Department of Mathematics Education
Chair: Keith Rigby Leatham
Admission to Degree Program
Candidates for all teacher preparation programs are required to complete an application that includes core criteria for each program. Students interested in the Mathematics Education major can declare the Mathematics Education pre-major as soon as they are accepted into BYU. During the MthEd 276 course, students will complete an application (details of the application process will be provided in the course) to be formally admitted to the Mathematics Education major. For additional details on admission and retention requirements for teaching majors and teaching minors, see Educator Preparation Program Requirements in the undergraduate catalog.
Mathematics is the discipline through which we make sense of the order, patterns, and quantitative situations we perceive in the world around us. The foundational skills of this discipline—the abilities to formulate, focus, and solve problems; to articulate, test, and justify conjectures; to communicate one's reasoning about quantities and the relationships between them; and to see connections between different mathematical ideas and real-world contexts—are highly valued in society and are characteristics of any educated person. Mathematics is not only a body of knowledge but also a process of analysis, reasoning, comparison, deduction, generalization, and problem solving.
Mathematics educators depend heavily upon their own understanding of mathematics in order to identify and articulate the mathematical ideas they want students to learn, to assess which concepts their students already understand that might serve as a foundation for learning, and to develop activities that help students develop rich understandings. They also use their understanding of the nature of the discipline to structure a culture of inquiry, reasoning, and problem solving in their classrooms.
Courses in the undergraduate program are designed to help prospective teachers plan, manage, and implement classroom activities that facilitate students' learning of mathematics. Specific program goals include (1) mastery of the foundational skills of mathematics, (2) deep reflection on mathematics learning at all levels through observation of and participation in high-quality classroom practice, (3) increased autonomy and confidence as an investigator, active learner, and productive thinker, and (4) extended field experience, informed by the best current understanding.
Program faculty include educational and mathematical researchers, specialists in both preservice and inservice teacher education, and school practitioners, spanning a broad range of interest and experience.
Within Education: Majors in mathematics education prepare for careers in molding and shaping the future minds of the world. Majors prepare for jobs high in demand teaching mathematics at the middle and high school levels. The skills learned in math education set students apart in STEM fields, and the teaching skills gained will allow them facilitate meaningful mathematics learning. Outside the physical classroom, math education graduates can develop curriculum or educational software, and work in organizations that provide tutoring, online education or distance learning. Graduates are well positioned to pursue advanced degrees in order to facilitate professional development at the district and state administration levels or to qualify to teach higher education.
Outside of Education: Majors in mathematics education graduate with a broad background in advanced mathematics and mastery of essential communication skills. Graduates who choose to forego the traditional teaching route have found rewarding careers in business, computer programming, information technology, operations research, cryptography, finance and more. Not only are mathematics education graduates prepared to solve problems in these fields using their mathematical background, but their teaching experiences prepare them to be highly effective in communicating solutions to others.
It is recommended that a student complete the following courses in high school:
4 units of English.
1 unit of physics or chemistry.
4 units of mathematics, including 2.5 units of algebra, 1 unit of geometry, and .5 unit of trigonometry. This qualifies a student to begin college mathematics with Math 112. If calculus is available in high school, a student planning to major in mathematics education is strongly encouraged to take it; doing so requires completing one of the preceding algebra units before high school.
Advanced Placement (AP) credit is available in mathematics as follows:
A score of 3 on the calculus AB exam gives credit in Math 110 and 111; a score of 4 or 5 on the calculus AB exam gives credit in Math 110 and 112.
A score of 3, 4, or 5 on the calculus BC exam gives credit in Math 112 and 113.
An AP student without credit in Math 112 must begin with Math 112; an AP student without credit in Math 113 must begin with Math 112 or 113.
AP students with credit in Math 113 are urged to begin with Math 113 anyway, unless they scored 5 on the calculus BC exam.
AP students should direct Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report scores to BYU to have credit posted.
Questions regarding placement should be directed to the Mathematics Education Department, 167 TMCB.
To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:
The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education.
At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
A minimum of 120 credit hours
A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office
Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.
Graduate Programs Available
This department also offers graduate degree programs. For more information, see Graduate Studies.