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Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. Program
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Program | Structure

Consult the MSED_Handbook (updated 8/24/17)
for detailed information about the program.

Program Goal

The goal of this program is to educate individuals who will:

  • address issues of what students learn and how they learn it when studying mathematical and scientific subjects;

  • be well-versed both in a subject area (biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics) and in the cognitive issues related to learning and teaching that subject;

  • contribute to the growing body of knowledge about cognitive processes in scientific and mathematical understanding;

  • apply knowledge gained from research and scholarly inquiry to instructional and curricular development; and

  • influence educational policy and discourse in formal and informal settings through their work as scholars of mathematics and science education.

Program Overview

The program is composed of three strands: research, practical application, and formal course work. All three are central to the program and will be ongoing throughout the student's course of study. The basic model for the program is that of apprenticeship. Under this model, students will work closely with individual program faculty members and will carry out research projects and make practical applications of their studies through teaching or related activity.

We anticipate that for the majority of students, completion of the program will require four years of study.

Research Component

Students are involved, in varying degrees, in research during each term of their program. The first year serves as a general introduction to research in learning mathematics and science. By the end of the second year students have completed an independent investigation related to a faculty member's ongoing project. By the end of the third year, each student has developed and presented to his/her Dissertation Committee an appropriate thesis problem for approval.

Practical Applications

Students teach undergraduate courses in their own or related disciplines for at least one semester (SDSU) or one quarter (UCSD). During the third or fourth year, students choose one of the following: (1) plan and teach a course that prepares prospective teachers to teach mathematics or science; (2) undertake a school-based project or internship, or (3) undertake a specially designed internship in a non-academic setting such as a science museum or an educational software company.

Formal Coursework

See the coursework page.