Doctor of Philosophy

PhD in Mathematics Education

Method of delivery:
Applications open:
October 1, 2024
Applications close:
December 1, 2024
Next start date:
September 2025

Applications closed

Get details of the admission requirements and how to apply for the Mathematics Education PhD program.


SFU Requirements

A thesis-based MA from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent from a recognized institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5/4.33 will normally be required for admission, as well as submitted evidence that the applicant is capable of undertaking substantial original research. SFU doctoral admission requirementsAcademic equivalency by country.


Tuition (2024/25)

  • $2,107.43 (per term)

Subject to estimated 2% fee increase each September.

SFU Ancillary Fees

Simon Fraser University assesses the Student Services fee, the graduate student activity fee, the U-Pass BC fee and the mandatory supplementary course fee to all eligible students in each term of enrollment.

More Information


We recommend you apply early to ensure all aspects of the application are complete by the deadline.

Before Applying (Admission Requirements and Documents)

Review the admission requirements, and begin preparing your required documents.

Reference letters must be specific to the application. At least TWO out of the THREE required references should be written by referees who are able to comment on your abilities and to make an informed judgment about your likelihood of success in graduate study (e.g., professors). When entering your referees' information, you must use their professional or institutional email address.

Ensure your referees include the following:

  • A frank appraisal of the applicant's ability to undertake a rigorous program of graduate study.
  • Reference to the applicant’s scholarly competence and academic ability to undertake advanced studies in education.
  • Personal qualities deemed relevant to the applicant’s ability to engage in graduate work.
  • Length of time and the context in which the referee has known the applicant.
  • Addressed to SFU on referee's institutional/professional letterhead.

Required supporting documents

After you submit the online application and pay the application fee you will be required to upload the following PDF documents:

  • Transcripts for each post-secondary institution attended
  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Letter of Intent

Step 1: Apply online

Complete the Online Application for Graduate Studies at SFU

Apply Here

Important notes about the online application system/process:

  • Can take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
  • You do not have to wait until you have all your supporting documents ready before applying. Graduate programs can be competitive, therefore is it recommended that you begin your application early to complete the online sections and being preparing and collecting the required documents.  
  • The online application system will allow you to partially complete the process, save, and return later.
  • The online application system is only available while applications are being accepted for each program.

Step 2: Pay application fee

Once you complete and submit Step 1 of the the online application, you wil need to pay the non-refundable application fee:

  • $90 CAN (applicants with Canadian transcripts only)
  • $125 CAN (students with one or more international transcripts)

Payment must be made by credit card (Mastercard or Visa). Once the payment is approved, you will receive an email confirming that your payment was successful and inviting you to proceed to submitting references and Uploading Documents (checklist).

Step 3: Upload Supporting Documents

You will only be able to upload the required documents to complete your application after your application fee has been processed.

Upload the following required documents before the application deadline:


You must upload a transcript (scanned, saved, etc.) for each post-secondary institution you have attended (institutions you listed in Step 3, in your online application). Ensure all pages are uploaded, including the grading scale (typically located on the back of the page or a separate sheet).

Official transcripts will only be required if you receive an offer of admission.

More info about transcripts

Academic Writing Sample (PDF)

Upload a recent example of academic writing (within five years). If applicants do not have a recent paper they are advised to write one on any topic that is of interest or relevance to them. Paper length should be a minimum of 5 pages.

The writing sample must illustrate an applicant’s ability to:

  • express ideas in clear and appropriate language
  • sustain an argument and develop a logical conclusion.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume (PDF)

Upload a current copy of your curriculum vitae/resume (3 pages maximum). It may include a summary of publications.  

Letter of Intent (PDF)

Upload a typed letter of intent as a PDF file. Insert your last name and initial in the header of your document.  Outline the following in your letter of intent (maximum 1000 words)

  1. Your specific areas of interest and what you propose to investigate for your dissertation, and why this study is important.  This focus may change somewhat as your program progresses, however, for purposes of this application, we are interested in the way you frame your research, your familiarity with relevant literature, and how you see your work contributing to the field;
  2. Your research background and any previous studies in which you have been involved. Indicate how this experience is connected to your current research interests and your application to this particular doctoral program at SFU.
  3. Attach a list of your publications and any conference and workshop presentations.

