Jul 16, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mathematics Education, Ph.D

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(Major Code: 08997) (SIMS Code: 993501)

Residency Requirements. After formal admission to the doctoral program, the student must complete a 36-unit residency at the University of California, San Diego, of which a maximum of 12 units can be upper division undergraduate courses (100 level). Lower division undergraduate courses do not count toward residency. Students must also complete an 18-unit residency at San Diego State University. The residency requirements cannot be replaced by coursework taken elsewhere.

Language Requirement. There is no formal language requirement for the program.

Course Requirements

All students admitted into the doctoral program will fulfill the following requirements. Any alternative method of fulfilling these requirements must be approved by the graduate advisers.

Four Research Apprenticeship Experiences

Core Courses in Mathematics or Science Education

Science Education Students Must Also Take

Three Courses on Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods

One of the Following Sequences

  • UCSD: EDS 254, EDS 255
  • UCSD: PSYC 201A, PSYC201B
  • UCSD: MA 282A, MA 282B

Two Courses in Cognitive Science at UCSD Selected From

  • COGS 102A
  • COGS 102B
  • COGS 152/252
  • COGS 155
  • COGS 200
  • COGS 203
  • COGS 220
  • COGS 260

    or one of
  • COGS 101A
  • COGS 101B
  • COGS 101C

Two Courses from Any Categories

Two courses from any categories are selected with advisers according to the student’s needs and background:

Philosophy and History

  • UCSD: PHIL 145
  • UCSD: PHIL 146
  • UCSD: PHIL 147
  • UCSD: PHIL 209A
  • UCSD: HISC 106
  • UCSD: HISC 107
  • UCSD: HISC 108
  • UCSD: HISC 109
  • UCSD: HISC 110
  • UCSD: HISC 160/260
  • UCSD: HISC 163/263
  • UCSD: HISC 165


  • UCSD: SocG 270
  • UCSD: SocI 117
    also listed as
  • UCSD: EDS 117

  • UCSD: SocI 126
    also listed as
  • UCSD: EDS 126

  • EDS 136/139

Equity and Diversity

  • UCSD: EDS 113
  • UCSD: EDS 125
  • UCSD: EDS 250
  • UCSD: EDS 252

  • UCSD: EDS 278

Mathematics and Science

Graduate level courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics.

Teaching Experience

An option for students who have not yet had teaching experiences at both the K-12 and collegiate levels is to take a second teaching practicum.


Other types of courses (at the graduate or upper division undergraduate level) can be approved by the advisers if they contribute to a coherent program.

Two Doctoral Research Courses

Beyond These Requirements

Beyond these requirements, no specified number of courses is required for the doctoral degree. It is expected, however, that all the doctoral students will supplement the requirements with electives that contribute to individual career objectives.

Additional Requirements for Students Entering with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics or Science Education

Students who are admitted into the doctoral program with a master’s degree in mathematics or science education will increase the breadth and depth of their disciplinary knowledge by fulfilling the requirements specified: 1) Students complete three graduate-level courses in mathematics or science, as appropriate, chosen in consultation with their advisor 2) Students complete at least one of these courses at SDSU and one of these courses at UCSD. The requirements must be completed prior to the second year examination; however, students are strongly encouraged to complete the courses in Year 1. A grade of B or better must be earned in each course.


Students in the doctoral program will be evaluated at the following levels:

First Year Evaluation

The student’s ability to master graduate level course material may be assessed after completion of no more than 24 semester units of coursework. This evaluation may take place not later than the third semester of the student’s enrollment in the program. The evaluation will be based on the student’s performance in coursework and on indicated research competence, and it will be undertaken by the student’s advisory committee together with instructors from the student’s first year courses.

Comprehensive Examinations

At the end of the second year, the student will take a written comprehensive examination in general cognition and an oral examination on issues of learning pertinent to the student’s area of specialization.

Oral Examination

During the third year in the program, the student will make an oral presentation to the dissertation committee to accompany a written proposal for the doctoral thesis. The student will be questioned on both the topic of the investigation and on the proposed research methodology. Upon successful completion of this presentation, the student will be recommended for advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation Defense

After completion of the dissertation, the candidate will present a public defense of the doctoral dissertation. A copy of the dissertation must be made available to the doctoral faculty at both institutions four weeks prior to the defense. Copies of the abstract of the dissertation, along with the announcement of the defense, must be publicly available four weeks before the defense. The student’s dissertation committee will make a recommendation to the graduate deans to pass or fail the student.

Faculty Advisers

Upon admission to the doctoral program, the program directors will assign each student a faculty adviser at both universities. The faculty advisers will serve as advisers until the student’s dissertation committee is appointed.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee will be composed of five members with at least two faculty members from each campus. The student will select members of the dissertation committee in consultation with program faculty and the graduate advisers.


Following the successful completion of all prescribed coursework and qualifying examinations, the major remaining requirement for the Ph.D. degree will be the satisfactory completion of a dissertation consisting of original research carried out under the guidance of the major professor. Approval of the completed dissertation attests that an organized investigation that expands the frontiers of knowledge and understanding in mathematics and science education has been carried out.

Award of the Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mathematics and Science Education will be awarded jointly by the Regents of the University of California and the Trustees of The California State University in the names of both cooperating institutions.

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