Postgraduate study

Mathematics Education PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Mathematics Education

By joining the School of Mathematics, you will have opportunities to interact with educational research groups in Mathematics as well as cognate disciplines such as the Edinburgh Physics Education Group, and the interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Digital Education. As a research student you will be part of a vibrant and dynamic community of educators, with expertise in educational research and opportunities to develop and pursue your research goals. You can be certain of a rich academic setting with opportunities available for students to gain a breadth of knowledge from leading experts.

You will enjoy excellent facilities, ranging from one of the world’s major supercomputing hubs to generous library provision for research at the leading level, including the Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library at King’s Buildings.

Students have access to more than 1,400 computers in suites distributed across the University’s sites, many of which are open 24 hours a day. In addition, if you are a research student, you will have your own desk with desktop computer.

We provide all our mathematics postgraduates with access to software packages such as Maple, Matlab and Mathematica. Research students are allocated parallel computing time on ‘Eddie’ – the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility. It is also possible to arrange use of the BlueGene/Q supercomputer facility if your research requires it.

Graduates are expected to find employment in positions at public universities, private schools, community colleges, and vocational institutions to teach students at associates, bachelors, masters, or even doctoral level.

Due to their area of expertise, many graduates with a PhD in Mathematical Education will focus on training the next generation of teachers and educational support staff for secondary schools. 


There are many other potential career paths for holders of a PhD in mathematics, including finance and IT.

A UK first class honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject; or a UK 2:1 honours degree plus a UK masters degree, or their international equivalents; or relevant qualifications and experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDMathematics Education3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDMathematics Education6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Professor Chris Sangwin
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5966
  • Contact: c.j.sangwin@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Mathematics
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 31 March 2020

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Professor Chris Sangwin
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5966
  • Contact: c.j.sangwin@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Mathematics
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD