Physics/Engineering Dual Degree

"One of the most important things it gave me was a more holistic viewpoint. I now have one eye being that of an engineer and the other eye being that of a scientist. But through both eyes I understand both fields much more thoroughly, and understand more deeply the science and engineering behind everything around us. Another thing is that having "I graduated from two degree programs simultaneously" on your resume impresses potential employers. Whether it be internship or job interviews, I have always been asked about this. Frankly, some fields of engineering are very competitive and this leg up on the competition is well worth the hard work.  In my case, having both degrees meant that I was better suited to take on a role where the line between science and engineering blurred." -Jon Hefta, RU/VT Physics/Engineering Dual Degree graduate, December 2016

The Physics Department at Radford University and the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech offer a Dual Degree program in Physics and Engineering. After completing this program studentsl receive a B.S. in Physics from Radford University and a B.S. in Engineering from Virginia Tech. The typical time required for a student to complete this program is five years.

For physics majors, this allows Radford to help foster careers in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and others. For a complete list of Virginia Tech's Engineering disciplines, please consult their College of Engineering website.

Note: A very useful link is the Virginia Tech Registrar's Transfer Guide page. You can use this database to find out exactly which courses from Radford (or other college) transfer to which Tech classes, or vice versa. This will help you decide which Tech physics classes to take to finish up your Radford physics major, or which math classes to take here and which ones you might wait to take while at Tech. Please see the Virginia Tech College of Engineering site for more information about their engineering degrees.

Note that there is no "threshold GPA" that guarantees admisison to Virginia Tech while in this program. The Dual Degree agreement that the Department has signed with Virginia Tech states, "Transfer applicants must meet all normal transfer admission requirements of Virginia Tech.  Participants in this program who have a grade point average of 3.2/4.0 or above will be deemed eligible and given special consideration on a space available basis for admission to the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.   Applicants who do not have a 3.2 GPA or who do not complete the prescribed course requirements will be considered on an individual basis.

Before transferring to Tech students enrolled in this cooperative program are required to 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 101 and CHEM 102)
  • 12 hours of Calculus (MATH 151:152:251:252; Calculus I-IV) and 3 hours of Linear Algebra (MATH 260).
  • 12 hours of Core Curriculum courses (that also count for Virginia Tech's Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) requirements) 

Below is a typical first-year curriculum at Radford University. Note that CHEM 101 and CHEM 102 could also be taken during the summer after this first year, or during the sophomore year at RU.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
PHYS 221 (4 hours) PHYS 222 (4)
MATH 151 (3) MATH 152 (3)
CHEM 101 (4) CHEM 102 (4)
CORE 101 (3) CORE 102 (3)
UNIV 100 (1) Elective (3)

Students in this program will also need to take the two "Foundations of Engineering" courses (e.g. ENGE 1215 and ENGE 1216) before transferring to Tech. These courses are housed within Tech's Department of Engineering Education (ENGE). 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--not at Virginia Tech--the summer after freshman year at RU. Students who complete this dual degree program are typically at RU for 2 years, and then transfer to Tech for 3 years to complete the engineering degree. While at Tech, students may need to take 2 or more physics classes to complete their RU physics degree, depending on the classes they finished at RU. This is determined on a case-by-case basis with each student.

For more information about this dual degree path with RU and Virginia Tech please contact Dr. Rhett Herman, rherman@radford.edu, Professor of Physics and the RU coordinator of this program.