Bridgewater College announces new undergrad engineering major

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:50 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The addition of a new major aims to have more Bridgewater College students career-ready upon graduation.

Engineering has been one of the top four career objectives of admitted students over the past few years, which sparked the college to rework its applied physics curriculum to offer an undergraduate degree in engineering. This will give students the skills they need to be successful in the fields of mechanical engineering, automation engineering and mechatronics, nuclear engineering, aerospace engineering, and automotive design.

“We’ve had an applied physics major for years, but gaining access to careers was a little more difficult than it should be,” Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Professor of Physics Dr. Philip Spickler said. “We pulled together a committee of alumni who are practicing engineers and they gave us some ideas on how to improve the major. We think this will make careers in engineering more accessible.”

Dr. Spickler hopes to have about 50 students in the engineering major.

“We hope to be able to do some design, fabrication, things that first year let students know exactly what is engineering,” he said. “We want to design a program where the first year they get to think like an engineer and get to understand what it means to be a practicing engineer.”

Engineering degrees are incredibly popular and “don’t go out of style,” Dr. Spickler said. He thinks the major will bring opportunities for students in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and beyond.

“An engineering degree is not something that many schools our size have done. There’s probably a handful of schools,” Dr. Spickler said.

Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in summer 2023, BC will officially launch the engineering major in the fall of 2023, with its first cohort graduating in 2027.