Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

veritedefoli
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:24 pm

Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby veritedefoli » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Hi,

While I have a number of interests in physics, my primary career goal is to focus on physics education. I have spent several years teaching high school physics, and am looking to eventually find myself at a top-notch private school or a liberal arts college.

Regrettably, most of these positions require Ph.D.'s in physics. On the bright side, I like physics enough to do a Ph.D., and I'm smart enough for it too :).

So I am looking for a Ph.D. program that recognizes that my passion is teaching. Of course I'll take the classes, and I'll even write a thesis, but wouldn't it be amazing if my thesis was on effectiveness of teaching approaches in graduate physics classes? I thought so. Given that this isn't terribly realistic, I'll take a place with a laid-back atmosphere and a commitment to decent teaching. Research interests are flexible; chaos theory is pretty sweet; so is GR.

If any of you would happen to have a lead here, I would much appreciate it. Prestige/etc. level of the school is not important -- while I have reasonable grades from a good school, 970pgre, etc. I am much more interested in having an enjoyable 5-6 years of life than a more prestigious diploma.

Oh, and application deadlines that are not today are a bonus :). But I may be applying in a year anyhow.

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WhoaNonstop
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:27 pm

veritedefoli wrote: am looking to eventually find myself at a top-notch private school or a liberal arts college.

veritedefoli wrote:I am much more interested in having an enjoyable 5-6 years of life than a more prestigious diploma.


Which would you rather have, 5-6 years of enjoyable life or teach at a top-notch private school? Because unless you can group enjoyable and prestigious diploma together it might be hard to do that.

-Riley

veritedefoli
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby veritedefoli » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:47 pm

It's sufficiently rare for high school teachers to have physics Ph.D.'s that I don't think I need prestige to get a very nice high school position.

To answer your question, though, 5-6 years of enjoyable life comes first. I just don't think I have to make a choice here.

kroner
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:58 am

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby kroner » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:08 am

Try doing a forum search for "physics education".
For example this person applied to some programs which specialize in physics education: http://www.physicsgre.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1847&p=22440#p22440

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:39 am

veritedefoli wrote:top-notch private school or a liberal arts college.


You'll have to forgive me. Most people around here in saying this line would obviously think you meant to say top-notch private university or top-notch liberal arts college, at least that is what I took from it.

-Riley

laser
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:00 am

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby laser » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:15 am

Yeah, it's grammatically ambiguous, though I think it means liberal arts colleges in general, or top-notch high schools.

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grae313
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Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby grae313 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:14 pm

University of Washington (Seattle) has a wonderful and respected physics education program. I was really impressed by the school and the city when I visited.

axiomofchoice
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:45 pm

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby axiomofchoice » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:35 pm

UMD also has a fairly reputable physics education programm, http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/.

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: Looking for suggestions for Ph.D. programs

Postby CarlBrannen » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:49 pm

grae313 wrote:University of Washington (Seattle) has a wonderful and respected physics education program. I was really impressed by the school and the city when I visited.


I have a book by a UW author on teaching introductory physics:

Teaching Introductory Physics
Arnold B. Arons
http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitl ... 37073.html

The campus is pretty, especially when the cherry trees bloom in spring, and Seattle has a nice climate (less rain than you'd think, very nice summers). The area has convenient places to ski and hike. But as far as comparing the area to other large schools, it has some of the most pure air to breath, blowing in from the Pacific.




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