Postgraduate study

Mathematics Education

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • 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(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

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.

  • Programme Director, Professor Chris Sangwin
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5966
  • Email: 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

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

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
  • Email: 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