Engineering Physics

"I am very pleased with the availability of research opportunities for undergraduates.  Not only did it look great on my resume, but it gave real world experience on highly technical problems and a chance to give presentations to a large audience."  --Bryan G. Hecox

Engineering Physics students

Physics explores the basic properties of matter and energy, analyzing the forces which are in action inside materials, during energy transformations, at both large and small scales. 

Students gain experience in dealing with a broad range of such physical phenomena, using both laboratory and mathematical problem-solving techniques. Students learn the basic laws of physics that govern nature, and develop the necessary skills to apply these laws to physical processes that are used across our technologically advanced modern society.

Engineers who have the strong background in engineering physics are uniquely prepared to face the technological and scientific challenges a practicing engineer will face in today's workplace.

Possible Careers

Physics majors are prepared to do design and development work in:

  • Aerospace, Aviation & Defense
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Internships
  • Geophysics
  • Instrumentation and Measurement
  • Materials
  • Mathematics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Optics and Laser
  • Photonics
  • Robotics
  • Semiconductor

Additionally, the background in Physics that is provided through an engineering physics degree prepares engineers for a more successful and rewarding career as they also pursue the B.S. or even M.S. degree in engineering before entering the workforce. Our engineering physics program prepares our graduates to be successful at two of the top ten engineering schools in the nation with a seamless transfer of credits at the end of their third year at WIU, namely, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Iowa at Iowa City.  After two additional years at one of these schools, they will then hold degrees in the engineering field of their choice from one of these "top ten" engineering schools in the nation as well as an engineering physics degree from WIU.

Students planning to major in Engineering Physics should take four years of high school mathematics and one year each of physics, chemistry, and biology in high school.

Why Choose Engineering Physics at WIU?

Powerhouse Degree:  Engineering physics majors can have a WIU B.S. degree in Engineering Physics packaged with a B.S. degree in Engineering from one of the "top ten" engineering schools in the nation, while also completing a minor in a complementary field such as mathematics or chemistry.

Hands-on Labs: Students experience hands-on interaction in small group settings under the mentorship of Ph.D. faculty. All courses and laboratory sections are taught by faculty members with a Ph.D. from prestigious institutions around the world.

Small Class Sizes: Most upper level undergraduate classes average approximately 10 students; all laboratory sections are capped at 18 students. Students are fully engaged and given opportunities to ask questions, participate in individualized experiments, and handle the equipment used directly.

Excellent Mentoring: Our physics students are given the opportunity to be known on a first-name basis by our Physics faculty, and the majority of our students participate in individual undergraduate research projects under the direct mentoring by a faculty member beginning from their sophomore year.

Students Involved in Active Research & Presentation: Almost all of our students involve themselves in experimental, computational, or theoretical research projects by the time they reach their senior year. An essential component of a quality undergraduate physics education, this research provides our students with unique opportunities to present their research in both on-campus venues as well as at prestigious regional, state, national, and even international conferences.

Notable Graduates

  • David K. Rigsbee, Mathematics Department Chair,  John Wood Community College, Quincy, Illinois.
  • Harlan L. Watson, of Cabin John, MD, distinguished professional staff member, U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Michael C. Baxa, Distinguished Post-Doctoral Fellow in Molecular Bio-Physics Group, Georgia Technical University; Recipient, WIU's very first Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
  • Dr. James C. Gumbart, Assistant Professor, School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology

Physics At A Glance

Degrees Available:

  • B.S.
  • M.S.

Major: Yes

Minor: Yes

Graduate Degree: Yes

Campus: Macomb

Study Opportunities:

  • GradTrac
  • Honors
  • Teacher Certification

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