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Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy

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If you want to understand the forces of nature — and how to use that knowledge to solve problems —consider majoring in the related fields of engineering or physics.

Our faculty advisors can help you decide which career path is best for you. We offer a B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in engineering physics, plus a B.A. in physics or  teaching physics.

The faculty are experts in many disciplines, including mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, pulsed laser systems, astronomy, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics and teaching physics.

They take the time to get to know our students and help them identify their own passions. This leads to successful employment or acceptance to graduate school. Augustana students use human-centered design, solve important problems in their discipline, or inspire students in high school physics classes.

Augustana College offers several paths in engineering and physics

Engineering (B.S.)

The college offers an innovative B.S. in Engineering program at a liberal arts institution, with focuses in mechanical, civil, and environmental and sustainability engineering. 

This program is multidisciplinary so students will be exposed to physics, mathematics and engineering, while incorporating ethics, humanities and social sciences. 

Engineering Physics (B.A.)

The Engineering Physics major combines coursework in fundamental physics with specialized courses in applied physics and engineering.

This 4-year degree is more flexible than the Engineering B.S., allowing students to major in an additional subject(s) at Augustana.

Students who major in Engineering Physics can choose the dual degree 3-2 program option in which they earn a B.A. in engineering physics from Augustana and a B.S. in Engineering from a partner university.

The program requires three years at Augustana followed by at least two years at the engineering school. Augustana has formal partnerships with Columbia University, Northern Illinois University and Washington University in St. Louis. However, students may attend any 3-2 program to which they gain admittance. Recent graduates have also attended University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and Purdue University. Students participating are required to work closely with their Augustana advisor through the entire process and complete the coordinated degree program agreement prior to departing Augustana.  

→ How do you know which engineering degree is right for you? Read about the differences

Physics (B.A.) and Teaching Physics (B.A.)

Physics at Augustana can take you in many directions, depending on your curiosities: thermodynamics, mechanics, astrophysics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum physics.

You can major or minor in physics or major in teaching physics in the secondary schools. Many physics grads pursue technology careers, while others enter graduate programs in physics, engineering, medicine or education. .

Learn more about studying physics at Augustana


  • During the past five years, nearly 80% of students seeking graduate school were successfully enrolled in top schools such as the University of Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Dartmouth, and the University of Colorado-Boulder programs.
  • The Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES) has won the Outstanding Chapter Award more than 15 times, as well as the Blake Lilly Prize and Marsh W. White award from the national honor society of the Society of Physics Students. It’s a fun and engaging group focused on developing a sense of community through presentations, outreach to area schools, discussions on modern science and get-togethers.
  • Our student-led mentoring program (APS-IDEA) pairs first- and second-year students with junior and senior majors. Seniors are paired with an alumni mentor so they are ready to take the next step, whether that’s a job or graduate school.
  • Augustana’s CORE career coaches help students with résumés, interview practice and internships. Our engineering majors have had internships at John Deere, Exelon, Bergstrom, Solar Plastics and Crawford Company, which have led to permanent positions.
Augustana Physics and Engineering Society

The Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES) is an active student group; it often wins the annual cardboard boat regatta. → MORE

John Deere Planetarium

The John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory features a Celestron C14 computer-driven 14-inch reflector telescope. Stargazing, educational programs and planet viewing are offered to the community as well as campus. → MORE

Recent graduates

Nicholas Muskopf-Stone is at the University of Illinois (3-2 engineering program).

Liam Russell '21 is a graduate student at the University of Denver.

Georgia Votta '21 is a graduate research assistant at Michigan State University.

Katie Syer '21 is a science teacher at Hoffman Estates (Ill.) High School.

Jacob Connors ’20 is a manufacturing engineer with Northrup Grumman.

Emmalee Pentek ’20 is an associate restoration field coordinator at Patrick Engineering in Chicago. 

Su Yadana ’20 is a data analyst at Boraam Industries, Inc.

Patrick Crompton ’19 is a graduate research assistant at the Rapid Prototyping Cente at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Gabrielle Gambino Lyon ’18 is a sustainability consultant at Jordan & Skala Engineers in Houston.

Ali Rabeh ’17 is a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering and a graduate research assistant at Iowa State University.

Luke Toppel ’16 is a sustaining mechanical engineer at Visual Comfort Group in Skokie, Ill. 

Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy news

Nathan Frank

Dr. Frank receives $397K grant from National Science Foundation

The new NSF grant builds on the success of the MoNA Collaboration to involve undergraduate students in research over the years, resulting in numerous publications and presentations by students.

Cecilia Vogel and James van Howe

Faculty move quantum science forward in research and classroom

Augustana physics faculty are finding ways to involve students in quantum research and discovery, while moving ahead with their own research.

telescope image

Powerful telescope reveals wonders of the night sky

Augustana students can study planetary systems, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies like never before with new access to an advanced research-quality optical telescope in the Arizona desert.

Hear from students

More Than I Imagined Nicholas Muskopf-Stone
“While I expected to graduate with a degree in engineering physics, I did not expect to graduate with two minors and many months of professional experience.”
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More Than I Imagined Ivan Starenko
“I definitely found my footing and direction at Augustana, and I feel confident moving forward from here — which is exactly where I hoped I would be when I arrived.”
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Gabby Gambino Lyon
More Than I Imagined Gabby Gambino Lyon
“Dr. Dyer's dedication to his students as well as his passion for creating room for women in engineering are the main reasons I kept with it all four years.”
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Why Augustana? Students explain

What you'll learn

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Quantitative literacy

Quantitative literacy

Interpret, represent and summarize information. Use math and statistics to solve problems.

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Collaborative leadership

Collaborative leadership

Make decisions and act for the good of the community as a group.