Randolph College Home Page Give Today! Support Randolph College
AboutAdmissionUndergraduateGraduateAcademicsUndergraduateGraduateStudent LifeAthleticsOutcomesAlumnae & AlumniParents & FamiliesInside RandolphAPPLYREQUESTVISITNEWSEVENTSSupport RandolphSearch

Engineering

With our dual degree engineering program you will receive two degrees in the time that it takes many to get one.

Student checks electrical connections on instruments

Why Study Engineering at Randolph?

With our 3-2 dual degree engineering program you will benefit from the best of both worlds: 

  • a solid liberal arts education that is appealing to graduate schools and the job market alike,
    and 
  • the experiences of studying at both a large university and a small college.

This unique undergraduate opportunity will provide you with the experience and knowledge that will serve you well in your future in engineering and physics.

Degrees offered

Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Physics 
(requirements)

Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering
(dual degree – see below)

Minor in Engineering
(requirements)

______

Academic Catalog

3 Years Here + 2 Years There = 2 Degrees

A student interested in a degree in engineering, but who also wants the benefits of a liberal arts education can elect the engineering physics major.

3 Years Here

The engineering physics major takes a rigorous program of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science courses while at Randolph College for three years. 

2 Years There

The student then has the option to apply to an associated engineering school to complete the program in two more years.

Randolph College has agreements with engineering schools at…

  • Washington University St. Louis
  • the University of Virginia

Degree 1

After the first year at the engineering school, a B.S. in engineering physics is received from Randolph College.

Degree 2

After the second year, a B.S. – or in some cases a Master’s degree in engineering – is received from the engineering school.

Plan Ahead

Students need to plan for their dual degree programs from their first year, but do not need to commit to them until their fourth year. If the student completes the requirements for the dual degree in the first three years, but elects to remain at Randolph College in the fourth year, the student will complete the physics degree or any other academic degree (depending on what courses have been taken).

The engineering physics degree is offered only to students who complete a year at an engineering school.

 

Why Randolph?

“You learn to work as a team and are never alone in your efforts; a very diverse campus helps you to think outside the box and drives you to excel. Everyone on campus wants you to grow. That’s the benefit of going to a small liberal arts college like Randolph. ”

Tyler Campbell '21
Mechanical Engineering Student at The University of Virginia

Opportunities for Experience

Research

Students have many opportunities, on and off campus, for research. Recent research topics have included, among others, “Host Galaxies of Active Galactic Nuclei,” “Monte Carlo Simulations of Electron Cascades in Solids,” and “Surface Adsorption of Polymers.” 

Internships and Study Abroad

Many students participate in internships and study-abroad and summer research programs. Physics and engineering majors have participated in summer programs at:

  • NASA
  • University of Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Lehigh University
  • Bucknell University
  • Kansas State University, and
  • Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

 

Summer Research Program

Spend the summer working closely with a professor and focused on a specific aspect of physics or engineering.

Randolph’s intensive eight-week Summer Research Program enables students to conduct research that is complemented by a thorough review of the relevant literature; live in a residence hall on campus, participate in on-campus summer events, attend special seminars with guest speakers; and share the progress and results of their research.

Learn more about the Summer Research Program.

Senior Capstone

Physics and engineering seniors cap their major by researching and presenting topics to faculty and students. Recent topics have included:

  • Measuring the Variable Star VZ Cancri
  • Design and Construction of a Nitrogen Laser
  • Scripting Interactive Physlets for Use as Teaching Tools
  • Cellular Automata as a Means of Modeling Physical Phenomena
  • Monte Carlo Modeling of JLab Spectrometers
  • Adsorption Isotherm of Nitrogen on a Nuclepore Surface at 77K

The Society of Physics Students

The College has an active chapter of the Society for Physics Students, dedicated to celebrating the fun side of science and promoting STEM through community service.

Consistently recognized as one of the most outstanding chapters in the nation by the national organization, recent activities include building a human-sized hamster wheel, giant Newton’s cradle, hosting a science festival for local schoolchildren, and attending conferences of the American Physical Society.

Community Service: Randolph College SciFest

Every year the Society of Physics Students organizes and hosts SciFest, a 3-day science and learning festival for local schoolchildren.

Randolph student and faculty volunteers lead activities, exhibits, labs, and talks designed to get young girls and boys interested in and excited about science, technology, engineering, and  math (STEM).  

In addition to science activites for both elementary and preschool students, guests enjoy national guest speakers, a Pi Day fun run, women in science panel,  poetry jam, LEGO league, drones and robots, petting zoo, and more.

The free event draws thousands of children and families to campus every year. 

The Randolph Experience

Honors Study

Studying for honors is one way political science majors gain experience in research and the opportunity to study a topic in depth.

