Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2029 
2023-2024 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2029 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - Pre-Engineering

Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics

“The science of physics seeks to understand the behavior of matter and energy at the most general and fundamental level. The sister sciences of chemistry, earth sciences, and biology (including parts of medical science) build on the laws of physics and rely on many instruments originally devised by physicists. Physics underlies engineering and most of modern technology, and it plays a basic and essential role in our economy and our culture…” (National Academy of Sciences) 

The mission of the Physics Department at Truman State University is to support the liberal learning of all students at Truman State University through excellence in teaching and by broadly espousing the notion that the pursuit of understanding in physics is worthwhile, interesting, and deeply satisfying; to support students whose primary field of study overlaps with physics (e.g., chemistry, biology, medicine, and mathematics); and to provide physics majors with the knowledge, skills, methods, and attitudes necessary to understand and engage professionally in inquiry into the nature and behavior of the physical world.

In order to serve this mission, the Physics program is designed to achieve the following general goals: 1) to help students appreciate and understand the process of science, in particular its ever-changing nature, the fact that it is a human endeavor, the back and forth between experiment and abstract reasoning, and the importance of internal consistency; 2) to stimulate lifelong, independent learning; 3) to awaken and nurture appreciation for the beauty of physics; and 4) to contribute to a realistic understanding of technology and its role in society.

Specifically, the Physics Department strives to provide an environment where all our students: 1) develop a broad and coherent knowledge of physics; 2) experience activities unique to scientific research; 3) develop positive work habits, including collaboration, self-discipline, high aspirations, responsibility and honesty; and 4) are prepared for success in graduate school, professional school, engineering school, or in the workforce.

The pre-engineering program allows students to transfer to the engineering school of their choice after two years of work at Truman. Truman students are well prepared for the transfer, and they are actively recruited by various institutions, such as the University of Missouri campuses at Rolla and Columbia, with which transfer programs have been established. Among the advantages of the transfer program is the guarantee that all courses taken at Truman transfer with the received grade.


The following is a suggested curriculum for students interested in different areas within engineering. The Mathematics and Physics sequences are essential components of the curriculum. Specific course requirements may vary among fields of engineering (Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Engineering Management, etc.). For example, STAT 290 (statistics) is required for Ceramic Engineering at some schools, while CHEM 222 (Introduction to Quantitative Analysis) is typically required for Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering. Coursework may vary among engineering schools, so students should seek advice from a physics faculty member before registration. An example list of the courses a student would take before transferring is presented below. The most up-to-date example enrollment plans for the first four semesters are available on the Physics Department website.