IOP Teacher Training Scholarships

The IOP Scholarship programme for the 2020-21 academic year has now closed and we are no longer accepting applications.

Please sign up to our prospective teacher email list for further updates.

If you have any queries, please email or call 020 7470 4959.

The scholarship includes:

  • a set level of funding 
  • support to develop your physics teaching skills including online CPD workshops and masterclasses
  • following qualification, eligible physics teachers will receive an additional sum paid across the first four years of their careers, on top of their salaries. Read the Department for Education's guidance and eligibility regarding early career payments

Why apply?

Every scholar receives a set sum of tax-free funding. But it's not just about the money. As an IOP scholar you have access to an exclusive package of support and benefits not available through any other physics teacher funding source.

Text saying the financial and intellectual support IOP provides is invaluable.

Benefits of being an IOP Scholar

Two women doing a balloon experiment

Image: Masterclass National Space Centre 2019

As an IOP scholar you have access to an exclusive package of support and benefits not available through any other physics teacher funding source.

  1. You'll be part of an exclusive, like-minded community
    There'll be formal and informal opportunities throughout your training year to get involved with the scholar community, interact with your fellow scholars, share ideas and draw on support.

  2. Masterclasses
    You will be invited to a series of masterclasses taking place at education and science-related venues across the country, should COVID-19 regulations allow this. Otherwise the masterclasses will be held online. This will demonstrate how you could deliver an educational trip to that venue with your future pupils, and introduce you to physics teaching ideas beyond the curriculum.

  3. Physics teaching workshops
    We'll keep you informed of events taking place throughout the year helping you develop additional physics teaching skills. You'll be invited to workshops where you can learn from experienced physics teachers and network with your peers. These workshops will take place either in-person, should COVID-19 regulations apply, or online.

  4. Free IOP membership for your training year
    All scholars are welcomed into the IOP community and awarded the benefits that all IOP members enjoy. This includes full access to our in-house magazine Physics World, invitations to local branch meetings and free journal downloads.

  5. The prestige of being an IOP Scholar
    Putting ‘IOP Scholar’ on your CV is a great achievement and a great attraction for any future employer. It shows you have gone the extra mile in your journey to becoming a teacher.

Are you eligible?

If you think you have the academic and personal qualities that will enable you to excel as a physics teacher, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship.

Please read the following eligibility criteria carefully before you apply for a scholarship in the future.

If in doubt, please contact us on 020 7470 4959 or before you submit your application.

To apply for a scholarship you must:

  1. Be classified as a ‘home’ student. Refer to the UKCISA website for full details.
  2. Meet the bursary eligibility criteria as set out by the Department for Education.

Eligibility FAQs

I come from a country outside of the EU. Can I apply?

The criteria for funding of scholarships matches the criteria set by the DfE for all training bursary funding. You will need to be qualified as a home student for the purpose of paying tuition fees by your training provider.

One way in which you can be classified as a home student is by having been resident in the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the past three years and having the right to live in the UK or EEA without any visa restrictions. For full details, visit the UKCISA website.

I have an overseas degree. Am I able to apply?

Yes, providing your degree is equivalent to the UK degree requirements stated above. You may want to clarify your qualifications with NARIC prior to applying.

Do I need a physics degree?

No, however, you are very unlikely to be given a place on a course unless your degree contains sufficient physics content (examples include engineering, sports science or astronomy), or you have undertaken a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course in physics.

I graduated some time ago. Does this matter?

Not at all, your experiences since graduating could be very valuable to becoming a teacher.

I’m not due to graduate until later in the year. Can I still apply?

Yes you can, providing your predicted grade is a 2.1 or above.

Will I also get the government's training bursary?

No. If you are awarded a scholarship it will be instead of the government training bursary.

Can I apply if I want to do a part-time training course?

Yes. The scholarship support you receive will be the same but your payments will be spread over the duration of your course.

Can I apply if I want to do a salaried training course?

No. You are only eligible for a scholarship if you are intending to enrol on an unsalaried training course.

I am going to be training to teach in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Can I apply?

No. IOP Scholarships can only be awarded to those training to teach in England. Please follow the links for more information if you will be training to teach in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

I don’t want to start training until later. Can I defer my application?

No. We cannot defer applications.

I am taking a teacher training course that leads to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS), not QTS. Can I apply?

No. You must secure a place on a secondary teacher training course that leads to QTS.

Text saying the scholarship has given me a huge confidence boost.


    If you think you're eligible for the scholarship, here's what you will need for your application at a time when you can apply.

    • Have your academic qualifications to hand
      You will need to list these in your application.

    • Provide contact details for a suitable reference
      As part of your application you'll be asked to provide the contact details of a suitable referee. The strongest references mention your people skills, suitability to teach and any relevant experience you might have.

      If you have graduated in the past three years or are on an SKE course, this should be an academic referee (eg a course tutor). Otherwise, the referee must be a suitable professional individual. Please note we can only take academic references from university or higher education contacts, not high school.

    • You will be asked to take a short online subject knowledge test
      Make sure your subject knowledge is strong.

      You can use our IOPSpark resources to help familiarise yourself with the topics covered in the school curriculum. The BBC Bitesize website can also provide you with some help. Furthermore, you could be eligible for a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course if you think that you need more support.

    Man and woman conducting a physics experiment

    Image: Masterclass National Space Centre 2019

    Make your application stand out

    We are looking for two main things in your application: evidence of your subject knowledge and evidence that you are committed to a career in teaching.

    1. Don’t rush your application
      Give yourself sufficient time to fill in your application form. We read your application form eagerly to find out as much as possible about you. It is essential you answer the questions well, providing all the information requested and within the word limits. Spelling and grammar are also important to help your application.

    2. Tell us why you want to teach
      Use the application form to tell us exactly why you want to teach physics and what relevant skills you have. Whether it was down to an inspirational physics teacher at school or a lifelong interest in physics education, we want to know exactly what’s motivating you to start a career in the classroom. We will also ask you about this at the assessment day.

    3. Get some school experience
      It is important to spend some time in a secondary school before you apply for a scholarship. You can arrange this through the Get into Teaching website. You'll have the opportunity to tell us about your school experience and other relevant experience in your application.

      We recognise that, due to the current situation you may not have been able to obtain face-to-face school experience, we would advise if possible getting in contact with a school of your choice or your teacher training provider and requesting to be able to contact by phone a practising physics teacher in an English Secondary school.

    Prepare for your online interview

    Practice your interview questions. We will send you some physics questions a few days before the assessment day. We will be assessing your subject knowledge and the clarity of your explanations to these questions in the interview. We want to find out how well you can explain physics to 11 to 18-year-olds. Try using some imaginative descriptions. You will be able draw and show pre-prepared diagrams on camera and props are allowed.

    Application FAQs

    When can I apply?

    We do not have dates for future scholarships as yet.

    What happens after I submit my application?

    We will notify you by email about two and a half weeks after the scholarship application deadline and if your application is shortlisted you will be invited to attend an assessment day with other candidates. It's a good idea to get some school experience before attending the assessment day.

    We appreciate schools have been closed recently, so any relevant talks with teachers or experience you have had is worth noting.

    Do I need to submit my teacher training application through UCAS before I apply for a scholarship?

    No. You can apply for an IOP scholarship before or after you have applied for your teacher training place.

    I am currently on a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course as part of a conditional offer. Should I apply for a scholarship now or wait until I’ve completed it?

    You can apply at any time but we will assess your subject knowledge so you may prefer to wait until you have completed or at least started your SKE course. You can always express your intention of applying by emailing us at Keep an eye on the deadline dates.

    How and when will I know if I’m successful?

    If you are to be awarded a scholarship you will be notified shortly after attending the assessment day. You will need to secure a place on an eligible training course in order for the scholarship to be validated.

    Who funds the scholarship?

    We recommend candidates to the Department for Education, who is responsible for funding the award.

    How will the scholarship be paid?

    If you’re enrolled on a non-salaried postgraduate course and meet the eligibility criteria, you will begin receiving payments automatically from your chosen teacher training provider when you begin your course. Get into Teaching has further details on how you will be paid.

    How do I access the early career payments?

    Details of eligibility and how to apply for the payments.

    What happens after I apply?

    If your online application is shortlisted, we will invite you to attend an assessment day.

    We will adhere to Government guidelines of course. In ‘normal’ times you would be invited to attend at our London office, however during COVID-19 we have been holding assessment days online, which has proved successful.

    If you are successful at the assessment day, we will recommend you for a scholarship.

    Assessment day

    At the assessment day you will:

    • sit a written test
    • take part in a small group discussion
    • attend a panel interview

    If you are successful at the assessment day, we'll recommend you for a scholarship.

    Next steps

    Scholarship funding FAQs 

    Who gives me the IOP scholarship funding? How often will I be paid and when will my payments start and end?

    Your funding does not come through the IOP. It is paid directly to your training provider by the Department for Education (DfE). Your training provider then passes this funding on to you through the funding mechanisms you arrange with them. Your training provider will set the payment schedule and will confirm this with you before you start your training.

    What do I need to do to arrange my scholarship funding being paid?

    You just need to inform your training provider that you have a scholarship from the Institute of Physics. We’ll provide you with a letter of proof for your scholarship award to give to your training provider. Your training provider will then organise the funding from the DfE.

    If I have any problems with my scholarship funding, who do I speak to?

    In the first instance you should talk to your training provider. They request the funding from the DfE and schedule the payments with you, so they should be your first port of call with regard to payments.

    Who will pay my tuition fees? Is it taken automatically out of my scholarship funding or will I have to arrange my tuition fee payments?

    You will need to talk to your training provider about paying your fees. Both your scholarship funding and student loan (if you have one) will go through the training provider first. The provider should inform you at the start of your training how this funding will be used for fees or passed on to you.

    I am studying part-time. How often is my scholarship going to be given to me? When will it stop?

    If you are a part-time student the funding you receive will be the same as a trainee on a one year course. Your training provider will discuss with you the payment schedule, which will be provided over the length of the course. Most providers will spread funding evenly throughout your course and funding will stop if you withdraw from training or once you have completed your training.

    I have decided to end my studies. Do I have to pay back my scholarship funding?

    If you withdraw from your studies your training provider will discuss with you the reasons for your withdrawal and funding will stop as soon as you withdraw from the programme. Currently you do not need to pay back any funding you have received if you withdraw from the programme early. As payments are spread throughout the year only those that complete their teacher training will receive the full funding amount.

    Further information

    If you need any further information or would like an informal chat, please email us or call +44 (0)20 7470 4959. 

    Please read our full privacy notice.

    Four people balancing a large globe of the world on their heads.

    Image: Masterclass National Space Centre 2019


    IOP teacher training scholarships icon
    Funded by department for education icon