Member InstitutionMember Institution California State University, Chico

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California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico Website

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Physics Teacher Preparation Program

Bachelor of Science in Physics: General Physics Option

The General Physics Option is designed for students that want a broader scientific background across many disciplines, but prefer a strong emphasis in physics. It includes one year of biology, one year of chemistry, and a year of geoscience. In addition, there are five elective classes that must be upper division in any single science of the students choosing. This allows the student to develop considerable breadth in all fields of science and some depth in a second science beside physics.

The General Physics Option is one of a very few programs in California approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for secondary school science. It meets the requirements for a primary authorization in physics and a secondary authorization in one other science. This second authorization will make the prospective high school physics teacher very attractive to any high school.

The General Physics Option could also be used by students that intend to pursue advanced study in interdisciplinary sciences such as biophysics, geophysics, atmospheric sciences, meteorology, environmental science, oceanography, astronomy, actuarial science, computer science, health physics or medicine. This degree is solid training for technical writers, science journalists, scientific or medical sales personnel, medical technicians or many other technical careers. This option is excellent preparation for advanced degrees in business administration, patent or technical law. In summary, the General Physics Option allows students to explore a wide variety of career paths and still share in the excitement of physics.

California State University, Chico offers an academic community noted for its dedication to students and its commitment to excellence in teaching. If you would like more information about the department or would like to come to our campus for a visit, please call or email.

-- 12 Lower-Division courses
-- 6 Upper-Division courses

-- 6 Upper Division Physics Units selected from any upper-division course in physics.
-- 12 Science Breadth Elective Units selected from any non-General Education courses in Chemistry, Geosciences, or Biology

Recruitment efforts

We visit local high school physics classrooms every year.  In addition we visit our local community college physics classes where we speak to the need for high school physics teachers.

As part of our program we place students in local high school physics classrooms for a total of forty five hours "on the front lines."


The Paul G. Hewitt Scholarship for Future High School Physics Teachers
Paul Hewitt's dedication to quality physics teaching that led him in 2001 to establish the Paul G. Hewitt Scholarship for Future High School Physics Teachers. The intent of this scholarship is to encourage those with a love for and knowledge of physics to share their enthusiasm for the science by becoming high school physics teachers. Awards are typically $1000.

Our campus offers Noyce Scholarships of up to $12,000 per year!  The Robert Noyce Scholarship program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers. The program provides funds to institutions of higher education to support scholarships, stipends, and programs for students who commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts.


The Annual Pumpkin Drop
The Annual SPS Pumpkin drop is a recreation of Galileo Galilee's legendary Tower of Pisa Experiment. On Halloween an SPS member dressed as Galileo explains the Law of Falling Bodies as other SPS members demonstrate the law by dropping pumpkins and other assorted fruits and vegetables from the top of a building. It's a smashing good time!