Physics & Engineering

A Student-Focused Approach

The biggest benefit of the Physics & Engineering program is that you receive a lot more one-on-one attention for your first two years, which are the fundamentals."

Teagan Eaker

Radford University Physics & Virginia Tech Engineering degrees, class(es) of 2020

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General Information

The Physics Department at Radford University is the perfect place to begin your career that includes both physics and engineering. Throughout the years, several of our Physics majors have spent their first two years at Radford University, and then transferred to Virginia Tech to enroll in their Engineering program. During the students' time at Virginia Tech, they took the few remaining physics classes they need to complete their Radford University physics degree. They were able to do this since the extra physics and math they have during their sophomore year gives students an incredibly strong foundation from which to springboard into engineering. And, it frees up some extra space in their engineering curriculum to readily take these remaining physics classes. 

After 5 years - 2 at Radford and 3 at an engineering school - students receive a B.S. in Physics from Radford University and a B.S. in Engineering from their other school. For physics majors, this allows Radford to foster careers in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and others. 

While students are at Radford University, they are classified as Physics majors, or PHYS. When students transfer to the other school, the Radford University Registrar switches their designation to PHYE in order to maintain a link to the student (without paying any Radford tuition). While the student is at the other school, Dr. Rhett Herman, Professor of Physics and the Radford University coordinator of this program maintains informal advising contact with them for physics guidance. At the end of their time at the other school, students then simply transfer their physics classes back to Radford to fulfill their Physics degree. And, completing the General Education requirements at the second school will automatically fulfill Radford's General Education requirement. 

For more information about this dual degree path with Radford University and other schools, please contact Dr. Rhett Herman,, Professor of Physics and the Radford University coordinator of this program.

Required Radford University Courses

Before transferring to another school to study engineering, students in this program should take the following as minimum requirements:

  • 20 hours of Physics (PHYS 221 and PHYS 222, along with 12 additional hours in Physics)
  • 8 hours of Chemistry (CHEM 111 and CHEM 112)
  • 12 hours of Calculus (MATH 171:172:271; Calculus I-III) and 3 hours of Linear Algebra (MATH 260).
  • 12 hours of General Education courses that will count towards the General Education requirements at the engineering school.

First-Year Curriculum

Below is a typical first-year curriculum at Radford University. Note that CHEM 111 and CHEM 112 could also be taken during the summer after this first year or during the sophomore year at Radford University.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
PHYS 221 (4 hours) PHYS 222 (4)
MATH 171 (4) MATH 172 (4)
CHEM 111 (4) CHEM 112 (4)
ENGL 111 (3) ENGL 112 (3)
PHYS 201 (1) Elective (3)

Additional Courses

Students in this program will also need to take the two "Foundations of Engineering" courses  before transferring to an engineering college. The timing of these classes will be discussed with each student depending on their engineering field of interest. These classes are typically taken at a community college the summer after freshman year at Radford University. Theses community college courses are EGR 121 and EGR 122.

Transfer Guides

A very useful example link is the Virginia Tech Registrar's Transfer Guide page, if you decide to transfer there. Here, you will find the Transfer Equivalency Database to determine which courses from Radford (or other college) transfer to which Tech classes, or vice versa. You can also use the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) equivalancies page to help if you decide to take some of your classes at a community college before transferring to Virginia Tech or some other school. This will help you decide which physics classes to take at this other school to finish up your Radford physics major, or which math classes to take here and which ones you might wait to take at your second school.