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.” However, based on recent statistics from the National Taskforce on Teacher Education in Physics, two-thirds of our nation’s high school physics teachers do not have a degree in physics. Illinois Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Science in Physics Education answers these needs by providing deep grounding in both physics and in the pedagogical knowledge to teach physics, thus setting the IIT student apart from other prospective teachers.

Students in this program will have all the benefits of studying with the Department of Physics including small class size, close relationships with faculty, and the opportunity to conduct research at nearby facilities such as Argonne National Lab and Fermi National Accelerator Lab. In addition, students take classes, including a classroom internship, with the university's Department of Mathematics and Science Education, a global leader in teaching and learning of the sciences. Upon completion of this degree program, students receive certification to teach high school science in Illinois and will have the necessary skills to fulfill certification requirements in other states.

Ideally students will choose the physics education track at the end of their second year and begin taking science education courses in their third year after having completed the general physics and modern physics sequence. An alternate route available to students is to first complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Physics degree and then teaching certification requirements. This alternate path would take longer to complete than eight semesters.

Required Courses

Physics Requirements (43)
PHYS 100Intro to the Profession2
PHYS 123General Physics I: Mechanics4
PHYS 221General Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 223General Physics III4
PHYS 240Computational Science3
PHYS 300Instrumentation Laboratory4
PHYS 301Mathematical Methods of Physics3
PHYS 304Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 308Classical Mechanics I3
PHYS 348Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers3
PHYS 405Fundamentals of Quantum Theory I3
PHYS 413Electromagnetism I3
PHYS 427Advanced Physics Laboratory I3
PHYS 485Physics Colloquium1
Mathematics and Science Education Requirements (24)
MSED 200Analysis of Classrooms3
MSED 250Middle and Secondary Curriculum/Foundations3
MSED 300Instructional Methods/Strategies I3
MSED 320Inquiry and Problem Solving in Mathematics and Science3
MSED 350Advanced Methods for Inclusive Instruction and Practicum3
MSED 400Instructional Methods/Strategies II3
MSED 450Professional Internship6
Mathematics Requirements (21)
MATH 151Calculus I5
MATH 152Calculus II5
MATH 251Multivariate and Vector Calculus4
MATH 252Introduction to Differential Equations4
MATH 425Statistical Methods 13
Chemistry Requirements (8)
CHEM 124Principles of Chemistry I with Laboratory4
CHEM 125Principles of Chemistry II with Laboratory4
Biology Requirement (3)
Select one of the following:3
General Biology Lectures3
Introduction to Human Biology3
Human Biology3
Computer Science Requirement (2)
CS 105Introduction to Computer Programming2
or CS 115 Object-Oriented Programming I
Humanities and Social Science Requirements (21)
See IIT Core Curriculum, sections B and C21
Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) (6)
See IIT Core Curriculum, section E6
Total Credit Hours128

PSYC 203, MATH 374, or MATH 426 may be substituted for MATH 425.


Bachelor of Science in Physics Education Curriculum

Year 1
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours 
PHYS 1002CS 105 or 1152 
PHYS 1234CHEM 1254 
CHEM 1244MATH 1525 
MATH 1515PHYS 2214 
 Humanities 200-level Course3 
 15 18
Year 2
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit HoursSummerCredit Hours
BIOL 10713MATH 2524Social Sciences Elective (300+)3
PHYS 2234PHYS 2403 
MATH 2514PHYS 3483 
Social Sciences Elective3Social Sciences Elective (300+)3 
Humanities or Social Sciences Elective3Humanities Elective (300+)3 
 17 16 3
Year 3
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit HoursSummerCredit Hours
PHYS 3004PHYS 3043MSED 4003
PHYS 3013MATH 42523 
PHYS 3083MSED 3003 
MSED 2003MSED 3203 
MSED 2503IPRO Elective I3 
 16 15 3
Year 4
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours 
PHYS 4053MSED 4506 
PHYS 4133  
PHYS 4273  
PHYS 4851  
MSED 3503  
IPRO Elective II3  
 16 6
Total Credit Hours: 125

BIOL 114 or BIOL 115 may be substituted for this course.


PSYC 203, MATH 374, or MATH 426 may be substituted for MATH 425.