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Physics education

Research Physics education with The Open University

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 School 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.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

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

Potential research projects

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.

Please also see further opportunities.

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

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659036

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.