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An agreement between the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and UW-Milwaukee allows students to attain dual degrees in physics and engineering at the two universities.

University leaders recently signed the agreement for an intercollegiate physics-engineering dual degree program that is effective with the current academic year.

The program would lead to a bachelor of science degree in physics from UW Oshkosh and a bachelor of science in engineering from UW-Milwaukee.

The dual degree would require about three years of attendance at UW Oshkosh, followed by about two years of attendance at UW-Milwaukee. All students who meet minimum requirements at UW Oshkosh are admitted to UW-Milwaukee.

“We are very proud of our new partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,” said Mark Lattery, co-chair of the UW Oshkosh Physics-Engineering Dual Degree (PEDD) program. “Many people do not realize this, but UWM is rising quickly in university rankings. It currently has an elite Carnegie Institute Tier 1 ranking in the top 2 percent (nationally), so it has much to offer our students.”

Barton Pritzl of UW Oshkosh is the other co-chair of the PEDD program.

The educators say interconnectedness between physics and engineering makes the PEDD degree more valuable to employers than a standard undergraduate engineering degree.

“The dual degree program is different than a standard engineering degree or technology degree,” Lattery said. “Students take more physics and higher-level mathematics. It’s probably best to see this degree as a degree in engineering leadership. We believe it gives students a better start to their career– hey’ll be able to ask for a higher starting salary.”

Brett Peters, dean of the UW-Milwaukee College of Engineering and Applied Science, said demand from industry for engineers continues to grow and the collaborative program will provide another source of graduates to meet that demand.

“With a strong fundamental background coupled with applied engineering skills, the students completing this program will be well prepared for industry jobs or continued graduate study,” Peters said.

Todd Johnson, assistant dean of student services in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UW-Milwaukee, said the agreement creates another educational opportunity for UW Oshkosh students who want to pursue a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) career. He said the combination of a physics degree and engineering degree will make these students especially attractive to industry.

The program is designed for ambitious students who seek positions of engineering leadership in biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, industrial, materials or mechanical engineering.