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Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417

Engineering science major open for enrollment this fall at Luther College

Todd Pedlar

Todd Pedlar, professor of physics, has a long track record of preparing students for successful engineering careers.

Luther College will enhance its engineering education with the launch of an engineering science major in fall 2023. The new major expands the college’s current offerings and presents a more distinctly focused degree, giving students an even stronger foundation in engineering.

“At Luther, we have a long tradition of preparing students for a future in the various disciplines of engineering,” said Todd K. Pedlar, professor of physics. “In our new program, we’ll serve such students even more completely.”

The engineering science major

The engineering science major is based on a foundation of physics courses with related courses in math and chemistry. Among the included elements essential to future engineers are:

  • Foundational engineering courses in statics, mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electronics and more.
  • Extensive coursework in physics, mathematics and chemistry.
  • Hands-on laboratory and project work emphasizing computational modeling as well as experiment and project design.

The major will provide a meaningful foundation for those going on to study a specialized engineering discipline, such as mechanical, civil or electrical engineering. Students will gain an understanding of engineering vocabulary and best practices. The major will also give those who decide not to pursue more training an interdisciplinary set of skills that will prepare them for the technical workforce after graduation.

Studying engineering at a liberal arts college

Luther students preparing for careers in engineering benefit from the college’s focus on critical thinking skills, effective communication with people of diverse backgrounds, and analysis of societal issues. Smaller class sizes, more academic support, a broad education with flexibility in the curriculum, and options for participating in extracurricular and co-curricular activities are additional benefits.

Students in the new engineering science program will learn the discipline within larger contexts, gaining an understanding of the historical and philosophical context of theoretical and experimental science and an appreciation for how scientific ideas develop over time. They will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to perform both conceptual and quantitative analysis of physical phenomena. Students in the major will also develop an understanding of the impact of physical science investigations on the global development of human society.

Alumni success

The engineering science major is new, but the success of Luther alumni in engineering fields is not. One hundred percent of Luther’s physics program graduates from the past 20 years who have sought admission to an engineering graduate program were admitted and were able to pursue their engineering aspirations.

“What underlies the success of our alumni is the fact that the rigorous coursework, research and internship experiences our students have provides an excellent and flexible foundation for their engineering future, whatever shape it takes,” Pedlar said.

Luther graduates have earned or are pursuing graduate degrees in engineering disciplines including mechanical, electrical, civil/environmental, materials science, aerospace and optical systems at more than a dozen universities across the country.

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at

Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417