Teaching physics to non-physics majors: models extant in Australian universities


  • Les Kirkup
  • Dale Scott
  • Manjula Sharma


A key goal of the study entitled ‘Forging new directions in physics education at Australian universities’ granted funding by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education is to review service teaching being carried out nationally in Australian universities and to articulate what constitutes excellence in physics service teaching or, more generally, physics taught to non-physics majors. The project is national in its scope and involves physics academics from 22 Australian universities. This paper discusses the background to the study, possible drivers for change in teaching to non-physics majors, and proposes useful organisational models by which physics subjects may be categorised in which non-physics majors within Australian universities are enrolled. We also outline the directions of our future studies whose intentions include elaborating student expectations and experiences of physics subjects designed for non-physics majors.