Department of Physics & Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

Engineering Questions & Answers

What are the opportunities for studying engineering at Fort Lewis College?

Fort Lewis College offers two exciting Engineering programs. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree is a unique program designed to produce broadly-trained and creative engineers who can meet the emerging challenges facing the engineering profession and our increasingly global society. This program is designed to provide a solid foundation and breadth in mathematics, basic sciences, engineering science and design, communications, humanities, and social sciences, with opportunities for discipline specific depth in Physics, Electronics and Thermal/Fluids Sciences.  ABET accreditation is pending for this newly introduced program.

The second option is a Bachelor of Science degree in the Engineering-Physics option of the Physics major. The Engineering Physics program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the national organization that accredits engineering programs. This popular program combines the theory of physics with the application of engineering into an ABET accredited engineering program that prepares students to enter the high tech workforce or graduate school.

What is Engineering-Physics?
The field of Engineering-Physics has been around for decades with over 30 accredited engineering programs nationwide. Those include programs at Cornell University, Colorado State University, California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Colorado School of Mines and many more. The point is that this is a well established engineering discipline and is offered at Fort Lewis College as a part of the Physics major.
Engineering Physics (EP) is an interdisciplinary program that combines the studies of physics, mathematics, and engineering into a single curriculum. It meets the growing demand in industrial research and development for engineers well trained and educated in the basic sciences. Engineering physics students complete engineering science and design courses typically found in other engineering programs, like mechanical, electrical and civil, while still maintaining the broad, fundamental, scientific background provided by physics. It provides a strong base for employment or graduate school in many field of engineering including mechanical, electrical, civil, aerospace, automotive, industrial, biomedical and others. Graduates of the program have the flexibility to adapt to tomorrow's demands for modern, interdisciplinary careers in a rapidly changing technological society. For more information please see the Engineering-Physics page.
Why should I come to Fort Lewis College for my engineering education?
Fort Lewis College, the Department of Physics and Engineering, and Durango all factor into this being a great place to pursue your engineering education.  Here are just a few reasons you should consider our program:
First on the list is that we are dedicated to teaching. Every course you take will be taught by a faculty member with a Ph.D. in their field, and frequently, years of teaching and industrial experience. We are professors who have made a full-time commitment to teaching undergraduate students. One on one and small group attention is the norm not the exception. When you couple this with class sizes that average 10-20 students. You can’t loose.
At Fort Lewis College you will find a unique engineering education that employers of our graduates are raving about. Students are individually challenged to seek appropriate solutions to a broad array of contemporary issues within the context of environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability. Rigorous academics and applied critical thinking at all levels of your education will prepare you for a variety of career choices. 
Fort Lewis College offers an engineering program taught within the context of a liberal arts education. History, political science, anthropology, sociology, the arts, and humanities are all exciting fields that are critical to understanding a society that is continually becoming more global and multicultural. As a liberal arts college, these subjects are an intrinsic part of your education as an engineer, something employers are seeking with increasing frequency.
And last but not least Durango is a great place to live and study. After a day hitting the books there is nothing better than a hike or bike ride in the fresh mountain air to clear the mind. We guarantee that if you like the outdoors and mountains you’ll love Durango.
What kind of student is an Engineering major?
People interested in engineering usually have some common traits. They are curious about the world around them and how it works. They like to find answers to problems and enjoy the challenge of problem solving. Engineers take the concepts and tools of science and math and apply them to the real world problems that face society. An engineer has designed and built nearly everything you use and see around you. An engineering student must be diligent and hard working, eager to learn and creative. We won’t kid you, the work is hard but the rewards are many. Take the challenge.
What will be expected of me as an engineering major at FLC?
You will be expected to take your studies seriously. That means you must come to class, complete your assignments, study, ask questions, and visit your professors often. We want you to succeed, and we will do everything possible to assist you in that goal. But ultimately the responsibility is yours. Engineering is a demanding discipline and we expect you to work hard to prepare yourself to be an engineer.
What kind of jobs do graduates find with an Engineering degree?
The job market is very good for engineers in all disciplines. You can work for industry, government, in consulting or in education. Engineers are commanding the highest salaries of any baccalaureate degree graduates. The best part about engineering is that it is fun, creative and fulfilling. You can work in design, analysis, construction or manufacturing, sales, research and development and many other types of jobs. Because of the rigorous curriculum and the emphasis on problem solving, engineering is excellent preparation for jobs in other disciplines as well as preparation for graduate school engineering, medicine, and law. The choice is yours.
What are the faculty like at Fort Lewis College?
The Engineering department at FLC is combined with the Physics Department. These are two very similar and compatible fields. We have seven full-time members, all of whom have their Ph.D. in either engineering or physics. Combined we have nearly 100 years of teaching experience that we bring to the classroom everyday.
What kinds of research or internship experiences do you offer?
We all agree that it is a great idea to get some work experience in engineering before you graduate. We think the sooner the better. So we assist our students in obtaining paid, summer employment. Do you think that you might be interested in one of these?
  • Working for a consulting engineering firm.
  • A research internship at a national or university lab.
  • Participating in the Colorado Space Grant. Consortium program at FLC as a research assistant. 

