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Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Physics Education Track

Students with strong background in Physics may consider Physics Education track, a program designed in collaboration with the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Student formally enroll in either Education or Physics & Astronomy (the "host department"), which is responsible for monitoring and guiding the student's progress and for providing financial, academic and professional support and guidance.

The requirements meld those of Education with those of Physics & Astronomy, including a minimum of ten courses as follows. (Any exceptions or substitutions must be approved by the student's advisory committee.)

Core courses

  • One semester of classical mechanics, Physics 131;
  • One semester of electricity and magnetism, Physics 145;
  • One semester of quantum mechanics, Physics 163;
  • One semester of statistical mechanics, Physics 153.
  • One semester introduction to science education, Education 111;
  • One semester of cognitive development, Education 130;
  • One education foundations course (Group B);
  • One course (2 semesters) of proseminar in education.

Additional courses

  • Two additional graduate-level courses from the student's host department, selected in consultation with the student's advisory committee.

Completion of the course requirements shall satisfy the requirements for a Master's degree, in STEM Education or in Physics & Astronomy, with a transcript notation of "Major Education: Physics Education" or "Major Physics: Physics Education."

Students who wish to pursue the doctorate must fulfill additional requirements.

Physics proficiency: Students must demonstrate proficiency in four core fields of physics: classical mechanics, classical electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, and quantum mechanics, either by achieving grades of A or better in the core physics courses or through special examinations in those fields. Students whose average grade in classical mechanics (131) and classical electromagnetism (145) is at least A (3.67) will be exempt from the examinations in both subjects. Similarly students whose average grade in statistical mechanics (153) and quantum mechanics (163) is at least A (3.67) will be exempt from the examinations in both of those subjects.

Students also complete

  • An oral qualifying examination, including topics in physics and in education, ordinarily in the 3rd year following the completion of core courses, and
  • A written dissertation proposal, which they present orally to the program advisory committee, ordinarily in the 4th year, followed by the dissertation.
  • A dissertation, ordinarily in the 5th year.

Graduates will have notations on their transcripts of "Major Education: Physics Education" or "Major Physics: Physics Education," depending on the host department.