Mathematics for Teaching

Overview
Course of Study
Admissions Criteria and Requirements
How to Apply
Graduate Application
Contact Information

Overview

The Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT) degree prepares graduate students to be experts in mathematics and professional development. The program is a joint offering of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and the School of Education (SED) at Boston University.

Focus of the Program: This graduate program is designed for experienced teachers who seek to become leaders in mathematics education. The program is based on an immersion experience in mathematics, related coursework, and preparation for assuming leadership roles in professional development.

Need for the Program: Student achievement in mathematics lags behind achievement in other disciplines. Motivated teachers are needed to cultivate and enhance student success in mathematics.

Deepening teachers’ mathematical understanding

Increasing achievement for all students requires challenging mathematics programs taught by teachers who are themselves expert in and excited by mathematics.

The master’s degree program is designed for talented teachers with a desire to be mathematical and pedagogical leaders within the teaching community. These Teacher Leaders will be able to:

  • Develop mathematics curricula for students in need of greater challenge and those in need of greater assistance.
  • Design and conduct in-service professional development programs for teachers.
  • Evaluate mathematics instructional programs.
  • Assist district and school administrators in the hiring of new teachers.
  • Enjoy mathematics with students and colleagues.

The program has the following key features:

  • The MMT program is two academic years of part-time study and three summers of immersion.
  • The MMT stresses depth over breadth, is designed around mathematics for teaching, and offers a field study experience in mathematics education. The core of the program is the six-week summer intensive study of mathematics and professional development:
    • Summer I focuses on an immersion experience in mathematics;
    • Summer II broadens the immersion through a research experience in mathematics;
    • Summer III centers on a field study in mathematics education.
  • During Academic Years I and II (following the first and second summers), graduate courses in mathematics and education complete the course requirements. Special care is taken to make connections between mathematical content and pedagogy, show the connections of mathematics to the school curriculum, and “unpack” the immersion experience.
  • Academic year courses are offered in the late afternoon to accommodate teachers’ schedules.

History

The design of the MMT program is deeply influenced by the experience we have gained through our work in the PROMYS for Teachers program. PROMYS for Teachers has evolved over the past 15 years, and along with this evolution has emerged a set of design principles for mathematics courses and seminars for practicing and prospective secondary (5–12) mathematics teachers. In addition, we have seen the importance of the pedagogy and leadership skills that so many teachers possess in abundance. Faculty in the School of Education have taken the lead in the development of these teacher skills by designing MMT courses to prepare teachers to lead professional development programs in their schools.

Principles

Specifically, the MMT is founded on our belief that mathematical leaders in the schools need to know mathematics in all of the following ways:

  • A scholar: A solid grounding in classical mathematics, including
    • its major results
    • its history of ideas
    • its connections to pre-college mathematics
  • An educator: Understand the habits of mind that underlie major branches of mathematics and how they develop in learners, including
    • algebra
    • geometry
    • analysis
  • A mathematician: A mathematical research experience, including
    • grappling with problems
    • building abstractions
    • developing theories
  • A teacher: Be expert in uses of mathematics that are specific to the profession, including
    • the ability “to think deeply about simple things”
    • the creation of classroom activities that uncover central ideas
    • the craft of task design
    • the ability to see underlying themes and connections
    • the “mining” of student ideas

These ideas are most relevant to the mathematical part of the MMT program. The curriculum development and teacher training aspect of the program also address other specific areas of need including adult learning, curriculum design for professional development programs, and the mathematical needs of practicing teachers.

Who should apply? Teachers who love math and who want their students to love it too.

