Students in electronics class

Engineering Physics

Engineering physics merges fundamental physics with the design of engineering systems, processes, and devices. Students will gain the ability to apply basic scientific ideas to real-world problems, acquiring the problem-solving, critical-thinking, and technical communication skills employers seek.

This major is ideal for a student who is strong in mathematics/physics, might be a tinkerer, and has an entrepreneurial spirit—someone curious about how electronics and engineered products work who also cares about the future of the world, improving society, and developing breakthrough solutions.

LVC engineering physics majors can participate in high-impact student-faculty research and internships. For example, Dr. Veenhuizen performs research in glass crystallization science in collaboration with colleagues at Corning and Lehigh University. Students have also been accepted into external summer research programs in nanotechnology, computer and electrical engineering, and systems and integration engineering.

You’ll learn from faculty that have built high-level research programs in quantum information science, laser modifications of glass, and computational nuclear physics. This student-faculty research has been published and presented in prestigious science journals and conferences and awarded external government funding. For example, Dr. Pitonyak’s computational nuclear physics research has received recent grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Learn More About the Program

You’ll learn how to apply the engineering design process to find the best solutions: define a problem, identify constraints and criteria for success, propose solutions, create prototypes, test them, and iterate to get there. You’ll take courses that provide you with fundamental physics knowledge, build your analytical, programming, and experimental capabilities, and allow you to work through self-designed hands-on projects.

Keith Veenhuizen and Olivia Magneson conduct physics research

Experts Guide You

Research First

Through LVC’s Research First Program, you can explore potential research interests the summer before your first semester on campus. This immersive student-faculty research program is available to select incoming first-year students. You’ll gain practical research experience while joining the LVC community early and becoming acclimated to campus.

Major-Specific Labs

You’ll apply what you learn in the classroom to labs dedicated to specific physics topics and engineering design and process, culminating in an engineering capstone project. You’ll work in newly renovated lab spaces with equipment to prototype, test, and execute your ideas.

Building on a Legacy

Our engineering physics degree was made possible by the estate of former NASA scientist and LVC alum Dr. Elizabeth Miller Bains ’64 and her husband and fellow scientist, Dr. James Bains. She helped create the software for the computer simulations used to train astronauts, including Sally Ride. The ideals and problem-solving skills she embodied are incorporated throughout the program’s curriculum. Watch this short video about the Bains gift.

Bureau of Labor Statistics median salary for Nuclear Engineers in 2021
Growth in job outlook 2021–31 for Industrial Engineers (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Bureau of Labor Statistics median salary for Mechanical Engineers in 2021
Bureau of Labor Statistics median salary for Industrial Engineers in 2021

In Their Words

Strong, hard-working students can thrive and make great achievements here. We see excellent outcomes for them because of the rigor of our curriculum and the high-level research we conduct. We are a small college where students can excel and pursue their chosen careers successfully.
Dr. Dan Pitonyak ’08, Co-Chair of Chemistry and Physics, Assistant Professor of Physics
It’s rare to have a robust research experience for undergraduate students like at LVC and even at large research institutions where student involvement is usually limited to graduate students. These experiences can be transformational in developing young scientists.
Dr. James M. MacLaren, LVC President and award-winning physicist

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