Working and prospective teachers of mathematics may earn a master's degree in mathematics education to enhance their qualifications or to prepare them for teaching at the college level. Teachers, or other professionals who use math regularly, may use the flexible class schedule an online program provides to earn this degree while maintaining their employment.
Programs are available in a fully online or hybrid format. A bachelor's degree in math, as well as certification or licensure may be required for entry into the program. A student teaching practicum or project is often required as well.
Distance learning math education master's programs are available at several institutions, with many being public universities. Many programs can be completed totally online, but some could have requirements that involve on-campus or on-site participation. These programs typically take two to three years to complete, but this varies based on the particular school's requirements and whether students attend on a full-time or part-time basis.
Because many of these programs are designed for professionals seeking advancement, schools offering master's degrees in mathematics education often require prospective students to have valid teaching certification or licensure, as well as a minimum number of years of teaching experience. All students must have a bachelor's degree before they can be admitted to a master's program.
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Online and campus-based programs in math education are designed to have the same coursework. Distance learning programs awarding a master's degree in math education vary in their focus, with some geared for elementary and middle school teachers and others focusing on secondary school education. Some programs are for those who teach in a business setting or in a non-school educational environment, such as a museum or outreach center. As a result, courses may vary depending on the program. However, most online master's programs in this field include subjects such as:
- Research methods in education
- Probability and statistics
- Number theory
- Using technology in mathematics education
- Teaching strategies
While these programs in mathematics education allow students to take classes online on their own schedules, they usually must take the class within a particular time frame. Some programs group students together and assign them collaborative projects due by a specific date. These groups work together via e-mail, chat rooms, message boards and other electronic means. Online classroom environments, available through schools' websites, offer access to lecture materials, videos and assignments.
Online mathematics education students are often required to complete a project, practicum or both. The practicum may require a classroom or teaching experience. The project could involve developing a portfolio with samples of the student's work, assessment tools used to establish accomplishment of state standards and a reflective journal of the process. In a few cases, an oral exam following project completion must be taken at the university campus. In addition, some schools require students to take written exams in an approved proctored setting.
Current and future math teachers may wish to pursue a fully online or hybrid master's degree in mathematics education to better accommodate their daily schedule. These programs allow them to continue in their daily job, while exploring topics such as educational research methodology, assessment development, probability and statistics, teaching strategies and classroom management.