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Mathematics Education (MSc)

Course Description

The MSc Mathematics Education focuses in detail on important issues emerging from research into the teaching and learning of Mathematics at all levels, particularly with regards to developing understanding in Mathematis. The course builds on existing research taking place here in the Durham University School of Education, conducted by Dr Patrick Barmby.


Find out more about entry requirements, duration of the course and tuition fees here. (Note: this link will direct you to the University's central course tool. Use the link provided to return to the School of Education homepage.)

How will I be taught?

Teaching on the specialised core modules takes place in three full days, taught at weekends. This allows full-time and part-time, home and international students to meet. The teaching involves a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical activities.

You will be assessed using a variety of methods, including presentations, written assignments and portfolios.

What will I learn?

You will take Research Methods in Education (30 credits) and two other core modules: Developing Understanding in Mathematics and Representations and Reasoning in Mathematics. You will also choose one additional module from across those running in the School of Education. You will also research and write up a 15,000 word dissertation within the field of Mathematics Education. This is a supervised piece of work supported by specialists in the field.

The two core modules are:

-Developing Understanding in Mathematics

The module focuses on the notion of understanding in Mathematics in relation to learning theories and linking these ideas to broader issues such as problem solving, creativity, misconceptions and assessment. The implications of the research literature on these issues are examined in terms of pedagogical practice.

Assignments include a presentation on key issues from the research in a specific area of Mathematics (30%) and a 3,500 word assignment relating the theory of developing understanding to practice in schools with implications for teaching (70%).

-Representations and Reasoning in Mathematics

The module focuses on the use of mathematical representations in the teaching of Mathematics, relating the use of these to learning theories and relating these ideas more broadly to mathematical thinking and reasoning. Key representations that are used in both primary and secondary Mathematics classrooms are examined.

Assignments include a portfolio examining the use of a particular mathematical representation in the classroom (30%) and a 3,500 word assignment relating the theory of the use of mathematical representations to practice in schools with implications for teaching (70%).

The optional modules available for you to choose from are:

21st Century Technology (30 credits)
Arts in Education (30 credits)
Classroom Assessment (30 credits)
Judgement based assessment (30 credits)
Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Productive Thinking (30 credits)
Curriculum Analysis (30 credits)
Standardised Test and Exams (30 credits)
Intercultural and International Education (30 credits)
Intercultural Communication (30 credits)
Improving Computer Education (30 credits)
Management, Leadership and Change (30 credits)
Policy Studies (30 credits)
Psychology of the Learner (30 credits)
Special Educational Needs and Inclusion: Rhetoric or Reality? (30 credits)
Learning and Teaching in Science (30 credits)
Physics as an Additional Subject Specialism (30 credits)
Chemistry as an Additional Subject Specialism (30 credits)

Who will teach me?

Dr Patrick Barmby is a Lecturer in Primary Mathematics at the Durham University School of Education. In the past, he has published on a broad range of areas, including attitudes towards science and teacher recruitment and retention. However, his main areas of research are the notion of understanding in Mathematics, the role of representations in understanding and reasoning in Mathematics and teacher subject knowledge in Mathematics. Along with colleagues, Patrick wrote the textbook for primary teachers, Primary Mathematics: Teaching for Understanding, published in 2009 by Open University Press. This was based on his research work on understanding, reasoning and representations in Mathematics. Patrick and colleagues received research funding from the Nuffield Foundation for the project ‘Visual representations in the primary classroom', which aims to develop primary teachers' use of visual representations particularly for multiplication and fractions.

Visit the Mathematics Education (MSc) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Graduates of this or another University or of the C.N.A.A., with an upper 2nd class honours or above (successful completion of a masters level PGCE will classify as 'above'), or have other specially approved qualifications which satisfy the Admissions Sub-Committee that they are suitably qualified to undertake the programme. Teaching experience may be considered appropriate in some cases (see pathway specific specifications). However all students must normally demonstrate a personal or professional interest in the academic study of education. Non-native speakers of English require IELTS score of at least 7.0 (with no element under 6.0) or equivalent.

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