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Mathematics, Education Option (Ph.D.)


Interdisciplinary degree through the Department of Mathematics

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, Instructions: Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

The Mathematics Doctoral Program:  Education Option is a multidisciplinary doctoral degree through the Department of Mathematics.  The Education Option differs from a traditional Mathematics Ph.D. with its focus on mathematics education research.  It differs from the School of Education's Mathematics Education Program with its advanced mathematics fluency requirements. We believe that all teacher educators must be prepared to provide equity and access for all learners at all educational levels, kindergarten through doctoral studies.


Why choose this program?

Our math education faculty focus on preparing highly-qualified math teachers while engaging in innovative research on teaching and learning. With some members residing in the Department of Teaching & Learning and others in the Math Department, our faculty take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with additional Virginia Tech faculty members across the School of Education and the College of Science.

What You'll Study

Hour Requirement: 90 hours

All Mathematics Education PhD students at Virginia Tech take the following four seminars (3 credit hours each):

  • Modeling Mathematical Knowledge & Learning (MATH 5624)
  • Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (MATH 5634)
  • Critical Analysis of Mathematics Education Research (EDCI 5784)
  • Advanced Topics in Mathematics Education (EDCI 5784)
  • MATH 4225, 4226, 4124, and 4445 (or their equivalents) should be taken if not in the student's background.
  • At least 21 hours of MATH courses numbered 5000 or above must be completed (courses taken for a Ph.D. in Mathematics may count toward this total).
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods courses should be taken if not in the student's background. We expect all students to develop proficiency in both qualitative and quantitative methods, regardless of which methods they plan to use in their dissertation studies.
    • Qualitative Research 1 & II (EDRE 6504 & EDRE 6524)
    • Quantitative Research Methods I & II (EDRE 6605 & EDRE 6606)
    • Other methods courses potentially relevant to students' programs:
      • Advanced Issues in Qualitative Research (EDRE 6784)
      • Advanced Statistics in Education (EDRE 6634)
      • Hierarchical Linear Modeling (EDRE 6694)
      • Mixed Method Research Design (EDRE 6744)
  • Additional courses (e.g., Methods, Psychology, Philosophy, Education) should be taken as they relate to and support the student's dissertation research. Such courses would be determined by the student and her/his program committee and might include the following:
    • Cognitive Processes & Educational Practice (EDEP 6114)
    • Sociocultural Influences on Learning & Instruction (EDEP 5784)
    • Constructivism in Education (EDEP 6224)
    • Motivation & Cognition (EDEP 6444)
    • STEM Education Research (EDCI 5834)
    • Education & Anthropology (EDCI 6034)
    • Cognitive Development (PSYC 5544)
    • History of the Philosophy of Science (PHIL 6314)
  • 30-60 hours of MATH 7994, research and dissertation hours

Preliminary Written Examinations  (3)

  • at least one Preliminary Examination in traditional Mathematics
  • one Preliminary Examination in Mathematics Education
  • up to one Preliminary Examination requirement can be filled by completion of a Master's Thesis in Mathematics at Virginia Tech

Committee-determined Requirements

  • foreign language requirement
  • comprehensive oral examination of dissertation topic


  • final written thesis
  • final oral examination (defense)

PhD program is primarily designed to prepare leaders in mathematics education research.. The possible career paths could be but not limited to faculty jobs, researcher etc.

This degree program is offered at the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center. 


  • Master's degree
  • Three letters of reference.
  • GRE Score

Visit this page for more information on how to apply, including requirements, deadlines, and what you'll need in detail.

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for a teaching assistantship. Check yes. Please note that Indicating that you wish to be considered for an assistantship does not mean that you will be offered one, only that you wish to be considered for one, if available.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

Domestic Application
Spring: January 1
Summer: May 1
Fall:  August 1
International Application
Spring: September 1
Summer: January 1
Fall: April 1
Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: January 15

Andy Norton
Program Leader
434 McBryde Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-6942


Andy Norton
Program Leader
434 McBryde Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-6942

Faculty, School of Education

Faculty, Department of Mathematics