U.S. News and World Report publishes school rankings for many different disciplines, including mathematics. Is there any ranking for mathematics education graduate programs?

Weaker question: Is there a guide to selecting a math education graduate program, including a reasonably comprehensive list of programs?

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    $\begingroup$ I think the idea of ranking programs is sounds more useful than it is, since people will naturally weigh various, separate criteria differently. But, what type of graduate program are you thinking of? We have masters programs at our school and PhD programs. The purposes are very different. $\endgroup$
    – JPBurke
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 14:49

4 Answers 4


Update (2016 Mar 9). The OP asks (emphasis added):

Is there a guide to selecting a math education graduate program, including a reasonably comprehensive list of programs?

Here is a List of Links to U.S. Doctoral Programs with a focus on Mathematics Education.

The linked google spreadsheet was generously compiled by Kenneth Bradfield with the assistance of a few others (click through for attribution) and contains the following headers:

  • Institution

  • College/School/Department/Program

  • Degree Type

  • Title

  • Program Link

At the time of this update, there are 110 different institutions listed.

The most recent approximation of rankings (of which I am aware) is available here.

Note that it only concerns the United States, and that the article is from 2007. Its citation is:

Reys, R., Glasgow, R., Teuscher, D., & Nevels, N. (2007). Doctoral programs in mathematics education in the United States: 2007 status report. Notices of the American.

The relevant chart:

enter image description here

Disclaimer: A fair amount has changed in the intervening years, and there are surely more changes in store for the future. Moreover, the value of a program will depend in some major way on the professors with whom you work, and the subject of your research. It may also be worth noting that the demand for those with doctorates in Mathematics Education is quite high (Inside Higher Education 2013 piece and related AMS notices 2013 pdf) and federal funding seems to be increasingly available for work in education (at the graduate level: an example is the extension of the NSFGRFP to STEM Education). Lastly, it seems clear that the Common Core State Standards (2010) and the retirement of older faculty members (who are prominent at some of these institutions) are both likely to have influenced these rankings.

FWIW: Since the National Science Foundation began granting fellowships for graduate research in Mathematics Education in 2011, students at the following institutions have received them:

2015: Morehouse College; University of California-Los Angeles; North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University; University of Texas at Austin; University of California-Berkeley

2014: Michigan State University; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

2013: $\emptyset$

2012: University of California-Berkeley

2011: University of California-Irvine; University of Illinois at Chicago; Northwestern University; Teachers College, Columbia University

Listed above are award offers strictly in STEM Education and Learning Research - Mathematics Education. For more information, see NSF FastLane :: GRFP.


Different people have different philosophies of education. You will want a program that reflects your own personal philosophy. I would recommend reading online discussions about math education, and find someone whose ideas move you. If that person is at an institution whose program you like, go there. Do not worry about "best".

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    $\begingroup$ I think I'm answering the second question, which is not the weaker question in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ Some devil's advocacy here, but if you've been moved by someone's ideas, that constitutes a movement of your own teaching philosophy. The surest way to prevent yourself from growing (in any field) is to surround yourself with people who feel the same way that you do. $\endgroup$
    – NiloCK
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree. If you have the same starting point, you might be able to dream up some really useful research. $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 0:24

As the comment by @JPBurke says, your criteria will be different than some blanket ones by a periodical for mass consumption.

To look for a program to join, look for a potential advisor or group. Look for people doing work in areas that interest you, check out their webpages, see if they belong to a group working together. This should narrow it down nicely. With a handful of options, check their graduate schools (admission requirements, and other miscellanea like housing and such). See if you can contact (past or present) students to get first-hand impressions.


Note that some programs in pure math allow one to receive a Math PhD with concentration in Mathematics Education (or maybe even a Math Ed PhD?). Being the Northeast USA, I happen to know of the University of Connecticut.

I think that UNH also allows one to "slide over" from a Math PhD program to Math Ed, though I'm not sure how formalized that is, and so "ranking" might be a relative concept here. I suspect there are other programs that would fall under one of these categories which may not make it into lists in the same way.

This isn't a direct answer to your questions, but nonetheless I hope it can help answer the underlying question of where to look for such programs.


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