Bring the world of physics to life for your future students.

Physicists understand that physics runs the world. You have a passion for mathematics as applied in the world of physics; bring that world to life for students of your own with the training you receive in this physics education degree program from University of the Cumberlands! Topics that will be covered in this degree include classical physics, theory, nuclear physics, quantum physics, chemistry, calculus, astronomy, and much more. You will gain skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and experimental physics – and that’s all on top of the experience you’ll get in your education classes, teaching you how to be a competent and caring educator. 

Anchor: Stats
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

* The credit hours listed on this page only reference the specific program requirements and is not reflective of the total hours necessary to receive your degree. Cumberlands requires all students obtain a minimum of 60 hours for an associate’s degree and a total of 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. Transfer and prior learning credits may be counted toward those totals.

To learn more about our General Education Requirements, please visit the page referenced below or explore our Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements

Bachelor of Science

If you have a passion for physics and teaching, this is a great place to start. As a physics student, you’ll have access to high-quality equipment for problem-solving, computation, and data acquisition, as well as a free math tutoring lab and physics laboratories for introductory and advanced-level courses. You’ll also lead experiments ranging from the traditional “inclined plane” to sophisticated computer data acquisition systems. 


Faculty will train you to cultivate critical-thinking skills, apply physical principles, develop insights into experimental physics, and extend your mathematical prowess. And through it all, you'll be taking education courses to lay the groundwork for a successful and impactful career as an educator. The next generation needs to understand physics just as much as your generation. This is your chance to learn the material and how to teach it.

Course Requirements

PHYS 241   Physics I

PHYS 242   Physics II

PHYS 312   Experimental Design and Analysis

PHYS 332   Experimental Physics I

PHYS 335   Quantum Physics

PHYS 340   Classical Physics

PHYS 410   Ethics in Science

PHYS 419   Physics Capstone

PHYS 430   Classical Mechanics

PHYS 431   Electromagnetism

PHYS 436   Lasers

PHYS 439   Applications of Nuclear Physics

PHYS 490   Selected Topics in Physics

Mathematics Courses (15 hours)

Note: Calculus courses are worth 4 credit hours each

MATH 140   Calculus I

MATH 240   Calculus II

MATH 241   Calculus III

MATH 430   Differential Equations

Physical Science Courses (12 hours)

Note: Lab courses are worth 1 credit hour each

CHEM 132   General Chemistry I

CHEM 111   General Chemistry Laboratory I

CHEM 232   General Chemistry II

CHEM 211   General Chemistry Laboratory II

PHYS 137   Physical Science

PHYS 117   Physical Science Laboratory

PHYS 140   Astronomy

The Physics Education program is meant to prepare students to obtain certification to teach physics to students in grades 8-12. Following completion of a bachelor's degree, the student must then pass state licensure exams in order to complete the certification process.

University of the Cumberlands offers two separate options for students hoping to become high school (i.e. "secondary") physics teachers:

Option 1: Undergraduates may choose to complete 42 credit hours in professional education:  See the catalog listing for the School of Education for professional education requirements.

Option 2: Upon graduation, a student may choose to complete the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree through Cumberlands to become certified. See the Graduate Academic Catalog for details.

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.

FREN 131        Elementary French I

FREN 132        Elementary French II

FREN 231        Intermediate French I

FREN 232        Intermediate French II


SPAN 131        Elementary Spanish I

SPAN 132        Elementary Spanish II

SPAN 231        Intermediate Spanish I

SPAN 232        Intermediate Spanish II

Anchor: Mission & Goals

Program Mission

The mission of the physics education program at University of the Cumberlands is to train competent educators through innovative exploration, rigorous academics, advantageous opportunities, and hands-on experience in the laboratory.

Cultivate critical-thinking skills

Apply physical principles

Develop skills in experimental physics

Expand knowledge in mathematics

Recognize your professional and ethical responsibilities

Anchor: Career Outcomes

Physics Education Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High School Teacher: $86,550

High School Teacher: $86,550

Teach courses about the laws of matter and energy. This includes both teaching and engaging in research.  

Physicist: $142,850

Physicist: $142,850

Conduct research into physical phenomena, create theories based on observation and experiments, as well as devise methods to apply physical laws and theories. 

Physics Professor: $86,550

Physics Professor: $86,550

Teach courses about the laws of matter and energy. This includes both teaching and engaged in research.

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Supervise the work of chemists, biologists, hysicists, and scientists. 

Statistician: $96,280

Statistician: $96,280

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems.

Biophysicist: $102,270

Biophysicist: $102,270

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes.

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

The requirements to teach in a public P-12 school system vary by state, but there are some universal requirements. You must earn a bachelor’s degree from a program that explores how to teach younger age groups and focuses on artistic expression. You will likely need to do some student teaching and pass a state test to apply for a teaching certification. Then you can begin exploring job opportunities! 

Cumberlands strives to provide all students with everything they need to succeed in college. As a physics student, you will have access to high-quality equipment, a free math tutoring lab, physics laboratories, and more. 

The Correll Science Complex – it's the building that has architecture based on Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Virginia. (But with an especially cool mural inside; when you walk in the front doors, be sure to look up!) The labs are stocked with hi-tech equipment, whiteboards and markers to show your work, and plenty of space to perform physics experiments.

This bachelor’s degree in physics education prepares you to teach physics to middle and high school students. (If you happen to meet any Elementary school-aged children with an interest in and ability to understand physics, let us know so we can recruit them early!) 

Per the standards set by Kentucky EPSB, “Candidates [for student teaching] in Kentucky are required to complete a minimum of 200 field experience hours prior to student teaching.”  Each education course contains a prescribed number of field experience hours. Some courses will have more than others, and courses with more hours are distributed toward the end of the program. Before student teaching, the hours completed in courses will be 200 or more. It's hard to measure an average per semester, since it will depend on the courses you take, but rest assured that you will be able to complete all your necessary hours by the time you graduate. 

All programs at University of the Cumberlands are offered at some of the lowest rates in the nation – and we even include free textbooks through our One Price Promise! For more information on how affordable this program would be for you, visit our Financial Aid page.

Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts in Physics

Learn more about the physics professors you will interact with.

Amy Bowman

Amy Bowman

Adjunct Professor

Amy Bowman

Contact Information

amy.bowman [at]
Debbie Pierce

Debbie Pierce

Adjunct Professor

Debbie Pierce

Contact Information

debbie.pierce [at]
Kenny Siler

Kenny Siler

Associate Professor

Kenny Siler

Contact Information

kenneth.siler [at]
Available by appointment only

Request Information

Have questions? Let us know!