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School of Education

Physics Major and Minor Requirements

Faculty advisors: Professor Melissa Braaten, 226A Teacher Education Building, mbraaten@wisc.edu, Professor John Rudolph, 226D Teacher Education Building, 265-3431, jlrudolp@wisc.edu.

Important: The School of Education is now offering a new and innovative teacher licensing program in secondary education. Licensing in middle and high school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies is now obtained by completing a master’s degree program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Graduates are awarded a master’s degree along with certification in their subject area(s) and certification in English as a Second Language (ESL).

This new structure means that students at UW–Madison become certified to teach these subjects only through graduate-level course work, not as undergraduates.

Information about the new program (e.g., licensing areas, requirements, application process, prerequisite course work and tests, deadlines, and program selection) is available on the Curriculum and Instruction website

Advising staff in the School of Education's Academic Services Office, 139 Education Building, 608-262-1651, can also answer questions and confer with students about the new program.

The major and minor requirements listed below are provided only for (1) secondary students admitted into the undergraduate program fall 2013 or before, and for (2) elementary education students wishing to complete a minor in this subject.

Physics Major Requirements

Complete a minimum of 34 credits. The credits required for program admission must be chosen from this course work. At least 15 credits of upper-level major course work (205, 241, 300–699) must be taken in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Courses are Physics listings unless otherwise indicated.

  • Select one pair:
    • 201 AND 202 General Physics, 10
    • 207 AND 208 General Physics, 10

(247, 248, and 249 A Modern Introduction to Physics, 14, may be substituted)

  • Select either
    • 205 Modern Physics for Engineers, 3 OR
    • 241 Introduction to Modern Physics, 3

(244 Modern Physics, 3 may be substituted for 205 or 241)

  • 307 Intermediate Laboratory—Mechanics and Modern Physics, 2
  • 308 Intermediate Laboratory—Electromagnetic Fields and Optics, 2
  • 311 Mechanics, 3
  • 321 Electric Circuits and Electronics, 4
  • Physics electives to total 26 credits. Students are strongly encouraged to select courses numbered 307 and above to meet the 15 credits of upper-level course work required for the major.
  • Additional Physics or Chemistry electives to total 34 credits.

Physics Minor Requirements for Secondary and Elementary Education Students

The Physics minor may be completed by students in Secondary Education Science or Elementary Education licensing programs. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 is required, based on all Physics minor course work taken on the UW–Madison campus. The graduation grade point average may be modified by the last 60 credits rule.

Secondary Education students may select this minor only if completing a major in another Science certification area. It is not possible to be certified only in a minor area. Interested Secondary Education students must apply and be admitted to the Science program. Admission is limited and competitive. See additional information under the major of choice.

All Secondary students, whether completing their first degree or adding on a teaching minor to a prior certification, should expect to complete a methods course, participate in practicum and student teaching experience, and earn passing scores on a content exam to be recommended for certification. Students wishing to complete a minor must consult with the faculty advisor/program coordinator to discuss its field experience component.

Complete all the specific Physics Major requirements above as well as Physics course electives necessary to total at least 22 credits.

This page was updated 9/22/14.