Program Requirements

List of Courses: Mathematics Education PhD in the University Catalog.

Comprehensive Experience and Dissertation

Candidates are eligible to commence the comprehensive experience after the completion of 75% of required coursework including MATH 825, EDFD 820 and EDFD 821.

  1. Form Committee
  2. Comprehensive Experience: Meet with Committee, Reach Candidacy
  3. Literature Review: Meet with Committee
  4. Proposal: Present Proposal
  5. Dissertation: Present Dissertation
  6. Graduate!

Descriptions of Tasks

Comprehensive Experience

  1. Candidate receives integrative essays prompts from committee chair and has three weeks to complete integrative essays.
  2. Candidate submits responses to the integrative essays to his/her entire committee. The committee has two weeks to review the integrative essays. A day is set for a committee meeting with the student to defend the integrative essays. Committee members pass or fail the candidate, notifying him/her immediately of the decision.
  3. If the candidate passes, he/she reaches candidacy and can begin work on the literature review. The approval of dissertation committee form should be completed at this point. If the candidate fails the qualifying experience, he/she may attempt it one additional time.

Integrative Essays

The purpose of the integrative essays is to enable students to demonstrate their theoretical and practical understandings of the core competencies needed to obtain a PhD in Mathematics Education. Through the integrative essays, candidates consider the wide body of literature related to mathematics education and demonstrate their assimilation of the relevant literature through coherent written expression. Candidates are given two written prompts chosen by the chair and approved by the committee. These prompts are confidential. Candidates have three weeks to prepare responses to the two prompts. Each response should be 16 pages (double-spaced) in length not including references.

Literature Review

Candidate conducts a literature review of the literature related to a particular topic in mathematics education and then synthesizes that review to produce a critical analysis of the relevant literature. The candidate should choose a topic related to their potential dissertation topic. Although the work prepared for the literature review may become the basis of the candidate’s dissertation, it should be distinguished from the proposal stage, where the candidate presents his/her research questions and research design. The candidate is encouraged to conclude their literature review by highlighting gaps in the extant literature and using the literature to propose future directions of research in the area.

The literature review must explicitly address the following overarching questions:

  1. What theories and methodologies have researchers used to study your topic? How have these theories evolved through the history of mathematics education? Are these theories compatible or incompatible?
  2. What are the seminal works? What are key findings from these and other papers on the topic and how have researchers used these findings to further study the topic? If key findings have not supported further research describe possible reasons for this.
  3. What are the gaps in the current literature and areas for further study?

For all stages of the dissertation, candidates are encouraged to expect at least two weeks for faculty members to provide feedback.

Presentation Guidelines

  • Proposal Hearing: 20 minute presentation followed by up to 20 minutes of Q&A with the audience.
  • Dissertation Defense: 30 minute presentation followed by up to 30 minutes of Q&A with the audience.

After each presentation, the committee shall meet with the candidate after the Q&A with the audience.

Other Requirements

Publication Requirement

Students in the PhD program will be expected to complete the following activities before defending the dissertation:

  • Submit an article for publication to a peer-reviewed mathematics education journal.
  • Present a research paper at a national or international conference

Enrollment Requirement

Students must be continuously enrolled during their matriculation in the degree.

  • Students who are not taking courses in a particular semester must enroll in “Continuous Matriculation” – GRAD-CMP.
  • Students who have completed all coursework may sign up for “Comps Prep” – MATH 920 during the semester they spend preparing their comprehensive exam.
  • Enroll in Dissertation Extension (MATH 901), if you’ve completed 12 credits of advisement


Doctoral Dissertation Procedures and Guidelines Manual (PDF)

Doctoral Qualifying Exams and Advancing to Candidacy

Doctoral Dissertation Forms

Other forms for new and current students are available at the Graduate School’s Forms webpage.

Professional Online Resources

Campus Resources