Recent paper topics have included campaign finance reform, analyzed school voucher programs, studied congressional action on civil rights legislation, and researched recent U.S. Supreme Court actions on the Free Exercise of Religion clause of the First Amendment.

Small Classes

Randolph professors offer unique, engaging courses on topics like peace and conflict resolution, children’s rights, the United Nations, and global health.

The Honor Code

Randolph students live by our Honor Code and act with the highest integrity in both academic and social life.

Model UN Team

In recent years, our student delegations to the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City have consistently been honored among the best.

Participation is selective and chosen delegates take a full credit class to prepare.  

Delegates learn the structure, systems, and history of the UN with an emphasis on writing, research, speaking, and collaboration.

 

 

Study Abroad

Opportunities for study elsewhere, such as in the Washington Semester Programs at the American University in Washington, D.C., as well as study-abroad programs, are available.

Intercultural Competence

All Randolph students learn global citizenship with the capability to accurately understand and adapt to cultural differences and find commonality.

Internships

Randolph students put classroom learning into practice by participating in internships.

With help from the Career Development Center, political science majors have experienced government at work during internships in the congressional offices, federal and state offices, political campaigns, advocacy groups, social service agencies, and more. ing with social service agencies.

Recent internships include the Department of Veterans Affairs, Moms Demand Action, CASA, U.S. State Department, SAWAU.S. House of Representatives, and more.

Research

Randolph College students conduct advanced research projects in their majors with help from the Center for Student Research. They present their findings at the annual Symposium of Artist and Scholars.

Unique Experiences

Outcomes

Historic Preservation Law

Janie Campbell ’12, history major
Preservation Consultant, law firm of Rogers Lewis Jackson Mann & Quinn, LLC, Columbia, South Carolina

Janie’s group works with developers seeking tax credits for rehabilitating historic properties.

“I work closely with project architects to ensure that historic, character defining elements of each building are preserved and restored, which can vary tremendously as what is significant to a 1929 airplane hangar is vastly different from what makes a 1963 mid-century modern motel unique!”

She writes National Register of Historic Places nominations and Historic Preservation Certification applications, which detail the property’s significance.  She also conducts site visits to ensure work is being completed as described and photographs the before, during, and after conditions of each project.

“Randolph certainly laid the foundation for my research and writing skills. The Summer Research Program, in particular, prepared me for the type of place-based research I do now. “

Opportunities

Top Ranked Professors

Randolph College’s faculty are consistently recognized as among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked the College in the Top 20 for most accessible professors in the 2021 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 387 Colleges.

Randolph has been ranked in the top 20 for most accessible professors for four consecutive years.

Engineering and Physics Faculty

Peter Sheldon

Professor of Physics, Director of the Center for Student Research

Read More... Peter Sheldon

Katrin Schenk

Associate Professor of Physics

Read More... Katrin Schenk

Sarah Sojka

Associate Professor of Enviromental Studies and Physics

Read More... Sarah Sojka

Only at Randolph

Randolph students can take advantage of unique programs which give them a more enriching education than can be found anywhere else.

The Randolph Plan

Randolph students work with faculty mentors to explore a broad range of disciplines as they chart their academic path.

Learn More
The Liberal Arts Advantage

Randolph graduates learn to think critically, solve problems and work well with others. They are prepared to succeed in all aspects of life.

Learn More
Money for Your Research

The Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) program provides every student a $2,000 grant to fund research, creative work, experiential learning or other scholarly pursuits.

Learn More
TAKE 2

Two courses per half-mester means you get to focus in and dig deep into your coursework while still having time for the rest of the college experience. Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.

Learn More

Department News

Meet the graduates: Tyler Campbell ’21

Campbell will attend the University of Virginia next year to earn his master’s in mechanical engineering, with an eye toward eventually working for a firm in Lynchburg.

Read More

Alumna's foundation awards $30,000 grant to support SUPER

Randolph College has been awarded $30,000 from the Barbara C. Noyes Charitable Foundation, Inc., to support the Annual Fund for […]

Read More

Randolph's SUPER, STAR programs work to create connections during online learning

Both programs are both dedicated to helping first-year students adjust to college life. In 2020, that task became even more difficult, creating a sense of community with students who couldn't be together in person.

Read More

Meet the graduates: Tyler Campbell ’21

Campbell will attend the University of Virginia next year to earn his master’s in mechanical engineering, with an eye toward eventually working for a firm in Lynchburg.

Read More

Alumna's foundation awards $30,000 grant to support SUPER

Randolph College has been awarded $30,000 from the Barbara C. Noyes Charitable Foundation, Inc., to support the Annual Fund for […]

Read More

Randolph's SUPER, STAR programs work to create connections during online learning

Both programs are both dedicated to helping first-year students adjust to college life. In 2020, that task became even more difficult, creating a sense of community with students who couldn't be together in person.

