Our physics licensure program will prepare you to teach physics courses in grades nine to 12 at all levels, including honors and AP. You'll also be able to teach these introductory level classes:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and space science
  • Environmental science

The program consists of 36 credits taken over four semesters. If you're an undergraduate student, you'll most likely complete the program during your last two years at NIU, along with your upper-level content classes.

Start Your Application

In order to enter the program, you must be pursuing a bachelor's degree in physics at NIU or hold a bachelor's degree in physics.

You must also have the following minimum GPA:

  • Undergraduate: cumulative GPA of at least 2.50.
  • Graduate: cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  • GPA in all science and math courses must be at least 2.50.

You must complete the following requirements to earn your professional educator licensure with an endorsement in physics.


During your clinical placements, you'll complete a minimum of 100 hours of observations in at least three different high school classrooms in the northern Illinois region.

Subject Matter Test

You must successfully pass the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) content test in physics before student teaching.

EdTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment)

You must successfully pass the edTPA during student teaching in order to receive an Illinois teaching license.

Criminal Background Checks

The schools at which you complete your clinicals may require a criminal background check. You will learn how to complete this in your clinical classes.

Health Checks

You must pass a TB test prior to your third semester in the program. TB tests are available for free to NIU students at Health Services and are good for one year.

Required Coursework

In order to earn your license, you must complete all required courses with a grade of C- or better. If you earn a D or F, you must repeat the course.

Contact us for guidance on course requirements if you are a transfer student or if you already earned a bachelor's degree in a related discipline.

You can read detailed descriptions of the following required courses in the NIU catalog. Equivalent courses from other accredited institutions may be substituted at the discretion of the certification advisor.

Physics (31-33 Hours)

  • PHYS 253 Fundamentals of Physics 1: Mechanics (4 hours)
  • PHYS 273 Fundamentals of Physics 2: Electromagnetism (4 hours)
  • PHYS 283 Fundamentals of Physics 3: Quantum Physics (3 hours)
  • PHYS 284 Lab (1 hour)
  • PHYS 300 Analytical Mechanics (3 hours)
  • PHYS 320 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics (3 hours)
  • PHYS 367 Waves and Vibrations (3 hours)
  • PHYS 370 Electricity and Magnetism (3 hours)
  • PHYS 374 Introduction to Experimental Physics (3 hours)
  • PHYS 383 Intermediate Quantum Physics (3 hours)
  • PHYS 498 Senior Seminar (1 hour) or 499H Senior Project (3 hours)

Chemistry (8 Hours)

  • CHEM 210 General Chemistry I (3 hours), plus CHEM 212 Lab (1 hour)
  • CHEM 211 General Chemistry II (3 hours), plus CHEM 213 Lab (1 hour)

Math (6-11 Hours)

  • MATH 229 Calculus I (4 hours)
  • MATH 230 Calculus II (4 hours)
  • MATH 232 Calculus III (4 hours)
  • MATH 336 Differential Equations (4 hours)

General Education

Your general education courses must include:

  • Oral communication (3 hours)
  • Written communication (3-6 hours): ENGL 103/104, ENGL 103/203 or ENGL 204
  • Psychology (3 hours)

In most cases, you'll take licensure courses during the last four semesters before graduation. You'll be able to take upper-level content courses at the same time. During your final semester in the program, your entire schedule will consist of student teaching.

First Semester (Fall)

  • ILAS 201 Introductory Clinical Experience (30 hours of observation, 1 credit)
  • EPS 406 Human Development and Learning, Middle School and High School (3 credits)
  • PHYS 403x Nature of Scientific Inquiry (2 credits)

Second Semester (Spring)

  • ILAS 301 Second Clinical Experience (30 hours of observation, 1 credit)
  • LTIC 420 Methods and Materials for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (3 credits)
  • PHYS 414x Interdisciplinary Teaching of Science in Secondary Education (3 credits)
  • EPS 452: Classroom Management

Third Semester (Fall)

  • PHYS 401 Pre-student teaching clinical (40-plus hours of observation, 2 credits)
  • PHYS 416 Methods in Teaching Physics (3 credits)
  • SESE 457 Integrating Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom (3 credits)

Fourth Semester (Spring)

  • PHYS 428 Student Teaching (10 credits)