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Graduate Certificate in Physics for Science Teachers

Program Description

This graduate certificate is designed for current qualified science teachers who would like to learn physics in order to be qualified to teach it. After taking this program teachers should be confident in their ability to present physics to high school students by being able to clearly explain core concepts and present interesting contexts for applications of the physics.

The program is entirely online. The first course is a contextualized introductory, entirely online unit that will serve as a general introduction to physics. The remaining three courses focus on giving school teachers a more in-depth understanding of some of the different branches of physics: mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal physics and modern physics. Lecture material for these course will be delivered online.

The courses in this graduate certificate are designed to be taken sequentially at a rate of one per semester, to cater for teachers with a full time job. It may be possible to complete the program in a year if students start the program in January. A good understanding of mathematics is needed for these courses including understanding of trigonometry and calculus.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

1 Students will be able to recognize and explain the importance of physics to objects and phenomena in the world round us; they will be able to use this knowledge to make physics interesting and relevant to high school physics students.

2 Students will be able to write down equations and draw diagrams and graphs to represent physical problems or situations, they will be able to solve these equations to make predictions about the physical situation.

3 Students will recognize, that physics is an experimental science, they will be able to plan and carry out experiments, they will be able to present their results to these experiments with a numerical uncertainty.

4 Students will have an in depth understanding of the fields of mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal physics and modern physics. They will be able to use this understanding to solve problems and also to clearly explain concepts to high school level students.

5 Students will recognize the universality and applicability of the laws of physics, such as conservation laws, and will be able to use these laws to approach novel situations and solve problems


PHYS9110 - Everyday Physics for Teachers (runs in UNSW term 3 and summer term)

PHYS9120 - Mechanics for Teachers (runs in UNSW term 1)

PHYS9130 - Electromagnetism for Teachers (runs in UNSW term 2)

PHYS9140 - Modern & Thermal Physics for Teachers (runs in UNSW term 3)

How to apply:

You can apply for this degree using the website . The program code you'll need is 7440. The closing date is expected to be sometime in November 2020 for the January 2021 intake (extensions on this date are not possible as the course starts early January). There are two intakes each year for the first course, PHYS9110,  it runs in term 3 and over the summer term in January.

Information about the latest fees are here (each course is 6 units of credit, postgraduate level):

Note: If you are a mathematics teacher who wants to qualify to teach physics you will also need to complete some teaching methods courses and a practicum. This can be done through the Graduate Certificate in teaching (7401) run by the School of Education.


Scholarships are available through the department of education to cover some of the cost of this graduate certificate. You can find out more about these scholarships using the links below. 

NESA accreditation:

You can apply for university courses to count towards your NESA accreditation hours. There is a form you can complete here:

Each unit of study (there are four units of study in this degree) counts as 120 hours. You can find out more details about this here:

For further information contact A/Prof Liz Angstmann: .