Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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xApprchsNfnty
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:47 pm

Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by xApprchsNfnty » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:37 pm

I've been a teacher for a few years and studying pure math independently (BS in math) but instead of applying to pure math PhD programs, I think a mathematics education PhD (and an MA in math along the way) may be more appropriate for me and my future as teaching will ultimately be my focus.

Anyone on here applied/applying to math education programs?
Is the application process more/less competitive than pure?
Job market with this degree as opposed to pure?

The school I'm most hoping to attend is Arizona State University but also plan to apply to Texas State and New Mexico ('u of' and state).

Thanks.

temporaryacct
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:23 am

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by temporaryacct » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:22 pm

I think the application process is certainly much less competitive than pure math PhD programs.

As for the job market, it depends what kind of jobs you'll be applying for. If you want to teach higher education, colleges and universities definitely prefer math phds over math ed phds. Even liberal arts colleges that are prioritize teaching over research prefer pure math phds. I can't really think of any departments that regularly hire math Ed phds.

If you want to teach elementary or high school your prospects would probably be pretty good.

xApprchsNfnty
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:47 pm

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by xApprchsNfnty » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:30 pm

Thanks. I'd like to get my foot in the door and then if it turns out that I'm not into the math Ed, see if I can move into the pure program or transfer. I plan to meet all the first two year requirements for both anyway. And I hope that if I ultimately do want to teach at the university level, that having a masters in math would count for something.

As far as teaching high school math, there's such a shortage that all it really takes to get a job is having a bachelors in anything and a teaching certificate for secondary math. If you've got those, you can pretty much get a job as early as yesterday!

temporaryacct
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:23 am

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by temporaryacct » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:46 pm

I don't really know whether there are any paths in place for transferring to a pure math PhD program from a math Ed program.

With a masters in pure math you'd be able to teach community college for sure, but I think pure/applied math PhDs are required for most jobs at colleges and universities.

If that's your goal, I'd recommend reconsidering doing a math Ed PhD or at least examining more closely what that entails and where they usually end up. From what I can see, very few math Ed phds end up in university math departments primarily teaching math. Most are in education departments either teaching math education courses or researching teaching methods, usually for k-12. If you're interested in doing those, your prospects with a math Ed PhD will be pretty good (a lot less competition for tenure track positions in math Ed), but if you just want to teach university math a pure or applied math PhD would serve you much better.

Integreat
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:29 pm

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by Integreat » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:07 am

xApprchsNfnty wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:30 pm
Thanks. I'd like to get my foot in the door and then if it turns out that I'm not into the math Ed, see if I can move into the pure program or transfer. I plan to meet all the first two year requirements for both anyway. And I hope that if I ultimately do want to teach at the university level, that having a masters in math would count for something.

As far as teaching high school math, there's such a shortage that all it really takes to get a job is having a bachelors in anything and a teaching certificate for secondary math. If you've got those, you can pretty much get a job as early as yesterday!
Keep in mind that I'm no expert on this subject matter, but I thought I'd share my thoughts given that I also thought about teaching. I would strongly recommend applying to math Ph.D. programs rather than math ED Ph.D. programs. If you're still hesitant, look into math doctor's of arts. It's like a math Ph.D., but focusing more on teaching rather than researching. I was also considering applying to some math education programs, but ultimately decided against it because I think it's more suitable for me to pursue a pure math Ph.D.

I feel that math ED programs are geared more towards teachers who want to supplement their education and become better teachers. I do not know of any professors with a degree in math education, and I believe most, if not all of the lecturers at my institution have a math Ph.D. (or equivalent).

It does seem much easier to get into a math ED program. For this reason alone, it makes sense to aim high and transfer to a "lower" program. I think it would be very hard to transfer into a math Ph.D. program.

xApprchsNfnty
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:47 pm

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by xApprchsNfnty » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:10 pm

Thanks to both of you.

I contemplated my options last night while I looked longingly out a window at the rain, thinking deeply about my situation, and clutching my diploma to my heart when I ultimately came to the same realization as you two did. I think I'm a better fit for the math PhD anyway and would enjoy the research/courses more too. Plus, as you say, it would give me more options for positions once I graduate.

Part of it was that I think I'm a stronger applicant to the math Ed program (I'm a pretty non-traditional student) and the more I hang out on this forum, the less convinced I am that I'm a qualified applicant to a pure math PhD. But, 'Hail Mary' applications have been accepted before, maybe they will be again!

MathParent
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by MathParent » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:15 pm

xApprchsNfnty wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:37 pm
I've been a teacher for a few years and studying pure math independently (BS in math) but instead of applying to pure math PhD programs, I think a mathematics education PhD (and an MA in math along the way) may be more appropriate for me and my future as teaching will ultimately be my focus.

Anyone on here applied/applying to math education programs?
Is the application process more/less competitive than pure?
Job market with this degree as opposed to pure?

The school I'm most hoping to attend is Arizona State University but also plan to apply to Texas State and New Mexico ('u of' and state).

Thanks.
Not that I am an expert, but I am under impression that Applied Math PhD will be better fit for you than Pure Math, if you have to choose between the two. I think the stretch from Ed to Applied is less than from Ed to Pure, where you are basically "stuck" with proving the theorems and NOT with application of the math to the world of physics, engineering, computations and (possibly) education. [Those who know more about Math PhD - feel free to throw tomatoes. I have PhD, but I am an Engineer/Physicist, and I am here on this form only in sympathy to my kid who is applying to Math. I am simply getting some wisdom here.]

xApprchsNfnty
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:47 pm

Re: Any mathematics education PhD applicants on here?

Post by xApprchsNfnty » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:47 pm

I never actually liked applied math, never really cared to solve real world problems :D That's one of the reasons that I appreciate you engineers, because I don't want to do it!



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