Physics Questions & Answers

What can the Physics Department at Fort Lewis College offer me?
The Department of Physics can help you with thorough and individualized instruction in theoretical and experimental physics to prepare you for graduate school in physics, biophysics, geophysics, chemical physics, engineering and related fields. In addition, we can assist in preparing you for career opportunities in numerous fields including computer science, computer engineering, communications technology, aerospace, microelectronics, alternate energy technologies, materials science, optical communications and computing, environmental physics and more. The department also offers special options in Engineering-Physics, and an option for those students interested in teaching physics at the secondary level.
Tell me about your faculty.
The faculty in the Department of Physics are dedicated to bringing a solid undergraduate education in physics to every student in each class and laboratory. All classes and labs are taught by faculty members with Ph.D. degrees, not by inexperienced graduate students or teaching assistants, as is common at most large universities. The faculty prides itself on being available one-on-one to students outside the regular class setting for advising, assisting with class work and directing independent study projects.
What opportunities exist for research or internship experiences?
The department is committed to hands-on undergraduate research. Each physics major is expected to complete a senior research or design project. Research interests among the faculty include optics, nonlinear physical systems, physics of sound and music, nuclear physics, astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, fluid dynamics, materials and surface science, laser spectroscopy and environmental science. In addition, many opportunities exist for summer research projects and internships through the department’s contacts with government and university laboratories as well as with local or regional companies. The department also has special funding available for research through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and the COAMP program. Many students who complete summer research projects or internships publish their work in scientific journals or present their work at scientific conferences. In recent years, students from the physics department have published papers in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society as well as the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics.
What type of person is a physics major?
Students who major in physics generally like applied mathematics, enjoy mastering mental puzzles and intellectual challenges and are interested in knowing how and why the natural world looks and operates the way it does.
Can I get a job with a physics degree from Fort Lewis College?
Absolutely. The job market in technical fields has expanded so rapidly that employers are hard pressed to find enough qualified applicants. With a bachelor’s degree in physics from Fort Lewis, you will be qualified to participate in or oversee research and development of new technologies in areas such as computer science, computer engineering, communications technology, aerospace, microelectronics, alternate energy technologies, materials science, optical communications and computing, environmental physics and more. Physics majors are also highly sought after in non-traditional fields for physicists, such as finance and medical technology.
What types of positions do graduates find with a physics degree?
Former Fort Lewis physics students are currently working for small and large companies in the fields of aerospace, optical and electro-optical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, solar energy/photovoltaic technology, computer science, health and radiation physics, ultrafast optical communications, astrophysics, medical physics, scanning microscopy, microelectronics and marketing. Companies employing Fort Lewis physics graduates include Ball Aerospace, Raytheon Systems, Honeywell and Rockwell. Other graduates are pursuing careers as officers in the United States armed forces and teachers in secondary schools. Still others are involved in the fields of physics and physical science. Click here for a list of fields our alumni are currently working in.
Can I get into graduate school with a physics degree from Fort Lewis?
All of the graduates of the physics program at Fort Lewis College who have desired to attend graduate school have been accepted and given full support for their graduate studies through teaching assistantships, research assistantships or fellowships. Alumni who have pursued graduate school have been very successful in their pursuits of masters and doctoral degrees. Some have received degrees in fields other than physics, including astrophysics, geophysics, meteorology, mechanical engineering and mathematics. Graduate schools attended by Fort Lewis graduates include Colorado State University, University of Texas, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Kansas, Montana State University, University of New Mexico, and many others.