May 16, 2021  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics and Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study

Chair: Ken Caviness

Faculty: Vola Andrianarijaona, Ken Caviness, Blake Laing

Adjunct Faculty: Henry Kuhlman, Steven Kuhlman

Program Coordinators:

  • Biophysics, Physics, and Physics w/Teaching Licensure, Ken Caviness
  • Engineering Studies, Ken Caviness

Engineering Studies Committee: Ken Caviness (Chair), Tyson Hall, Ken Caviness

Statement of Mission

The mission of the Physics and Engineering Department is to empower physics and engineering majors, as well as other students, to prepare for continuing education in a professional school, graduate school, and/or the job market, and to help them integrate science with their faith in God.


Physics is the study of matter and energy and the many ways in which they interact. Students who seek an understanding of the fundamental workings of nature and desire to develop versatile analytical, research, and problem solving skills will find a physics major to be a rewarding way to begin their professional careers.

Many doors of service await students who study physics. Southern Adventist University physics major graduates have had successful careers as research scientists at national laboratories, program managers or computer software developers in technology companies, medical doctors, university professors, and high school teachers, in addition to other professions that require quantitative problem solving skills.

The Physics and Engineering Department offers B.S. and B.A. degrees in Physics and a B.S. in Biophysics. The B.S. degree in Physics gives the strongest physics foundation for any physics-related career. The B.A. degree in Physics with teaching licensure is recommended for a career in secondary teaching. The B.S. degree in Biophysics should be considered by students planning on advanced study and research in the fields of medicine, biophysics, physiology, radiation biology, and bioengineering.

Assessment of the Physics Program

To help the graduates in Physics evaluate their academic progress and to aid the department in evaluating teaching effectiveness, each senior is required to:

  • Take the ETS Major Field Test in Physics.
  • Take the physics portion of the GRE if planning to apply to a graduate program in physics. A score above the 35th percentile is necessary for recommendation for graduate study.
  • Take PHYS 480  and do original research as a prerequisite.

Alumni are surveyed and studies are prepared comparing GRE results, careers, and graduate-study success. Information gained from the assessments and studies is used to evaluate departmental programs.

Engineering Studies

Engineers are responsible for using knowledge about nature to create things people use. Students who have a curiosity about how things work and who wish to learn how to rigorously design new things will find this to be a challenging and rewarding career path.

The Physics and Engineering Department offers an A.S. in Engineering Studies. Upon completing the two-year engineering studies program, students may transfer directly into the third year at the baccalaureate engineering program of their choice.

We are directly affiliated with two such programs: the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering at Walla Walla University and the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at Andrews University. Both of these institutions award a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. Andrews is located in Michigan and offers concentrations in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.  Walla Walla is located in Washington State and offers concentrations in Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as Bioengineering. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree programs at both of these institutions are fully accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) - the only nationally recognized organization which accredits engineering programs.

Students routinely transfer to and succeed in other non-affiliated baccalaureate engineering programs, such as Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Such students connect with an academic adviser at the other school in their first year in order to plan a course sequence with their local adviser.

Assessment of the Engineering Studies Program

The engineering studies program is designed to parallel the first two years of the baccalaureate engineering degree at affiliate engineering schools. It is regularly assessed by means of one or two campus visits each year by engineering faculty from these affiliate schools.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study