The University of California, Santa Cruz, has approved a new major in physics education to prepare students for California teaching credentials and teaching careers in science and mathematics at the high school level.

The new major, leading to a B.S. degree, will be overseen by the Physics Department, with extensive collaboration from the Mathematics and Education Departments. Students can declare the major starting in Fall 2009.

"As part of UC's effort to train more science teachers, we wanted to create a program designed to meet the needs of students interested in teaching physics and math in high school," said David Belanger, professor and chair of the Physics Department.

The California Teach program at UCSC (Cal Teach) has helped to coordinate the involvement of the three departments in the new major. Cal Teach will also support student outreach, advise students, and arrange the school internships that are an integral part of the major.

Gretchen Andreasen, director of the Cal Teach Resource Center, said she has also helped to create concentrations within existing majors in biology and Earth sciences for students in those fields who are interested in teaching careers.

"All of these programs are aimed at providing better support for future science and math teachers," Andreasen said.