"Physics Education" at a top school

Ridley
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:30 pm

"Physics Education" at a top school

Postby Ridley » Thu May 20, 2010 9:48 am

I've considered this before, but I'd like to know if anyone can hand over an opinion. I've always kind of wanted to be a teacher and maybe I will be one day.

1 .Going though these forums it seems that it's easier to get a Masters degree at a top school because they are generally considered 'cash cows' for the school. True?

2. Is it possible to get a Masters degree at a top US university without doing research?

3. If I explained that I wanted to do a project on forwarding physics education would this help my chances?

4. Are there any US schools known for their physics education?

Before you say, "Highschool teachers don't need a Master's degree," in Canada you are paid more if you have a masters and if I could go to a top school, why not? By the time I finish my undergrad I will have 2 years of TA experience at my university.

Thanks chums

mobytish
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Re: "Physics Education" at a top school

Postby mobytish » Thu May 20, 2010 10:29 am

As someone who was originally working toward being a Physics teacher, I can definitely tell you that high school teachers do need masters degrees. The pay raise from having the graduate degree is usually significant (even just graduate credits usually gets you a raise at a lot schools). However, that's speaking about Masters degrees in education. In terms of a Masters degree in Physics, I'm not positive about getting credit for having a masters, but you should still get credit for having some graduate credits. In addition, there are some more prestigious high schools (such as Western Reserve Academy) that require a masters in your subject matter to even work there.

In terms of doing work on physics education during your masters, some schools doing have programs (or just professors) in the field of Physics Education Research (PER). Some of them offer specific graduate degrees in Physics Education. I don't have any specific knowledge of where these schools are, but I do know that they exist.

Another option is a Masters of Arts in Physics. I don't know if these exist, but I've seen them offered in Biology. They're typically designed especially for high school teachers (and can be completed in the summers) and involve limited to no actual research.

Are you planning to teach in the US or Canada? How are you planning to obtain your teacher certification?

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grae313
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Re: "Physics Education" at a top school

Postby grae313 » Thu May 20, 2010 10:49 am

Ridley wrote:4. Are there any US schools known for their physics education?


UW Seattle has great physics education research.

Ridley
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Re: "Physics Education" at a top school

Postby Ridley » Thu May 20, 2010 10:56 am

Thanks for the info.

I'm planning on teaching in Canada; British Columbia to be specific. I'm currently attending Simon Fraser University in Burnaby which (I believe) has the most well recognized education program in Canada. I would like to attend a top 10 US school for a Masters if at all possible, though. Perhaps doing some research this summer on the topic and trying to publish it would help my chances.

edit: UW, eh? That's pretty close. Thanks1

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Quantum Triviality
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Re: "Physics Education" at a top school

Postby Quantum Triviality » Thu May 20, 2010 3:31 pm

First my quick answers.

1 .Going though these forums it seems that it's easier to get a Masters degree at a top school because they are generally considered 'cash cows' for the school. True?

Yes

2. Is it possible to get a Masters degree at a top US university without doing research?

Yes

3. If I explained that I wanted to do a project on forwarding physics education would this help my chances?

Really depends on the program. If it is a physics department known for physics education or they have people who specifically mentioned in their research interests physics education, then it could help. However, if no one in the department mentions anything about physics education, then it probably hurts you since that is not the departments focus. But you probably shouldn't be applying to that program anyways.

Before you say, "Highschool teachers don't need a Master's degree," in Canada you are paid more if you have a masters and if I could go to a top school, why not?

I can provide one why not. However, it is most directly relevant to Wisconsin, and I think applies to the US in general. Not sure about our northern neighbors, but I have a feeling it is relevant since it is about pay.

I was a school board member and I know that some people are hesitant to hire people straight out of school that have a masters. Remember, you are more expensive, so that is strike one. Strike two is that your masters is not in education. And your third strike is a combination of one and two: you are more expensive and don't have actual teaching experience. When they pay other teachers more for their masters, they have already been working so they know what they are getting for you money.




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