MA Mathematics Education


A story of paths just crossing or of meeting at a vanishing point? Mathematics and mathematics education – Prof Elena Nardi presents examples from 20 years of collaborative activity in research, teaching, professional development and public engagement.

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Key facts

(Guardian University Guide 2019)

Key facts

(REF 2014)

Mathematics is integral to so much in life, but many people see themselves as lacking in mathematical ability and therefore lack confidence to engage with mathematics. So the challenges to mathematics education are myriad – but so are the ways to explore and tackle them.

Our one-year MA Mathematics Education is designed for mathematics graduates with an interest in the teaching and learning of mathematics, as well as mathematics teachers at all educational levels.

You will learn about seminal theories on the teaching and learning of mathematics, about the main findings from international studies that explore its improvement, and about the latest technologies used in mathematics teaching. We will introduce you to key methods of educational research, which you will put into practice by completing a research project on a mathematics education topic, with the support of a specialist from UEA’s Research in Mathematics Education Group.


Our one-year Mathematics Education Master’s degree will help you gain a thorough understanding of mathematics education, whether you’re a mathematics graduate, a mathematics teacher at any educational level, or you work in another educational profession. You will discover the latest research and thinking in a field that is strongly influenced by a wide range of disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and history.

Perhaps you are intrigued by how we can foster greater appreciation, competence and confidence in mathematics in all classrooms, for all learners. Perhaps you are more focused on the foundations of mathematics that we typically encounter in primary school. Perhaps your interest lies in the social and emotional barriers to mathematical learning for secondary pupils. Or maybe you want to get to grips with digital resources, and how they can enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics, from the primary classroom all the way through to the university lecture.

Our course consists of three core mathematics education modules, each dedicated to the key theories, main findings and foremost digital resources for mathematics teaching. You’ll complete one module on educational research methods and one on critical reading, plus one optional module and a dissertation project on a mathematics education topic of your own choosing.

You’ll produce your dissertation project under the supervision of a member of the Research in Mathematics Education (RME) Group at UEA. RME is a growing and vibrant community of researchers in mathematics education – a community which will welcome you and offer, support throughout your studies.

Applicants with teaching experience are very welcome on the course, but we also welcome anyone just beginning or considering a career in mathematics education. Our course is designed to allow a useful interchange of ideas between students with different – and often excitingly complementary – backgrounds.

Course Structure

In your year with us you will complete the following modules:

Key Theories In Research Into The Teaching And Learning Of Mathematics

This module explores the key theories used in research into the teaching and learning of mathematics. Within it, you’ll cover core elements from a range of developmental, sociocultural, discursive, embodied and institutional theories. And you’ll examine their application in data samples from mathematics classrooms across multiple educational levels, and from your own experiences.

Key Studies Into The Teaching And Learning Of Mathematics Across Educational Levels

An introduction to the key research findings on the teaching and learning of mathematics, generated by studies conducted at primary, secondary and university levels around the world.

The Use Of Technology In The Teaching And Learning Of Mathematics

Get to grips with the seminal studies on the use of technology in teaching and learning mathematics, across all educational levels and on a range of mathematical topics.

Educational Research Methods

This module will provide you with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry, as well as equipping you with skills to design and conduct your own research. It will also offer an introduction to key research techniques and cover crucial aspects of qualitative inquiry.

Critical Reading

What does it mean to be a 'critical' reader? Why is critical reading important? How can you develop your criticality, both as a reader and a writer? What is the single question that reminds us to take a critical stance when reading a range of published texts? This module will support you in finding answers to these questions and, importantly, help you to become a capable, critical reader across a broad range of academic publications. You will explore techniques of criticality and learn how to apply them in practice, both in your reading and academic writing at Master's level.

Optional module

In addition to the compulsory modules, you will select one optional module from the range on offer. The modules change every year, but typical examples include Assessment: Principles, Issues And Practice; Introduction To Education For Development; and Literacy, Development And Adult Learning: An Introduction To The Concepts, as well as a module on Quantitative Research Methods In Educational Research.


You will choose a mathematics education research topic, which you will work on under the supervision of a member of the Research in Mathematics Education (RME) Group at UEA.

Teaching and Learning

Our programme will invite you to engage with key elements of theory and practice in mathematics education, and teach you about the current methods of educational research at large. You will also get to grips with reading, writing and presentation skills, with a particular focus on academic texts as well as other sources relevant to mathematics education, including online resources.

For each taught module you will attend and participate in 20 hours of lectures, seminars, group discussions, individual tutorials, presentations and feedback sessions. You will also be expected to read and prepare a brief contribution for each session, such as a short piece of writing or a small presentation on the week’s theme. Your contribution will be based on the set reading for each session, as well as the reading of additional materials, which you will be expected to seek out and identify.

