Doctoral Degree: Mathematics, Science and Learning Technologies Concentration

MSLT prepares graduate students to improve the learning and instruction of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. To achieve that goal, we are deeply committed to research and scholarship, using both basic and applied research.

We put a premium on developing principled approaches to affect educational practice and pursuing rigorous theory building about educational phenomena. We apply such knowledge in developing state of the art instructional designs. These efforts grow from an understanding of educational practice and close work with practitioners in both formal and informal learning settings.

Importantly we recognized that certain social groups have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, education, and work. We seek to understand the processes and structures contributing to the systematic exclusion of these groups and to actively contribute to correcting such inequities. Our work draws from a variety of disciplines including cognitive science, sociology, anthropology, the learning sciences, psychology, and computer science.


  • The MSLT concentration has excelled in gleaning funded research awards from influential agencies in MSLT research and development. Over the last 7 years we have been awarded:
    • 22 Federal grants (NSF, US DOE) totaling $13.2 million
    • 10 Commonwealth grants (MA DOE, MA BHE, Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative) totaling $1.8 million
    • 6 University grants totaling $57,000
  • The MSLT concentration faculty have  strong national and international reputations as scholars and researchers. For example, Professor Emeritus John Clement received a lifetime achievement award for his cumulative contributions to the field in science teaching and learning from the National Association for Research on Science Teaching and received the University’s Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creativity Award
  • The concentration offers doctoral and advanced candidates opportunities to engage in scholarly work within schools and with teachers and teacher candidates, allowing our work to inform and be informed by the knowledge of practitioners. Current research and scholarship projects are underway in areas such as:
    • How technology-, inquiry-, project-, and field-based science instruction serve to facilitate teacher and student learning and the legitimate participation in MSLT of all students, especially those usually marginalized--females, students of color, and those from low social economic means.
    • The design of digital learning environments to foster the development of creative thinking and inquiry-based habits of mind in the fields of science and technology.
    • The principles of instruction that enable students to develop visualizable models in science, including design principles for curriculum development, technological tools, and new pedagogical principles.
      The expansion of our theory of conceptual change processes common to three major subject areas in science and the development of an accompanying set of effective instructional strategies for teaching science.
      The teaching and learning of mathematics through purposeful engagement with statistical concepts, contexts, and tools. 

Program of Study

The Program of Study for theMathematics, Science and Learning Technology Education Doctoral Concentration consists of the following.

Eleven (11) required courses totaling 33 credits:

  • Two (2) courses in the Mathematics, Science and Learning Technology Education Core Area
  • Five (5) courses in Content Core
  • Four (4) courses in research methods

Two (2) required elective courses totaling 6 credits.

With the required eighteen (18) dissertation credits, the total number of required credits is 57.

Doctoral students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor on developing a program of study that is aligned with the student's interests and background and MSLT faculty's research expertise. Such a program of study will include various research methods courses (qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed methods) as well as topic-specific courses within the department, across the College of Education or the University.

Doctoral students are additionally encouraged to seek out opportunities to work closely with MSLT faculty on their research projects and/or teaching assignments in order to develop insights and skills in research and teaching in academia.

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Contact Information

Concentration Coordinator:  Florence Sullivan (Associate Professor)

Elementary Science Teacher Education: Kathy Davis (Associate Professor)
Learning Technologies (Doctoral): Florence Sullivan (Associate Professor) and Torrey Trust (Assistant Professor)
Mathematics Education (Master's/Licensure and Doctoral): John Francisco (Associate Professor) and Sandra Madden (Associate Professor)
Science Education (Master's/Licensure and Doctoral): Martina Nieswandt (Associate Professor)

Associated Faculty

John J. Clement (Professor Emeritus), Kathleen S. Davis (Associate Professor), John M. Francisco (Associate Professor), John Kudukey (Lecturer), Sandra Madden (Associate Professor), Martina Nieswandt (Associate Professor),  Howard A. Peelle (Professor), Florence Sullivan (Associate Professor)