Doctoral Degree Programs

PhD in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics and Science Education

Meet our program faculty and students.

Mathematics and Science Education (MSE) is an interdisciplinary concentration within the PhD in Education: Curriculum & Instruction.

The MSE doctoral program spans P-20 mathematics and science education in urban settings in and out of schools. The focus is on developing new knowledge that improves science and mathematics education and has an impact on the communities we serve. Students engage in coursework and research experiences that guide them to view issues of learning, teaching, curriculum, assessment, and policy through sociocultural and sociopolitical lenses where equity, social justice, race, language, culture, and identity are essential considerations.

Students who enroll in the MSE PhD program are required to complete a minimum of 98 semester hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree or 66 hours beyond the Master’s degree. Coursework beyond the Master’s includes 24 hours of the College of Education core, 12 hours of the MSE core, and 12 hours in one of the two disciplinary strands (i.e., mathematics education or science education).

Program faculty members are widely recognized as leaders in their respective fields. They have published extensively on the educational experiences of African American and Latino learners, and bring to their research and teaching strong disciplinary education in STEM fields. They also have considerable records of mentoring and preparing scholars from traditionally underrepresented groups, as well as preparing and collaborating with P-20 science and mathematics teachers and faculty.

Graduates of the MSE program are well-prepared to assume a variety of positions in colleges, universities and informal educational settings to improve the mathematics and science education for children, adolescents and adult learners through research.

For more information, sign up for our email list below and contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532 or email Elise Wilson at

Degree Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 98 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 66 semester hours beyond the master’s degree. Students are also required to pass written and oral portions of a preliminary examination and successfully defend their dissertation research. Students who enter with a bachelor’s degree but not a master’s degree must take up to 32 hours of additional course work (the equivalent of a master’s degree) in an area of specialization. Requirements for students who enter with a master’s degree:

College of Education (COE) Doctoral Studies Core - 12 hours

ED 504-Urban Contexts and Educational Research (4 hrs)

ED 505-Introduction to Educational Research: Paradigms and Processes (4 hrs)

ED 506-Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses (4 hrs)

Methodology Requirement - 12 hours

ED 502-Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education (4 hrs)

ED 503/EPSY 503-Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (4 hrs)

A third methodology course selected in consultation with advisor (4 hrs)

Mathematics and Science Education Program Core - 12 hours

CI 517-The Sociopolitical Context of Mathematics and Science Education (4 hrs)

CI 518-Race, Identity, and Agency in Mathematics and Science Education (4 hrs)

CI 573-Multimodality, Multiliteracies, & Science and Mathematics Education (4 hrs)

Proseminar in Curriculum and Instruction - 2 hours

Mathematics or Science Education Specialization - 12 hours (Choose 3 courses)

CI 516-Research on Mathematics Teaching and Teachers (4 hrs)

CI 519-Research on the Learning of Mathematics (4 hrs)

CI 520-The K-12 Mathematics Curriculum: Theory, Politics, and Reform (4 hrs)

CI 566-Research on Science Curriculum (4 hrs)

CI 567-Research on Science Teaching and Teacher Education (4 hrs)

CI 570-Research on Science Learning (4 hrs)

Additional Requirements

Research Project - 4 hours (minimum)

Preliminary Examination - Written Portion

Preparation of a Dissertation Research Proposal

Preliminary Examination - Oral Proposal Defense

Dissertation Research - 12 hours (minimum)

Dissertation Defense

Other Requirements

Students must complete a training course sponsored by the Office for the Vice Chancellorfor Research on the ethics of conducting research with human subjects. Students are required to submit an annual report of their academic and professional progress to their department.


For more information on the program and degree requirements, please consult the Doctoral Student Handbook.

Advising Guide

PhD Curriculum and Instruction-Mathematics and Science Education Advising Guide

Options and Outcomes

Application Process

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: December 1
Summer Deadline: December 1
NOTE:  Faculty recommend new doctoral students for University Fellowships and Abraham Lincoln Fellowships.  In order to be considered for a faculty recommendation, you must submit your application by November 15.  Read more about the Fellowships.

  1. Applicants who are not currently registered graduate students at UIC must complete the UIC Graduate School application. Submit your application fee when completing the application.
  2. Complete the online College of Education application.
  3. The following documents should be uploaded online upon receiving email instructions after completing the UIC Graduate School application. View the Document Upload Guide for more information.
    • Upload undergraduate transcripts for your last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and all graduate transcripts.
    • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international applicants only
    • Three letters of recommendation.  These letters should address the applicant's academic qualifications, research ability/experience and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. Letters may be from current or former professors or supervisors. At least one letter should be from someone who can address your experience working with children.
    • Program Goal Statement. Discuss the kinds of skills, abilities, and understandings that you would anticipate acquiring in a doctoral program. Describe how this interest relates to your personal experience and to your professional and scholarly goals at this time.  Faculty will evaluate your essay in terms of its clarity and cohesiveness, and how well your interests match those of the faculty. Please limit your essay to no more than 2,000 words.
  4. Submit your GRE score to UIC.