Physicists are concerned with an extremely broad range of natural phenomena extending from the submicroscopic world of elementary particles to the vast reaches of the cosmos and the origins of the universe, from the simplest of everyday activities to the behavior of matter at the furthest extremes in energy, temperature, distance and time.
The defining characteristic of physics is the quest for the underlying logic—the theoretical structure that unifies and explains all the different phenomena that are studied experimentally. Experiments and theoretical work alike are motivated primarily by this quest. As a by-product, physicists have pioneered many of the basic ideas on which our modern technology rests, such as transistors and lasers, and perhaps someday fusion energy.
There are two different options for obtaining a physics degree at Ohio State: a Bachelor of Science in Physics through the College of Arts and Sciences or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics through the College of Engineering. Within each option there is a set of standard college requirements plus math and physics requirements that are roughly the same for both options. A student who is interested in studying physics should consider carefully which program to choose.
Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.
Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see exploration.osu.edu).
All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.
In addition to the college core, engineering students also take select core courses, major courses and general education courses.
Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learning, semester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program.
Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe.
Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.
The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.
Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:
- Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building.
- Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems.
At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.
Engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including EcoCAR (project team), National Society of Black Engineers and Engineers for Community Service.
Due to both the theoretical and applied nature of the engineering physics program, our graduates develop a wide range of technical skills that are very marketable to employers. Graduates of the engineering physics program are well-rounded in the sciences and engineering, and this allows them to choose from several different career paths after they graduate. About 40 percent go to graduate school for physics or engineering to earn advanced degrees. Half of our graduates begin full-time employment in industry or government research. Others choose to pursue advanced degrees in other fields or go in to teaching or military service.
Recent graduates of the physics program have gone on to study physics, engineering and astronomy at top universities such as Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, University of Oxford, University of Hawaii and University of Chicago.
Some employers of engineering physics graduates include Accenture, Honda, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Karpinski Engineering, Stanley Electric, U.S. Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Interested in a career in the STEM fields?
Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, environment and math.