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 as a Profession (required) (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/SBS 200 Multicultural Human Development (required) (3 cr)
- Science Exploration - PHY 121/114 General Physics I and Laboratory (5 cr)
- Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship - EDU 310 Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy (recommended) (3 cr)
- Core Electives - EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (required), SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education (required), and SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems of Educational Support (required) (9 cr)
- Diversity and International met with EDU 305 and EDU 310, respectively
- Engaged Learning met with EDU 100, EDU 222, EDU 305, EDU 445, and SED 335 (required)
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.
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 Mechanics I and II
PHY 331, 333 Electrodynamics I and II
PHY 341 Quantum Mechanics
Capstone Requirement can be satisfied by taking either PHY 242 Intermediate Laboratory II or by completing an approved research project with a department faculty member.
Required Mathematics courses: (16 credits)
MAT 152 Calculus A
MAT 153 Calculus B
MAT 252 Calculus C
MAT 350 Differential Equations
Required Chemistry courses: (9 credits)
CHY 113, 114 Principles of Chemistry I and Laboratory Techniques I
CHY 115, 116 Principles of Chemistry II and Laboratory Techniques II
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
Secondary Teacher Education Requirements:
In addition to meeting all major and Core requirements, the following teacher education requirements must be met.
The Secondary Teacher Education Pathway is designed to prepare middle and high school teachers, grades 7-12 (K-12 for foreign language teachers), who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to classroom teaching. Secondary education students major in the discipline they plan to teach and take a series of teacher education courses that satisfy their University Core Curriculum requirements as well as fulfill requirements for Maine teacher certification in their discipline. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and provide hands-on field experiences in schools and community agencies where they can make connections between theory and practice. 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 pathway 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.
The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the Secondary Education Pathway 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.
Upon declaring the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway, 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:
EDU 310 Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy* (3 cr)
EYE 108 Culture, Identity and Education (3 cr)
SED 300 Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)
EDU 100 Exploring Teaching as a Profession* (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)
* Course includes required service learning or practicum hours in a partner school or community setting to give pre-candidates hands-on experience with students and create connections between theory and practice. These formal placements are arranged by the Field Experience Coordinator in the Office of Educator Preparation. Other education courses may require observation experiences in field settings that students arrange on their own. Students are required to be fingerprinted prior to starting a course that includes a field experience placement.
Candidacy takes place in the fall 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. Candidacy is the process pre-candidates go through to be admitted to the professional level courses and internship. To be eligible for candidacy, pre-candidates must be in good academic standing, passed the Praxis Core, and provided evidence of their Criminal History Record Check.
See USM’s Professional Licensure and Certification Notice located on the Office of Registration Services website for more information.
Pre-candidates are required to complete and show documentation of the fingerprinting process outlined by the Maine Department of Education.
Pre-candidates must complete the Candidacy application in Tk20 (more information below) as well as provide a current resume and two letters of recommendation. The candidacy application is due on January 31 of each year. Upon review, eligible pre-candidates will be invited to participate in a 30-minute internship admission interview.
The professional internship is a full-year experience that fulfills Maine’s student teaching requirement and provides secondary education teacher candidates the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their teacher education courses in a more sustained and in-depth setting. The first semester internship is the equivalent of 20 hours 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.
EDU 414 Improving Teaching in Content Areas Through Literacy for All Students Including Those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds (3 cr)
EDU 442 Seminar in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (3 cr)
EDU 445 Internship in General Education (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:
Choose one of the following (3 cr):
EDU 401 Secondary Science Methods for All Students Including Those of Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
EDU 402 Secondary English Methods
EDU 403 Foreign Language Methods
EDU 404 Secondary Social Studies Methods for All Students Including Those of Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
MME 434 Secondary Mathematics Methods
Secondary Teacher Education Pathway students (grades 7-12) need a minimum of 24 credit hours in the content areas they plan to teach. It is recommended that those interested in teaching at the middle level complete coursework in a second content area (e.g. English, mathematics, social studies or science) to become highly qualified to teach an additional content area. Finally, students should consider taking additional education courses, which will support them in becoming more well-rounded teachers, in topics such as literacy and technology.
Tk20 by Watermark is the comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system used by all students in Educator Preparation programs at USM. All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship and student teaching year are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students use Tk20 to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, Tk20 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.
Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program completers to be recommended by the institution to the Maine Department of Education for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements, including proficiency on the standards relevant to her/his 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 Pathway requirements are eligible for recommendation for teacher certification in Maine. To be recommended for certification, students must complete the Recommendation for Certification form. Students who fail to meet the academic or professional requirements for the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the pathway and graduate with their major.
NOTE: Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations.
For the best overall Financial Aid package, submit your USM application and complete your FAFSA by January 15. However, you can apply at any time. Undergraduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Teacher Education Program
Our Teacher Education program prepares well-rounded and insightful educators who are deeply knowledgeable in the subject area that they’ll teach.
Our Admissions Counselors would love to answer your questions about our Teacher Education Pathways.
- Call us: 1-800-800-4USM
or (207) 780-5670
TTY (207) 780-5646
- Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Want to receive more information about the University of Southern Maine? Fill out our Contact Us form.
The best way to learn more about our University is to visit one of our beautiful campuses. Our Teacher Education program is taught on the Portland and Gorham campuses. Register for a tour today.