About the PhysTEC Noyce Scholarship

Who is eligible to apply for a PhysTEC Noyce scholarship?

Juniors or seniors majoring or minoring in physics (or completing a program of study deemed equivalent by the lead faculty member at your institution) at one of the six PhysTEC Noyce institutions are eligible for PhysTEC Noyce scholarships. In addition, anyone who is enrolled in a fifth-year or post-baccalaureate program for teacher certification or licensure at one of these institutions is eligible, provided this person has completed an undergraduate major or minor in physics. The PhysTEC Noyce institutions are Ball State University, Cornell University, University of Arkansas, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Seattle Pacific University, and Western Michigan University. Scholarship recipients must be U.S. citizens or nationals, or permanent resident aliens. In addition, all Noyce Scholars are required to have or be pursuing a major in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline.

When should I apply for a PhysTEC Noyce scholarship?

You should apply in the winter before the school year in which you wish to have the scholarship. In other words, if you wish to have scholarship support during your junior year, you will need to apply during the winter of your sophomore year. We are now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 academic year.

When can I begin using my scholarship?

The scholarship year begins in the fall semester or quarter of the year in which you apply.

Can I apply the scholarship to summer courses?

You can apply the scholarship to summer courses in the year after you are awarded the scholarship. In other words, if you are awarded a scholarship in 2014, and you have money left over from it after the Spring 2015 semester, you can apply this money to courses you take in Summer 2015.

How are scholarship recipients selected?

Scholarship recipients are selected by a committee of representatives from the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

How much scholarship support can I receive from the PhysTEC Noyce?

One-year scholarships are for a maximum of $15,000, or the full cost of attendance at your institution, whichever is less with a minimum award of $10,000. Current PhysTEC Noyce scholars may apply for a second one-year scholarship, and these applicants will receive priority over new applicants. Only one year of scholarship support may be applied to a fifth-year or post-baccalaureate program. A PhysTEC Noyce Scholar can receive a maximum of two years of scholarship support.

What can I use the scholarship for?

The scholarship can be used to pay the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board for an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate program.

How is the scholarship disbursed?

The scholarship will be paid in equal amounts each semester or quarter and will first go toward your bursar bill, i.e. what you owe the university. Any remaining amount will be sent to you as a check at the beginning of the semester or quarter.

What if I leave the program?

You will be required to refund the scholarship.

Am I required to get certified to teach?

Yes, you are required to obtain teacher certification or licensure.

How many years am I committing to teach if I accept a Noyce scholarship?

You are committing to teach two years in a high-need school for every year of Noyce support you receive.

What is a high-need school?

A high-need school is defined very broadly. A high-need school is any school in a district that has at least one school with a high fraction of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, a high teacher attrition rate, or a high rate of out-of-field teachers. In general we will use the definitions used by the NSF in the past, which are that a school must have 50% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, a 15% teacher attrition rate over the past three years, or a 34% out-of-field teaching rate. However, exceptions can be made to these benchmarks on a case-by-case basis, by petition. Examples of high-need districts near your university.

How long do I have to fulfill my teaching commitment?

You are expected to start your teaching commitment within two years of graduating from the program for which you received the scholarship.

Am I required to teach physics?

You are encouraged to teach physics or physical science, but we recognize that it can be difficult to find a position teaching physics, especially as a beginning teacher. You are only required to teach math or science.

What else am I committing to by accepting a Noyce scholarship?

You are committing to maintaining up-to-date contact information in the PhysTEC Noyce tracking database, to providing an annual certification of employment from the school where you are teaching, and to participating in program surveys and other data collection efforts. More detailed information can be found in the PhysTEC Noyce Scholar Agreement.

What if I don't complete my commitment?

If you don't fulfill your commitment in the time allotted, you will be required to refund your scholarship for the portion of the commitment you did not fulfill. The refund requirement can be waived in cases of extreme hardship or unusual circumstances, by petition only.

What other benefits do I get as a Noyce Scholar?

PhysTEC Noyce Scholars will receive travel funds to attend the national summer AAPT meeting after their first and second years of teaching. They will meet with the project leaders to discuss successes and challenges of teaching in a high-need school. Scholars will also be able to take advantage of the many high quality opportunities for professional development, including workshops from the Physics Teacher Resource Agent program, at the one-week conference. During their years of service in high need schools, Scholars will receive free AAPT membership and registration fee waivers for any national AAPT meeting.

What support will I get in the classroom?

The project leader at your institution is responsible for ensuring you have a mentor during your years of Noyce service teaching. Your mentor will keep in frequent touch with you and will visit your classroom if possible. In addition, PhysTEC operates a discussion forum for PhysTEC teachers and Teachers-in-Residence, and you will be invited to join this forum.

What if I have a terrible teaching experience?

APS and AAPT are committed to doing all they can to ensure that PhysTEC Noyce scholars have successful teaching experiences, but it is impossible to guarantee that you will find a great first teaching assignment. If you feel you cannot continue teaching at a particular school, you may find an alternate high-need school to work in.

Who funds the scholarships?

The Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). For more information, please see the NSF's page.

What is PhysTEC?

PhysTEC is a project to improve and promote the education of future physics and physical science teachers. It is a partnership led by the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, with support from the American Institute of Physics.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions about the specific program at your institution, please see the contact page.