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Mathematics Education

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Program Description

Over its long and distinguished history, the Program in Mathematics Education has stressed the preparation of leaders in education. These leaders are successful scholars in their discipline, as well as educators. Faculty and staff are committed to leadership training through a variety of courses, workshops, and research experiences, domestic and through international study offerings. Many of the local learning experiences are performed in collaboration with private, public, and parochial schools in the tri-state metropolitan region. 

Master’s level offerings in mathematics education are appropriate for both initial and professional teachers. Advanced master’s and doctoral programs complete preparation for a variety of positions including: teaching, supervisory, and research roles spanning the elementary through college levels of instruction. Some courses offered through these programs are intended especially for students from other areas of study at Teachers College who need to acquire knowledge and skills in mathematics but who do not wish to earn a degree in this area. 

However, a hallmark of Teachers College mathematics education program is a strong emphasis on mathematics content and the role of mathematical ways of thinking in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Our graduates take positions in college teaching of mathematics in addition to pre-college professional roles.

Master of Arts
Emphasis is placed on those competencies necessary for effective mathematics teaching as a means of enhancing professional growth of initial and professional teachers. Conceptual issues in teaching are translated into practice through group and individualized instruction in special methods courses. Master of Arts requirements include a culminating scholarly project.

A minimum of 32 points of coursework is required, along with a final essay or project. No transfer credit for graduate courses completed elsewhere can be applied to the M.A. degree. Courses taken through these programs and elsewhere at Teachers College in mathematics, mathematics education, and professional education to meet individual needs may be supplemented with permission by courses taken in other faculties of Columbia University. 

Master of Science and Master of Education
Both programs require a minimum of 60 points, a formal essay or integrative project, and involve extensive preparation in mathematics as well as education. For the Master of Science degree, the college requires that a minimum of 32 points with an integrative project (or 30 points with a formal essay) be completed under the auspices of Teachers College, including 18 points that must be earned in Teachers College courses. Master of Science students who choose to do an integrative project may use a maximum of 28 semester hours of graduate credit from other recognized institutions to reduce the degree requirement. Master of Science students who choose to do a formal essay, as well as Master of Education students, may apply a maximum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit toward their degree requirement. Please refer to the Degree Requirements section of this bulletin for college-wide minimum point requirements. For the M.S. degree, there is greater emphasis on preparation in mathematics content. In the Ed.M. program, there is greater emphasis on preparation in professional education. Programs are arranged in consultation with the major professor to meet both program and college requirements.

Applicants for the M.S. and Ed.M. degrees must also prepare a written integrative project.

Doctoral Degrees
The department provides programs for both the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. degrees. In general, the Ed.D. degree places emphasis on breadth of professional coursework with a focus on educational practice. All candidates are required to be competent in statistical research methodology and computer programming and to have knowledge of the epistemology of mathematics and of psychology sufficient to be an informed scholar-practitioner. All doctoral candidates must have a written program plan approved by their advisor. The approved plan then must be approved by the Office of Doctoral Studies. Following submission of a statement of total program, the student normally completes doctoral coursework and engages in doctoral research and writing. Refer to the Ph.D. and Ed.D. Requirements Bulletin, prepared by the Office of Doctoral Studies, for a fuller description of degree requirements.

In planning a program of study, it should be noted that doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 20 points after taking the certification examination for the first time, including points taken during the term in which that examination is taken.

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