Jennifer Kaplan, Program Director
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mathematics and Science Education is an interdisciplinary program requiring students to (1) develop substantial content mastery of mathematics and/or science; (2) demonstrate an understanding of educational theories, research methodologies, and best practices; and (3) conduct discipline-based educational research at the interface between the fields of mathematics or science and education. This program aims to produce college-level professors and researchers to perform, evaluate, and integrate the results of research in mathematics and science education. It also seeks approaches to improve the way K-16 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses are taught.
The goals of this program are to prepare students to
- understand the field of mathematics and science education in terms of theory and practice, research, curriculum design, and student learning;
- conduct original research that generates new knowledge about the teaching and learning of mathematics and science; and
- assume leadership roles in mathematics and science education, including teacher education, discipline-based educational research, and curriculum and instruction.
All students in the Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. program will be expected to complete the residency requirement during the first year of enrollment in the program. Please see Residency Requirement (below) for more information.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Admission is based on a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s qualifications including Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate and graduate grade point average, and letters of recommendation.
- an earned bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited university or college. Applicants holding only a bachelor’s degree will be expected to have earned that degree in an area of mathematics or science and will be expected to earn a master’s degree in science, mathematics, or education as they complete the requirements of the Ph.D. All applicants to this program will either possess a mathematics or science degree upon admission or will be required to earn a content master’s as a part of their program of study.
- an acceptable grade point average (GPA). Successful applicants typically have a minimum 3.25 GPA in their most recent graduate work or a minimum 3.00 GPA when entering with a bachelor’s degree. Applicants holding a master’s degree should have earned at least 24 semester hours of graduate mathematics, science, and/or education credit.
Applicants must submit all application materials to the College of Graduate Studies.
Application deadline: February 15 for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships for the following Fall. Late applications may be considered, but financial support in the form of an assistantship is not guaranteed.
- submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
- submit official transcripts showing a grade point average (GPA) in previous academic work that indicates potential for success in advanced study;
- submit official scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing measures of the GRE that indicate potential for success in the Mathematics and Science Education program. Although specific minimum scores are not set, evaluation of scores is an important factor in admission decisions.
- provide letters of recommendation from at least three professors or professionals that address the applicant’s potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education.
NOTE: International students must also meet the College of Graduate Studies requirement for proof of English language proficiency. This may be accomplished by submission of TOEFL, UMELI test, or IELTS scores that meet the college’s requirements or by successful completion of level 112 of ELS coursework.
Applicants who do not meet these minimums but whose application materials indicate high potential for success may be admitted conditionally. Such students must meet the conditions of their admission in the time stated to remain in the program of study.
The Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education with a concentration in Chemical Education requires completion of a minimum of 77 semester hours.
Once admitted to the program, each candidate must
- complete at least 77 post-baccalaureate semester hours as described in the Curriculum section below. (Students entering with a master’s degree in mathematics, education, or a science discipline may have up to 15 graduate hours of previous coursework applied after determination that the content of the courses is directly equivalent to existing courses in the Mathematics and Science Education curriculum.)
- make at least two research presentations at regional, national, or international meetings as the lead or coauthor.
- be lead author or make significant contribution as coauthor of two articles published, in press, or under review in high quality, peer-reviewed journals.
- in collaboration with an MTSU faculty member serving as principal investigator, make a significant contribution to the development of at least one external grant proposal.
- complete the MSE 7800 - Teaching Internship . Those who lack teaching experience in the K-12 setting are required to complete MSE 7800 in a K-12 teaching experience.
- complete a dissertation and successfully defend it in the final oral examination.
During the residency year, students are expected to complete at least 18 hours of coursework that apply directly to the degree. Of these 18 hours, 14 hours of coursework are prescribed.
Fall Semester (5 hours)
Spring Semester (6 hours)
Summer (3 hours)
In addition, during the residency year, students are expected to complete each of the following:
- Attend at least one conference: The conference should be directly related to the student’s concentration (i.e,. biology education, chemistry education, science education, mathematics education) and should be at the regional, national, or international level. The advisor must approve the selected conference.
- Make significant progress* toward the submission of a manuscript on which the student is a co-author. The manuscript will be prepared under the guidance of or in conjunction with MSE faculty. Residency seminars will support this process.
- Attend at least five (5) program activities not associated with course credit: The MSE program has numerous activities that occur during the academic year (i.e., fall and spring semesters). These include seminars, book club meetings, reading/writing groups, journal clubs, etc. Some of these are intended for all MSE students while others are specific to concentrations.
*NOTE: Significant progress toward the submission of a manuscript is defined as legitimate peripheral participation of the student within one or more of the following components of a manuscript:
- Research rationale/study introduction
- Literature review
- Research design and methodology
- Data analysis data presentation
Curriculum: Mathematics and Science Education, Chemical Education
The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements. In addition, a maximum of 36 hours of dissertation research may be required to fulfill degree requirements.
Required Core Courses (35 hours)
Concentration Core (19 hours)
Electives (11-35 hours)
In consultation with his or her major advisor and dissertation committee, each student will choose 11-35 credit hours from courses in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, and the College of Education at the 6000 or 7000 level.
Students in the Chemical Education concentration should select their electives to ensure that they have completed at least 21 hours with a CHEM rubric or the equivalent as determined by the students advisor.
Dissertation (12-36 hours)
- file a degree plan with the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
- file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which they intend to graduate.