Mathematics Education (Mathematics and Statistics Dept - Grades 9-20), PhD

Mathematics education is an integral part of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University. It is now generally accepted that reforming mathematics education requires understanding and accounting for the interplay amongst cognitive, social, cultural, and institutional forces. As such, mathematics education research is inherently interdisciplinary. It draws substantively from mathematics, education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. While mathematics is at the program’s core, students in the program develop expertise in multi-theoretical perspectives on the dynamics of mathematics teaching and learning and develop skills in multi-method approaches to empirical inquiry in these same areas.

This interdisciplinary program accommodates students from a variety of academic backgrounds. It provides students with a solid foundation in graduate-level mathematics as well as research skills and perspectives that will allow them to deal broadly with problems of mathematics teaching, learning, curriculum, and technology. Conducting individual and collaborative research in the teaching and learning of mathematics is an integral part of the program.

For a complete list of the research projects at the School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences go to Research.

The approved faculty PhD advisors for Mathematics Education are

Students making satisfactory academic progress in the Mathematics Education PhD program are eligible to compete for a maximum of five years of financial support either as teaching or research assistants. The stipends are competitive. Summer assistance is also often available. Click on the Financial Support tab above for more details.

Applicants must submit the Graduate College online application. Minimum background for consideration of admission to the graduate program in mathematics education includes a

  • a MA in mathematics or closely related area with a 3.00 GPA (4.0 scale)
  • or a BS in mathematics or closely related area with exceptionally high grades and advanced coursework in mathematics
  •  three letters of recommendation (at least two being faculty recommendations)
  • a statement of educational and career goals
  • a writing sample (10 page minimum)
  • GRE scores of 700 quantitative (155 on new scale) and 500 verbal (153 on new scale)

There are four essential components to a Ph.D. in mathematics education:

  1. Coursework – 84 credit hours (minimum) which includes two graduate math sequences, 12 credit hours of core mathematics education coursework, 6 hours of research, and 12 hours of dissertation. Students must maintain 18 hours of coursework per academic year for the first three years in the program.
  2. Qualifier Exam – students must pass a written qualifier examination based on the first year sequence of mathematics education coursework.
  3. Comprehensive Exam – the student must pass a comprehensive exam in mathematics education, designed by the student’s supervisory committee, covering areas that are broadly pertinent to the student’s research area. The exam consists of a written and an oral portion.
  4. Thesis – an original piece of research written by the student under the guidance of a thesis advisor and the thesis committee. After the thesis is written, the student must pass an oral defense of the thesis.

Details of these four components along with a typical timeline are given below.

Year 1 – Mathematics Education PhD students are required to take four courses from mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, or mathematical biology. Students must attain at least a B in each course and a combined course GPA of at least 3.00 from all four courses.

Applied Mathematics

  • APM 501 Differential Equations I, ODE
  • APM 502 Differential Equations II, PDE
  • APM 503 Applied Analysis (Cross-listed with MAT 570)
  • APM 504 Applied Probability
  • APM 505 Applied and Numerical Linear Algebra and
  • APM 506 Scientific Computing

Mathematical Biology

  • AML 610 Topics in Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences
  • APM 531 Mathematical Neurosciences I*
  • AML 612 Applied Mathematics for the Life and social Sciences Modeling Seminar*
  • AML 613 Probability and Stochastic Modeling for the Life and Social Sciencesr*
    (* Presumes AML 610)


  • MAT 512 Discrete Mathematics I
  • MAT 513 Discrete Mathematics II
  • MAT 516 Graph Theory I
  • MAT 517 Graph Theory II
  • MAT 543 Algebra I
  • MAT 544 Algebra II
  • MAT 570 Real Analysis I (cross-listed with APM 503)
  • MAT 571 Real Analysis II


  • STP 501 Theory of Statistics 1**
  • STP 502 Theory of Statistics 2**
  • STP 525 Advance Probability
  • STP 526 Theory of Statistical Linear Models
  • STP 527 Statistical Large Sample Theory
  • STP 530 Applied Regression Analysis
  • STP 531 Applied Analysis of Variance
  • STP 532 Applied Nonparametric Statistics
  • STP 533 Applied Multivariable Analysis
  • STP 535 Applied Sampling Methodology
    (** In preparation. Consult statistics group for interim recommendation.)

Year 2 – Students must take the second year-long sequence in mathematics education (Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education III and IV), receiving at least a B in each course. In addition, the student takes 6 hours of research or electives and 6 hours of research methodology, maintaining a 3.0 GPA or better. Students will submit a research proposal to a regional or national mathematics education research conference. This may be done collaboratively with other graduate students or with an advisor. Students must select a dissertation advisor by the end of the third semester and, in consultation with the advisor, submit a plan of study (iPOS) by the end of semester three.

Year 3 – Students take 18 hours research or electives, present and defend a dissertation proposal, and submit a research manuscript to a mathematics education research journal. Typically this will be done collaboratively with other graduate students or with an advisor.

Years 4 and 5 – Students continue to maintain an overall 3.0 GPA, collect and analyze data for the dissertation study. The student  writes  and defends  the dissertation.
All PhD graduate students must attend 75% of the Colloquium/Distinguished Lecture Series for four semesters of their graduate program. For further information on the PhD program in mathematics education, contact the graduate director at

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistantships in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences are awarded in early spring for the following academic year (starting in fall semester). Admission decisions are made first, followed by offers for TA positions.

Our Graduate Review Committee is continuously reviewing applications to all Graduate Programs and strives to return admission decisions within two weeks of a completed application. Teaching assistantships are highly competitive. Applications for them will be reviewed in early January and first offers will be made by mid January.

Download the Graduate Teaching Assistantships Info flyer for more details.

Being admitted to one of our graduate programs does not guarantee funding. TA positions are highly competitive, with many more applicants than available assistantships. Funding is available primarily for graduate students admitted to one of our PhD degree programs.

Teaching assistant applicants must either speak English as their native language or have a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 100 (IBT).

Criteria used in making awards include academic records, letters of reference and demonstrated ability in English.

All international students with teaching assistantship positions must take the ASU-administered Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) upon arrival to ASU and receive full certification on the SPEAK after the first two semesters of support to be eligible to compete for continued financial support. International students are encouraged to take the International Teaching Assistants Teacher Training Course.

Applicants wishing to apply for financial assistance can do so in their online application.

Differential stipends are employed to reward and encourage students as they progress through their degree programs. The base stipends for doctoral students are fixed at the levels set by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For administrative purposes, a student's level in any given semester is based on their status at the end of the previous semester.

Limited summer support is available in the form of teaching positions during the six-week and eight-week summer sessions pending budgetary approval.Additional resources for financial support can be found at the bottom of our Financial Support page under Graduate Admissions.


PhD application deadline is January 1, if you want to compete for a teaching assistant position.

Applications are accepted for fall admission only. We do not accept applications for spring admission. The graduate review committee will begin reviewing completed applications for admission and teaching assistantship positions beginning after January 1 for fall admission. The first round of offers for TA support will be made by late February. Only those receiving an offer will be contacted.

PhD application deadline is July 1, If you are applying for admission only and are not competing for TA support.

Applications still considered incomplete by the School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences after July 1 will likely not be evaluated by the graduate review committee in time to be considered for admission for that current year. International applicants may want to allow an additional 4-6 weeks for I-20 and visa processing and should pay careful attention to the I-20/DS-2019 important deadlines.

See Graduate Admissions for additional information on non-refundable application fees and the late processing fee.

Application Evaluation

The requirements for each degree are listed on this website, and each applicant is evaluated not only on test scores and grades, but their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications submitted through the on-line process will be reviewed.

We receive many inquiries asking for a pre-evaluation to see if an applicant would be eligible to apply or make suggestions on their credentials. Unfortunately we are not able to review any application information sent to us.

Required Application Items

You can apply online to the graduate program and can check your application status with Graduate Admissions by using MyASU. Your privacy is protected by the use of an ASURITE User ID and password. If you are new to ASU, your ASURITE User ID and instructions for its activation can be found on your application acknowledgement letter. If you need the application materials mailed to you, contact the Graduate Admissions office.

The following items are required before an application is considered complete and ready for review by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. All application materials, with the exception of official transcripts, should be submitted online to Graduate Admissions.

  • Submit your on-line application to Graduate Admissions.
  • Submit the appropriate application fee to Graduate Admissions.
  • Send official transcripts to Graduate Admissions from all institutions you have attended.
  • International students must submit an official TOEFL score to Graduate Education. See Graduate Admissions for English Proficiency Requirements. If you are applying for support as a TA by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 100 (IBT) is required.
  • Submit official GRE test scores (general scores only; we do not require the subject test). The ASU Institution code is 4007.
  • Three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of three (3) references when you complete the Graduate Admissions application online.
  • If you are applying for support as a TA/RA, indicate this information on your online application. No additional form is required. Priority for funding will be for students in one of our PhD degree programs, with limited funding available for MA degree seeking students.
  • Submit a statement of purpose that specifically addresses your research interests and goals for graduate school. This should be uploaded during the online application process.

Academic Integrity

The highest standards of academic integrity and compliance with the university’s Student Code of Conduct are expected of all graduate students in academic coursework and research activities. The failure of any graduate student to uphold these standards may result in serious consequences including suspension or expulsion from the university and/or other sanctions as specified in the academic integrity policies of individual colleges as well as the university.

Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication of data, tampering, plagiarism, or aiding and/or facilitating such activities. At the graduate level, it is expected that students are familiar with these issues and that each student assumes personal responsibility in their work.

Application Status

Due to the number of applications we receive, you will not be notified by the school until a decision has been made on your application. You are encouraged to check your application status on MyASU or e-mail Include your name and ASU ID number on all correspondence to the school.

If I send my application information in via email, can I receive a pre-evaluation to see if I am eligible to apply?

We receive many inquiries and applications; therefore, we are not able to review your scores to determine your eligibility to apply or make suggestions on your credentials. The requirements for each degree are listed on our website, and each applicant is evaluated not only on test scores and grades, but their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications will be reviewed.

What semesters are applications accepted?

Our School only accepts applications for the fall semesters.

When do applications need to be submitted?

If you are requesting funding from the School, all application materials must be received by January 1. We will continue to accept application materials until July 1 for that current semester. International applicants should be mindful of the deadlines for issuing I-20/DS-2019 documents.

Do all supporting application materials need to be submitted and received by the application deadline?

Supporting materials can be submitted after the deadline; however, preference for funding requests is given to students whose applications are completed by the deadline.

What are the prerequisites for the degree programs?

All of the School's degree programs require that you have completed a Bachelor of Science in mathematics or a related field and that you have successfully completed both Linear Algebra (ASU equivalent of MAT 342) and Advanced Calculus (ASU equivalent of MAT 371) with a grade of B or better prior to admission.

Is a Master’s degree required to apply for the PhD program?

Domestic students applying to the PhD program must have completed a Bachelor of Science in mathematics or a related field. Due to the differences in the international education system, all international applicants must confirm that their degree(s) will meet the Graduate Admissions requirements.

How many students will you admit this year?

Our School typically admits 100 students each year, 55 domestic and 45 international. Funding offers and renewals are given to approximately 60 to 70 students each year.

Is the subject GRE test required?

The general GRE test is required for all graduate programs; however, the subject test is not required.

What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score?

The minimum acceptable TOEFL score required for admission by the ASU Graduate Admissions is 80 (iBT). If you are requesting TA funding the School requires a minimum score of 100 (iBT).

See the English Proficiency requirements on the ASU Graduate Admissions website.

Can IELTS scores be used for English Proficiency?

Yes, the IELTS is accepted at ASU for the English Proficiency requirement. See the English Proficiency webpage.

Do I have to submit TOEFL scores if I have been attending school in the United States?

Visit the Graduate Admissions' policies and requirements on English Proficiency.

Do I need to request that ETS send my official GRE and TOEFL scores?

Yes, we cannot make a final recommendation on your application until we have received the official test scores from ETS. Copies are not accepted and should not be mailed to the School.

Where should I have my official documents sent?

All official application materials should be sent to ASU Graduate Admissions:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by U.S. Mail:
Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 870112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:
Graduate Admission Services
Arizona State University
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ  85287-0112

Where can I find the form for recommendation letters?

There is no form for recommendation letters. They are submitted electronically. You will enter the recommender information on the online application and an email will be sent to each recommender requesting an electronic letter submission for your application.

My recommender will only complete a paper recommendation, where can he/she send it?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept letters of recommendation on paper; all letters must be submitted electronically using our system.

What if my recommender needs the email request resent?

If your recommender needs the email resent you can log in to MyASU and resend the email to your recommender.

Which faculty are actively recruiting students for research assistantships? Can I contact them directly?

Faculty research requirements change constantly and we are unable to provide a list of actively recruiting faculty. Faculty do have access to view all incoming applicants and typically notify our office or contact the student themselves if a strong applicant shows an interest in their research and has been accepted into the program.

You can view the different research areas and faculty in our Research section of our website. Faculty will often discuss research projects by email with enthusiastic applicants.

What kind of financial support is available through the School?

Eligible applicants who are admitted into the program have the opportunity to apply for a teaching assistantship. See our financial support section for additional information.

Download the Graduate Teaching Assistantships Info flyer for more details.

Is there a funding application which must be completed?

No, the information required for the application is included in the online Graduate Admissions application.

How can I check the status of my application?

Log in to MyASU. Your log in information is located in the application confirmation email sent to you from the Graduate College. If you have difficulties logging in contact their office at

When will a decision be made on my application?

Our Graduate Review Committee is continuously reviewing applications to all Graduate Programs and strives to return admission decisions within two weeks of a completed application. Teaching assistantships are highly competitive. Applications for them will be reviewed in early January and first offers will be made by mid January.

Where can I find information about the Graduate Admissions application and how do I contact their office if I have a question?

General information regarding the online application form can be found on the ASU Graduate Admissions website and their office can be contacted via email at

Degree Offered

Mathematics Education (Mathematics and Statistics Dept - Grades 9-20), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study