Physics Education Research at CU-Boulder





Graduate Research with PER@CU

As recognized by the American Physical Society, physics education research is a growing and substantive new sub-discipline within physics. CU Boulder's program of study in PER will include: theoretical models of students learning physics, social and contextual foundations of student learning, examination of educational reforms, use of technology in physics education, assessment and problem-solving in physics.

At CU-Boulder, physics graduate students have the opportunity to conduct research into physics education with one of the country's largest groups. A number of faculty, staff, and graduate students work together on various projects.

Standard Coursework for a PhD with specialization in Physics Education Research:

In addition to taking the core-courses required of all physics grads (e.g. quantum I /II, mechanics, E/M I/II, Statistical Mechanics), students are required to pass the standard comprehensive exams (Comps I, II, and III), take at least 7 of the 10 graduate courses in the physics deparment, and take at least one course from each of the following four areas, and encouraged to consider other electives as discussed below.

I. Physics Education Research - Graduate course / seminar Teaching and Learning Physics -- to begin Fall '04

II. Foundational Theories of Cognition - survey and/or in depth course(s) from Psych, Cog. Sci, or Education hopefully to span the domains from neuro / AI / functionalist models, to cog. pscyh, to socio-cultural and critical theories

III. Methods (qualitative, ethnographic, quantitative) - again survey or possibly in depth from anthro, soc., psych, cog., education to see a variety of perspectives on data collection --- Expect this to be coupled with research project / actual data collection

IV Domain specific area to particular doctoral research (e.g. Human -Computer- Interaction, Assessment, Advanced Courses in Experimental Design)

(V. Stats --- it is expected that students can do this on their own)

We will emphasize coupling these courses with actual research projects that will contribute toward the dissertation --- or at least refining work toward their dissertation.