School of Society and Culture

MA Mathematics Education

Mathematics is a key aspect of education, from early years through to university, for economic wellbeing in contemporary digital, competitive environments. Learners of all ages should be confident and capable in using and applying their mathematics knowledge and this requires competent and inspirational teachers.

Key features

  • This is a fully online masters degree in mathematics education, the first such course in a UK university. It is based on the expertise and experience of staff in the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, a research and development centre dedicated to supporting teachers of mathematics in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sectors of education. 
  • The professional development innovations are supported through working with colleagues using Japanese-style lesson study for review, evaluation and sustainability; this course provides the training needed for implementation of effective lesson study.
  • Evidence of innovative and motivating strategies for teaching and learning is based on video clips from the UK and, in particular, Finland, Japan and New Zealand which are all countries with mathematical high progress throughout school education.
  • Overall the modules are designed to help teachers develop their own inspiring and motivating lessons, based on effective strategies from mathematically high performing countries together with support to take on a leading role in mathematics education in their institution, whether in the Primary, Secondary or Tertiary sector of education. 
  • The modules also introduce sensible and straightforward ways of using educational research for development, implementation and evaluation of school or classroom based initiatives, including one major initiative that will be the focus of the final module.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • This programme is based on four 30-credit masters level modules. The first three are based on understanding and innovation with teaching and learning mathematics for understanding and through problem solving and contextual maths. The fourth module is based on understanding relevant research techniques appropriate for evaluating innovation and experiments in mathematics education. To complete the Masters degree, there is a 60-credit dissertation module based on a substantial research and development project that students implement and evaluate in their own educational setting.

    Core modules

    • Masters of Arts in Education Dissertation (MAED702)

      Students must successfully complete a research proposal including ethical protocol and materials. Students engage on their own dissertation research projects appropriate to their programme of study. They receive supervisory support through formative assessment of three tasks prior to the proposal and during their research, wider reading and dissertation writing.

    Optional modules

    • Teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving (MEMA701)

      This module introduces the idea of using problem solving activities to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics, based on good practice in mathematically high performing countries. Participants are also asked to reflect on their teaching and learning with questionnaires to implement. The concept of Japanese lesson study for effective professional development is introduced for practical classroom innovation.

    • Teaching and Learning Mathematics for Understanding (MEMA702)

      This module looks deep into the heart of mathematics and demonstrates how to encourage and develop mathematical thinking through teaching and learning. Participants consider definitions of "mathematical thinking" and its potential impact on classroom teaching for understanding. There is an innovative collaborative classroom based activity, that is reviewed and evaluated in the light of earlier work in this module.

    • Teaching Mathematics through its applications (MEMA703)

      For many learners, mathematics can appear to unrelated to the real world and this is one of the reasons for switching off and becoming de-motivated. This can happen in all stages of education and this modules encourages teachers to recognise when and how applications in the real world can enhance their teaching and learners' motivation. The STEM will be emphasised agenda to provide meaningful collaboration and inspiring lessons.

    • Researching Educational Practice in Context (MEMA704)

      This module aims to examine contrasting approaches to researching education practices and promote an understanding of the potential place and role of research in educational settings with particular reference to mathematics education. It explores ways in which educational research might interact with professional practice and how professional educators can undertake effective and appropriate research.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Mathematics Education Programme Specification 6818

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

It would be expected that the candidate would have a first degree and, in England, QTS or its equivalent. Normal minimum entry requirements are a first degree class 2:1 but we will consider students below 2:1 if they can demonstrate a strong academic portfolio or a record of professional experience.
Other educational staff can be considered for admission; for example, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) if they are teaching or tutoring classes and provided they can demonstrate a strong academic portfolio or a record of professional experience with an appropriate mathematical qualification.
All applicants need to have access to an educational setting.
Normal minimum entry requirements are 2:1 (or equivalent) 
We will consider students below 2:1 if they can demonstrate a strong academic portfolio or a record of professional experience.
IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each element or equivalent required for overseas students.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary. 
APL, APEL and transferring students
Applicants with APL will be considered on an individual basis according to the University Regulations Framework. Students interested in transferring postgraduate credits will be considered on merit and current University regulations regarding transfer of credits from other institutions will apply. 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £510 £510
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance. 
Disability Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page). 
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Knowledge and understanding

 On successful completion graduates will develop:
  • competent mathematical knowledge for their level of teaching;
  • understanding of common misconceptions made by learners;
  • appreciation of the main mathematical concepts that underpin mathematical progress of learners.

Cognitive and intellectual skills

 On successful completion graduates should have developed:
  • expertise as a reflective practitioner;
  • understanding of how to see a lesson through the eyes of the learner;
  • an ability to use appropriate techniques and intervention in teaching and learning situations.
Mathematics with education students working on outreach as part of the Mathematics Enrichment Project
Students raising their hand - education
Mathematics teacher with class of students - education

Key and transferable skills

 On successful completion graduates should have developed the ability to:
  • engage and motivate both learners and other teachers;
  • use lesson study principles to facilitate, evaluate and sustain innovation; 
  • apply their teaching and learning skills in new teaching situations.

Employment related skills

 On successful completion graduates should have developed:
  • leadership skills in mathematics education for schools and colleges;
  • improved planning and delivery for innovative lessons.

Practical skills

 On successful completion graduates should have developed:
  • ability to motivate and engage learners in mathematics
  • ability to sustain effective mathematics teaching and learning;
  • ability to help and support colleagues with mathematics teaching and 
  • learning in their institution.

Research with Plymouth Institute of Education 

Research in Plymouth Institute of Education (PIOE) is both excellent and highly distinctive, with its lifelong and life-wide approach; foregrounding the vital role learning plays in society and culture.
We have strong research links and networks across the world and a wide range of externally funded national and international research projects.
Research with Plymouth Institute of Education
Math students using a mixture of old (boards) and new (iPad mini) learning technologies.