Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Physics

About Physics 7-12 Teaching Certification

Introduce students to the fundamental workings of the universe.

Whether you have a bachelor's degree in physics or are changing careers from another field, Level I certification and a master's degree in physics education from PennWest California enable you to teach secondary school grades 7-12.

Complete your secondary education certification and master's degree within five semesters ­- four semesters of courses and one semester of student teaching.

Experience how PennWest California excels in teacher education.

  • PennWest California has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality educators in Pennsylvania and beyond.
  • This master's program focuses on pedagogy courses, applicable instruction and student teaching.


Flexibility: A combination of online courses, on-site fieldwork and a two-day, on campus summer residency give physics education graduate students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.

Students that need additional coursework to fulfill the Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements may need to take on-campus courses.

Real-World Experience: Before beginning the full-time student teaching component of this program, PennWest California students experience hours of fieldwork in local school districts. This helps them excel in student teaching and stand out in the physics education job market.  

Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
weeks of full-time student teaching in a real classroom.
icon undergrad for degree

Degree Benefits

Graduate degree courses will give you mastery of the latest practices and theories in physics education while deepening your discipline-specific expertise. You'll also gain extensive hands-on experience through fieldwork and student teaching.

  • Study physics curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for teaching physics.
  • Deepen your knowledge of calculus, differential equations, physics, mechanics and other related topics.
  • Gain real-world teaching experience.
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Our graduates are prepared to teach secondary education physics at public or private schools. They also thrive as physics program coordinators, evaluators and curriculum specialists. PennWest California secondary education alumni employers include dozens of schools across the country.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

This professional graduate degree program is delivered online, on-site at assigned fieldwork locations and on campus during a short summer residency. Our rigorous, discipline-specific courses will deepen your physics knowledge while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in physics education. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
Required Courses
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Education 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 3
MSE 645  Technology Integration in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 653  Methods of Science Teaching 7-12 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching 9
Total Credits 33

Undergraduate Content Course Requirements

Certification requirements for the Pennsylvania Department of Education include appropriate certification testing. A minimum of 30 credits of content area coursework is required. These courses may be taken at the undergraduate level. Students must demonstrate college coursework with a grade of C or higher in:

  • Calculus 1
  • Calculus 2
  • College physics 1 with lab
  • College physics 2 with lab
  • College physics 3
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Mechanics
  • Atomic and nuclear structure
  • Chemistry 1 with lab

Note: Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements are subject to change.

Chapter 49-2

Chapter 49-2 requirements (12 credits) mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education must be met in order to receive certification. Courses may be satisfied with previously taken undergraduate or graduate courses, subject to approval of the program coordinator. Undergraduate 49-2 courses cannot be accepted for the graduate special education add-on certification program for students who later complete that program. If not already completed, the following courses are needed in addition to the requirements above:

  • ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration
  • ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis
  • ESP 613  Evidence-based Practices in Secondary Inclusion
  • EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner

Student Teaching

Applications for spring student teaching are due October 1. Applications for fall student teaching are due April 1.

Student teaching requirements include:

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher for all courses, including undergraduate content course requirements
  • A grade of C or higher for all required courses
  • Completion of all required courses prior to student teaching
  • Required clearances
  • No incomplete (I) grades
  • Passing of required Praxis tests
  • TB tests
  • Liability insurance
  • Education requirements, such as seminars and portfolios

Program Notes

  • The summer courses require a two-day residency in July.
  • Clearances are required at all times throughout the program and must be updated every July.
  • LiveText Watermark software is required for this program. 



Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

  • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419 

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs


A physics experiment.

Land a Job Before Graduation

If offered a teaching job while enrolled in the secondary education master's degree program, physics education students can apply for the Teacher Intern Certification program. This allows you to work full-time as a teacher before certification, and use your job to fulfill field placement requirements.

A chalkboard with math equasions.

Experienced Faculty

Learn best practices in physics education from experienced professors. All core secondary education faculty have doctorate degrees, and most have taught in public schools at the middle or high school level.

A PennWest California student rides his bike on campus.

On-campus Summer Residency

PennWest California secondary education graduate students meet on campus every summer for an intensive two-day residency. This enables face-to face instruction, interaction with peers and practice teaching sample lessons.

Physics Certification Faculty

Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Connie Monroe

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Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

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Dr. Michael Perrotti
Education Department Chair; University-Wide Curriculum Committee Chair; Associate Professor

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Michael Ulderich
Assistant Professor

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.