ETSU Physics and Astronomy named a top performer by AIP

East Tennessee State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is included on a list of physics departments nationwide that conferred the largest number of undergraduate degrees.

This list, compiled and published by the American Institute of Physics’ (AIP) Statistical Research Center using data from its annual Enrollments and Degrees Survey, includes departments where the bachelor’s was the highest degree offered and the average number of degrees awarded in the classes of 2012-2014 was 10 or more.  ETSU’s average number of physics degrees conferred during those years was 11.  The full list is available at

Individuals who graduated from the ETSU Department of Physics and Astronomy during the years covered by the survey, as well as 2015, are pursuing graduate study in the fields of physics, biophysics, geophysics, chemical physics, engineering, chemistry, medicine, mathematics and education at such institutions as Arizona State University, ETSU, Harvard, the Oregon Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and the universities of Florida, Maryland, Memphis, Nebraska, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin-Madison.  Three are serving in the U.S. Army, one works at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and another teaches physics in the Greeneville City Schools.

“Our department is very proud that we have been recognized by the AIP as a top performer in graduating students with a B.S. degree in physics,” said Dr. Donald G. Luttermoser, chair of the department.  “We will make this list again next year, since our three-year average from fall 2012 through spring 2015 will be 12.3 students.  We anticipate continuing this trend for many years to come.

“Many of our students have done very well for themselves over the past decade, earning graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines related to physics and securing high-paying jobs.”

Dr. Gordon Anderson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, notes, “Physics courses are vital to many programs of study at most universities, but the number of students who actually major in physics is often small.  At ETSU, our Department of Physics and Astronomy has the remarkable distinction that it not only provides excellent courses for students in other programs, but it also enrolls and graduates an unusually large number of majors.  

“Through its several externally funded research programs, the department also provides many opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research.”

The AIP, based in College Park, Maryland, is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of physics and related fields of science and engineering and its applications to human welfare.