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University-led teacher training

Training to teach physics with a university provider will lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education / Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

I don’t have a degree

If you don’t have a degree there are two options you could consider:

  1. start a non-teaching degree in physics or a related subject and then enrol in a postgraduate training course; or
  2. start a degree course that also gives you QTS.

Non-teaching degree

You can decide to take a non-teaching degree in physics or a related subject and then take a postgraduate teacher training course.

You can choose to qualify as a teacher via a university-based course or via school-based training.

Information on postgraduate university-based training is below or see our section on school-based training to find out more.

A degree with QTS

Some higher-education institutions provide physics with QTS courses for undergraduates, also known as physics with education or physics with teacher training courses. These courses embed education material and school experience within the physics course, giving you the subject knowledge and skills to teach physics.


Three or four years full time.


This course will normally lead to a BSc with QTS or a BEd.


  • If you’re a home student you will be eligible for a student loan and maintenance on your first higher-education course.
  • Physics with QTS undergraduates can also access a £9,000 bursary in their final year of university.
  • As an undergraduate you might also be eligible for the Future Teaching Scholars programme, which provides a £15,000 grant and a guaranteed place on a salaried teacher training course after graduation. Find out more at Future Teaching Scholars.


Applications for both school- and university-led training are made through the Department for Education’s ‘Apply’ service.

I already have a degree

If you already have an undergraduate degree in physics or a relevant subject you can choose to do postgraduate university-led training in a higher-education institution (HEI) leading to a PGCE.

A PGCE course is a mixture of training based at a HEI and at least 24 weeks teaching in schools, usually carried out as two placements in different schools. A PGCE course can also be called a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipED or PGDE).

There are two university-led programmes:

  • physics with science – biology and chemistry; and
  • physics with maths – maths replaces the biology and chemistry content. This option could appeal to you if you have a mathematical physics or engineering background, or simply prefer maths to the other sciences.

Whether you choose physics with science or physics with maths, remember that 'with' denotes a subsidiary subject and your teaching specialism will be physics.


One year full time or two years part time although some initial teacher training providers offer more-flexible courses.


A university-led course will lead to QTS and a PGCE/PGDE.


UK-resident students could be eligible for:

  • a training bursary for the 2022/23 academic year of up to £24,000 tax-free. Bursaries are paid by your initial teacher education (ITE) provider during your course. Full details regarding bursary eligibility are available from Get into Teaching.
  • an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship for those undertaking a physics teacher training course with an accredited provider. We have 175 scholarships available providing £29,000 tax-free funding and IOP support. 

Please note, you will be charged tuition fees by your ITE provider. UK students may be eligible for a loan to cover the cost. More information about tuition fee loans can be found on the student finance website.


Applications for both school- and university-led training are made through the Department for Education’s ‘Apply’ service. You are required to submit a personal statement and details of your academic and work experience. Get into Teaching has some helpful suggestions on how to make a good application.

If it’s getting late in the year all is not lost. The shortage of physics teachers means there are places available for latecomers. If you find yourself in a situation where you would like to apply for a course starting soon, we recommend contacting your chosen ITT provider prior to submitting your application. This enables you to explain your situation and can help to speed up the process.

Joe’s PGCE story

“I have chosen to become a teacher because my physics teacher was the most inspirational teacher I have ever met. He introduced me to the world of physics and engrossed me into its abundance of fascinating information and knowledge. As a result I have completed a PGCE in physics with maths via a university-led training course.

“The training year just seems to fly by! Not only do you make friends with the staff within your placement schools but the highlight for me was also the amount of new peers you make. I believe that, due to being a large cohort of people all going through the same tough year, the bonds you make with these new peers are ones that will last a long time.

“Attaining an IOP Scholarship provided me with a lot of self-confidence as a teacher – knowing that the IOP had faith in my ability to teach the next generation was incredibly motivating. The scholarship also gave me great pride to be taking this career path and was very valuable when applying for employment.”

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IOP events

The IOP hosts a programme of events for the physics community across the UK and Ireland