Physics Lecturer Job Description

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Jan 09 2023

As a physics lecturer, you’ll get to teach the next generation about the wonders of physics, as well as conducting research into your chosen specialism. Conversing with students about physics and helping them understand complex topics is an incredibly fulfilling career!


What is a physics lecturer?

A physics lecturer researches and teaches physics to students. Although you might just think physics lecturers work at public universities, they can also work at higher education colleges, private sector universities, and specialised science schools. When you’re not lecturing, you’ll spend time conducting research into an area of physics that interests you.

Should I become a physics lecturer or a physics teacher?

It can be difficult to decide which of these teaching options suit you. Becoming a physics teacher (teaching in secondary schools) requires fewer qualifications than becoming a lecturer. While physics teachers need a higher education qualification followed by a teaching qualification or apprenticeship, physics lecturers typically need a degree, a master’s or PhD and a teaching qualification or apprenticeship. Bear in mind that there is financial support available for those interested in pursuing postgraduate study.

One thing to consider is the age group of students you’d like to teach. Secondary school teachers teach students aged 11-18, while physics lecturers teach adults. Physics lecturers have the advantage of teaching students who are passionate about physics and have chosen to study the subject at the highest level, while many school students may not be as interested in physics. However, becoming a physics teacher allows you to inspire the next generation to pursue physics, and watching the excitement of students is incredibly fulfilling. Overall, it depends on your own personal preferences. 

What are the typical responsibilities?

General responsibilities of a physics lecturer include: designing teaching materials, teaching students via lectures, seminars and practicals, writing and marking homework and exams, providing professional and personal support to students and supervising and carrying out research.

What skills do I need to become a physics lecturer?

To become a physics lecturer, written and verbal communication skills are paramount, to design lectures and assignments, and communicate effectively with your students. Compassion and understanding is also important, to provide support to your students. Research and analytical skills are needed, to conduct your own research and help students conduct their own research.

How do I become a physics lecturer?

To become a physics lecturer, you’ll typically need a higher education qualification or a degree in physics. You’ll also need to have a postgraduate master’s or PhD qualification, or be working towards one. Many lecturers have had academic work published, but this is not a requirement. An apprenticeship like the Academic Professional (Level 7) one will provide you with paid work experience and free training on higher education teaching. Note that although physics lecturers need a number of qualifications, there is financial support (loans and grants) available that will reduce the burden.