The Physics and Astronomy Education Group endeavors to improve teaching and learning at all levels. Graduate Students pursue a Ph.D. in physics with a principal research focus on science education. Students whose primary research is in other areas may pursue a minor in science education. Members in this group have extensive expertise in: improving learning in large lecture courses; research driven curriculum development; WWW-based instructional strategies; K-12 teacher education and authentic student assessment strategies and project evaluation. Working in this group prepares students for continuing research in the growing number of physics education groups across the country, working in public outreach, teaching at two and four year colleges and universities and for careers in educational material development. 

Graduate Education

  • Ph.D. in Physics Education
    The Physics Department at Montana State University offers a Ph.D. in Physics Education in which the normal course work and comprehensive requirements must be satisfied; the dissertation work is in the field physics education. Students in this program also have an important role in teaching our inquiry-based physics course for pre-service education students

  • Minor in Physics Education 
    Consistent with recommendations of the NSF report Shaping the Future, the department also supports a minor in physics education to "Provide opportunities for graduate students to learn about effective teaching strategies as part of their graduate education," and "Encourage and participate in research on learning." Students in this program pursue research in one of the traditional research groups but also take education courses, teach our inquiry-based physics course for pre-service education students and participate in education research and/or outreach programs

Resources For Education Research


Physics Faculty Participating in Physics Education Programs:

Nick Childs,  Ph.D

Assistant Teaching Professor

Phone: 406-994-7317

EPS Room 104, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

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Gregory E. Francis,  Ph.D


Phone: 406-994-6625

EPS Room 225, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

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Larry Kirkpatrick,  Ph.D

Professor Emeritus

Phone: 406-994-6182

EPS Room 203, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

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Shannon Willoughby,  Ph.D

Assistant Professor

Phone: 406-994-1673

EPS Room 224, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

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