Ph.D. Urban Mathematics Education Concentration

Program Overview

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is identified as North Carolina’s Urban Research Institution. Building on this tradition, the Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction emphasizes the context of urban education across all program concentrations. The Urban Mathematics Education concentration in the Curriculum & Instruction Ph.D. program builds on the foundation of the urban core curriculum by focusing on issues related to teaching and learning mathematics in urban settings, K-16. The Urban Mathematics Education concentration defines urban similar to the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education in that it extends beyond the “geographical contexts into the lives of people within the multitude of cultural, [cognitive], social, and political spaces in which mathematics teaching and learning takes place.” To this end, the program focuses on “urban characteristics” that are important in understanding the teaching and learning of mathematics that spans urban, suburban, and rural contexts.

Students in the program will have opportunities to deepen their understanding of critical issues in mathematics and mathematics education, develop as critical researchers, and be prepared to work with future and practicing teachers in various settings. Graduates of the Urban Mathematics Education program are prepared to go on to hold faculty positions in both mathematics departments and colleges of education, to hold mathematics specific leadership positions at the school, district, and state level, and teach mathematics at community colleges, among a variety of other professional opportunities.

Specifically, students will develop:

  • an understanding of the broad landscape of the field of mathematics education
  • a strong foundation with a variety of theoretical perspectives related to mathematics teaching and learning and the contexts in which these practices occur
  • an understanding of issues related to diversity, equity, and justice as they pertain to mathematics education
  • a repertoire of research methods including qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, and design-based research
  • an understanding of the use, evaluation, and design of mathematics curriculum, including how they pertain specifically to diversity, equity, and justice
  • practice related to teaching college-level courses in mathematics education, mathematics, and/or statistics
  • a deep understanding of K-16 mathematics

Students may enter the Mathematics Education concentration Ph.D. program with a master’s degree in a variety of disciplines. This includes (but is not limited to): mathematics education, mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, middle grades education, elementary education with a mathematics focus, STEM education, and curriculum and instruction.

Plan of Study

There are three phases to the Urban Mathematics Education doctoral program: course work, comprehensive exams, and dissertation. Like all of the C&I concentrations, the Urban Mathematics Education concentration includes a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework. That includes 24 hours specific to mathematics education, 12 hours focused on urban education that are common to all of the C&I concentrations, at least 15 hours of research methods, and hours for dissertation work.

Click here for the Urban Mathematics Education Concentration Plan of Study.
Click here for the Urban Mathematics Education Concentration Handbook.

Application Information

Please contact Vic Cifarelli at to set up an appointment to learn more prior to applying. For details about how to apply for the program click here.