An illustration of an atom with three students inside it represents the bond between studying physics and electrical engineering.

Does physics help with electrical engineering?


Yes. Studying physics can definitely help you try to learn more about electrical engineering. Two questions that are probably more important to ask: How does physics help with electrical engineering? And would it be useful 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 as a way to understand how the universe works. The study of physics provides students with the kind of problem-solving and logic that, in turn, can be applied to technological advances.

If physics is the general, electrical engineering is the specific. While earning a degree in physics certainly opens the door to a number of job opportunities, adding electrical engineering to the mix will expand your options exponentially.

Electrical engineering provides practical skills. It takes scientific knowledge and mathematical complexities and transforms them into innovative ideas and new ways of designing and building. But it is that knowledge of physics that helps the electrical engineer to grasp the constraints inherent in a particular problem and allows him to develop a practical approach to reach 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 the design of electrical circuits, including motors, electronic appliances, fiber optic networks, computers, and communication links. They study how to convert electrical energy into other forms of energy and delight in mechanics and thermodynamics.

So it’s bilateral: Physics concepts help engineers solve complex problems. And engineering applies physics concepts in an effort to create practical solutions and innovations.

If you are considering an electrical engineering degree, you are bound to strengthen your understanding and mastery of the subject with a solid foundation in physics.

And electrical engineers have already started running: Median salaries exceed $ 100,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and even recent graduates can expect to earn more than $ 65,000 per year. The field is expected to grow 7% over the next decade as demand for solar panels, semiconductors and communications technology increases.

Educational options in 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,

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

  1. Electrical engineer
  2. Mechanic industry
  3. Civil engineering
  4. Aerospace Engineering
  5. computer engineering

For the next three years, you will take physics and general education classes (integrated curriculum) at the Elmhurst campus and engineering classes at the IIT campus near downtown Chicago. At the end of five years, you’ll graduate with two bachelor’s degrees: a physics degree from Elmhurst and an engineering degree from IIT.

The second dual degree option is a joint physical-electrical engineering option offered in partnership 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. Once again, at the end of five years, you graduate with two bachelor’s degrees: a bachelor’s degree in physics from Elmhurst and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Dakota.

Some students prefer a sequential program, first earning a bachelor’s degree in physics and then earning a master’s degree in an engineering specialty. The physics degree makes you a strong candidate for selection for a masters program.

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

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