The UEA library has a remarkable range of both hard copy and online resources, and engaging with them will be an essential element of your learning experience. Apart from key academic texts, the library also holds extensive mathematics teaching resources and materials that you’ll be invited to explore and consider, especially when looking for examples and applications of mathematics teaching. You will also become familiar with the vast array of media and other electronic resources pertinent to mathematics education.

You will have opportunities to interact with the teaching team throughout the period of your studies. This will include group and individual tutorials, in which you will discuss the work you are doing in preparation for your assignments and dissertation.


Course assessment will comprise of written assignments around 3,500 words in length, and a dissertation of 15,000 words. Each module will also include the opportunity to undertake a formative assessment.

Your assignments will involve reading and reviewing research papers published in the leading mathematics education journals and books. For your dissertation, you’ll reflect on your own learning and teaching experiences in mathematics, then devise a topic to research, for which you will collect and analyse a small dataset.

Career destinations

  • Further studies in Mathematics Education (e.g. PhD)
  • Mathematics teaching in schools (secondary, primary)
  • Position in the Education sector with a Mathematics specialism such as:
  • Ministries of Education
  • Education policy organisations (governmental or NGOs)
  • Inspectorates (such as OFSTED)
  • Private sector training positions where mathematics is relevant (e.g. banking, accountancy, engineering)

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2019/0

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits


What does it mean to be a 'critical' reader? Why is critical reading important? How can you develop your criticality, both as a reader and a writer? What is the single question that reminds us to take a critical stance when reading a range of published 'texts'? This module will support you in finding answers to these questions and, importantly, help you to become a capable, critical reader of a broad range of academic publications. You will explore techniques of criticality and learn how to apply them in practice, both in your reading and academic writing at Master's level. You will be able to discuss approaches to critical reading and practise them by reading and discussing a number of different published texts. Building on your knowledge of UK and international educational issues, this module will deepen your understanding of different documents, such as education policy texts, research reports, literature reviews, as well as newspaper articles and website publications. The interactive activities have been designed in this module in ways that will enhance your critical analysis. The end-of-module assignment focuses on a critical analysis of two academic journal articles, giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the critical skills and capabilities which you have developed in the taught sessions.




Working with an individual supervisor, the student is required to design, research and write up an inquiry-based project for a dissertation. With guidance from the course team, the student chooses a dissertation topic according to his/her individual interests and/or professional needs.




This module provides students with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry as well as with some preparation before they apply their own research skills. The module offers an introduction to some key research methodologies and covers crucial aspects of qualitative inquiry. A range of methodological approaches are explored, such as ethnography and case study, and various methods of collecting qualitative data are discussed (e.g. interviewing, doing observations). Students are equipped with some key skills that can help them design and conduct research in their own specialist areas of educational interest.




This module demonstrates the use of the theories introduced in the module Key theories in research into the teaching and learning of mathematics through a series of seminal studies into the teaching and learning of mathematics at primary, secondary and university levels.




Following a brief exploration of the foundations of mathematics education as a research discipline, this module covers key theories deployed in research into the teaching and learning of mathematics. Starting out from theorists with a huge influence on mathematics education research such as Piaget and Vygotsky, we introduce key theoretical constructs employed in research into the learning and teaching of mathematics. We cover developmental / cognitive, sociocultural, discursive and anthropological approaches.




This module introduces seminal studies in the use of technology in the teaching and learning of a range of mathematical topics such as: # Number and Arithmetic, mainly at primary level; # Algebra and Geometry, mainly at secondary level; # Calculus and Linear Algebra, mainly at university level; # Mathematical Reasoning and Proof across educational levels; and, # Mathematical Notation, Language and Representations across educational levels. Issues of teacher knowledge, beliefs and teacher education in relation to the use of technology are addressed across levels.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:


Name Code Credits


You may wonder why this module encourages you to explore some 'obvious' concepts and ideas such as 'learning'. Isn't it obvious what 'learning' is? Not if we take into account the fact that a google search yields millions of different answers to the question: 'What is learning?' Or that it is rather difficult to answer the question: 'How do we know that someone has learned something?' The meaning of 'learning' may not be as 'obvious' as we think. This module provides an introduction to key concepts and ideas about learning and teaching in compulsory, post-compulsory and lifelong learning that are often taken for granted as 'obvious'. You will explore how different theoretical perspectives on learning illuminate different aspects of learning and teaching interactions. You will examine these within the broader context of educational organisations and systems. The key concepts and ideas studied in this module include: 'learning'; 'cognition' and 'emotion'; learning and teaching as 'social interaction'; 'agency', 'structure' and 'culture'; 'education leadership' and 'education policy'. You will also explore how diverse approaches to learning and teaching offered by psychologists, sociologists, educational researchers and policy-makers influence everyday educational practice. The core approach to our module discussions will be based on challenging concepts and ideas that appear 'obvious' but, on closer examination, turn out to be problematic. In writing an assignment on a topic of your own choice, you will have an opportunity to challenge some of the 'obvious' ideas about your topic.




