Ahead of the high-tech curve

Sep 7, 2007

Responding to the needs of a dynamic high-tech industry, Kettering is gaining momentum with a new Engineering Physics degree program.

If there is such a thing as a hot new degree program, Engineering Physics is "it." A very flexible, broadly defined engineering degree, Engineering Physics (EP) is geared toward careers in advanced and emerging technologies such as optics, telecommunications, lasers, nanotechnology, electronic materials, and medical devices and instrumentation.

Always on the cutting edge of what is happening in industry and the marketplace, the new degree program was approved by the Kettering University board in March, effective for the 2007-08 academic year.

"This program will fill a niche in technology and industry usually not addressed by traditional engineering programs and it coincides with the growth in high-tech industries such as telecommunication, photonics, electronic materials, biotechnology and nanotechnology," said Dr. Bahram Roughani, professor and department head for Physics at Kettering.

The traditional Applied Physics program prepares students for careers or graduate studies in the areas of Physics and Applied Sciences. Engineering Physics, on other hand, gives students a more detailed engineering curriculum that allows them to pursue careers in Engineering as well as graduate degrees in Engineering and Physics, according to Roughani.

"The resources to develop this degree program were already available at Kettering. We were able to leverage those resources to develop this degree program without adding infrastructure. In the process we created more options for our students," he said.

Kettering's EP curriculum was benchmarked against the highest ranked EP programs in the nation in terms of content and quality, and did not require additional laboratory, staff, resources, expenses, or budget. In addition, the program has the support of the Physics Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) at Kettering with curriculum developed in part based on recommendations of IAB members to respond to current and emerging industrial needs and market opportunities.

Based on integrated program content across disciplinary boundaries, the EP degree at Kettering is comprised of 40 courses that combine knowledge in optics, acoustics, materials, nanotechnology, modern physics, waves, quantum mechanics, photonics, optoelectronics, solid state physics and nuclear physics with a sequence of existing engineering courses with emphasis on systems engineering applications.

Ultimately, the program unifies areas of industrial physics with a sequence of courses in engineering applications. This, along with the unique work integrated co-op education and industrial thesis, puts the Kettering University Physics program ahead of most undergraduate programs in the nation.

"We offer two unique undergraduate Physics degree programs designed to provide flexibility for our students to combine their general education, science education, physics and applied physics with a sequence that might be from various fields such as applied sciences, engineering, and business," said Roughani. "We prepare our students for two options after graduation, either an immediate career in industry, the private sector or government, or further studies in a graduate program in variety of science, engineering, medical, or even business fields," he said.

The start of the EP program coincides with formation of the new Physics Department. Kettering restructured academic departments to reflect the growth in applied science degree programs at the University since 1995. The restructuring separated Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry into independent departments.

The success of all these programs depends on a university-wide integrated approach, according to Roughani. He is encouraged by the leadership at Kettering and the new vision for diversifying the University and expanding beyond the institution's traditional boundaries.

View more information about the Engineering Physics major.

Written by Dawn Hibbard