Education Programs

APS pursues a number of projects to advance physics education and improve diversity.  A small snapshot of these programs is provided here, but if questions arise, please contact Ted Hodapp, Director of Education and Diversity (

Education Programs 

  • PhysTEC – The Physics Teacher Education Coalition is a project of the APS and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) to increase the number of highly-qualified high school physics teachers in the US.  Currently, fewer than half of all high school physics teachers have any significant background in physics. The project now links more than 300 institutions, holds an annual conference, and funds key programs around the country to address this significant shortage. 
  • Prize for improving physics departments – The APS Committee on Education awards an annual prize to physics departments who have worked to improve their program.  The honor helps recognize significant innovation and concerted efforts by departments to improve their offerings ( 
  • New Faculty Workshop – The APS, AAPT, and American Astronomical Society (AAS) jointly run the NSF-funded New Faculty Workshop (NFW).  These 3-day events, held twice each year now, reach nearly half of all new physics and astronomy faculty in the US.  The program features leaders in education, and helps new faculty improve their teaching and understand and cope with demands on their time. 
  • Graduate Education Conference – In February 2017, the APS will host a conference on graduate education in conjunction with the APS Bridge Program to bring physics department leadership together to share ideas, hear about innovations in graduate education, and host discussions on common issues such as candidacy exam structure, curriculum, professional development for students, and graduate admissions practices.   

Women & Minority Programs 

  • APS Bridge Program – To increase the number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) who receive PhDs (currently only about 6% of all domestic PhDs), the APS received NSF funding in 2012 to create bridge programs at universities throughout the country.  The APS gathers applications from URM students and has established six such sites.  In addition, applications from these students are circulated to graduate programs throughout the country to increase the chances of matching talented students with available program spots.  The program has greatly exceeded its goal of 10 students placed each year and will likely place more than 30 in 2016 – the number needed to bring the fraction of URM PhDs up to the fraction of undergraduate URMs receiving bachelor's degrees in physics in the US. 
  • APS CUWiP – The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics host nine simultaneous conferences throughout the US each year with the aim of increasing participation of women in physics by reducing isolation and providing professional development to female physics majors. In its 11th year, the conferences now reach nearly every woman who will receive a bachelor’s degree in physics in the US prior to their graduation.
  • NMC – The APS National Mentoring Community is a new initiative to provide local faculty mentors to URM undergraduates.  Students have indicated the need to receive guidance throughout their academic career to succeed in physics. This program is reaching out to faculty throughout the country to ask them to mentor a single student.  APS is providing resources to support this through travel funding, an annual meeting on mentoring and professional development for students, and eventually recognition for mentors and scholarship funds for students in financial need.

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