Our physics minor is specifically designed for those interested in teaching high school physics. At the same time, it is also a component of a liberal arts education. The courses within this minor, along with the completion of a chemistry major, will prepare you to take physics coursework on the upper-undergraduate level and graduate courses that lead to a master’s degree in the teaching of physical science. Since a physics/chemistry combination is the combination most common for teachers who teach physics in Iowa, this minor especially provides a good preparation if you choose this minor in conjunction with a chemistry major.

Mathematics is important in the study of physics as physical concepts are usually formulated mathematically. If you plan on majoring in mathematics with an intention to teach, you may be able to have your course work in physics count as a part of your program of study.

Physics department homepage

Minor requirements

Physics electives: 8 credits *
PHY 211SN - Classical Physics I
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Though all students are welcome in this calculus-based, IGE physics course, this is the first of a two course sequence designed for math, science, and engineering majors and others who have taken or are taking calculus and intend to apply to medical or graduate school. This course includes the following topics: kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, energy, momentum, gravity, oscillations, and thermodynamics. Prerequisite: C- or higher in MAT 112, or consent of the department chair.
PHY 212 - Classical Physics II
A continuation of Classical Physics I. Topics will include simple harmonic oscillation, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, and electromagnetism.Prerequisite: successful completion of PHY211 with a grade of C- or better.(4 credits)
PHY 370 - Modern Physics
An introduction to the physics of the 20th century. Topics will include special relativity, introduction to quantum theory, the Schrodinger equation, the hydrogen atom and many-electron atoms. Note: There is a laboratory component to this course. Prerequisites: successful completion of PHY212 & MAT211 with a grade of C- or higher, or permission of instructor. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

Total credits required: 20


* Elective courses at 200-level (and above).