College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Mathematics education MA

The MA in mathematics education is a research degree designed for experienced educators who wish to explore and improve math teaching and learning. We are focused on helping transition K-12 curriculum from an emphasis on algorithms to one which emphasizes conceptual understanding and problem solving.

Focus areas of research include:

  • STEM integration
  • Learning and cognition
  • Research on instructor preparation
  • Evaluation and assessment

About the program


The MA program can be completed in two years of full-time study or can be completed in a longer timeline on a part-time basis.

To view the core curriculum and electives visit the MA in education, curriculum and instruction page in the course catalogue and look under sub-plan for "Mathematics Education".

Two curriculum options are available for MA students. You can choose either a thesis (Plan A) or final paper (Plan B) to complete your degree.

Research opportunities

You can engage in research that advances the field of mathematics education and ties into your area of interest. Faculty work closely with you to achieve your research and educational goals and improve educational opportunities for students. Learn more about the student research experience in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Career outlook

Graduates of the MA in mathematics education have assumed positions as university faculty, instructional leaders in the public schools, curriculum development specialists, and assessment specialists, Many go on to earn their PhD in STEM education.

    Erin Baldinger Erin Baldinger

    My research centers on the preparation of secondary mathematics teachers. These areas of interest have emerged from my experiences as a middle school math teacher and as a mathematics teacher educator.

    Erin Baldinger

    Lesa Clarkson Lesa Clarkson

    The foundation of my research agenda is mathematics in urban classrooms. This interest evolved from my initial study which examined a middle school reform mathematics curriculum to determine if mathematics achievement, as determined by the state…

    Lesa Clarkson

    Irene Duranczyk Irene Duranczyk

    What motivates me in my work? Being a member of a community that is working to advance an engaged, multicultural peaceful world is my passion.

    Irene Duranczyk

    Susan Staats Susan Staats

    As a cultural anthropologist with research and teaching responsibilities in mathematics, my academic pathway is varied and unusual.

    Susan Staats

    Ranza Veltri Torres Ranza Veltri Torres

    My research takes a humanizing approach to investigating how school mathematics can function as a gatekeeper by centering the stories of math learners and doers.

    Ranza Veltri Torres

    Terrence Wyberg Terrence Wyberg

    My teaching experience began as a high school mathematics teacher in Yuma, Arizona. Since that time, I have taught mathematics at the high school and college levels and mathematics education at the college level.

    Terrence Wyberg
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    How to apply

      Application deadline and instructions

      Priority deadline: December 1
      Admissions decisions: January

      We have several funding options to support students full-time through program completion. In addition, working professionals can take this program part-time. Please consult an advisor for details.

      Tuition and funding

      We have several funding options to support students full-time through program completion. Support is available in the form of:

      • Teaching Assistantships. The majority work as student teaching supervisors for MEd initial licensure students. Daytime availability, a teaching license, and teaching experience are required
      • Research Assistantships
      • Fellowships. Based on a departmental nomination process. You will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies if you are being considered for a fellowship. Decisions are made by April 15.
      • Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships and graduate assistantships through other University departments. Visit the University's employment page or fellowships through the Graduate School's Graduate Fellowship Office.
      • Find more detailed federal financial aid and graduate tuition information.
      • Financial support through Teaching Assistantships in MELP, the Writing Center, or the undergraduate TESL program.
      • Fellowships such as FLAS

      Application requirements

      What we look for

      Admission to our master's of arts and doctoral programs are competitive and we look for candidates whose goals and interests align with the program’s research and scholarship. Program faculty make admissions decisions based on the candidate’s experience and research competencies, along with compatibility of research goals.

      Please look at our current faculty members’ research interests.

      Our masters and doctoral candidates display

      • Evidence of strong interest in research and in the development of research competencies
      • Evidence of substantial experience in the discipline
      • Strong writing skills
      • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent

      Required application documents

      1. Unofficial transcripts.Upload your transcripts into the application system. Please include all transcripts from any institution you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree or certificate. Please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s).
      2. Resume.
      3. CI Application Form. Upload in the graduate program additional materials section.
      4. Three letters of recommendation. Ask professors, employers, or supervisors to speak to your potential for successfully completing your degree; they will upload their letters directly into the online application.

      The GRE is being waived for those applicants applying for Fall 2025.

      Required written statements

      1. Personal statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. (Most statements are 1.5-3 pages, single spaced). Please trace how you became interested in research in this discipline, as well as what problems interest you the most and why. Be sure to speak to:
        1. Why you want to study in our department
        2. What strengths, expertise, and research experience would contribute to your success in our program
        3. Your professional goals for pursuing a research-focused degree
      2. Diversity statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Identify the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to our community. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. (please do not exceed one page in length)
      3. Short writing sample.(Optional except for Literacy Education applicants). For example, an excerpt from a term paper or research paper for publication. No longer than five pages in English.
      4. Common Ground Consortium Fellowship. (Optional) The primary purpose of the CGC is to assist graduate programs in the College of Education and Human Development to recruit exceptional students with the distinct experience provided by HBCUs or similarly distinguishing contexts, provide these students with financial assistance support during their graduate studies, and assistance with career development and job placement afterwards. It offers a pipeline to excellence and an opportunity to diversify perspectives in the academy. If you wish to apply, submit a statement that describes how your participation as a CGC scholar would a) enhance your graduate student experience, b) prepare you for your chosen career, and c) benefit the public. Upload to graduate program additional materials section.

      Additional admissions information

      Application checklist

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

      If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Transfer credits

      MA students must complete at least 60 percent of their coursework (not including thesis credits) within our program. PhD students may transfer no more than 15 credits from an outside institution.

      A maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status at the University of Minnesota can be transferred; this is counted separately from the maximum 60 percent or 15 non-UMN credits. For example, a PhD student could transfer a maximum of 27 credits (15 non-UMN and 12 non-degree from UMN).

      If you earned a MA at the UMN, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss transfer procedures. Thesis credits cannot be transferred.

      After you are admitted, you will work with your adviser to determine which credits may transfer.

      International applicants

      International applicants may also need:

      • An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. Please note: the Graduate School Admissions Office will not accept an evaluation of your international coursework by an outside agency such as ECE or WES; they only accept the original transcripts.
      • TOEFL/IELTS or MELAB. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or other country where English is the official language (i.e. U.K, Canada). Score requirements and submission guidelines

      Request Information

      We're here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch