IOP Teacher Training Scholarships

Scholarship applications for the 2021-22 training year are now closed. Please check back in the autumn. Details of the scholarship programme are below for your reference.

The IOP Scholarship programme for those training in the 2021-22 academic year has now closed and we are no longer accepting applications.

Information on the scholarships programme for those training in the 2022-23 academic year will be available in autumn 2021, so please watch this website for details then.

Sign up to our prospective teachers list for further updates.

Please note that the information below relates to the scholarship programme for the 2021-22 academic year and is retained for reference only.

Are you ready to be an inspiration for the physicists of tomorrow? Can you communicate complex ideas clearly and help students learn to explore and understand the world around them? If you become a physics teacher you can enjoy a varied, exciting and challenging career where you spark new discoveries every day and really make a difference.


  • Our free webinars give you a chance to learn more about the scholarships and what it’s like to teach physics. Future sessions will be listed here.

The IOP Scholarship includes:

  • Funding of £26,000 (tax free);
  • Support to develop your physics teaching skills including online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops;
  • The benefits of IOP membership for your training year.

Scholarship applications for those training in the 2021-22 academic year have now closed.

Why apply?

Every scholar receives £26,000 tax-free funding. But it's not just about the money. As an IOP scholar you have access to a full package of support and benefits.

Benefits of being an IOP scholar

Whilst we appreciate this will be online for the time being, our feedback so far is that scholars find our benefits invaluable during their training year.

As an IOP scholar you'll:

  • Be part of an exclusive, like-minded community

    There'll be opportunities throughout your training year to get involved with the scholar community, interact and network with your fellow scholars via online events, share ideas and draw on support.
  • Have access to physics teaching workshops

    We'll keep you informed of online events taking place throughout the year helping you develop additional physics teaching skills. You'll be invited to online workshops where you can learn from experienced physics teachers and network virtually with your peers.
  • Enjoy 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 online meetings and free journal downloads.
  • Value the prestige of being an IOP scholar

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

“The IOP scholarship offers several benefits for a trainee teacher and looks impressive when applying for training programmes and jobs in the future”

– Franceska, IOP Scholar

Are you eligible?

If you have the academic and personal qualities with the ability to communicate clearly and inspire others, enabling you to excel as a physics teacher, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship.

However, it is crucial that you read the following eligibility criteria carefully before you apply for a scholarship. If in doubt, please contact us on 020 7470 4959 or [email protected] before you submit your application, and our team will be happy to assist with your query.

In summary, to apply for a scholarship you need:

    • a physics or related degree.
    • an excellent academic record, with a first or 2:1 degree (proven or predicted). If you have a 2:2 degree, we will consider your application if you have significant relevant experience or a master's degree, PhD or recognised equivalent.
    • a physics A-level or equivalent (grade C or above) is desirable.
  1. by September 2021, secure your training place on an eligible university-led, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) or school-led (fee-based, non-salaried) physics or physics with maths initial teacher training (ITT) course in England for the 2021-2022 academic year. The training place must have been allocated in accordance with the ITT allocations methodology for the 2021-2022 academic year and must be delivered by an institution accredited by the Department for Education (DfE) as an ITT provider. Additionally, eligible courses lead, upon completion, to a recommendation, on behalf of the trainee, for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).
  2. be entitled to support under the Student Finance England criteria.

“The financial incentive has been a big help in my training year. However, what has really helped me is growing my awareness of the fantastic resources the IOP has to offer teachers. IOPSpark has been a life-saver this year, particularly in addressing students’ misconceptions”

– Daniel, IOP Scholar

How to apply

To be successful in becoming an IOP scholar means excelling at two levels:

  • Submitting an application that demonstrates your passion for physics and a commitment to teaching;
  • Demonstrating your outstanding subject knowledge.

Before you apply, we advise making a start on your teacher training application. We recommend you use the DfE’s Find service to explore possible courses and then apply via UCAS or the DfE's ‘Apply for Teacher Training’ service. You should also register with the DfE's ‘Get into Teaching’ free support and advice service.