This module aims to introduce students to key ideas and concepts that underpin assessment philosophies, purposes and design in schools and universities. We will look at the history and functions of assessment and explore the different roles and types of assessment and problems and challenges. Against this backdrop we will then consider assessment design in relation to curricula and/or pedagogy.




The aim of this module is to help you understand and critically examine, policy-making processes and specific policies for educational development. You will discover the relationships between policy and practice in a range of international, national and local development contexts. Through this module you will explore different approaches to policy development and familiarise yourself with dominant global policy agendas in education - asking who makes or influences policy, and considering policies as socially situated documents, practices and processes. The module introduces you to educational policy-making to address a range of development challenges and how related strategies are enacted in practice; drawing on policy theory and ethnographic and school-based research, as well as practical sessions to critique policy-related writing, examine models of educational quality and curricula, and explore issues of school-related gender based violence.




Do you wish to pursue a career in international management and relations, multilingual business, or international development? Are you interested in becoming a more effective communicator in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education, and cultural mediation? In this module we will explore the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. You will examine the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work/organisation-based environments. During the seminars/lecture series, invited practitioners will introduce you to how IC operates in specific organisations, including government agencies or in multilingual business management. On completion of this module, you will have developed the linguistic skills, cultural competence, and critical thinking required for the production of an extended research project in intercultural communication. You will also have acquired a sense of how cultural assumptions may influence communication with others from different backgrounds, and developed a greater willingness to enter into dialogue with the values prevalent in cultures other than your own.




Initiatives to improve the teaching of a second language are a feature of many government policies across the world, especially English Language Teaching, but not exclusively. Given that the formulation and introduction of new policy usually aims to improve student outcomes but can be costly, careful consideration needs to be given to what is likely to work and what not. This is exactly what this module will focus upon, aiming to prepare you to analyse those factors which can help to improve attempts to innovate and bring about successful change in second language teaching and learning. In this module, you will consider the principles of innovation and change at both system and the local levels through case study. You will have the opportunity to consider innovation and change through taking a critical look at teacher education, curriculum design, second language assessment, and the use of digital technologies within specific contexts in order to understand how these influence student outcomes. Your knowledge and understanding will be enhanced through a mixture of lecture input, seminars, group work, pair work, and self- directed study. Through studying the principles of innovation and change in second language education, you will be enabled to make judgements and arguments about how planning for second language education could proceed, in addition to evaluating the factors which are likely to influence successful change.




The content of this module complements and elaborates the 20-credit Research Methods in Education compulsory module of the full-time MA programme in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. It aims to you to elementary concepts and methods in statistical analysis and to help them make well-informed choices in their uses of appropriate methodological techniques and tools in their own research. The module is of relevance if you want to understand the way quantitative evidence is generated, analysed and interpreted and if you choose to collect quantitative data (e.g. through questionnaires) or use mixed methods (i.e. both qualitative and quantitative).




What does it mean to be an educational leader or manager? What is 'education policy' and how does it impact on what happens in schools, universities and other educational organisations? How do you envisage your own role and career progression as an education professional? To help you answer these questions, this module looks at developments within the fields of education leadership and management and education policy studies, focusing on key concepts such as: 'leaders-followers'; 'leadership-management'; 'policy', 'performance management', 'accountability', 'evaluation', 'equality' and 'diversity' in the workplace. You will have an opportunity to discuss key theories, models and ways of thinking about schools and other educational organisations and analyse practical issues arising from leading and managing for organisational improvement. The module will also provide you with an introduction to 'systems thinking' and the insights it offers for understanding schools and other complex organisations. The study of this module will enable you to reflect on your experience of leading (or working under the leadership of others) and gain experience in communicating your ideas clearly and effectively in seminars, interactive group activities, and written assignments. Assessment consists of critical reflection on your learning from the module and your professional experience to date. You will be able to evaluate your experience of working in educational settings in relation to 2-3 concepts studied in the module or, alternatively, discuss leadership approaches, principles or skills that you wish to develop in the future, based on the learning acquired in the module.




