How feasible would it be for a PhD student in physics (who is interested in teaching high school after their PhD) to receive a masters in education from the university they are receiving their PhD from?

I would think that at least during the first 2 years of a PhD program, before qualifying exams when you are taking courses and being a TA, this is in no way feasible.

What about if you had permission from your PhD research advisor to do so during the later years of your PhD, when you are only doing research and have less (or none if you're funded) TA duties?

How competitive would getting into the school's masters in education program be? I would think that being a PhD student there would help.

Would being a current PhD student help in receiving scholarships to alleviate the costs of the masters in education?

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    Most universities have significant restrictions on what you are allowed to do outside working on your PhD. At my university, this was limited to 10 hours per week, and even then it required approval. Pretty sure you can't fit a master's degree into 10 hours per week. You should consider finishing one degree before starting another.
    – puppetsock
    Jan 13, 2020 at 14:50
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    In the US, even with a MEd, you would still need to get credentialed sooner or later. Here's a brochure on what California offers.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 13, 2020 at 19:56
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    This is a classic example of something that depends on your institution's regulations and values. Identify your goals, and talk to the head of your program and the head of the education program about how to achieve those goals. Jan 14, 2020 at 0:45
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    My department would not have allowed me to register for those classes - they were paying me, and paying my tuition, and they were not paying for me to be taking those classes. (Sadly, this view also extended to the hotel school's class in wine tasting that we all wished we could take.)
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 14, 2020 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


Seems to me like a long shot. There are a lot of obstacles. But first, few secondary schools require a doctorate to teach. So, what is your real goal? The doctorate? Secondary teaching?

Next, you won't have much of a life if you try it. Think 80 hour weeks for a couple of years. A doctorate doesn't often get easier after you pass comps.

Just the scheduling will be an issue. If you are taking courses in two departments, they won't coordinate class times to make it easy for you.

But, perhaps, the biggest obstacle is fining an advisor who thinks it is a good idea. "Where is your commitment?"

As for being competitive for admission, I think it might be a minus. Again "Where is your commitment?"

Costs might be an issue or not. A doctoral student in the US normally has funding sufficient to live, but it normally comes with duties that take time. Tuition is normally waived. But it might not be for the other program.

But, it may be possible (just) if you want to completely set aside all other concerns for a couple of years. Hard, though.

Most secondary teachers with degrees in field, get their education credits over time through continuing education. It is the normal practice in the US. Finding time for a course or two in field-related pedagogy is a more modest goal, and more feasible. But still not essential, as few people actually do that in the US.

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    High schools might not require a doctorate to teach, but many of them would like to hire PhDs if they were able. I don't agree about commitment. Jan 14, 2020 at 0:46

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