Mathematics Education

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Dr. Katie Stein Schwartz
Program Coordinator
325 Flanagan Building

Graduate Certificate in Elementary Mathematics

Launch Feb 22Are you an elementary teacher who has become increasingly interested in the mathematics development of your students? Do you find yourself serving as a mathematics resource person for your school? Then the Graduate Certificate in Elementary Mathematics Education may be for you!

The Graduate Certificate in Elementary Mathematics Education is a practitioner-oriented program designed to sharpen instructional expertise, develop teaching skill, deepen mathematics knowledge, and promote leadership in mathematics education. Successful completion of the six certificate courses leads to add-on mathematics licensure at the elementary level. The six courses are a subset of the Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in Mathematics Education and can be added to six additional classes to earn the MAEd (Elementary Concentration).

Each certificate course is distinguished by a focus on a high-leverage teaching practice (for example, learning trajectories), a primary area of mathematics necessary for successfully teaching elementary school mathematics, and a secondary area of mathematical content.

Courses are offered as a distance education blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. The totally distance education nature of the program allows it to be taken by students almost anywhere and most participants are part-time students who are full-time teachers. A final benefit of the online program - transportation costs and on-campus student fees are eliminated, providing a much more economical program.

Program Details

Admission to the Graduate School includes an application, official transcripts, a copy of your teaching license, and two letters of recommendation from someone aware of your potential as a graduate student. Applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale. There is no testing requirement unless you are simultaneously seeking a master's degree.


Courses are offered to cohorts of at least 15 students. Each course is offered online in a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. The synchronous classes are held online every other Wednesday from 5:00-7:45. The program of study consists of 18 semester hours:

  • MATE 6058 Number Systems & Operations: K–5 Mathematical Tasks
  • MATE 6059 Rational Numbers & Operations: K–5 Learning Trajectories
  • MATE 6060 Data Analysis & Measurement: K–5 Classroom Interactions
  • MATE 6061 Algebraic Reasoning: K–5 Discourse & Questioning
  • MATE 6062 Geometry & Spatial Visualization: K–5 Assessment
  • MATE 6063 Mathematical Modeling: K-5 Leadership

Schedule of Course Offerings (click to download)

You are almost finished with your Graduate Certificate in Elementary Mathematics Education! There are a number of important processes, however, that must take place in addition to successfully completing your course work. Within the first two weeks of the semester in which you intend to graduate, you should apply for graduation, using the form and instructions found below. Then there is a certificate graduation summary that must be completed - work on that with your faculty advisor and finish that by or before mid-semester. Finally, you will want to apply to have your license updated. Complete this paperwork near the end of the semester in which you are graduating. If you are also completing an MAEd you must complete a request to add the certificate to your MAEd before graduation.

Apply for Graduation

For instructions, go to Academic Policies and click on Graduation Process. To access the application, go to ECU Registrar, click on requested forms, and then on Graduate Graduation Application.

Complete the Graduate Summary

Go to Academic Policies and click on Graduation Process and Graduation Summary Form.

Process the Licensure Request

Go to Licensure, read the instructions, and download the appropriate forms. Alternately, we have the forms referenced below in the "Resources and Forms" section of the website. Be sure to note that forms could be out-of-date in the "Resources and Forms" section, although we try to stay current.

Are all of the courses in the program online?
  • Yes. Most of our students are busy professionals who are part-time graduate students. The online nature allows them to complete the program from remote sites. The six courses in the certificate provide live online video conferencing at set times (for example, every other Wednesday from 5:00-7:45) to build community and support certain learning experiences.
How much does a course cost? How much does it cost to complete the program?
  • As of fall 2013, a distance education course – the general category in which our courses reside – costs $666 for in-state students. This includes tuition and fees, but not book cost. One of the outstanding benefits of online education is the savings in transportation cost. At the current rate, the 18-hour Graduate Certificate in Elementary Mathematics Education costs $3996. Given that tuition and fees change over time, use the link below to access current charges: Look for the appropriate semester under the Distance Education / Continuing Education section.
What is the typical course load for a student in the program?
  • The majority of our graduate certificate students take one courses (three credit hours) per fall, spring and summer semester. Many of our certificate students also want to earn an MAEd. In a given term, they often complete one certificate course (it counts for the MAEd) and a second course that is only for the MAEd.
How long does it take to complete the program?
  • How long does it take to complete the program? If students are part of a cohort, we strongly encourage them to follow the cohort schedule precisely and we typically design a program for one-and-a-half to two years.
Am I allowed to transfer classes that I have already taken?
  • Students may ordinarily transfer only one course into a certificate program, if the program area faculty and Graduate School agree on the course.
May I enhance my teaching license by completing this program?
  • Successful completion of the certificate program allows the teacher to add mathematics to the existing elementary license.
Gainful employment Information

Elementary Math


"Throughout the coursework, the question for me became: 'How do I implement these practices? What should it look like in action?' Thankfully, each of the courses completed during this program focused on research-based instructional strategies that help support student learning."


"Being taught years ago in a procedure based way left me clueless to many of the 'whys?' I am supposed to be having my students explore. This program has done what most people don't have the opportunity to do!!!! That is have a 'do over' in my own my learning to be able to present standards in a conceptual 'doing math' way to my students!"

"Looking at where the students are coming from and going to has enabled me to present the material at my grade level in a more effective manner. I feel more confident in my teaching of math this year than I have in the past. Being exposed to information about cognitively demanding tasks has caused me to examine the tasks I present and has benefited my students because they are now participating in more tasks that promote higher-level thinking. Learning about math talks and questioning has increased the productive conversation during my math lessons. I feel my lessons and class discussions focus more on the math and are more beneficial for my students."

"Digging deeper is one thing I can say the EMAoL program and the CCSS have in common. For this reason, the coursework of the EMAoL has increased my knowledge of the content. I have found that my ability to present 'rich' lessons to my students is birthed out of my own depth of understanding of the standards I am teaching."


"Albert Einstein once said, 'The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.' These courses have done just that. I could not be happier to have taken these courses, especially as teachers look to me now to help support them through this change to 'deeper', not broader, standards."