May 11, 2021  
Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2015 
Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics and Engineering

Chair: Chris Hansen

Faculty: Ken Caviness, Blake Laing

Professor of International Research in Physics: Ray Hefferlin

Adjunct Faculty: Stan Beasley, Henry Kuhlman, Steven Kuhlman

Program Coordinator:

  • Biophysics, Physics, and Physics w/Teacher Certification, Chris Hansen
  • Engineering Studies, Ken Caviness

Engineering Studies Committee: Ken Caviness (Chair), Ray Carson, Tyson Hall, Chris Hansen

Statement of Mission

The mission of the Physics and Engineering Department is to empower physics and engineering majors, as well as other students, to prepare for continuing education in a professional school, graduate school, and/or the job market, and to help them integrate science with their faith in God.


Many doors of service await students who study physics. Southern Adventist University physics major graduates have become academy and high school teachers, and professors and researchers in physics, in the U.S.A. and overseas. Also, one or more of them has served as aerospace researcher for the Apollo project, anesthetist, chemical researcher, computer systems manager, computer network manager at large factory, corporation pilot, dentist, medical doctor, full-time homemaker, geologist, historian of science, instructor for fossil-fuel power-plant operators, instructor for nuclear-reactor operators, lawyer, mathematician, nuclear-plant walk-down engineer, oceanographer, oil-drilling engineer, planner for Space Station Freedom, radiologist, reliability designer for long-distance telephone systems, radio station engineer, software engineer, researcher in educational statistics, and team leader of a research group at CERN.

The Physics and Engineering Department offers B.S. and B.A. degrees in Physics and a B.S. in Biophysics. The B.S. degree in Physics gives the strongest physics foundation for any physics-related career. The B.A. degree in Physics with teaching certification is recommended for a career in secondary teaching. The B.S. degree in Biophysics should be considered by students planning on advanced study in the fields of medicine, biophysics, physiology, radiation biology, and bioengineering, particularly in view of a career in medical research.

Assessment of the Physics Program

To help the graduates in Physics evaluate their academic progress and to aid the department in evaluating teaching effectiveness, each senior is required to:

  • Take the ETS Major Field Test in Physics.
  • Take the physics portion of the GRE if planning to apply to a graduate program in physics. A score above the 35th percentile is necessary for recommendation for graduate study.
  • Take PHYS 480  and do original research as a prerequisite.

Alumni are surveyed and studies are prepared comparing GRE results, careers, and graduate-study success. Information gained from the assessments and studies is used to evaluate departmental programs.

Engineering Studies

Upon completing the two-year engineering studies program, students may transfer directly into the third year at either of two engineering programs with which Southern Adventist University is affiliated. These are the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering at Walla Walla University and the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at Andrews University. Both of these institutions award a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. Andrews is located in Michigan and offers concentrations in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Walla Walla is located in Washington State and offers concentrations in Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering and a preprofessional Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering programs at both of these institutions are fully accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)—the only nationally recognized organization which accredits engineering programs.

While the transition to an affiliate program is simpler than to a non-affiliated one, the Southern Adventist University Engineering Studies Program is compatible with baccalaureate engineering programs of many colleges and universities. A student who wishes to transfer to a non-affiliate program is strongly encouraged to work closely, and early in the planning stages, with an academic adviser at his or her engineering school of choice in addition to the engineering studies adviser.

The Physics and Engineering Department offers an A.S. in Engineering Studies. This degree is designed to prepare students for transfer into a baccalaureate engineering program, although the degree is not required by engineering schools, nor does it provide the qualifications needed for an entry-level engineering position.

Assessment of the Engineering Studies Program

The engineering studies program is designed to parallel the first two years of the baccalaureate engineering degree at affiliate engineering schools. It is regularly assessed by means of one or two campus visits each year by engineering faculty from these affiliate schools.