32-hour B.S. in Physics and Astronomy Education

Only one-third of high school instructors teaching physics in the United States have a major in physics. There is a strong demand for new physics teachers in secondary education. This degree program blends the core physics and astronomy courses with education courses, so that students are well prepared for a teaching career upon graduation.

The B.S. in physics and astronomy education includes a minimum of 32 credit hours in physics and 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. See the Education program webpages for details »

In addition to completing the required courses, students are encouraged to take advantage of any of the many research opportunities available at Valpo.


B.S. students in physics at Valpo must complete the general-education requirements for the B.S. This University-wide core strengthens communication and critical-thinking skills while introducing the student to global cultures and traditions. General-education requirements for the B.S. (.pdf) »

Requirements for the Major

The following courses constitute the minimum 32 credits required for the major. Further courses are required for students who pursue concentrations in fundamental physics or applied physics.

It is assumed that students will acquire competency in at least one computer programming language (FORTRAN, C, C++).

Core Courses 32 credits
ASTR 101 Astronomy 3 credits
ASTR 101L  Astronomy Laboratory 1 credit
PHYS 141 Newtonian Mechanics 3 credits
PHYS 141L Experimental Physics I 1 credit
PHYS 142 Physics: Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves 3 credits
PHYS 142L Experimental Physics II 1 credit
PHYS 243 Physics: Atoms and Nuclei 3 credits
PHYS 245 Experimental Physics III 1 credit
PHYS 246 Data Reduction and Error Analysis 1 credit
PHYS 250 Mechanics 3 credits
PHYS 360 Thermal Physics 3 credits
PHYS 445 Senior Research in Physics
(With departmental approval, PHYS 481-483 or PHYS 497 may be substituted.)
2 credits
PHYS 499 Physics and Astronomy Colloquium 0 credits
One group from the following options:

  • PHYS 345, Experimental Physics IV (1 credit) AND
  • PHYS 371, Electromagnetic Fields (3 credits)


  • ASTR 221, Observational Astronomy (1 credit) AND
  • ASTR 252, Introduction to Stellar Astrophysics (3 credits)
4 credits
Total Required Courses 32 credits
Additional Recommended Courses:

  • One year of chemistry
Additional Courses for Secondary Education Licensure:

  • NS 290, Investigation of Contemporary Topics in Science (3 credits)
  • NS 490, The Scientific Endeavor (3 credits)
  • Required courses and professional field experience, including PHYS 489, The Teaching of Natural Sciences (3 credits)

A cumulative GPA of 2.50 is required for admission to the Professional Semester and to be eligible for recommendation for licensure.