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Interdisciplinary Major in Mathematics and Education

Interdisciplinary Major in Mathematics and Education

Bowdoin College offers undergraduate students an opportunity to become certified secondary school math teachers.  Through a rigorous scholarly and classroom-based preparation that includes an interdisciplinary major in mathematics and education, co-curricular and summer programs, and participation in the Bowdoin Teacher Scholars program, students can earn an initial Maine teacher certification with highly qualified status.  This certification is reciprocal with all other states (making them eligible to teach in any secondary school in the United States). Completing certification requirements in a timely fashion requires a good deal of planning, so students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty members in the Mathematics and Education Departments early in their college careers.

Interdisciplinary Major in Mathematics and Education

An interdisciplinary major in mathematics and education requires a total of eleven courses from the two departments.  Within the Mathematics Department, students are required to take Math 181, 200, and 201 and at least one course from each of the following categories:

  • Modeling: Math 2108, 2208, or 2109
  • Algebra and Analysis: Math 2302, 2303, 2602, or 2603
  • Geometry: Math 2404 or 3404
  • Statistics: Math 1200, 1300, or 2606. 

These categories represent a breadth of areas of mathematics you might be asked to teach at the secondary school level.  Additionally, you are encouraged to follow your interests and take a 300-level course to gain a deep understanding of a particular area of mathematics.  Students seeking certification are strongly recommended to take further mathematics or statistics courses that emphasize modeling and applications and/or take at least one course in the physical, natural, or social sciences in which mathematics or statistics is significantly used.  Some possibilities include Chemistry 101, Computer Science 101, Economics 101, and Physics 103.

Within the Education Department, the required coursework consists of:

  • Education 1101: Contemporary American Education
  • Education 2203: Educating All Students
  • Education 3301: Teaching
  • Education 3302: Curriculum

Each of the eleven courses required for the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better.  At most two of the mathematics courses submitted for the major can be transfer credits from other institutions.  When first declaring the major, a student must submit a planned program of courses to the Mathematics and Education Departments. It may be changed later with the approval of the departmental advisors.  Please note that students must take Education 3301 and 3302 concurrently during the fall semester of their junior year.

Co-curricular and Summer Opportunities

Students pursuing a career in mathematics education are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with hand-on instructional experiences.

  • Academic year opportunities at Bowdoin College include tutoring within the Mathematics Department or Quantitative Reasoning Program and leading study groups for lower-level science and mathematics courses.  Contact Sue Theberge (theberge@bowdoin.edu) in the Mathematics Department or Eric Gaze (egaze@bowdoin.edu) at the Quantitative Reasoning Program for more information.
  • There are many opportunities to academically mentor students at local schools.  For more information, contact Sarah Chingos (schingos@bowdoin.edu) in the Education Department.
  • Teaching mathematics in a summer program for high school students is an excellent way to gain practical teaching experience.  Depending on the program, you will have the opportunity to work with students of varying abilities, from those who are academically under-prepared to the truly gifted mathematics student. For more information, contact Sarah Chingos (schingos@bowdoin.edu) in the Education Department.  Advanced students of mathematics may contact Jennifer Taback (jtaback@bowdoin.edu) in the Mathematics Department for further opportunities.

The Mathematics and Education Departments sponsor periodic evening programs focused on a variety of topics of interest to future mathematics teachers.  If you are considering teaching as a career, please join us!  To be included on the mailing list for these events, please contact Thomas Pietraho in the Mathematics Department (tpietrah@bowdoin.edu).