Graduate Certificate in Mathematics for Middle School Mathematics Teachers

The Graduate Certificate in Mathematics for Middle School Mathematics Teachers (GCMS) consists of six graduate mathematics courses specifically designed for teachers who desire to teach middle school mathematics.  The program provides a broad mathematics background appropriate for middle school teachers, a familiarity with the current middle school curriculum ideas, and a sensitivity to the special characteristics and needs of early adolescents.

The Graduate Certificate program by itself does not lead to a teaching license. If you are interested in information on how to obtain teacher licensure, please contact the School of Education, GTEP program.


Program Prerequisites:

  1. Completed B.A. or B.S. degree.
  2. GPA: 3.0 cumulative undergraduate, or 3.0 for upper division courses, or 3.0 in all graduate credit courses (a minimum of 12 credits).
  3. Completion of MTH 111 & 112 (College Algebra/Trigonometry) and MTH 211-212-213 (Foundations of Elementary Mathematics) or the equivalent.

The admission requirements are consistent with admission to graduate study in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education. If admitted to graduate study in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the graduate credits of the GCMS may be applied toward an M.A. or M.S. in that department (please see an adviser in the School of Education for this option).

In addition to program prerequisites, applicants must meet the university's minimum admission requirements including English language proficiency.

This program currently offers rolling admissions.

Instructions on how to apply if you are not already enrolled in a graduate degree program at Portland State University then see this page for admission instructions: .  If you are currently a graduate student and wish to add the certificate to your program, please submit a GO-19 Request for Change of Major form. The form must be signed by your current department's Chair before submitting it to the mathematics and statistics department.

Cost and Funding:

Please see the University's Tuition and Fees web page. Use the cost of attendance estimator tool for a rough estimate of your attendance costs per term. The certificate is 24 credits. You could finish the certificate in 6 quarters with part-time enrollment of one class per term (4 credits). 

Certificate programs are ineligible for a graduate teaching assistantship.

Program Goals, Objectives:

The goals of the middle school mathematics certificate program are to offer a comprehensive mathematics program that:

  • Directly relates the content of mathematics courses for pre- and in-service teachers to the mathematical content appropriate for middle school students.
  • Is geared to the special characteristics of the student population of an urban university, and takes advantage of the varied resources found in an urban setting.
  • Models a philosophy of teaching and learning mathematics that is consistent with current recommendations for effective instruction in middle school classrooms.

The course content and instructional practices of this graduate certificate program are consistent with the mathematical reform recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America.

The GCMS gives teachers an opportunity to enrich and broaden their mathematics background and to experience an environment that models the way we believe middle school mathematics should be taught. That is, teaching prospective middle school teachers in the manner that we would expect them to teach mathematics in middle school classrooms. In our courses we try to practice the following:

  • Problem solving activities that promote exploration and experimentation and which allow students to construct (and reconstruct) mathematical understanding and knowledge
  • Use of models, concrete materials, diagrams, and sketches that promote visual reasoning as well as symbolic deductive modes of thought
  • Development of multiple strategies or approaches to problems - discussing and listening to how others think about a concept, problem, or idea
  • Small group work and cooperative learning
  • Extensive use of writing on mathematical investigations and problem summaries
  • Written communication between instructors and individual students
  • Multiple methods of assessment
  • Developing an awareness of one's own mathematical thought processes (and feelings about mathematics) and those of others
  • Supportive and cooperative class environment

Core Requirements:

The certificate program consists of the following six (6) mathematics courses totaling 24 credits:

Course Number Course Name Credits
MTH 591 Experimental Probability and Statistics for Middle School Teachers (4 cr)
MTH 593 Geometry for Middle School Teachers (4 cr)
MTH 594 Arithmetic and Algebraic Structures for Middle School Teachers (4 cr)
MTH 595 Historical Topics in Mathematics for Middle School Teachers (4 cr)
MTH 596 Concepts of Calculus for Middle School Teachers (4 cr)
MTH 597 Teaching and Learning in the Middle School Mathematics Classroom (4 cr)
  • For course projections, see the Course Planning Guide.
  • During the academic year (fall, winter & spring terms) courses are usually offered on Thursday afternoons from 4:00 - 6:30 p.m.
  • With careful planning it is possible to complete the program in 3 consecutive summers, 2 academic years and the intervening summer, or 3 academic years.
  • People interested in adding a Middle School Math endorsement should contact the Director of Licensure (503-725-4758) in the Graduate School of Education.
  • Students who wish to enroll in these courses as part of their undergraduate program can enroll in these courses at the 400-level (MTH 490 - MTH 497). Please note that a graduate certificate can only be awarded if you take the 500-level courses and are admitted to the university as a graduate student.

Successful completion of the certificate requires students to have a cumulative PSU graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (computed on all graduate credits taken at PSU) and a cumulative program GPA of 3.0 or higher (computed on all courses used for the graduate certificate). Please contact the program adviser during the term prior to the term of anticipated graduation to confirm that all program requirements have been completed. 

Students are responsible for knowing University-level graduate policies and procedures for obtaining the degree. These policies and procedures are in Graduate Studies section of the PSU Bulletin. Several of the most frequently asked about University-level graduate policies and procedures can also be found on the Graduate School's website.


For academic advising or career questions, please email:
Dr. Eva Thanheiser, Program Director,

For policy and application questions,  Graduate Program Administrator Kathie Leck,, 503-725-8244 or visit the Department web page at

Department of Education Mandated Certificate Program Information PDF iconMathematics for Middle School Teachers ED Gainful Employment Disclosure.pdf