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LR’s Engineering Physics major combines a rich foundation in traditional Physics study with a curriculum designed to support undergraduate students’ professional and academic goals regarding Engineering-related fields. Students have the opportunity to choose among two tracks based on their academic and professional goals: Traditional Track and Biophysics Track.

The Traditional track furnished students a strong foundation in a traditional Physics program. The 36-38-hour major includes courses in Analytical Physics, Classical and Quantum Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Kinetic Energy and Thermodynamics. Each major also completes a research project and course in her/his senior year.

The Biophysics track is a substantial interdisciplinary program (69-71 hours) including Physics, Biology, and Chemistry courses.

In addition to these two Physics tracks, the program also offers courses in Earth Science and Astronomy. Minors are available in Astronomy, Earth Science, and Physics.

Qualified students may also participate in LR’s 3+2 Pre-Engineering program with its partner universities in North Carolina and South Carolina. This program has been approved by the “Subcommittee on Engineering Transfer” to allow articulation and transfer to the engineering programs at North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Additionally, LR sustains a similar partnership with Clemson University. Upon completion of the 96 hours of Pre-Engineering” curriculum, qualified students who are admitted by the partner institution may transfer to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s (or higher) degree in Engineering. These hours “articulate” back and count toward completion of a bachelor’s degree at LR.

Physics is also an essential component, as is major or appropriate coursework, in preparation for a number of graduate professional programs.


Pre-Professional Opportunities




Engineering Physics students complete an independent research project - performing all aspects of scientific discovery from data collection and observation to experimentation and evaluation – and present their findings to faculty and peers as part of their degree requirements. These opportunities for independent research provide exceptional preparation for professional pathways after graduation. Students will also often have opportunities to participate in internships. Work study opportunities are also available on campus, through which qualified students can gain valuable experience serving as lab assistants in the Physics program.

The School of Natural Science hosts the Steelman Lecture Series through which renowned scientists and scientific writers are invited to speak to the campus and surrounding community. Career and graduates school nights are also held annually. These events feature former students and respected professionals in the field who speak with current students, offering information and guidance about various career options.

Physics students have the opportunity to view the stars, planets, and moon though The Catawba Valley Astronomy Club. Club members assist with public star gazes at the observatory atop the Minges Science Building on the LR campus.


A degree in Engineering Physics opens up a diversity of career options for graduates—both because of the specific training in the content of the discipline and due to the general skills encouraged in the study of Physics, e.g., problem-solving, analytical thinking, numeracy, data analysis. The majority of Physics and Engineering Physics majors go on to pursue advanced degrees in professional and/or academic settings. The Engineering Physics major prepares students for careers in technology and science, in both industry and academia. Students (sometimes with additional education) may choose from many fields of engineering, climatology and meteorology, energy, aerospace, medicine and healthcare, construction, and transportation, among many other areas.


Students at LR may complete a BS degree in Engineering Physics in either the Traditional track or the Biophysics track. Also available are minors in Physics, Astronomy, and Earth Sciences.

Engineering physics Major Requirements


Program Contact

Helen Caldwell

Associate Professor of Physics
Hickory Campus