Physics Education

Physics education is a program designed to prepare effective high school physics teachers. Physics utilizes analytical problem-solving skills cultivated through the study of physics and mathematics to describe theoretically the fundamental principles of the universe. A degree in physics education will prepare a student to be a secondary (grades 7–12) physics teacher, an area with high demand.

Physics department homepage


PHY 160SN - Astronomy
Introduction to the science of astronomy. The basic tools and concepts in astronomy and the underlying physics are discussed. Topics will include the investigational methods in astronomy and the underlying physics are discussed. Topics will include investigational methods in astronomy and an emphasis on our Solar System. Additional topics may include stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Students are expected to be able to articulate a Christian perspective of our place in the universe. Prerequisite: C- or higher in either MAT109QR or MAT127, or ACT math score of 22 (SAT550 or above) or permission of instructor. (4 credits) (NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Note: There is a laboratory/observation component to this course.
PHY 211SN - Classical Physics I
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Though all students are welcome in this calculus-based, IGE physics course, this is the first of a two course sequence designed for math, science, and engineering majors and others who have taken or are taking calculus and intend to apply to medical or graduate school. This course includes the following topics: kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, energy, momentum, gravity, oscillations, and thermodynamics. Prerequisite: C- or higher in MAT 112, or consent of the department chair.
PHY 212 - Classical Physics II
A continuation of Classical Physics I. Topics will include simple harmonic oscillation, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, and electromagnetism.Prerequisite: successful completion of PHY211 with a grade of C- or better.(4 credits)
PHY 350 - Fundamentals of Optics
This course will cover an introduction to classical and modern theories in optics and their applications. Students will learn topics in geometric optics including lens, ray tracing, reflection, and refraction and in physical optics including interference, diffraction, polarization, and lasers. Prerequisites: C- or higher in PHY212 and MAT211, or permission of instructor. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
PHY 370 - Modern Physics
For students seeking a minor in physics or those interested in obtaining a physics teaching endorsement. Topics will include special relativity, quantized energy and momentum, Schrodinger's Equation, nuclear and particle physics, and cosmology.Prerequisites: successful completion of PHY212 with a grade of C- or higher, or permission of instructor.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
Physics electives: PHY 200 or above (4 credits)

Cognate requirements:

BIO 115SN - General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology
An introduction to molecular and cellular biology, with an examination of the processes common to living organisms and an introduction to the diversity of life, emphasizing unicellular organisms. This introduction will provide students with a basic understanding of macromolecules, cell structure and function, respiration and photosynthesis, the cell cycle, meiosis, genetics, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and Christian perspectives on evolutionary biology. (4 credits) (NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Note: Three lectures and 3 hours of laboratory work per week.
CHE 111 - General Chemistry
An introductory course in chemistry that emphasizes physical and inorganic concepts, problems and calculations. Topics include chemical reactions, stoichiometry, properties of gases, thermochemistry, theories of atomic structure, and chemical bonding. The general chemistry sequence (Chemistry 111 and Chemistry 112) is recommended for students with good math / science preparations who intend to proceed to advanced courses in chemistry, the biological sciences or engineering. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and ACT math score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above). (4 credits)
CHE 112 - General Chemistry
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.(4 credits)
MAT 112QR - Calculus I
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is a study of functions, limits, derivatives and integrals with a strong emphasis on both theory and applications. Note: Meets four times per week. Prerequisites: C- or higher in MAT109, or an ACT math score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above), or permission of mathematics department chair.
MAT 180WI - Logic and Discrete Mathematics
(3 credits)(Writing intensive) An introduction to the language and logic of mathematical proof via topics in discrete mathematics. Topics will include logic, elementary number theory, basic set theory and methods of mathematical proof (direct proof, indirect proof, induction). Note: Other topics will be chosen from counting, functions, relations, recursion and graph theory. Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT 112QR or permission of instructor.
MAT 211 - Calculus II
A study of transcendental functions, techniques of integration, improper integration, sequences, series, polar coordinates and conic sections.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
MAT 317 - Linear Algebra
A study of the algebra of matrices and vector spaces including matrix operations, systems of equations, determinants, properties of real vector spaces, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT112QR and 180 or permission of instructor.(3 credits)

Total credits required: 50

Recommended courses:

MAT 212 - Calculus III
A study of the cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems, vectors in two dimensions and three dimensions, vector valued functions, functions of several variables, multiple integration, and vector calculus.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT211 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
MAT 312 - Differential Equations
A study of the elementary theory, methods of solution, and applications of differential equations, which may include topics such as first order ordinary differential equations, linear equations with constant coefficients, series solutions, variation of parameters, Laplace Transforms, linear systems, partial differential equations, and Fourier Series.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT211 or permission of department chair.(3 credits)


To fulfill the requirements for a mathematics teaching minor, students must take three additional courses: MAT116QR, Calculus I, or MAT117QR, Applied Statistics for Management; MAT411, College Geometry; and CSC170, Statistical Programming, or CSC171QR, Computer Science I.

To fulfill the requirements for a science endorsement in chemistry, students must take two additional courses: CHE211, Quantitative Analysis, and CHE321, Organic Chemistry.

To fulfill the requirements for an endorsement in basic science, students must take two additional courses: BIO116, General Biology: Ecology and Organismal Biology, and NSC101, Introduction to Earth Science.

Students majoring in physics education must also complete the secondary education major. See the education department listing for requirements.