Does physics help with electrical engineering?



Yes. Studying physics can certainly help you learn more about electrical engineering. Two questions that are probably more important: How does physics help with electrical engineering? And would it make sense to study both?

First, how does it help?

Physics is a fundamental scientific discipline, perhaps the most fundamental scientific discipline, depending on who you ask! The study of physics builds a broad knowledge base in mathematics and science to understand how the universe works. Studying physics teaches students the kind of problem solving and logic that can in turn be applied to technological advances.

If physics is general, electrical engineering is special. While earning a physics degree will definitely open doors to a range of job opportunities, adding electrical engineering will expand your options exponentially.

Electrical engineering imparts practical skills. It takes the scientific knowledge and the mathematical complexities and transforms them into innovative ideas and new ways of designing and building. But it is this knowledge of physics that helps the electrical engineer to understand the limitations inherent in a given problem and allows him or her to develop a practical approach to achieving a solution.

  • Physics students study everything from classical mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. They master atoms, molecules and statistics.
  • Electrical engineering students learn about the design of electrical circuits, including motors, electronic devices, fiber optic networks, computers, and communications links. They study how electrical energy is converted into other forms of energy and deal with mechanics and thermodynamics.

So two-sided: Physics concepts help engineers solve complex problems. And engineering applies concepts from physics to create practical solutions and innovations.

If you are considering an Electrical Engineering degree, you will enhance your understanding and mastery of the subject with a solid framework in Physics.

And electrical engineers are already on the rise: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salaries top $100,000 a year, and even brand-new graduates can expect to pull in more than $65,000 annually. The space is expected to grow 7% over the next decade as demand for solar, semiconductors and communications technology increases.

Educational options for physics and electrical engineering

Elmhurst University offers two dual degree engineering options. The first is Elmhurst University’s engineering partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology. In this program

They spend the first two years teaching in Elmhurst. At the end of your second year, you will enroll at the IIT, where you can choose from the following five engineering disciplines.

  1. Electrical engineering
  2. mechanical engineering
  3. civil engineering
  4. Space technology
  5. Technical computer Science

Then, for the next three years, you’ll take physics and general education (Integrated Curriculum) courses on the Elmhurst campus and engineering courses on the IIT campus near downtown Chicago. At the end of five years, you will graduate with two degrees: a BS in Physics from Elmhurst and a BS in Engineering from IIT.

The second dual degree option is a joint Physics-Electrical Engineering option offered in collaboration with the University of North Dakota. This option is a mix of in-person and online training. While the physics degree is completed in person on the Elmhurst campus, the electrical engineering degree is entirely online. Again, after five years, you graduate with two degrees: a BS in Physics from Elmhurst and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Dakota.

Some students prefer a sequential program where they first earn a bachelor’s degree in physics and then a master’s degree in an engineering specialty. With a degree in Physics, you are a strong candidate for admission to a master’s degree.

Learn more about Elmhurst’s programs by filling out the form below!


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