Research course

Physics education

Open University · Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) in BSc Physics or a related subject

Months of entry


Course content

The Physics Education Research Group brings together physicists with an interest in how students learn and a passion for improving their teaching. At the OU this research theme is inevitably concerned with the full range of educational technologies, pedagogical methodologies and evaluative techniques that are required to support, sustain and improve the evidence-based teaching of physics in a large and diverse organisation. Research students in this area are housed in the Department of Physical Sciences while their projects are coordinated through the University’s recently founded eSTEeM centre for Educational Scholarship in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. Areas of particular expertise are:

  • online experimentation
  • assessment and its links to learning
  • physics education in an open and distance learning environment
  • public engagement and physics outreach through a range of media.

An important and exciting driver of current and future activity is the establishment of the innovative Wolfson Open Science Laboratory at the OU, and the opportunities thereby provided to introduce and evaluate new methods of teaching laboratory skills and practical techniques in a virtual setting.

Current/recent research projects
  • Practical physics in Africa
  • Practical science instruction via remote and virtual experiments: relating authenticity, sociability and metafunctionality to effective pedagogy
Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

We welcome enquiries from prospective students in the following areas: Shared web-based representations to support learning A critical assessment of remote experiments in science distance teaching.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
part time
24 months
full time
15 months


distance learning
variable months
part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659036