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Metamorphysics: Changing To Ep At Uw Platteville

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Issues in Physics and Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.854.1 - 7.854.9



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Paper Authors

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Harold Evensen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 1380

Metamorphysics: Changing to EP at UW-Platteville

Harold T. Evensen University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Abstract In 1996 the Physics program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville became an Engineering Physics program, which achieved ABET accreditation in Fall 2001. While many features of a good physics program are also those of a good engineering program, ABET accreditation requires explicit coverage of outcomes such as engineering design, communication skills, and interdisciplinary work, which are not always part of a “traditional” physics program. Therefore, the upper-level physics curriculum was modified and course content was altered in order to add and codify the needed engineering content. This was developed collaboratively by all three EP faculty, and includes: developing an “Engineering Physics Lab” to introduce concepts in experimentation, modeling, design and communication; and incorporating engineering into courses on classical mechanics, optics, and quantum mechanics. Additionally, a course on sensors has been created; engineering ethics appears throughout the curriculum; and the Modern Physics laboratory has been altered to serve as a better “bridge” to the Engineering Physics portion of the curriculum. This continuing development has been aided by feedback from our students, graduates and industrial advisory board.

Introduction In response to the small and shrinking number of physics majors at the University of Wisconsin- Platteville (UW-P; on the order of one graduate per year), the Physics department changed its major to Engineering Physics (EP) in 1996. This was done in order to draw from the large number of students (over 1400) that attend the university to major in engineering, especially electrical and mechanical. Additionally, it was felt that EP would better serve our student population, most of whom take jobs in regional industry upon graduation.

This desire to match our university’s regional mission led to the UW-P “interpretation” of Engineering Physics: physics with a blend of other engineering disciplines so that graduates can “identify, formulate, and solve engineering physics problems that cross the traditional boundaries between physics, electrical, and mechanical engineering.1” Thus far the change to EP has been well-received by both students and employers; we have already met our initial goal of ten to fifteen graduates per year, and our students are increasingly desired for internships, co-ops, and employment. This desirability is expected to increase further now that ABET accreditation provides a reference point for those not familiar with EP.

Before changing to EP, the Physics program at UW-P had several tracks: a major in physics, with or without an emphasis in engineering or education, and a minor in physics with an emphasis in arts and sciences or education. The change to EP eliminated the majors in physics and in physics education, and greatly “upgraded” the engineering aspect of the former engineering emphasis.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Evensen, H. (2002, June), Metamorphysics: Changing To Ep At Uw Platteville Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10310

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