All accredited engineering schools require their first and second-year students to take a relatively standard set of mathematics and physics courses that are commonly referred to as pre-engineering courses. Stetson University's undergraduate pre-engineering program, housed in the physics department, prepares students for further study in engineering at either an undergraduate or graduate level. Students on a pre-engineering path receive a solid foundation in math and physics and also benefit from the liberal arts curriculum that emphasizes on critical thinking and communication skills.
An individualized pre-engineering curriculum is based on a student's interests and goals. Students take the math and science courses necessary to excel in an advanced engineering program at a school with engineering programs.
Academics and Research
During their first and second years, pre-engineering students at Stetson University take the same standard physics and mathematics courses as their counterparts at large engineering schools. The math courses cover differential, integral and multivariable calculus and differential equations. Physics courses include surveys of classical and modern physics, followed by an in-depth study of mechanics. Other courses are tailored to match a student's interest and preferred program.
Pre-engineering students build a solid liberal arts foundation at Stetson University, which prepares them for advanced engineering courses at a professional school. Class sizes are small, and the faculty is available for personal attention.
With Stetson University's pre-engineering program, students can choose among several options:
- After completing their first two years of foundational courses at Stetson University, a student can transfer to an engineering school to complete a course of study over the succeeding two or three years.
- Students can also choose to pursue the dual-degree program by spending the first three years at Stetson University taking fundamental pre-engineering courses and enhancing their liberal arts background. Students who select the dual degree option major in physics then transfer to an engineering school to complete their work for a degree. At the end, students will have a bachelor's degree from Stetson University in addition to a bachelor's degree in engineering.
- Finally, some students remain at Stetson University to earn a bachelor of science degree and then pursue their engineering interests in graduate school.
Whatever option a student chooses, they will have hands-on experience in state-of-the-art laboratories, actually using equipment students might just look at or read about at a larger school. A senior project is also required. An undergraduate student interested in research also has the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects or off-campus summer internships.
Beyond the Classroom
Clubs and Organizations
Clubs and organizations available to pre-engineering students include: the Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma and the astronomy club, which is open to all students regardless of major.
Students may apply for the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience, which pays a stipend for students to do research during the summer. There are also many programs funded by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy that pay students a stipend and travel expenses to do summer research internships at a variety of universities and national laboratories around the country.
Awards and Recognition
Faculty members maintain open office hours and encourage students to drop by anytime to discuss physics, their coursework, career goals or any other concerns. The physics department has four physicists on the faculty. They are:
- George S. Glander, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison; LEED (low energy electron diffraction), Kikuchi electron diffraction
- Allan Thomas, Ph.D., University of Arkansas at Little Rock; optoelectronics, wide bandgap semiconductors, nanotechnology
- Danielle Morel, Ph.D., Florida State University; theoretical nuclear/hadronic physics, computational neuroscience
- Kevin T. Riggs, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; magnetic properties of thin films and musical acoustics
- The George L. Jenkins Prize in Physics is awarded annually to the top student enrolled in the introductory physics course and is funded by the family of George L. Jenkins, former chair of the physics department.
- The Jack Gibson Endowed Physics Research Award is presented annually to the student who demonstrates excellence in the senior research sequence. This award was established in 2008 by physics department alumnus Jack Gibson.
Specialized areas include: aeronautical engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and structural engineering.
- Glenn Hudson (1998), B.S., mechanical engineering, University of Kentucky, B.S., physics, Stetson University;
- Melissa Kastanias (1998), B.S., physics, Stetson University. Melissa is pursuing a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.