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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Physical Sciences

Majors Overview April 3, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in physical sciences and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Physical Sciences

Geology, astronomy, physics, and chemistry are encompassed in the physical sciences, which also include mathematics and biology.

Coursework in the majority of undergraduate physical science programs offered by four-year universities and colleges is devised to serve aspiring secondary and elementary school science teachers with a focus on providing a broad understanding of these disciplines. Students enrolled in many programs are trained to teach methods, principles, and theory.

Through a combination of lab work and classroom lectures, students gain a background in scientific facts and principles, in addition to extensive experience in the conduct of laboratory experiments. Students enrolled in some schools are required to participate in teacher education programs simultaneously as they complete the physical science major program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. College-level courses in basic mathematics and sciences may have to be completed by students before they can graduate.


Coursework within Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physical Science degree programs covers the basic principles of numerous branches of science, additionally providing a broad grasp of science education. Core coursework includes subject areas such as the following:

•Nature and context of science
•Elementary science education
•Secondary science education
•Foundations of science education
•Astronomy laboratory
•Physical science laboratory
•Orientation to physical science
•Laboratory safety
•Scientific computing
•Elementary physics

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, slower-than-average job growth rates of six percent have been predicted for high school teachers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2014, secondary school teachers brought home an average annual wage of $59,330 (BLS). In 2010, there were about one million individuals employed as high school teachers, including science teachers, in the United States.

Continuing Education Choices

Some graduates of the bachelor’s degree program in physical science pursue continuing education by earning a master’s degree in education or a specific branch of science. Licensure obtained from the respective state’s Board of Education is mandatory for middle and secondary school teachers aiming to teach in public schools. Bodies such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards award national certification for the benefit of these professionals.

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