Faculty of Mathematics, Physics
and Informatics
Comenius University Bratislava

Physics Education

Doctoral Degree Program




full time / external

Usual duration:

full time form 4 years, external form 5 years

Language of courses:


Program director:

doc. RNDr. Peter Demkanin, PhD.


doc. PaedDr. Klára Velmovská, PhD.
doc. PaedDr. Viera Haverlíková, PhD.
doc. PaedDr. Mária Slavíčková, PhD.
doc. RNDr. František Kundracik, CSc.

Related study programs: master's degree programs Teaching Physics in combination

Description of the Study Program

A graduate of the third degree of university studies in the field of physics, the study program Theory of Physics Education is capable of independent scientific work in the area. He/she has, in particular, the following characteristics: 

  • He/she has extensive knowledge of several areas of physics and learning sciences (pedagogy, educational psychology). He/she can use it as a starting point for the design and implementation of research and development and the creation of new knowledge in the areas of formal, non-formal, and informal physics cognition.
  • He/she knows selected areas of the history of physics education theory, methodology of pedagogy, and educational psychology and selected directions of current developments in these areas.
  • He/she has practical experience with scientific work in learning sciences (educational psychology, pedagogy) and knows specific scientific research methods in physics. 
  • He/she can formulate research areas, research questions, hypotheses, and research strategies in the physics cognition processes of primary and secondary school students and undergraduate students.
  • He/she knows the standards, principles, and methods of scientific work in the field of pedagogical research.
  • He/she can communicate effectively with experts in several specific areas of physics and with experts in pedagogy, educational psychology, and sociology, and use professional terminology in this communication. 
  • He/she can conduct scientific communication in at least one world language. 
  • As part of his/her research, he/she can communicate effectively with primary and secondary school teachers and students.
  • He/she can work in the pedagogical process actively. He/she has the qualifications required for a pedagogical employee.
  • He/she can present selected research results to teachers of physics and other science subjects and experts in primary and secondary school management.
  • He/she can communicate physics knowledge and processes of physics knowledge to the general public.
  • In his/her work, he/she considers the social, scientific, ethical, economic, legal, and environmental aspects of his/her work.
  • He/she has experience presenting the processes and results of his/her work to the professional community in Slovakia and abroad.
  • He/she qualifies to perform the work activity of a pedagogical employee in the category of a teacher (secondary or primary school).

What to Expect

The study program Theory of Physics Education consists of three main parts - study, scientific and pedagogical and takes place according to an individual study plan compiled by the tutor and approved by the study program board. The study part includes an individual study of literature related to the topic of the dissertation. The selection of this literature proceeds in consultation with the student and the tutor.

The students should improve their ability to communicate, both in writing and orally, in English. They complete a two-semester English language course for doctoral students in the range of usually two semesters (minimum one semester), implemented at several levels of initial knowledge.

Obligatory-optional courses represent the development of the student's knowledge in areas broader than the focus of the dissertation topic. The composition of obligatory-optional courses aims to enable students in cooperation with the teachers of these courses to develop their skills in orientation in current theories related to the theory of physics education. Also, they develop skills to understand scientific articles in the field, ask questions and formulate research problems. The student chooses at least five courses from the offer of approximately twice that number. The student is expected to complete these courses in the first four semesters of study. Each of these courses is realized in the form of a 3-hour full-time class and independent work of students with scientific literature and work in the school physics laboratory. The selection of courses ensures the development of students in the field of theories of science and education, growth in planning methods and organizational forms of education and methodology of educational sciences, pedagogical diagnostics, didactic analysis of physics education, preparation of textbooks, and other multimedia digital educational objects, methodological materials and also popular science articles, and also in the field of current physics research.

At the beginning of the 4th semester, the student submits a written work for the dissertation exam, and during this semester defends the thesis and passes the dissertation exam.

From the 5th semester, the student focuses on his scientific work. First, by defending the research plans presented in the dissertation exam, the student is ready to implement these plans. Then, in cooperation with the tutor and other employees and classmates, he presents the partial results of the work to the professional public. The condition for the minimum number of credits in this block guarantees that the student will gain experience in presenting partial results of their work orally and in written form to domestic and international audiences.

The student's pedagogical skills are developed by his/her involvement in bachelor's degree teaching. The student's direct pedagogical activity is usually realized from the 1st to the 7th semester of study, in the range of 4 hours per week. The student usually submits the dissertation in the middle of the 8th semester.

Graduates' Career Opportunities

Graduates of the study program have found employment as university teachers, as leaders in secondary and primary schools, at NIE. Some graduates have also found a career in adult education in non-educational organizations.

Graduates of the study program Theory of Physics Education are also employable in organizations carrying out research and development in formal and informal physics, science, and technical education. Such organizations include, for example, organizations directly managed by the Ministry of Education (NIE, MPC, NICEM, SCSTI, SIVE), organizations providing in-service teacher training, universities of science and technology, organizations providing non-formal and informal education to the general public, as well as training centers for employees in industrial enterprises.

Doctoral Scholarships

Full-time doctoral students who have permanent residency in the European Union are entitled to receive a scholarship for the entire standard duration of their studies. The scholarships are paid starting on the date of enrollment. The scholarship is determined in accordance with the tables included in the Law no. 553/2003 Z.z. as follows: 

  • prior to completion of the qualification exam: 1025,50 EUR (6th class, 1st level)
  • after successful completion of the qualification exam: 1 194 EUR (7th class, 1st level)

Scholarships are not subject to taxes or other fees.

Doctoral studies are considered an equivalent to full time employment and in the majority of cases cannot be combined with another employment. Job holding applicants who intend to keep their job are advised to apply for the external (distance) form of doctoral studies. Doctoral students enrolled in the regular form are expected to participate in teaching activities such as conducting recitations or exam grading, in accordance with the needs of their corresponding departments.

Thesis Topics for Academic Year 2024/2025

  • Updating selected theories of physics education utilising findings of educational neurosciences
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Peter Demkanin, PhD.)
  • Effective and efficient utilisation of force sensors in physics education at the age of 12 to 17
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Peter Demkanin, PhD.)
  • Cognitive processes and their importance in preparing pupils for physics competitions
    (supervisor: doc. PaedDr. Klára Velmovská, PhD.)
  • Enhancement of subject and coherence dimensions of pre-service mathematics and physics teachers' design capacity
    (supervisor: doc. PaedDr. Mária Slavíčková, PhD.)
  • Physics education in the training of medical students
    (supervisor: doc. PaedDr. Viera Haverlíková, PhD.)
  • Non-formal Education as a Research Laboratory
    (supervisor: doc. PaedDr. Viera Haverlíková, PhD.)