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BSc (Honours) Secondary Education in Physics

Are you leaving the armed forces? If you've had a technical role, you're ideally placed to pass on your expertise and enthusiasm to the next generation - and forge yourself an in-demand second career as a physics teacher in the process. The BSc (Honours) Secondary Education in Physics provides an undergraduate route into teaching, with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You'll gain the knowledge and skills needed to teach across the lower secondary school science curriculum, with a special focus on physics - which you'll be trained to teach up to 'A' level. Flexible arrangements enable you fit your studies around the time you have available. You'll study the underpinning knowledge and theory of teaching and learning through distance learning, integrated with periods of teaching in two schools. Throughout your teacher training, you'll be well supported by a mentor and specialist tutor.

Note: This degree course is currently only available to students who are leaving employment in the armed forces and who are normally resident in England.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q56 Made up of: 360 credits

This degree course is currently only available to students who are leaving employment in a technical role in the armed forces and are normally resident in England. There are no special academic requirements for Stages 1 and 2 of the course.

You'll need to register separately for Stage 3, which is the teacher training element of the degree. We offer places following a selection process designed to explore your suitability for teacher training and a teaching career. You'll also need to meet government requirements, which may change as a result of government decisions.

The current requirements are that you must:

  • be able to attend school placements in England
  • have GCSE grades A-C or equivalent in English language and mathematics by the time you begin the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) element of the degree *
  • show evidence in your application and at interview that you can communicate clearly and grammatically in written and spoken standard English
  • be subject to a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and have no convictions barring you from working with children or vulnerable people.

* you begin the ITE element at Stage 3. If you don't have GCSE mathematics, the compulsory modules you study at Stages 1 and 2 of this degree are an acceptable alternative. If you don't have GCSE English, most local FE colleges offer courses (ask at your local library), or you could study suitable OU modules - contact us for advice.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

Currently, physics is designated as a 'shortage subject' in teaching - so there's a high demand for well qualified physics teachers in schools. Successful completion of the BSc (Honours) Secondary Education in Physics leads to a recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) conferred by the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE).

The science modules that you'll study on this degree course will advance your subject knowledge, develop your problem-solving abilities and enhance your mathematical and communication skills. You'll also become adept at the use of IT for learning and communication.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The aim of this degree is to provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for teaching in physics in secondary schools.

This includes broad scientific knowledge to support teaching secondary school science at Key Stage 3, and a good basic foundation in physics and sufficient mathematics to support the teaching of physics to Advanced level in schools.

In particular, the degree aims to develop:

  • the professional knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes required to meet the Professional Standards for qualified teacher status
  • an informed and critical appreciation of relevant education policies, strategies, issues and research
  • a basis for a continuing interest in the physical sciences
  • an understanding of how scientific knowledge develops and an appreciation of the limits of knowledge in the physical sciences
  • the ability to learn independently and to improve your performance through critical reflection on your own practice.

Learning outcomes

The degree provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills, and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have acquired knowledge and understanding of sufficient science content to support the teaching of secondary school physics, including:

  • underlying concepts, principles and applications of physical science
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing scientific data and information in physical science
  • contributions made by physical science to informed debate, and some of the limits of current scientific knowledge
  • the knowledge and understanding required to meet the Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status
  • knowledge and understanding of relevant research, debates, concepts, and issues in education
  • a critical appreciation of relevant education strategies, policies and guidelines, and their implications for teachers in relation to improving learning.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • use and apply your knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories and of mathematical techniques relating to chosen areas in physical science
  • work with and evaluate scientific information and data, and make sound judgements that take account of scientific theories and concepts
  • apply critical thinking skills in relation to reviewing literature and reflecting on practice in education, in order to support personal and professional development.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree you will be able to:

  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques
  • locate, receive and respond to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical and computer-based)
  • demonstrate the skills and attributes required to meet the Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status
  • improve your performance through reflection on your own practice and critical evaluation of research and other literature.

Key skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • use ICT applications for information-retrieval, data analysis and communicating with others
  • conduct practical and investigative work in physical science in a responsible and safe manner, and be aware of the need for risk assessment
  • communicate ideas and scientific information accurately and effectively, using oral, written, visual and numerical forms, in a style that is appropriate for the purpose and for the audience
  • use appropriate techniques to manage your own learning and time, and be able to learn independently so that you can continue your personal and professional development after graduation.

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