Skip to main content
A bachelor's in applied physics degree student with a laser.

Bachelor's Degree in Applied Physics

With a formal agreement between UC and the University of Kentucky, as an applied physics degree major, you would attend UC for three years of courses in physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer programming, and general education before transferring to the University of Kentucky to complete an approved set of engineering courses and general education courses. Completing your course work in applied physics and mathematics usually requires two or three semesters at UC, after which you’ll have earned a bachelor’s in applied physics. Coupled with the 32 hours of approved course work at University of Kentucky, that’s two degrees in about five years.



Applied physics is the application of physics to solve real-world problems, specifically as they pertain to science and engineering. It can be thought of as a bridge between the theoretical world of physics and the concrete world of engineering, focusing on the practical application of physics principles to practical devices and systems. Due to its close relation to engineering, applied physics undergraduate programs are often also known as an engineering physics degree or engineering physics major. While the specifics may vary from program to program, the overlap in concepts covered is substantial enough to be considered interchangeable in every practical sense.

Back to Top


At a very basic level, physics is a broader category of study than applied physics. Physics is a natural science that encompasses an array of physics branches, including astrophysics, nuclear physics, and applied physics. Applied physics, therefore, is a more specific form of physics which focuses on real-world applications of physics theories to develop and improve technology. It is therefore closely related to engineering.

Back to Top


An applied physics degree is an excellent choice for many reasons. There will always be a need for engineers, so the job outlook is excellent. The variety of career types one could pursue with a degree in applied physics makes it an attractive option, including the aerospace industry, energy infrastructure, education, and more. It is also a great launching point for those interested in pursuing a graduate or doctoral degree.

Back to Top


As a degree holder in applied physics, you can pursue an engineering education and an engineering career, but those aren’t your only options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the possibilities are nearly endless, and the pay range is vast. At the lower end of the pay scale, environmental engineers and surveyors make a median salary between $48,390 and $61,600. At the other end of the spectrum, petroleum engineers have a median salary of $130,850. Some other attractive engineering career options include:


With a degree in applied physics from University of the Cumberlands, you’ll have the skills you need to pursue a job as a physicist or scientist. Job growth in the industry is projected to grow 8 percent by 2030, with an annual average wage of $147,450.

Maybe your bachelor’s is just the first step … many graduates of the fine arts program go on to pursue additional certifications or degrees to explore careers in graphic design, advertising or even art therapy.


Your degree also sets you up for success in pursuit of an engineering career. In the field of Engineering, managers average a median wage of $152,350 per year with a steady projected growth rate of 4 percent over the next decade.


You could also use your degree to teach at a college level, passing along what you’ve learned. With a median annual salary of $79,640, employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 12 percent over the next decade. Or use your education to pursue a career in another field of science: Natural Sciences Managers average $137,900 per year.

Back to Top

Bachelor of Science with a Major in Applied Physics

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE WITH A MAJOR IN APPLIED PHYSICS – 70 hours at UC plus 32 hours at University of Kentucky 

The applied physics major is for students pursuing the dual-degree (3-2) engineering option and leads to two bachelor’s degrees. UC has a formal agreement with the University of Kentucky; however, other ABET-accredited engineering schools may be acceptable on a case-by-case basis. Engineering schools and individual branches of engineering require different core courses; applied physics majors are responsible for being familiar with these specific requirements. 

The curriculum nominally requires three years at UC and two years at UK; however, a variety of situations may affect this timeframe. UC recommends that students complete introductory engineering courses during the summer between UC and UK. Some engineering branches require additional (and maybe extensive) background in programming, chemistry, or biology that are beyond the required curriculum; thus, requiring more than five years. See pre-engineering curriculum for additional notes about general education requirements at UK. 
27 semester hours in physics: 
    Core (17 hours)   

    Theory (minimum 6 hours)     

Experiment (4 hours)   

21 semester hours in mathematics:   
    Mathematics (21 hours)

11 semester hours of support courses:   
    Chemistry (8 hours)  

    Programming (3 hours)   

32 semester hours in engineering: 
    Engineering at UK   

 No more than 12 hours at 100/200 levels 
Remaining 20 hours at 300/400 levels 

Bachelor of Arts in Applied Physics 

Completion of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree plus a world language through the intermediate level.

Back to Top

More Information on Applied Physics 


Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees. 


Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information. 


Learn more about the faculty you will interact with in the Applied Physics degree

Back to Top

Pursue any number of rewarding careers with an applied physics degree from University of the Cumberlands. To learn more about our applied physics program or any of our undergraduate degree programs, contact us today! Let’s talk about our test-optional college admissions process, scholarship opportunities, and more!

Admissions Office

Contact Us

Phone:  606.539.4240
Toll-Free:  877.713.8767
Fax:  606.539.4303

Visit Us In Person

6178 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769

Career Path

A University of the Cumberlands degree prepares you for the rigors of the professional world.  Click the button to learn more about the exciting career opportunities you can pursue with this program.