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Mathematics Education

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The skills I gained throughout the year prepared me well for further research not only in Mathematics Education, but also in other fields. I would highly recommend the course to anyone with a background in mathematics looking to broaden their horizons
(Aurel Diamond, MPhil Mathematics Education)
Key Facts
Route Co-ordinator: Professor Kenneth Ruthven Full-time enrolled 2014-15: 3
Open to: MPhil, 2 Yr MEd, PACES MEd, PGCEM Part-time enrolled 2014-15: 9
Full-time deadline: 28/04/2016 % International: 33%
Part-time deadline:02/06/2016 % Home: 67%

This course is for anyone with a research or professional interest in mathematics education at any level of education (primary, secondary, or tertiary), wanting to undertake advanced study in a world-class setting. The Mathematics Education route is taught by a specialist team, and its student cohort is drawn primarily from UK-based professionals (most of whom continue in their full-time posts while taking the course part-time) and international students (most of whom take the course on a full-time basis as a specialism within the Educational Research masters route).

Why choose us?

  • Join one of the few specialised masters courses in mathematics education in the UK and internationally
  • Benefit from teaching by a specialist team of Faculty staff who are actively involved in cutting edge research and policy advice
  • Join a select group of students with diverse backgrounds but a common interest in the study of mathematics teaching and learning at any level of education (primary, secondary or university)
  • Experience a teaching approach that promotes active, participatory, inclusive and research-orientated pedagogy
  • Enjoy personalised support and mentoring through one to one supervision
  • Engage with the work of the Faculty's Science, Technology and Mathematics Education Academic Research Group
  • Connect with a friendly and vibrant community of students from across the world
  • Benefit from access to research groups and networks across the University of Cambridge

What does this course offer?

You will develop an understanding of a number of important issues in the field of mathematics education and learn to interpret and critically engage with ideas and debates in mathematics education research in three ways:

  • through taught sessions in mathematics education;
  • through work on course assignments under the supervision of a member of the teaching team; and
  • through participation in seminars led by students on the route and in project workshops

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How is the course organised?

Example topics:

  • mainstream curricular topics including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics;
  • mathematical activities including problem solving, modelling, proving;
  • mathematics pedagogy and learning;
  • teacher knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes;
  • current policy issues, such as international comparisons, social justice, and use of resources in mathematics education.

  • In advance of sessions, students are expected to read pre-set material intended to provide a context or focus for discussion. Sessions are organised in ways that draw explicitly on important research literature in mathematics education and on students' diverse backgrounds and experiences. All students are expected to contribute to, and to learn from, the discussions and activities during the sessions.

    Student-led seminars and project workshops

    Each student-led seminar is introduced by one or two students. This introductory talk is rather informal (use of PowerPoint slides is not required), lasts about 15 minutes, and is followed by discussion with the rest of the group. The choice of topic is up to the individual students. The following are examples of topics from past years that engaged the group in productive discussion:

    An account of some characteristics of the educational system (or some part thereof such as primary education or teacher education) of the student's home country or another country where the student has lived or studied, as experienced by the student-leader.
    An issue in mathematics teaching related to some experience of the student-leader, e.g., challenges in teaching graphs to a Year 8 class or in incorporating technology in primary mathematics teaching.

    The project workshops offer an opportunity for students to present and get feedback on their developing ideas and ongoing work about their research projects. Prior to each workshop the route coordinator offers guidance about the expected length and format of presentations.


Research Methods

Alongside these modules, you will benefit from Research Methods teaching.  It covers a broad range of social science research methods and is essential for Masters level understanding and critical engagement with the research literature in many specialist areas and in education more generally. Through this you will acquire the skills necessary for designing, conducting, analysing, interpreting and reporting a research study for thesis.

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Where do our students go?

Some have pursued doctoral studies in mathematics education and hold academic positions around the world; others have continued their careers as teachers of mathematics in primary or secondary schools, having developed new, research-informed perspectives into mathematics teaching and learning; while others have taken on mathematics education leadership positions in local or national contexts.

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What our students say

Read about our student experiences and feedback from those that attended the course at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge.

Quotes from our students.