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How essential is having a Masters for getting jobs in Secondary Science

Discussion in 'Science' started by Amountainside, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I was wondering whether I could get some advice. I have the option to study for a geology related Masters at UCL starting in September however this is a huge outlay of money (£10,000). I also have a place on a secondary science PGCE starting in September specialising in Chemistry (my undergraduate degree is Geology).
    How well are Masters viewed in the science profession? I remember from school that most of my teachers had a Masters or a PhD. Obviously it is cheap at the price if it leads to a more highly paid job and a more certain future. I would be aiming to get a head of department job at least in the future, so does not having a Masters/PhD really limit that. The Masters would I also add a huge amount of subject knowlegde as it would consist of a lot of physics, maths and programming. I know that as a geologist I can not only teach science but also geology and geography which I guess is appreciated by schools because I understand that now teachers have to teach more than one discipline. So in summary I'm wondering how much value a Masters will add in the future. I know a lot of it is about how good a teacher you are not about your academic background.
    Also are there any universities that a particularly respected to get a science PGCE from?
    All thoughts and suggestions are gratefully appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  2. Hi all,
    I was wondering whether I could get some advice. I have the option to study for a geology related Masters at UCL starting in September however this is a huge outlay of money (£10,000). I also have a place on a secondary science PGCE starting in September specialising in Chemistry (my undergraduate degree is Geology).
    How well are Masters viewed in the science profession? I remember from school that most of my teachers had a Masters or a PhD. Obviously it is cheap at the price if it leads to a more highly paid job and a more certain future. I would be aiming to get a head of department job at least in the future, so does not having a Masters/PhD really limit that. The Masters would I also add a huge amount of subject knowlegde as it would consist of a lot of physics, maths and programming. I know that as a geologist I can not only teach science but also geology and geography which I guess is appreciated by schools because I understand that now teachers have to teach more than one discipline. So in summary I'm wondering how much value a Masters will add in the future. I know a lot of it is about how good a teacher you are not about your academic background.
    Also are there any universities that a particularly respected to get a science PGCE from?
    All thoughts and suggestions are gratefully appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  3. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    You would be much better doing an OU chemistry or physics enhancement course, or even going on the enhancement courses lasting a few days offered by the Royal Society of Chemistry or Institute of Physics for non-specialists. I don't see how a geology masters would help at all for secondary science, and I can only assume you went to an independent or grammar school if most of your teachers had masters or PhD's. There was talk of all teachers having to do a masters as part of their training, but the people I know who are doing one (with HoD or senior management ambitions) are doing them by distance study in aspects of pedagogy, not further subject knowledge. In addition, the most academic teachers in the places I have worked in, are not necessarily HoD, which requires rather different skills.
    You would be surprised at the lack of basic understanding in physics and chemistry exhibited by a significant minority of secondary science teachers. If you have good A levels and a degree from a good uni, you are ahead of the game. Further academic qualifications would be more impressive at sixth form level, but a good chemistry department would want somebody with a chemistry degree, not geology masters.
     
  4. Warwick uni for the PGCE. A masters won't particularly help you unless it's in education.
     
  5. As stated above, most advanced subject knowledge will not be of use in schools - A level is still A level and I have used very very little of my degree knowledge in 37y of teaching; Masters would be even more esoteric.
    From the things you have quoted, what programming do you anticipate students doing? Many are unable to convert an excel spreadsheet into an appropriate graph.
    Also, as stated above, ensure your basic knowledge of the sciences is sound - I would ask a couple of "simple" extra questions at interview from someone whose primary degree is not in straight science. [​IMG]
    Good luck.
     
  6. To be honest.......... In most places they're not really too bothered. Good A-levels and a good degree from a good uni ideally, otherwise any degree and the pretence you can teach a bit of physics will do......... I assume you went to a fairly leafy school as that is not my experience of comprehensive schools. When I was at grammar school in the 90s there was only one PhD in the whole place.......
    Makes no difference to promotion, that's all about showing good results, motivating people, being prepared to sacrifice your life for a few extra £s. It may perhaps be useful if you were aiming to be an AST but they are being cut severely at the moment.
    Geography is an area which currently has an oversupply of teachers and geology is taught in ver few schools. Maths is a far better second specialism to offer........
    In summary I think you would probably be wasting your money and would be better off saving it perhaps for an educational related masters in the future or use it on some OU modules in maths of physics.
     

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