Skip to content

Mathematics for Teaching Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Mathematics for Teaching degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits), 1 of which you take on campus during our 3-week summer session here on the Harvard University campus. You choose between a thesis or capstone track.

Getting Started

  1. Explore the required course curriculum.
  2. Determine your initial admissions eligibility.
  3. Learn about the 2 degree courses required for admission.
  4. Search and register for courses.

Required Courses

  • MATH 300 Mathematical Foundations for Teaching Secondary School Math
  • 2 mathematical theory courses
  • Calculus 2
  • 1 pedagogy and lesson study course
  • 4 math for teaching electives
    • One must be the on-campus summer course: Math S-329 Appraising and Reimagining Middle and High School Mathematics Education (3-weeks)

Thesis Track: Additional Courses

  • MATH 497 Crafting the Thesis Proposal in Mathematics for Teaching Tutorial
  • MATH 499AB ALM Thesis in Math for Teaching (8 credits)

Recent Thesis Topics:

  • Effects of Math Olympiad Training on Middle-school Female Students’ Confidence in Mathematics
  • The Comparison of American and Chinese Mathematics Education (Grade 7 to Grade 10)
  • A Math Curriculum to Educate Workers in Manufacturing
  • Comparing Student Achievement, Perceptions, and Teacher Observations for Flipped and
    Flipped Mastery Blended Learning Methods in Algebra II Classrooms
  • A Study of Motivational Techniques for Inner-City Math Classrooms: How to Increase
    Student Engagement while Decreasing Teacher Burn-Out

Capstone Track: Additional Courses

  • 2 additional math for teaching electives
  • MATH 599 Teaching Projects: Math for Teaching Capstone

The capstone experience. In the capstone, you research and deliver two class presentations. First, you present to your instructor and fellow degree candidates research on a current topic in mathematics education. Second, you demonstrate how a particular technology can be used to enhance classroom math lessons.

The Harvard 3-Week On-Campus Experience

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a 3-week Harvard University campus experience.

You come to Cambridge in the summer to complete Math S-329 Appraising and Reimagining Middle and High School Mathematics Education, which is a 3-week, 4-credit course that provides in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

International Students Needing a Student Visa

You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School for the 3-week session. For more information, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.

Optional Certificates

You can choose to concentrate your degree studies in a specific area and earn a certificate along the way. There are 2 options:

  • Learning Design and Technology
  • Math Leadership


Below are our initial eligibility requirements and an overview of our unique admissions process to help get you started. Be sure to visit Degree Program Admissions for full details.

Initial Eligibility

  • Prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a 4-year regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated for equivalency.
  • You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in mathematics for teaching or a related field. Check your eligibility.

The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility.

Earning Your Way In: Courses for Admission

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following 2 graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • MATH 300 Mathematical Foundations for Teaching Secondary School Math
  • One mathematical theory course

The courses above count toward the degree once you’re admitted; they are not additional courses.

Course sequencing. The 2 courses don’t need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

You have 2 attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in MATH 300 (a withdrawal grade counts as an attempt) and the course cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit the official application to the program. 

Don’t delay! You must prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll:

  • avoid the delayed application fee or the loss of credit for expired course work.
  • ensure critical and timely registration in degree-candidate-only courses.
  • gain access to exclusive benefits (see bottom of page).

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 10 more courses after admission to earn the degree.

For details about full eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Degree Program Admissions.

Search and Register for Courses

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) offers degree courses all year round. You can study in fall, January, and spring terms through Harvard Extension School (HES) and during the summer through Harvard Summer School (HSS).

To find degree courses in the DCE Course Search and Registration platform:

  • Under Search Classes, scroll to Browse by Degree, Certificate, or Premedical Program.
  • Select Graduate Degrees
  • Choose Mathematics for Teaching to explore program courses.

To Complete Your Degree

Required 3.0 GPA, 2 Withdrawal Grade Limit, and Repeat Course Policy

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in each of the 2 degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses. In addition, your cumulative GPA cannot dip below 3.0.

Withdrawal Grades. You are allowed to receive 2 withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Repeat Courses. We advise you to review the ALM program’s strict policies about repeating courses. Generally speaking, you may not repeat a course to improve your GPA or to fulfill a degree requirement (if the minimum grade was not initially achieved). Nor can you repeat a course for graduate credit that you’ve previously completed at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School at the undergraduate level.

Courses Expire: Finish Your Coursework in Under 5 Years

Courses over 5 years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree. As noted above, MATH 300 cannot be more than 2 years old at the time of application.

Further, you have 5 years to complete your degree requirements. The 5-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any 2 degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the 5-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work.

Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the 5-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied (i.e., too many courses to complete in the time remaining).

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Mathematics for Teaching. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Candidate Exclusive Benefits

When you become an officially admitted degree candidate, you have access to a rich variety of exclusive benefits to support your academic journey. To learn more, visit degree candidate academic opportunities and privileges.