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Admission to the specialisation in Mathematics Education requires knowledge of both Mathematics and Mathematics Education.

The requirement can be satisfied with one of the following alternatives:

  • Master’s degree in mathematics education, or a five years teacher education programme with specialisation in mathematics.
  • Master’s degree in mathematics and mathematics subject didactics encompassing at least the equivalent to courses included in practical pedagogical education.
  • Master’s degree in a subject area closely related to mathematics, of which a minimum of 80 ECTS is mathematics, and subject didactics encompassing at least equivalent to courses included in practical pedagogical education.

Applicants with a master’s degree in other areas than Mathematics Education may be required to fulfill additional requirements, in which case a conditional offer of admission will be made.


The doctoral programme provides research education over 3 years of full time studies. The main objective of the PhD programme is to ensure that the candidates attain a high level of scientific expertise in Mathematics Education. The programme includes a coursework component of at least 30 credits and the dissertation which counts as 150 credits. PhD candidates receive formal training and supervision, providing them with broad and deep scientific knowledge that develops the competence to undertake independent research. PhD candidates attain scientific expertise through independent, supervised research work, leading to a scientific dissertation in Mathematics Education. The research work and dissertation must be of international standard.

The coursework component (theoretical curriculum) should normally be equivalent to 30 credits and is set up individually for each PhD student.

The trial lecture on the prescribed topic is additional to the coursework component.

The following courses are regularly offered at the University of Agder:

The following courses may be given when there is sufficient demand:

Learning Outcomes

After satisfactory completion of their degree, PhD candidates shall have developed a high level of scientific competence in Mathematics Education. Candidates shall have acquired wide academic knowledge in Mathematics Education and specialized knowledge within a main area in Mathematics Education.


  • Have acquired knowledge of how issues of theory and ethics of science relate to Mathematics Education
  • Have acquired wide academic knowledge of key areas of research in Mathematics Education
  • Be in the ‘cutting edge’ of the knowledge of the topic of their dissertation
  • Be able to evaluate different research methods and relate them to topics in Mathematics Education
  • Be able to contribute to the development of new knowledge, theories, methods, interpretations and documentation in Mathematics Education


  • Be able to formulate research questions, plan and conduct research and professional development in Mathematics Education
  • Be able to conduct research and development of high international standards in Mathematics Education
  • Be able to deal with complex research questions in Mathematics Education and reflect critically on the established knowledge and practice in this field
  • teach and supervise within his/her own area of research at both master and bachelor level

General competence

  • Be able to carry out research in Mathematics Education and have an independent and reflective approach to research in their own field.
  • Be able to identify new relevant research questions and pursue their research with professional integrity
  • Be able to disseminate research and development work through recognized national and international channels
  • Be able to participate in discussions in the international research community in Mathematics Education (conferences, publications)
  • Be able to evaluate the need for and initiate academic development, based on recent research in Mathematics Education
  • Be able to manage complex and multidisciplinary tasks and projects that combine Mathematics Education and other relevant disciplines
  • Have acquired qualifications for research and other work that requires high standards of academic insight and competence in Mathematics Education.

Teaching methods

Usually, work with the dissertation is done under the supervision of two highly qualified scholars in the field. Teaching in the course part comprises lectures, seminars and discussions led by candidates or course teachers. In most of the courses, the assessment is based on an essay that builds on the literature in the course combined with the PhD candidate’s own research topic. More information about the courses can be found in the course descriptions. If several courses are offered during the same semester, the programme will be coordinated. Parts of the coursework component can be completed at other institutions in Norway or abroad, as agreed by the Faculty/PhD Committee.

Teaching will normally be in English.

As part of the research education, the PhD candidate is required to:

  • Present the state of his/her PhD research in a seminar at the end of the first year (first year seminar). Doctoral candidates and academic staff in Mathematics Education will be invited. The presentation shall last 45 minutes (normally) followed by a 45 minute discussion. The presentation will include a presentation of the topic of the dissertation work related to international research in the field, with references, description of the data and theory to be used (or already used) and how data will be (or already have been) collected and analyzed. A time schedule for the dissertation work and a rationale of how the expected completion date will be met should also be presented. Two weeks before the seminar, the PhD candidate shall make publicly available an abstract and (if at hand) submitted or published work. A week before the seminar, the PhD candidate shall prepare a written presentation (approximately 2000-3000 words). At least one supervisor of Mathematics Education PhDs (not one of the PhD candidate’s own supervisors) will read the presentation and provide feedback to the student and the student’s supervisors.
  • Present his/her work in a seminar nearing the completion of the dissertation (90% seminar). The seminar is open to other colleagues in the university and scholars in mathematics education. The presentation will last 45 minutes followed by 2-3 hours of discussion with an invited external discussant. At the end, the audience will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions. Four weeks before the seminar, the candidate shall make a draft of the dissertation available.
  • Develop and get peer-reviewed feedback from at least one of the following:
    • Article for a peer-reviewed scientific journal
    • Article for a scientific conference where papers for the conference proceedings are evaluated in advance (such as PME, CERME, NORMA, MADIF).
    • A proposal for a research project (for example, through the course TFL600)


All courses or other activities to be included in the coursework component must have a final assessment. The assessment method used is normally an essay. The assessment method in the courses appears in the course descriptions.

Grading: Pass/Fail, where Pass corresponds to the grade B or higher on the master’s programme.

The doctoral programme concludes with a public trial lecture on a prescribed topic and a public defence (disputation) where the candidate presents an account of the results of the scientific investigations reported in the dissertation and defends the thesis in a discussion with two opponents. The disputation is further described in the supplementary regulations for the PhD Degree at the Faculty of Engineering and Science.


The PhD programme provides graduates with knowledge and skills to engage at the highest levels of teaching and research in the scientific discipline of Mathematics Education.

The programme is relevant for work which is based on research or requires deep insight in Mathematics Education, for example in higher education, research institutes, or related enterprises. Particularly relevant is teaching, research and developmental work within teacher education at various levels or educational consultancy in mathematics.


PhD at the Faculty of Engineering and Science with specialisation in Mathematics Education.

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