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College of Physical Sciences and Engineering

As the demand for technical skills grows, BYU-Idaho’s College of Physical Sciences and Engineering invites students to explore its nine departments and prepare for future careers.

Although the departments vary, each aims to build testimonies, provide experienced-based education and prepare students to be effective leaders.

Students interested in learning more about these departments or degree options can visit the Academic Advising Office in Chapman 101, schedule online or call (208) 496-1411.

This article pulls information from the BYU-I academic catalog and the individual department webpages.


With explosions, equations and cat jokes, students in the Chemistry department study matter, energy and their transformations.

This department strives to provide its students with a “unique and rewarding experience” through small class sizes and an analytical and logical approach to the field.

Students can gain hands-on experience in labs through three different bachelor’s degrees: biochemistry, chemistry and chemistry education.

Computer Information Technology

As students create an app, develop a protective firewall or complete other projects as part of their CIT department requirements, they open their futures to a variety of workplaces — from accounting, medicine, agriculture and software companies.

With a high demand for BYU–I CIT graduates all over the world, students in the three different bachelor’s programs can expect higher-than-average salaries upon graduation.

As a part of these programs, students learn to work in teams and how to share computer jargon with the computer illiterate or “slightly-less-than-savvy.”

The three bachelor’s degree options are web design and development, applied technology and computer information technology.

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

If you understand the terms “Erlang” and “Elisp” without googling them, this department might be for you.

Designed to provide a “broad background in the theory and practice of computer software, computer hardware, and electrical systems,” students combine scientific knowledge and engineering methods in an evolving curriculum to prepare for “life-long learning and rewarding employment.”

Students can choose from one of five bachelor’s degrees: computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, applied software engineering and software engineering.

Watch for department changes in the catalog come Spring 2020.

Design and Construction Management

Students in this department take designs from 2D to 3D— and even to 6D — while pursuing one of two bachelor’s degrees: construction management or virtual design and construction. Both offer a unique educational experience.

“If a student selects a major in our department, they stick with it,” said Mike Sessions, the design and construction management department chair. “They like it.”

Students choosing the construction management degree focus on the “construction process of any built environment: the project’s schedule, cost, quality, scope, and function.”

On the other hand, students studying virtual design and construction combine elements of architecture, design, computer programming and construction management.

Engineering Technology

Kyle Kinghorn, engineering technology department chair, has three words to describe this department.

Dynamic. Changing. Fun.

In each of its six bachelor’s degrees, students can expect preparation for a field that affects every household and business — through the automotive, manufacturing, or welding industry.

Degree options include advanced welding and fabrication technology, automotive engineering technology, automotive technology management, manufacturing engineering technology, advanced vehicle systems and welding engineering technology.

The classes within this department are hands-on and interactive with a large portion of time “spent in labs developing practical skills for real world application.”


Do you enjoy the occasional pun?

If so, the Geology Department faculty is sure to dig some up while studying the earth’s natural physical, chemical and geological processes.

Students learn about energy and resource policy, natural resources, environmental challenges and natural disasters.

Students can choose between five majors: geobusiness and data analytics, earth science education, environmental geoscience, geology and geospatial computing.


“We’re the glue that holds the whole thing together,” said Jason Rose, the mathematics department chair. “We see math as a touchpoint for all science.”

According to the department webpage, every life requires quantitative, mathematical and statistical knowledge. With faculty who prioritize helping students reach their full potential, the five available bachelor’s programs “give students a solid foundation in core areas of mathematics,” and prepare them to work in technical fields or continue on to graduate school.

The five degree options are biostatistics, data science, mathematical sciences, mathematics education and mathematics education composite.

Mechanical and civil engineering

Students in one of this department’s two bachelor’s programs perform as well — if not better— than similar students from competing universities, said Alan Dutson, the mechanical and civil engineering department chair.

These two degrees — mechanical engineering and civil engineering — require students to use techniques, skills and modern engineering modeling tools “to solve problems, model physical systems, and design products and processes that meet specific needs.”


Like an apple falling from a tree or a bathtub overflowing, physics exists in all aspects of life.

With topics extending from the subatomic to the entire universe, the Physics Department explores matter and energy with the understanding that physics opens up opportunities in many fields, from acoustics to medical physics, and even nanotechnology.

While developing mathematical and conceptual reasoning, critical thinking skills and the ability to apply theory to real-world problems, students use the question “how does the universe work?” to their advantage, according to R. Todd Lines, physics department chair.

With the choice of two majors, physics and physics education, students can refine their “tools and techniques of inquiry.”


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