IELTS/TOEFL Test Results (If Applicable)

Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies. Applicants applying to programs conducted entirely in French will be exempt from this requirement. International applicants will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language.

More information about English Language Requirements and text score submission

Document Retention

The documents which students supply to support admission applications will be retained for three terms following the term to which application is made. Then, application forms, transcripts and other materials related to applications will be destroyed. Irreplaceable documents will be returned to the applicant if requested at the time of application.


I have been out of university for a long time and do not have any recent academic referees – are three professional referees acceptable?

Anyone who can comment on your academic competence (e.g., department head, school principal, academic coordinator, manager/supervisor, etc.). What we look for from referees is confirmation that the applicant has the capacity to pursue a graduate degree – i.e. understands academic writing, reading, and has the intellect, academic preparation and skills (e.g. time management, ability to work and study etc.) to be successful. Applicants should prepare referees to speak to these qualities and capacities, and reference highlights of the applicant’s CV, describe projects, leadership, initiatives, professional experience that reflect qualities and skills that are relevant to academic achievement. For Counselling Psychology program applicants, please refer to the program website for more complete details about references.

If in doubt, contact the Program Assistant for confirmation.

How do I submit transcripts?

You must upload an unofficial transcript (scanned, saved, etc.) for each post-secondary institution you have attended when you are uploading documents to your application. You cannot upload these documents until your application has been submitted, and your application fee has been paid and processed.

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to submit an official transcript for each post-secondary institution. More information.

Note: Applicants who completed their former degrees at SFU are not required to submit an official SFU transcript, as these records can be accessed. More information on transcripts.

How long does it take to complete a doctoral degree?

Usually the first year and a half is the completion of course work, followed in the third year by the comprehensive examination, and finally by the thesis research and defence in the fourth or fifth year.

Is there a minimum fee for the doctoral program?

A doctoral student who has completed eight terms of full-time research term fee units enrolment (excluding on leave enrolment) pays a continuing fee in subsequent terms equal to one half of the regular fee. Terms in which a student enrolls on leave do not count towards the number of terms required to switch to the continuing fee. Doctoral students must enroll for a minimum of five terms. On leave terms will not count toward this minimum.

When will I know the selection committee’s decision regarding my application?

Applicants to PhD programs will receive notification in March to early April. Applicants to EdD programs will receive notification approximately 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants will receive an email letter from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students will also receive a letter in the mail shortly after.

When are decisions about admission made? Is there a wait list?

Applicants should expect to hear a decision within three months of the application deadline. Admission decisions are made at multiple levels within the University and applicants will be notified by an email from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as soon as the final decision is made. The review committee may decide to have a waitlist depending on the composition of submitted applications.

Are there any scholarships available? What about for international applicants?

Various forms of financial assistance are available for graduate students in Education. Admission to SFU does not imply financial support. As a consequence of not being able to guarantee funding for all graduate students, the Faculty of Education stresses to all applicants, and particularly those from overseas, that they are responsible for supporting their graduate study at this institution for a minimum of two years and funding should be arranged before arriving in Canada.

Will there be a new student orientation?

Yes. Before the start of the Fall term, SFU's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office schedules a general orientation for all SFU graduate students. The Faculty of Education also hosts a New Graduate Student Orientation that is usually scheduled during the first month of the Fall term. The Education Graduate Student Orientation Handbook will be distributed to new students. This publication outlines the administrative structure of the program and provides information on specific logistics such as parking, computer access, housing, registration, etc.


The prerequisite for entry into a SFU Masters program is a Bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from a recognized university, or the equivalent. For applicants who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree, if they have completed the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP) and have extensive professional experience in an educational or professional setting, they may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate. After one year of coursework (12 units minimum) and a CGPA of 3.0, students may transfer into the MEd program.


Students whose native primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. Applicants applying to programs conducted entirely in French will be exempt from this requirement. English language requirements.

Are there online graduate programs offered by the Faculty of Education?

Generally, all our programs are offered face-to-face. Students are expected to attend all classes in person. Please review each program website to determine the delivery method for your program of interested.

Do you admit students without an undergraduate or masters degree?

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee.