Department of Physics

BA in Physics - Secondary Teacher Education

This track is intended for students who want to become certified to teach grades 7-12 physical sciences in Maine. Interested students should see the secondary education physics coordinator upon acceptance at USM, matriculation, upon choosing a physics major, or as early in their academic studies at USM as possible. The curriculum for this track is designed to provide prospective grades 7-12 teachers with a strong academic foundation in physical sciences along with a continuous focus on both the theory and practice of teaching through a sequence of pre-internship education courses and field experiences. The degree has four components: USM Core curriculum, a physics major, professional education courses, and electives totaling 120 credit hours.

USM Core Curriculum (including pre-internship education courses)

  • EYE 108 Culture, Identity, and Education (recommended) (3 cr)
  • EDU 100 Exploring Teaching (recommended) (3 cr)
  • College Writing - ENG 100 (3 cr)
  • Cultural Interpretation (3 cr)
  • Quantitative Reasoning - MAT 152 Calculus A (4 cr)
  • Creative Expression - EDU 230 Teaching through the Arts (recommended) (3 cr)
  • Socio-Cultural Analysis - HRD 200 Multicultural Human Development (3 cr)
  • Science Exploration - PHY 121/PHY 114 General Physics I and Lab (5 cr)
  • Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship - EDU 310 Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy (3 cr)
  • Cluster - EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education, and SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems of Educational Support (9 cr)
  • Diversity and International met with EDU 305 and EDU 310, respectively

Major Requirements

A student majoring in physics must take 43 credit hours of physics courses including requirements and electives as outlined below. In addition, the major requires 15 credits of mathematics courses, 8 credits of chemistry courses, and a demonstration of competency in computer programming.

To graduate as a physics major, a student must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses that satisfy the major requirement, and a minimum overall GPA of 2.0.

1. Required Physics courses: (40 credits)
     PHY 114, 116 Introductory Physics Laboratory I and II
     PHY 121, 123 General Physics I and II
     PHY 211, 213 Modern Physics I and II
     PHY 240 Intermediate Laboratory I
     PHY 261 Computational Physics
     PHY 314 Statistical and Thermal Physics
     PHY 321, 323 Classical Physics I and II
     PHY 331, 333 Electrodynamics I and II
     PHY 341 Quantum Mechanics

2. Capstone Requirement can be satisfied by taking either PHY 242 Intermediate Physics Laboratory II or by completing an approved research project with a department faculty member.

3. Required Mathematics courses: (16 credits)
     MAT 152 Calculus A
     MAT 153 Calculus B
     MAT 252 Calculus C
     MAT 350 Differential Equations

4. Required Chemistry courses: (9 credits)
     CHY 113 and 114 Principles of Chemistry I with Lab
     CHY 115 and 116 Principles of Chemistry II with Lab

5. Electives: (3 credits)
In addition to the required courses, students must take at least one course listed below.
     PHY 251 Principles of Electronics
     PHY 281 Astrophysics
     PHY 375 Optics

In addition to meeting all major and CORE requirements the following teacher education requirements must be met.

The Secondary Teacher Education Program is designed to prepare early middle and high school teachers, grades 7-12 or K-12 foreign language teachers who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to teaching. Secondary education students major in the discipline they plan to teach, take a series of teacher education courses that satisfy their University Core Curriculum requirements, and fulfill the requirements for teacher certification in their discipline. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and give them hands-on experiences in community agencies and schools where they can connect what they are learning to the real world. At the time of degree completion, students will have met the degree requirements for a major and for initial teacher certification.

Program Declaration and Withdrawal

All students must formally declare their entry into a teacher education program by completing the Declaration and/or Dropping of Undergraduate Teacher Education Pathway Form through the registrar’s office. The form is located in the forms section of the Office of Registration and Scheduling Services: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/1forms

Academic Requirements

The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the secondary education program are as follows:

  • A grade of B or better in all professional education coursework.
  • A grade of C or better in content courses required for the area of teacher certification.
  • An overall GPA of 3.0 or better.

Failure to maintain the above requirements may result in program dismissal. Appeals may be made in writing to the Director of Educator Preparation, Susan Inman, susan.inman@maine.edu.

Pre-Candidacy

Upon declaring the secondary teacher education program, a student becomes a pre-candidate. The pre-candidacy phase of the program is the first three years of the program prior to the professional internship. Pre-candidacy coursework is as follows:

Recommended

  • ADS 300 Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities (3 cr)
  • EDU 310 Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy* (3 cr)
  • EYE 108 Culture, Identity and Education (3 cr)

 Required

  • EDU 100 Exploring Teaching* (3 cr)
  • EDU 222 Foundations of Language and Literacy Development* (3 cr)
  • EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity* (3 cr)
  • HRD/SBS 200 Multicultural Human Development (3 cr)
  • SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education* (3 cr)

Each of the courses with a * includes required service learning or practicum hours in a partner school or community setting to give students hands-on, real world experience. These experiences are arranged by the Field Experience Coordinator in the Office of Educator Preparation. The other education courses may require observation experiences in field settings that students arrange on their own.

Candidacy

In order to be eligible to take the content methods course and enroll in internship, students must successfully complete the candidacy process. Candidacy takes place in the spring semester of the third year or when a student has completed the pre-candidacy teacher education coursework and has made satisfactory and sufficient progress in their major. It is the process students go through in order to be admitted to the professional level courses and internship. To be eligible for candidacy, students must be in good academic standing, have passed the Praxis Core, and provided evidence of their Criminal History Record Check.

Please see USM’s Professional Licensure and Certification Notice located on the Office of Registration and Scheduling website: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/academic-policies-undergraduate

Students are required to complete and show documentation of the fingerprinting process outlined by the Maine Department of Education: http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/fingerprinting.

Students must complete the Candidacy application in TK20 and provide a current resume and three letters of recommendation from a field experience host teacher, from a professor in the student’s major, and from an education professor. The candidacy application is due on January 31 of each year. Upon review eligible students will be invited to participate in a 30 minute internship admission interview.

Professional Internship

The professional internship is a full year experience that fulfills the state’s student teaching requirement and provides secondary education teacher candidates the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their teacher education courses. The first semester internship is the equivalent of a 2.5 day per week in a partner school district, and the second semester internship is a full time, five days per week experience in a partner school. Students take the internship courses concurrently.

Required:

  • EDU 414 Improving Teaching in Content Areas Through Literacy for All Students Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
  • EDU 442 Seminar in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
  • EDU 445 Student Teaching (9 cr total--3 credits first semester and 6 credits second semester)
  • SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems of Educational Support (3 cr)
  • Content Area Methods Course-one of the following (3 cr)
    • EDU 401 Secondary Science Methods
    • EDU 402 Secondary English Methods
    • EDU 403 Foreign Language Methods
    • EDU 404 Secondary Social Studies Methods
    • MME 434 Secondary Mathematics Methods

Content Requirements

Secondary teacher education students (grades 7-12) need a minimum of twenty-four credit hours in the content areas they plan to teach. For those interested in teaching at the middle level, it is recommended that they complete coursework in a second content area (i.e., English, mathematics, social studies or science) to become highly qualified to teach an additional content area. Finally, students should consider taking education courses that will support them to become better teachers including, but not limited to, topics such as literacy and technology.

TK20

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20 (Watermark), a comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, TK20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year. Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program-completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20). 

Recommendation for Certification

Graduates who successfully complete all the secondary teacher education program requirements are eligible for recommendation for teacher certification in Maine. In order to be recommended for certification, students must complete the Recommendation for Certification form. Students who fail to meet the academic or professional teacher education program requirements or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the teacher education pathway and graduate with their major.

NOTE--Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations. For more information, visit: https://usm.maine.edu/teacher-education