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Bachelor of Science in Physics Education


According to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, "The most important factor in ensuring excellence is great STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] teachers, with both deep content knowledge in STEM subjects and mastery of the pedagogical skills required to teach these subjects well." Two–thirds of our nation's high school physics teachers do not have a degree in physics, according to the National Taskforce on Teacher Education in Physics. IIT's Bachelor of Science in Physics Education answers these needs, providing deep grounding in both physics and in the pedagogical knowledge to teach physics, setting you apart from other prospective teachers.

You will have all the benefits of taking classes with IIT's Physics Department, such as small classes, close relationships with faculty, and the opportunity to do research, including at nearby Argonne National Lab and Fermi National Accelerator Lab. You'll also take classes with IIT's Mathematics and Science Education Department, a global leader in the teaching and learning of science. In addition, all students do a classroom internship. You'll be certified to teach high school science in Illinois and, if you would like to teach in another state, will likely be able to take one or two courses and/or pass the tests of another state to receive certification there.

Ideally students will choose this track at the end of their sophomore year and begin taking science education courses in their junior year after having completed the general Physics and Modern Physics sequence. An alternate route is available for students to complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Physics first, and then the teaching certification afterwards, though this path would take longer than eight semesters to complete.

Course of Study 

Bachelor of Science in Physics Education Sample Curriculum

SEMESTER 1 Credit Hours
PHYS 100 Introduction to the Profession 2
PHYS 123 General Physics I 4
CHEM 124 Principles of Chemistry I 4
MATH 151 Calculus I 5
Semester Total 15
SEMESTER 2 Credit Hours
PHYS 221 General Physics II 4
CHEM 125 Principles of Chemistry II 4
MATH 152 Calculus II 5
HUM 10x Introductory Humanities 3
Semester Total 16
SEMESTER 3 Credit Hours
PHYS 223 General Physics III for Physics 4
CS 105 Intro. to Computer Programming 2
MATH 251 Multivariate & Vector Calculus 4
HUM/SS Elective 3
BIOL 107 General Biology* 3
Semester Total 16
SEMESTER 4 Credit Hours
PHYS 240 Computational Science 3
PHYS 348 Modern Physics 3
MATH 252 Differential Equations 4
HUM/SS Elective 3
HUM/SS Elective 3
Semester Total 16
SUMMER 1 Credit Hours
HUM/SS Elective 3
Semester Total 3
SEMESTER 5 Credit Hours
PHYS 308 Classical Mechanics I 3
PHYS 300 Instrumentation Laboratory 4
MSED 200 Analysis of Classrooms 3
MSED 250 Middle & Secondary Curriculum 3
IPRO 497 Interprofessional Project 3
HUM/SS Elective 3
Semester Total 19
SEMESTER 6 Credit Hours
PHYS 309 Classical Mechanics II 3
PHYS 304 Statist. Physics & Thermo. 3
MSED 300 Instruct. Methods/Strategies I 3
MSED 320 Inquiry & Problem Solving 3
IPRO 497 Interprofessional Project 3
MATH 425 Statistical Methods 3
Semester Total 18
SUMMER 2 Credit Hours
MSED 400 Instruc. Methods/Strategies II 3
Semester Total 3
SEMESTER 7 Credit Hours
PHYS 405 Quantum Theory I 3
PHYS 413 Electricity & Magnetism I 3
PHYS 427 Advanced Physics Lab 3
PHYS 485 Colloquium 1
MSED 350 Informal Ed. Practicum & Sem. 3
HUM/SS Elective 3
Semester Total 16
SEMESTER 8 Credit Hours
MSED 450 Professional Internship 6
MSED 497 Special Topics**  
Semester Total 6


*  Human Biology—BIOL 115 may be substituted for General Biology—BIOL 107
** Special Topics—MSED 497 may be needed for financial aid purposes during the last semester of study.