Read More
Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS Feeds Snapchat
Department Chair

Peter Sheldon

Professor of Physics, Director of the Center for Student Research

Credentials:B.A., Amherst College
M.A., University of Massachusetts
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
Associated Departments:Physics, Engineering
Office:Martin 316
Phone:4349478488
Email:psheldon@randolphcollege.edu

Peter Sheldon is the Chair of the Physics Department, Director of the Dual-Degree Engineering Program, and Director of the Center for Student Research. He has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, and has a B.A. in Physics and a B.A. in Mathematics from Amherst College. Dr. Sheldon’s research net is wide: he is by education a low-temperature physicist, but has picked up the fields of ultrafast laser spectroscopy and physics education research in the last ten years. He has published in all of these fields.

Dr. Sheldon is currently working on two grant-funded projects. He has a grant from Verizon and the VFIC to improve technology education for under-represented groups, and a grant from SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education in Virginia) to train elementary and middle school teachers to better teach science.

Another of Dr. Sheldon’s specialties is bringing physics to the general public. He regularly gives talks to all age groups on Amusement Park Physics, Newton’s Laws, Pseudoscience, Why Cats Land on Their Feet, and of Innovative Uses of Technology. He is certainly a computer geek, and teaches and uses computers extensively. A selection of Dr. Sheldon’s publications include “Scientific Inquiry: Improved Learning,” with Peggy Schimmoeller, and Tatiana Toteva, Academic Exchange Quarterly 13 (2009); “3He spin diffusion measurements in 3He-4He mixture films,” P. A. Sheldon and R. B. Hallock, Physical Review Letters 85, 1468 (2000); and “Short pulse excitation and spectroscopy of KNbO3, LiNbO3, and KTiOPO4,” H. M. Yochum, P.A. Sheldon et al, Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids 150, 271 (1999).

Along with Kacey Meaker ’08, Dr Sheldon is currently writing a book that will appeal to a popular audience or an introductory physics class, on the physics of roller-coasters.

×

Katrin Schenk

Associate Professor of Physics

Credentials:B.S., University of California at Los Angeles
M.S., Cornell University
Ph.D., Cornell University
Associated Departments:Physics, Engineering
Office:Martin 324
Phone:4349478489
Email:kschenk@randolphcollege.edu
Website:https://www.facebook.com/groups/234404713261414/

News Headlines

Katrin has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University and now does computational neuroscience/ethology research. She received her training in computational neuroscience during her tenure as a Sloan-Swartz Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.

Her research is focused on understanding the underlying dynamics of animal behavior and how knowledge of these dynamics can inform us about the effects of disease processes and environmental and/or genetic perturbations. Her research makes use of real behavioral data taken by collaborators in the fields of psychiatry, physiology, neurology, neuroscience and medicine and her main plans involve long term collaborations with experimentalists in the fields of geriatrics, psychiatry, and physiology.

She came to Randolph College because she is passionate about involving undergraduates in original research and because Randolph College’s high faculty to student ratio, flexible administration, and committed science faculty make it an ideal environment for fostering collaborations with undergraduates.

×

Sarah Sojka

Associate Professor of Enviromental Studies and Physics

Credentials:B.A., Eckerd College
M.S., University of Virginia
Ph.D., University of Virginia
Associated Departments:Physics, Environmental Studies & Science, Engineering
Office:Thoresen 7
Email:ssojka@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

I fell in love with science as a child, balanced on my toes on a stool leaning over the sink with a friend, our “chemicals”, including dish soap and bubble bath, surrounding us, trying to remove the smell from black pepper. I remember the intensity with which we worked and the thrill of feeling that we were discovering something. My goal as a science educator is to foster that same sense of wonder and curiosity in all of my students.

I earned my undergraduate degree at Eckerd College in Environmental Studies-Public Policy. As a student at a small liberal arts college, I loved getting to know my professors and the opportunities for research, including a project studying water quality in Nicaragua.

My interest in water quality led me to the University of Virginia for an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. I studied how physical processes affect the biological processes in shallow coastal systems. Unfortunately, we frequently study average or calm weather conditions in these systems and forget how much winds and waves can affect the primary producers. I used modeling, experiments and monitoring data to study how wind conditions affect light and nutrient availability for seagrass. I am continuing this research and look forward to involving students in it.

After graduate school, I took my work inland and began working on rainwater harvesting systems. These systems are designed to collect the rain that falls on the roof of a building and use it for irrigation, toilets and other uses.

My primary interest is how rainwater harvesting can be used to reduce stormwater runoff and protect coastal systems.

×