

This program will be accepting applications for the fall 2024 term. announcement

UNC boasts one of the nation’s largest mathematics education programs, housed in the School of Mathematical Sciences. This program gets our faculty’s full attention and resources and equips you with a full set of skills. You’ll receive comprehensive training that prepares you to excel as a university mathematics instructor, conduct original research in mathematics education, offer professional development to K-12 mathematics teachers and influence public policy related to STEM education. In addition, many of our students receive teaching assistantships to help offset the cost of tuition.

Our Mathematics Education Ph.D. program takes an innovative approach that integrates mathematics, mathematics education and cognition. Work closely with UNC’s mathematics faculty as well as our mathematics education specialists, developing a wide range of mentoring relationships and collaborative partnerships. After completing a dissertation based on original research, you’ll enter the job market with in-demand expertise and excellent prospects for a tenure-track faculty position or employment with government, nonprofit or educational employers.

Degree Details

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Degree Options

Ph.D. in Mathematics Education

If you enter the educational mathematics Ph.D. degree program after earning a master’s degree, you’ll take advanced coursework in mathematics, mathematics education, cognition and related subjects. The program also provides a strong emphasis on research methods, science writing and presentation. UNC’s educational mathematics degree stands out for its extensive hands-on teaching component. Gain experience as a teaching assistant, course co-teacher (alongside a Ph.D. faculty member) and faculty-of-record for college mathematics courses.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

Greeley Program

Your Future in Mathematics Education

Mathematics education has grown in importance, as U.S. policy leaders and elected officials recognize the need for mathematical fluency in a number-and-data driven world. Demand for educational mathematics expertise has increased commensurately. UNC’s educational mathematics Ph.D. graduates have an excellent job placement record, earning tenure-track appointments at universities across the United States.

Consider UNC's Ph.D. in Mathematics Education if you (are):

  • Passionate about mathematics
  • Love to teach
  • Interested in learning theory and cognition
  • Seek to improve tactics and strategies related to K-16 mathematics education
  • Passionate about evidence-based teaching practices

You’ll learn:

  • Techniques for effective college mathematics teaching
  • Research methodologies
  • Theories of learning, cognition and teaching
  • Academic writing

Sample courses:

  • Real and Complex Analysis
  • Abstract Algebra
  • Number Theory
  • Teaching and Learning Mathematics at the Post-Secondary Level
  • Quantitative Research in Mathematics Education
  • Qualitative Research in Mathematics Education

Where can your degree take you?

  • Tenure-track university faculty
  • Educational policy leadership
  • Government or nonprofit research
  • Textbook publishing and evaluation
  • Professional development consulting

Current Research in Mathematics Education

At UNC, you’ll collaborate with faculty on a wide array of subjects related to advanced mathematical concepts, mathematics pedagogy, and learning/cognition. You’ll receive committed support for your own research efforts, with opportunities to publish in leading journals such as the Journal of Mathematical Behavior and Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.

Jodie Novak, Rob Powers, and Frieda Parker

These UNC mathematics education researchers received a three-year, $1.17 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The award will support research aimed at improving training of secondary mathematics teachers. The researchers will collect data from 24 expert high school teachers related to the planning and teaching of lessons. Ultimately, the research may contribute to better means of developing and assessing secondary math teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching.

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Still not completely sold? We understand. Here's more information on costs and funding and how to apply.

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