Mathematics Education PhD

Doctor of Philosophy


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree emphasizes research competencies. The degree requires a scholarly dissertation of intellectual merit and sound research methodology. Dissertation research may include analytical studies of the process of teaching or experimental studies of the teaching-learning process, including studies of verbal learning and laboratory practice or historical studies.

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Admissions Information

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 75
  • Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • None

Additional Degree Information

Requirements from the TC Catalog

View Full Catalog Listing

Doctoral Degrees

All candidates for the Ed.D., Ed.D.C.T., or Ph.D. degrees are expected to demonstrate both mathematics and mathematics education competencies through a series of certification examinations taken upon the completion of 60 graduate points. Certification examinations test the student’s knowledge of current research and theory in mathematics education and mathematics content. Examinations are offered once in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Courses recommended as preparation for the examinations include MSTM 4019/4020, MSTM 6037, and 6000- level mathematics content courses.

Students must demonstrate acceptable proficiency in at least three of the following six mathematics content areas: algebra, analysis, computer mathematics, foundations of mathematics, geometry and topology, and probability and statistics. Students may sit for the examination in mathematics content during the regular certification examination times. Alternatively, they may register for advanced content courses and, with permission of the program, sit for the content area certification examination upon completion of the course. Incoming doctoral candidates should register for Professional Seminar in Mathematics during the first year of doctoral studies.

Doctoral students whose dissertations require statistical analysis should include appropriate statistics courses in their programs. These points can be included either in the mathematics/mathematics education requirement or can be taken as research electives.

Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics Education

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree emphasizes research competencies. The degree requires a scholarly dissertation of intellectual merit and sound research methodology. Dissertation research may include analytical studies of the process of teaching or experimental studies of the teaching-learning process, including studies of verbal learning and laboratory practice or historical studies.

Candidates are encouraged to develop an association with a faculty member early in their studies to identify a problem area of mutual interest to plan a course of studies that leads to the competencies needed to complete dissertation research and prepare for a professional role. Further details are available in the brochures on doctoral studies and in the general descriptions of doctoral programs available from the Office of Doctoral Studies.

A program of study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must include at least 45 points taken under Teachers College registration. In order to permit the acquisition of broad and basic scholarship, each program of study should include at least 60 points in mathematics, mathematics education, statistics, and computing. At least 35 points should be in advanced courses – including research courses (MSTM 6500 or 6501 and MSTM 7500). (Any Teachers College course at the 6000 level or above, any Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences course with a “G” prefix, any “W” course numbered above 4000, or any transferred course with a graduate-level prerequisite will be considered an advanced course.) Further, 15 points in the philosophical, psychological, and curricular foundations of education must be included in every Ph.D. program.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to demonstrate competency in two languages chosen from among French, German, and Russian. Students who require other languages for the preparation of their dissertation may petition the program to request one substitution. Students in mathematics may not use computer languages or statistics to satisfy the language requirement.

The Ph.D. dissertation is a scholarly study contributing new theoretical knowledge to the field and should be planned early in the program when sufficient advanced courses have been completed to permit the candidate to enroll in relevant research courses. Ph.D. dissertations in mathematics education should be (1) experimental studies in learning, (2) analytical studies in policy theory in mathematics education, or (3) other scholarly investigations of problems and issues of broad significance in the field.

The site of the Program offers a list of Topic study groups which doctoral students are recommended to join whose dissertations require statistical analysis should include appropriate statistics courses in their programs. These points can be included either in the mathematics/mathematics education requirement or can be taken as research electives.

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