Course of Study

Curriculum: Total number of credits: 38

College of Arts & Sciences—20 credits total

(8 credits) An immersion experience of mathematical exploration:

  • MA 547–548: Topics in Number Theory/Problem Solving in Number Theory

(8 credits) Two courses will be selected from the following:

  • MA 511–512: Real Analysis (4 credits each)
  • MA 541–542: Abstract Algebra (4 credits each)
  • MA 528: Modern Geometry (4 credits)
  • MA 549: Geometry and Symmetry (4 credits)
  • MA 563: Differential Geometry (4 credits)
  • MA 671: Dynamical Systems (4 credits)

(4 credits) Research experience in mathematics:

  • MA 647: Research Methods in Mathematics I (2 credits)
  • MA 648: Research Methods in Mathematics II (2 credits)

School of Education—18 credits total

(2 credits) Reflection on learning ‚ relevance of the immersion experience to the classroom from these offerings:

  • ME 580: Connecting Seminar: Geometry
  • ME 581: Connecting Abstract Algebra to School Mathematics

(8 credits) Mathematics education issues:

  • ME 551: Mathematics for Students with Special Needs (both ends of the achievement spectrum) (4 credits)
  • ME 558: Mathematics Curriculum: Programs, Issues, Trends (4 credits)

(8 credits) Professional Development

  • ME 589: Professional Development Workshops in Mathematics (4 credits)
  • ME 590: Field Study in Mathematics Education (4 credits)

Admissions Criteria and Requirements

Academic standards and prerequisites

The programs are designed for people who have an intrinsic motivation to study mathematics in an intense immersion environment and who intend to make a career in mathematics teaching. Specific admission requirements are:

  1. Two years full-time teaching experience in mathematics in grades 5–12.
  2. Bachelor’s degree with 3.0 grade point average in major.
  3. Four mathematics courses at or above the level of Calculus 1 with 3.0 grade point average.
  4. Graduate record exams. There is no fixed cutoff score. An applicant’s GRE tally is one of many variables used to select students for the programs.

In addition, applicants are advised as follows:

  • Anyone seeking the Massachusetts State Professional Teaching License should already hold the Initial License at the time of matriculation.
  • The MMT program requires strong skills in advanced mathematics and problem solving. It is therefore recommended that at least one of the applicant’s four college mathematics courses be at the level of linear algebra, discrete mathematics, or higher.

Credit: In accordance with University policy, students must receive a grade of B– or higher to receive graduate credit for each course.

Transfer of Credit: In accordance with University policy, students who transfer into the programs from another university may apply to receive up to 8 credits for equivalent courses taken elsewhere. Students currently registered in another Boston University graduate degree program may transfer into the MMT program and will receive credit for any MMT course they have taken while enrolled in the previous degree program.

How to Apply

There are no official deadlines for applying to the MMT program. Admissions decisions will be made on a rolling basis. The application forms for the MMT are included as supplemental pages to the SED Graduate Programs bulletin.

To download the application, click here.

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form (with the box for MMT on the application page checked).
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university previously attended.
  • Two or more official letters of recommendation.
  • Official results of the GRE exams.
  • Statement of Qualifications and Objectives.
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $60. Make check payable to Boston University.
  • Three response labels, filled out appropriately.

Remarks

  • MMT applicants seeking to fulfill the requirements for the Massachusetts Professional Teaching License must hold the Initial License before beginning the MMT program in order be eligible for the Professional License following completion of this program.

Test information for MMT applicants.

  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test is a required part of a graduate application to Boston University School of Education. Our institution code is 3066. There is no department code. The GRE website at www.gre.org provides information on test registration, testing sites, and dates.
  • The GRE score is valid for five years. If you have taken the GRE in the previous five years, please call 1-888-GRE SCORE (1-888-473-7267) to arrange to have your score sent to Boston University School of Education at code 3066.
  • The School receives your score about three weeks after the test is taken. You will receive a notice from ETS about the same time your score is sent to the University.
  • Applicants whose college degree is from a school where the language of instruction is not English must also submit a TOEFL score of 550 or better. Our TOEFL code is 3066.

Contact Information

To request an application by mail, write to:

Kristen Luce
Project Coordinator
Focus On Mathematics
Boston University
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
111 Cummington Street
Boston, MA 02215
http://www.focusonmath.org
Phone: 617-353-2388 /Fax: 617-353-8100

To contact faculty for more information, email:

Professor Carol Findell (Education): cfindell@bu.edu

Professor Glenn Stevens (Mathematics): ghs@math.bu.edu

For general questions, contact:

Kristen Luce (BU, Program Coordinator)” kluce@FocusOnMath.org