What role does context play in determining how Second Language Education (SLE) takes place? Wider global, cultural, and educational trends affect what occurs in language classrooms as well as local factors - and these are the important issues that you will learn about in this module. This module covers a range of themes. You will examine concepts related to teacher and learner identities, the influence of critical theory, and intercultural understanding, competence and learning. Why do teachers teach the way they do? What influences their practice? What are the factors that they believe are important for effective second language teaching and learning? What effect does this have on learners? You will answers to these questions and develop your knowledge and understanding through a mixture of lecture input, seminars, group work, pair work, and self- directed study, so that you learn about SLE in action. All of this will support your evaluation skills and enable you to ask and answer critical questions about how SLE is influenced in different learning environments, from pre-school to university settings. You will have the opportunity to present your ideas and beliefs on the themes covered through discussion, debate, and oral, visual and written presentations throughout the module.




As governments in many countries across the world seek to transform their education systems, questions about leading teaching and improving learning are more important than ever. How do we know that our students are learning and making progress? What forms of knowledge are needed to improve teaching? Can we scale up local improvements or borrow policies from other countries to improve teaching and learning locally? This module enables you to investigate the relationship between approaches to improving learning 'locally' and the tendencies towards standardisation and complexity reduction characteristic of global education reform. You will consider improvement initiatives that are sensitive to the individual needs of children, young people or adults learning in diverse local contexts. Through a depth study of a specific 'local' issue, you will also have an opportunity to examine the complex nature of leadership initiatives and policies aimed at improving teaching and learning. The advantages and limitations of researching the 'local' and the 'particular' will be discussed in relation to knowledge gleaned from large-scale educational surveys and international comparisons. The end-of-module assignment will be a case study providing an in-depth analysis of an issue linked to leading teaching and improving learning in a 'local' context. The case study will be guided by 1-2 questions that focus on an analysis of the diverse 'actors', 'change agents', relationships and in/external contextual factors that impede or enhance teaching and learning.




Starting with the concept of literacy as a social practice, we draw on ethnographic research to unpack the relationship between literacy and international development. We will discuss current theories in adult learning and their relevance for policy, planning and practice in lifelong learning, as well as including an introduction to key debates and approaches in development theory.




This module aims to give students the opportunity to explore and critically consider key issues about pedagogy. It discusses a wide array of ideas and theories that have influenced pedagogic thinking and practice, in various settings, formats and contexts. In particular, it engages with classical and contemporary accounts that have been put forward by as a diverse body thinkers as Plato, Confucius, Freire, Illich and contemporary social movements. Some of the topics we explore include the effect of information technology on leaning and thinking, the meaning and significance of critical pedagogy, the idea of deschooling society, the pedagogy of social movements as well as alternative ways of learning and teaching and enhancing pedagogic relations and interactions.




Starting with theories of how children learn (or acquire) their first language, we look at research on second language learning and how this contributes to the development of principles and practices in second language education. We examine differences among learners and learning contexts and the implications for second language teaching. We then examine different approaches to teaching a second language in classrooms globally, including the communicative approach, immersion, the bilingual classroom and the post-methods approach, with its focus on teacher and learner strategies and goals.




Why are education managers increasingly focused on strategy design and implementation? What kinds of evidence should be taken into account in 'evidence-based' policy? How can education policymakers and managers become more effective in achieving their objectives? This module will enable you to develop an advanced understanding of the problematic nature of strategies for organisational improvement that rely on the 'delivery' of predetermined outcomes. You will have an opportunity to evaluate such strategies by drawing on ground-breaking insights into the nature of stability and change developed by complexity science. Complexity science offers an explanation of how change emerges from many local interactions of people engaging in everyday work and the pursuit of organisational goals, as well as personal agendas, power relations, rational and emotional responses to strategies, compliance and resistance. Because managers cannot completely control employees' responses, their strategies often produce unexpected or undesirable outcomes. By looking at a number of current education policies as 'case studies' to evaluate, you will also have an opportunity to explore the complexities of policy interventions in a range of international contexts. The assessment for this module comprises two elements: an oral presentation and a practical project report.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Social Science or Mathematics
  • Degree Classification UK 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Relevant teaching experience desirable

Entry Requirement

Applicants should normally have a good undergraduate degree from a recognised higher education institution. The University will also take into account the employment experience of applicants where relevant and applications are actively encouraged from those who want to return to academic study.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on their attaining a particular class of degree.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 50 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850 (full time)
  • International Students: £16,400 (full time)

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Funding

The University offers a variety of Scholarships each year to support students in their studies. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Student Loan.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515