Mathematics Education (Ph.D.)

(Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

We focus on original research, preparing students for research and teaching in a context that is rigorous, collegial, and cooperative.

90+

Credit Hours

Funding through Assistantships

100%

Faculty Commitment

Intensive Research Opportunities

Our Mathematics Education program

The Mathematics Education program at Virginia Tech unites faculty and students from the Mathematics Department and School of Education. Our research focuses on understanding how students learn mathematics, which informs curriculum design, teaching practices, and assessment instruments. We seek to establish equitable learning environments that take advantage of current research and technology. 

Why Study Mathematics Education Here?

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

The Mathematics Education Doctoral Program in the School of Education focuses on original research, preparing students for research and teaching in a context that is rigorous, collegial, and cooperative.

Concentration (24+ credit hours)

Required Mathematics Education courses:

  • Critical Analysis of Mathematics Education Research (EDCI 5784)
  • Modeling Mathematical Knowledge & Learning (MATH 5624)
  • Advanced Topics in Mathematics Education (EDCI 5784)
  • Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (MATH 5634)
  • Additional courses in Teaching and Learning (e.g., EDCI) will be decided upon in consultation with your advisor. Past favorites have been:
  • Exploring Teacher Education Curriculum (EDCI 5784)
  • STEM Education Foundations (EDCI 5804)
  • STEM Education Pedagogy (EDCI 5814)
  • STEM Education Trends & Issues (EDCI 5824)

Foundations of Education (12+ credit hours)

Required courses:

  • Constructivism and Education (EDEP 6224)
  • Learning & Cognition (EDEP 5114)
  • Additional courses in Foundations (e.g., EDEP) will be decided upon in consultation with your advisor. Past favorites have been:
  • Schooling in American Society (EDCI 5104)
  • The Analysis of Educational Concepts (EDCI 6024)
  • Motivation and Cognition (EDEP 6444)
  • Cognitive Processes (EDEP 6114)

Research Methods (18+ credit hours)

Required courses:

  • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I & II (EDRE 6504, 6524)
  • Quantitative Research Methods in Education I & II (EDRE 6605, 6606)
  • Additional courses in Educational Research (e.g., EDRE) will be decided upon in consultation with your advisor. Past favorites have been:
  • Foundations of Educational Research and Evaluation (EDRE 5404)
  • Introduction to Mixed Methods (EDRE 5674)
  • Advanced Statistics for Education (EDRE 6634/STAT 6634)
  • Hierarchical Linear Modeling (EDRE 6694)
  • Multivariate Statistics for Applications to Educational Problems (EDRE 6654)

Mathematical Content Courses (6+ credit hours)

Courses in Mathematics (MATH) or Statistics (STAT) will be decided upon in consultation with your advisor. Past favorites have been:

  • Mathematics for Secondary Teachers I (MATH 4625)
  • Mathematics for Secondary Teachers II (MATH 4626)
  • Secondary School Mathematics With Technology (MATH 4644)
  • Research & Dissertation (EDCI 7994, 30+ hours)

Career and Professional Development

PhD program is primarily designed to prepare researchers and higher education faculty. The Possible career paths could be but not limited to faculty jobs, researcher, mathematician etc. 

Blacksburg Campus

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. 

Our Faculty 

Research Interests

  • Mathematics Education
  • Quantitative Literacy
  • Mathematics Beliefs and Attitudes
  • Children’s development of fractions concepts
  • Teaching and learning of probability and statistics

Jesse L Wilkins, Professor, School of Education

collaborate
Jesse L Wilkins, Professor, School of Education

Associate Professor, Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Students' understanding of linear algebra
  • Development of mathematical meaning over time (for both individual students and the classroom as a collective community) and explores ways to coordinate the analyses at the individual and collective levels
  • Students' development of formal ways of reasoning about mathematical concepts via authentic participation in discipline-specific mathematical activities

Research Interests

  • Building models of how middle school students construct their integer (signed number) concepts
  • Incorporating results from learning research into mathematics education policy and instruction

Catherine (Katy) Ulrich, Assistant Professor, School of Education

collaborate
Catherine (Katy) Ulrich, Assistant Professor, School of Education

Professor, Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Students' mathematical development using teaching experiments, along with quantitative methods
  • Students' mathematical conjectures formed in the context of learning fractions, algebra, and geometry

Research Interests

  • Education and training of mathematics specialists
  • Professional development for in-service K-12 teachers
  • Instructional strategies for teacher education

Bettibel Carson Kreye, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Education

collaborate
Bettibel Carson Kreye, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Education

Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Investigating classroom instructional practices
  • Developing and researching the impacts of instructional support
  • Identifying factors and influences that shape pedagogical practice

Mathematics Education Research Highlights

  • Norton, A., Wilkins, J. L. M., & Xu C. Z. (2018). A progression of fraction schemes common to Chinese and U.S. students. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education49(2), 210-226.
  • MacDonald, B. L., & Wilkins, J. L. M. (2017). Seven types of subitizing activity characterizing young children's mental activity. In S. Marx & S. L. Gregory (Eds.), Qualitative research in STEM, (pp. 256-286). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Sloane, F. C., & Wilkins, J. L. M. (2017). Aligning statistical modeling with theories of learning in mathematics education research. In J. Cai (Ed.), Compendium for Research in Mathematics Education (pp. 183-207). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Ulrich, C., & Wilkins, J. L. M. (2017). Using written work to investigate stages in sixth-grade students' construction and coordination of units. International Journal of STEM Education, 4:23.
  • Wilkins, J. L. M., & Ulrich, C. (2017). The role of skip counting in children's reasoning. Virginia Mathematics Teacher, 43(2), 8-14. 
  • Skaggs, G., Wilkins, J. L. M., & Hein, S. F. (2017). Estimating an observed score distribution from a cognitive diagnostic model. Applied Psychological Measurement, 41(2), 150-154. 
  • Kreye, B., & Tilley-Lubbs, G. A. (2014) Collaboration for authentic preservice teacher experiences: Mathematics and English as a second language. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 25, No. 3.

Students interested in applying to the Mathematics Education (Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction) should contact the program leader, Dr. Jay Wilkins, by email at wilkins@vt.edu.

Visit our office at 300C War Memorial Hall (0313), 370 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Domestic Application
*Fall:  August 1
International Application
*Fall: April 1
*Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: February 1.

CONTACT US

Jay Wilkins
Program Leader
300C War Memorial Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-8326
wilkins@vt.edu

School of Education
226 War Memorial Hall (0313)
370 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061