Only 1/3 of high school instructors teaching physics have a major in physics. There is thus a strong demand for new physics teachers in secondary education. For students who wish to pursue this career track, we recently instituted the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physics & Astronomy Edcuation degree program. The program is designed to allow students to take many of the core physics courses while still having room to take education courses. Please contact us for more information on this exciting new program.

The BS in Physics & Astronomy Education includes a minimum of 32 credit hours in physics & astronomy courses. The student in this program must also complete the required secondary education courses and professional field experience, including PHYS-489 (Cross-listed with ED-489), The Teaching of Natural Sciences. Please see the Education program webpages and the catalog (starting on page 87).

A sample 4-year schedule (pdf) is available so you can see approximately what your course schedule would look like.

Below is a table showing all the courses offered and where they might fit into a typical schedule. Explanatory notes are given at the end.

Course Title Semester Suggested Semester hours Required/ Elective
ASTR-101 Astronomy 1 3 Required
ASTR-101L Astronomy Lab 1 1 Required
ASTR-221 Observational Astronomy (Spring, odd years) & ASTR-252 Stellar Astrophysics (Spring, even years)


PHYS-345 Experimental Physics IV (Spring)
& PHYS-371 Electromagnetic Fields

2, 3, 4, or 5 1 + 3 Required
ASTR-253 Galactic Astrophysics (Fall, even years) 4 or 6 3 Elective
ASTR-445 Experimental Astronomy (Senior Research in Astronomy)


PHYS-445 Experimental Physics (Senior Research in Physics)

7 or 8 1 Required
PHYS-190 Topics in Physics (Freshman Seminar) 1 1 Recommended
PHYS-141 Physics: Mechanics and Heat (or PHYS-151) 1 3 Required
PHYS-141L Experimental Physics I (Laboratory) 1 1 Required
PHYS-142 Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves (or PHYS-152) 2 3 Required
PHYS-142L Experimental Physics II (Laboratory) 2 1 Required
PHYS-151 Physics: Mechanics and Heat - Honors 1 3 (Required)
PHYS-152 Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves - Honors 2 3 (Required)
PHYS-243 Physics: Atoms, Nuclei, and the Solid State 3 3 Required
PHYS-245 Experimental Physics III (Laboratory) 4 1 Required
PHYS-246 Data Reduction and Error Analysis 4 1 Required
PHYS-250 Analytical Mechanics 4 3 Required
PHYS-281 Electricity and Electronics 3 3 Elective
PHYS-360 Thermal Physics (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Required
PHYS-372 Electromagnetic Waves (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Elective
PHYS-381 Advanced Mechanics (Fall, even years) 5 or 7 3 Elective
PHYS-421 Quantum Mechanics I (Fall, odd years) 5 or 7 3 Elective
PHYS-422 Quantum Mechanics II (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 3 Elective
PHYS-430 Nuclear and Particle Physics (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 3 Elective
PHYS-430L Nuclear and Particle Physics (Laboratory) (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 1 Elective
PHYS-440 Condensed Matter Physics (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Elective
PHYS-490 Scientific Endeavor (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
PHYS-492 Research and Reading in Physics -- 1-3 Elective
PHYS-499 Physics Colloquium All 0 Required


  • You may view University Catalog descriptions of these courses. (PDF file. Physics and Astronomy begins on page 157).
  • The courses which are included in, and count toward the physics & astronomy education program are shown in the table. The Honors courses may be substituted for their equivalent:151 for (141) and 152 for (142) if the student meets the entrance requirements.
  • PHYS-490 is recommended but may not be used to fulfill the 32 credits required for the major. It can be used to fulfill the Humanties Philosophy general education requirement.

  • Courses whose "Suggested Semester" reads "5 or 7", or "6 or 8", etc., imply that the course is taught in alternate years. Note the semester in which the course is normally taught and select the correct semester for your program.
  • Specific courses of study are worked out with your department faculty academic advisor each semester.