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San Diego State University

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Master of Arts Degree in Education with a Concentration in
K-8 Mathematics Education

 Application Deadline Information

Download directions here.

Program Overview

We seek elementary teachers or middle school teachers of mathematics who are interested in exploring how to teach and learn mathematics more effectively. You do not need to be a math whiz to join the program. You do, however, need to have an interest in furthering your knowledge of the mathematical ideas in the K-8 curriculum, how children think about mathematics, how math instruction can empower all children rather than an elite few, and how research can improve instruction. The program consists of 30 units of coursework. 

Topics to be addressed include:

  • What are the unifying mathematical ideas behind the K-8 mathematics curriculum?
  •  How can mathematics be empowering for all children rather than an elite few?
  • How do children (as opposed to adults) think about mathematics?
  • What are the implications of the Common Core Standards in Mathematics on teaching practices?
  • What does it mean to have a deep understanding of mathematics?
  • How can we effectively assess our students' understandings?
  • How can research improve our instruction?
  • What mathematics education issues are being discussed locally, nationally and internationally?  

Frequently Asked Questions

How many courses are required for the degree and when will I take these courses?
The entire program spans two years and requires a total of 30 units. We begin a new cohort of teacher every two years, beginning in even-numbered years (so we will begin a new group of teachers in Fall 2014, Fall 2016, and so on). You will take two courses each fall and spring semester, and two courses in one summer. Each course is three units and requires three hours of class time per week. Fall and Spring courses will be offered from 4:15 - 7 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and there may be one Saturday session every semester. Summer courses will have a varied schedule but will never meet before 4 PM. You will also have a few Saturday classes during the summer.
Who are the program faculty?
SDSU has a diverse mathematics education faculty that include faculty in the School of Teacher Education and the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences. Mathematics educators at SDSU include Nadine Bezuk, Janet Bowers, Lisa Lamb, Joanne Lobato, Ricardo Nemirovsky, Susan Nickerson, Randolph Philipp, Chris Rasmussen, and Rafaela Santa Cruz.
I am a full-time teacher. Will I be able to complete this program?
We have structured the program to accommodate the schedules of full-time teachers. For example, all classes are scheduled to begin after 4:00 PM. In addition, you will be able to integrate much of the coursework into your own classroom instruction.
Do I have to take the GRE?
Yes, GRE scores for the general test are required, and you need to take the test before you can be admitted to the university and begin the program. Scores from previous years are acceptable. You will need to provide a copy of the scores sent to you by the Educational Testing Service ( or request that they send official GRE scores directly to San Diego State University. The institution number for San Diego State University is 4682. The GRE is now offered on the computer, and there are test administrations regularly. You can take the exam on campus (619-594-0968) or at the Prometric Test Center at 5075 Shoreham Place, Suite 180, San Diego, CA 92122 (858-866-2120). If you took the exam in past years, you may also mail a copy of the scores to the Graduate Admissions Office. To get additional information, you can call 1-800-GRE-CALL or go to their web site at
Are there easier or faster ways to complete my Master of Arts degree in Education?
There are faster ways (most of which cost more money), but our program is designed to help you deeply explore the teaching and learning of mathematics so that you can make sound changes in your teaching. We are excited about the program we have put together and hope to find a cohort of thoughtful teachers to participate.
I am also considering pursuing a Master of Arts degree from the department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at San Diego State University. What is the difference between these two programs?
The Master of Arts program offered through the School of Teacher Education focuses on teaching mathematics in grades K-8. While there will be some mathematics incorporated into the program, the primary emphasis will be on how to teach and learn mathematics at the K-8 levels. This program also utilizes a cohort model so that you will work with the same students throughout the program. Your common experiences will provide you with multiple opportunities to build relationships and share expertise.

The Master of Arts program offered through the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences focuses on secondary mathematics education. The program has a strong mathematics component and students design an individual course of study. If you would like to find out more about the mathematics department's program, please visit their web site.

What are tuition costs?
For information about tuition, registration and parking fees at San Diego State University, please check the website at
Am I eligible for financial aid or scholarships?
The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships encourages students to apply. For more information, contact SDSU's Financial Aid and Scholarships office at (619) 594-6323.
What are the major components that are required to graduate from this program?
Thoughtfully complete the appropriate coursework (30 units total) and maintain your GPA in those courses to a level acceptable by program directors and university guidelines. Take and pass a required Comprehensive Examination. You will take the exam some time in your last 2 semesters of the program. Project directors will provide you with guidelines regarding the exam and will provide suggestions for studying. Complete a Master of Arts final project. You will learn about the project expectations in the two courses that are designed to support your successful completion of the project (ED 795A and ED 795B).
Questions? Contact Program Directors

Lisa Lamb,

Randolph Philipp,

We will begin our next cohort of teachers in Fall 2014. We look forward to working with an amazing group of teachers! Applications are due March 1, 2014.


Fifth grade student explains his clever strategy for solving,
“If it takes 3/4 of a foot of ribbon to wrap 1 package, how many
packages can you wrap with 9 feet of ribbon?”

"This program was the best integrated program of classes I have ever taken. 
Because of this integration I was able to learn more and understand more in my classroom."
~Program Graduate