The 5+ Club Endorsed SiteThe 5+ Club Endorsed Site Rutgers University

Endorsed Site Contacts

Charles Keeton
Chaz Ruggieri
Eugenia Etkina
Gorazd Planinsic
James Flakker
Kathleen Scott
Mary Emenike
Michael Gentile
Robert Zisk

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Physics with fizz
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Nov. 15, 2010
Rutgers is one of the top producers of physics teachers, thanks to a professor who doesn't believe in "teach" or "lecture." Read the article

The 2019 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year is a graduate of Rutgers University.

Rutgers University has two physics teacher preparation programs: a 5-year M. Ed. + physics teaching certificate and a post baccalaureate M. Ed. + physics teaching certificate. Both are 45-credit programs.

Specifically, out of the 45 credit hours that are required by the Rutgers Ed.M. degree, we dedicate 18 hours to course work that relates to the teaching of physics/physical science (physics-specific pedagogy courses) and 6 credit hours to upper division (300-400) physics courses. Physics-specific pedagogy courses are the courses that are designed specifically for physics teachers, not all science teachers. The remaining credits include 12 credit hours of general education courses and 9 credit hours of student teaching internship. Description of the course work for each program can be found at and the details of the preparation of physical science teachers are provided in Etkina, E. (2010). Pedagogical content knowledge and preparation of high school physics teachers. Physical Review Special Topics Physics Education Research, 6, 020110 and in Etkina, E. (2011). Pedagogical content knowledge and preparation of physics teachers in a peer-refereed book Teacher Education in Physics, Meltzer, D. and Shaffer, P., Editors, American Physical Society, 103-128.

In addition to coursework, the students teach as lab and recitation instructors in reformed introductory physics courses during three semesters in the program (the fourth semester they spend doing student teaching).

It is important to note that students study in cohorts – they take all physical science methods courses together, teach together in the introductory courses, simultaneously do student teaching, and look for jobs. Being in the same courses with each other for two years helps build a community that later self-supports itself when the graduates start teaching.

Coursework in which students learn how to teach physics (each course is a 3 credit course):

Development of ideas in physical science - Future physics teachers learn how physicists developed the ideas and laws that are a part of high school physics curriculum and how student learning resembles scientists' grappling.

Teaching physical science – Future physics teachers learn to design lessons and units to promote learning though inquiry and active construction of knowledge and to assess conceptual understanding, reasoning, and process understanding as opposed to factual knowledge in every unit of high school curriculum.

Engineering education - Future physics teachers learn how bring engineering problems and approaches into their physics lessons.

Teaching internship seminar - Future physics teachers learn how to implement everything learned above in a real classroom and how to face teaching reality.

Multiple representation in physical science - Future teachers learn how to engage students in meaningful, expert-like problem solving.

For the past 10 years the program has been producing 5-7 physics teachers every year.

Information about the program and course syllabi can be obtained from Eugenia Etkina at


Rutgers named a PhysTEC Local Teacher of the Year in 2017 and 2018; in 2018 their nominee was selected as the National PhysTEC Teacher of the Year

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