If you think you're eligible for the scholarship, here's what you will need for your application:

  • Have your academic qualifications to hand

    You will need to list these in your application. If you have an oversees degree, please contact NARIC to arrange for an equivalency certificate that can be uploaded with your application. Further advice and guidance can be obtained through the DfE helpline on 0800 389 2500.
  • Provide contact details for a suitable referee

    As part of your application you'll be asked to provide the contact details of a suitable referee. If you have graduated in the past three years, this should be an academic referee (e.g. 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 as part of the application so 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. BBC Bitesize can also provide you with some help.

“The financial scholarship funding is a massive help to sustain myself whilst studying full time because it allows me to be 100% financially independent”

– María, IOP Scholar

Scholarship applications for those training in the 2021-22 academic year have now closed.

Make your application stand out

We are looking for two main things in your application: evidence of your outstanding subject knowledge and evidence that you are passionate about physics and 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 physics and what experience you have

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.

In the personal statements section of the application you will be asked to complete two short statements covering your motivations, skills and attributes together with details of relevant experience. Two further questions will ask you about how you would deal with certain challenges in the classroom. You can save and return to the application so it doesn't have to be completed in a single session.

3. School experience

Some time spent in a secondary school can help to enhance your scholarship application. 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 be 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 contact by phone a practising physics teacher in an English secondary school. You could even contact your own school, they may be willing to guide your career choice as a former student.

“The main advantage [of the scholarship] is all of the professional development opportunities, which have given me the chance to fully engage with physics teaching at this crucial time of my career”

– Aiden, IOP Scholar

Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses

If you have a degree in a different subject such as engineering, maths, chemistry or biology, these courses may be ideal for you.

Physics Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses will be running from January 2021. If you feel you may need to take an SKE course, we recommend getting your teacher training application in early. Your training provider will determine if an SKE course is needed and will make you an offer conditional on its completion.

We suggest waiting until close to the end of the SKE course before submitting your IOP scholarship application, as this will give you the best opportunity to demonstrate your strengthened subject knowledge. Please keep in touch with us through [email protected] to let us know if you are or will be undertaking an SKE course and that you intend to apply for a scholarship.

What happens after I apply?

If your online application is shortlisted, it will be reviewed by a panel of IOP staff including experienced physics teachers. You will also be asked to complete a further online subject knowledge test based on school-level physics up to and including A-level. Successfully passing this test, the receipt of a suitable reference and gaining a recommendation from the shortlisting panel will lead to a scholarship offer.

The IOP reserves the right to request candidates attend an online interview should the panel deem this necessary.

Scholarship applications for those training in the 2021-22 academic year have now closed.

Your questions answered

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

The criteria for funding of scholarships matches the criteria set by the Department for Education (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.

For information on eligibility for funding please visit the UK government Student Finance website. You will be asked to confirm your eligibility for student finance on the scholarship application form.

Teacher training providers and the Get into Teaching service can both help and advise on matters of funding eligibility.

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

Yes, providing your degree is equivalent to the UK degree requirements stated above. You should obtain a certificate of equivalence from NARIC prior to applying. The Get into Teaching service can help with this and may cover the cost of the certificate, depending on your circumstances.

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).

I graduated some time ago. Does this matter?

Not at all, your experiences since graduating could be very valuable to becoming a teacher. Make sure you highlight your relevant transferable skills on your application. Think about how your life experiences and your career history to date can benefit students’ perception of how physics makes the world around them work. What could you bring into a classroom to help them make that ‘light bulb’ connection moment?

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, it's only one or the other.

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 pro-rated 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.

When can I apply?

Scholarship applications for those training in the 2021-22 academic year have now closed.

Once I submit my application, how long typically will it take until I hear back from the IOP?

We aim to respond to all applicants via email within four weeks after the deadline has closed for the scholarship round in which you applied.

Who funds the scholarship?

We recommend candidates to the Department for Education (DfE), which 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.

If I am unsuccessful, can I reapply?

No, you cannot reapply in the current application year.

Contact us

If you need any further information or would like an informal chat, please email us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)20 7470 4959. You can also sign up to our prospective teachers list for further updates.

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