How can I teach a graduate class on the basics of physics education research?

posted March 23, 2016 and revised May 14, 2020
by Sam McKagan, PhysPort Director


Several leaders in physics education research (PER) have put together "Intro to PER" courses for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. If you are teaching a course like this, this collection of course websites and syllabi contains lots of good ideas for what to do in your course:


  • The University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University offered a course on "Ten essential readings in physics education research”: instructor's guide
  • Kansas State University offers both a course on applying the results of PER to teaching, and a course on PER research methods: syllabus for Teaching University Physics and syllabus for Research Methods in Physics Education
  • Michigan State University has offered an intro to PER course: syllabus
  • The University of Colorado at Boulder regularly offers a course on teaching and learning physics: course website
  • The University of Maine has published two papers about their graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research: 2008 paper and 2011 paper.
  • The University of Maryland had a course on Teaching College Physics for Physicists in 2000, which is out of date, but interesting from a historical perspective: syllabus

Image ©University of the Fraser Valley via Flickr CCBY