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Secondary Education, BSE - Physics

Bachelor of Science Education Physics

Physics is the science we use to explore the deepest workings of the universe. By becoming a high school physics teacher, you can incite curiosity and a passion for knowledge in generations of students. Create a welcoming, exciting classroom — the kind you always looked forward to in school — with the Secondary Education BSE in Physics program at the University of Central Missouri.

Your Secondary Education BSE in Physics is part of UCM's Science Education program, which is accredited by the National Association of Science Teachers (NSTA).

You’ll train in our science education labs, designed specifically with pre-service teachers’ needs in mind and get extensive field experience using leading educational techniques and tools. Walk into your own classroom ready to open minds to the wonders of the natural world.

A college education that puts you first

UCM’s student-centered learning, small class sizes and one-on-one faculty mentorship bring out your best while providing academic and career support when you need it. By collaborating with other future physics teachers while you work through courses or fieldwork challenges, you’ll build connections that will last a lifetime.


After completing this degree, you will be eligible to apply for educator certification in grades 9-12 Physics, as well as unified science certification through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


NSTA-accredited degree program

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150+ years of teacher training

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Hands-on learning

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10:1 typical student-to-faculty ratio

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Over 100 hours of classroom experience

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Affordable, high-quality education

What you will study

Your physics teacher training at the University of Central Missouri will give you a solid grounding in the content area — and tools to communicate it effectively. Learn how to choose your teaching methods and adapt them to an array of student needs. Plus, you’ll gain insight into the adolescent mind with courses in development and psychology. 

UCM’s Secondary Education BSE program will teach you how to design “minds-on, hands-on” curricula to fully engage your future students. You’ll be able to guide them as they explore scientific phenomena, collect and analyze data, use modeling to solve math problems and conduct and present experiments. 

Our future physics teachers begin their four-year bachelor’s degree program studying a wide array of topics to ensure a well-rounded undergraduate education. You’ll gradually focus on physics and educational theory and application. As you progress through the program, you’ll spend an increasing amount of time putting your training into practice in local classrooms.

Your classes may include:

  • Computer Programming
  • Thermodynamics
  • Educational Psychology 
  • Introduction to English Language Learners and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy


Excellence in Secondary Education

  • UCM's Science Education program, which is accredited by the National Association of Science Teachers (NSTA).
  • Top 15%: Most Focused Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • One of the Most Focused Bachelor's Degree Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • One of the Most Focused Colleges for Secondary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 4.5%: Most Popular Colleges for Secondary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 5%: Most Popular Bachelor's Degree Colleges for Secondary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 10%: Best Value in Education (College Factual, 2021)


Unique learning opportunities in physics teacher education

Putting educational theory and technique into practice is crucial to a physics teacher’s success. Engage with local classrooms for more than 100 hours even before you spend a full semester student teaching in your senior year. By the time you walk into your own classroom as a new high school physics teacher, you’ll be confident in your methods and knowledge.

Future high school physics teachers have many opportunities for experiential learning and professional development during their time at UCM. 

  • Professional growth: Join student groups, participate in local and national science and education organizations, and engage with local in-service science teachers and school administrators. You’ll gain experience researching and presenting your own work and build relationships that will last well beyond your college years.
  • Internships: Each semester, UCM offers paid opportunities to work for the Physics department while earning your BSE. You can earn money and college credit, as well as gain valuable job experience by being an assistant teacher for college courses.
  • Student teaching: The culmination of your bachelor’s degree program is a semester teaching in a public school classroom in Missouri. You’ll put your new skills into action and build confidence for your first job as a high school physics teacher.


What can you do with a physics teacher degree from UCM?

With a Secondary Education BSE in Physics from UCM, you’ll be eligible to apply to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for educator certification in grades 9–12 physics and unified science. Once you have your certification, you can teach high school physics in any public school in Missouri.

Being a high school physics teacher is a fulfilling, stable career, and many of our graduates choose that position long term. If you decide to increase your job opportunities or teach at a college or university level, you can pursue an advanced degree in education, such as UCM’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). With our long history of teacher training and fully accredited Education programs, UCM is an ideal place to return for grad school.

Demand for high school physics teachers

Use our interactive tool below to see salaries, projected job growth, regional data and more insights for physics teachers. Missouri is experiencing the same shortage of skilled physics teachers that’s nationwide, so many school systems are actively seeking new job applicants.




Financial assistance options for your Physics BSE

Invest wisely in your future by pursuing your BSE in Physics at the University of Central Missouri. Our commitment to high-quality education at affordable rates means you can step into your new career as a high school physics teacher with confidence, not excessive debt. 

Our program tuition costs are lower than many in Missouri. In addition, we provide numerous ways to finance your Physics Teacher degree. Making a modest investment in your education today can pay for itself with plenty of job opportunities when you graduate and a stable life-long career as a physics teacher.

In addition to university-wide grants, loans and scholarships, you may be eligible for these awards dedicated to future physics teachers:

  • Nance Family Scholarship
  • Joseph Snoble Science Education Scholarship
  • You can learn more about program-specific scholarships at the UCM Scholarship Finder.


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Take your degree further.


A BSE in Physics fully qualifies you to be a high school physics teacher. If you decide to pursue additional job opportunities or teach in higher education, you can earn an advanced degree from UCM:

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Explore programs related to a physics teacher education.


The University of Central Missouri offers multiple science concentrations in the Secondary Education BSE program, as well as undergraduate degrees in similar fields that may interest you:

Student Learning Outcomes

You will use the knowledge and skills obtained in this program to:

  • Interpret and interrelate important science concepts, ideas, and applications in the fields of licensure.
  • Recognize and employ science-learning approaches for all students.
  • Plan for engaging all students in science learning by setting appropriate goals that are consistent with theories of learning as well as national science standards.
  • Create safe science lab environments for students.
  • Conduct preliminary data collection and present evidence of student science learning as a result of the instruction.
  • Propose educational research study about challenges of learning science in science classroom settings.
  • Participate in research and professional development opportunities in both areas of science and science education.



UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri


UCM’s Science Education programs are recognized by National Association of Science Teachers (NSTA)


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