Engineering Physics Program

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2016-17 Engineering Physics UG Major Program (BS, BSH)

UG Directors:

  • Pat Burchat, Varian Physics 158,
  • Mark Cappelli, Bldg 520-520D,

Student Services: Darlene Lazar, 135 Huang,

The Engineering Physics program is designed for students who have an interest in and an aptitude for both engineering and physics. The program provides students with a firm foundation in physics and mathematics, together with engineering design and problem-solving skills. This background prepares students to tackle complex problems in multidisciplinary areas that are at the forefront of 21st-century technology, such as aerospace physics, biophysics, computational science, quantum optics and photonics, materials science, nanotechnology, electromechanical systems, energy systems, renewable energy, and any engineering field that requires a very solid background in physics. Because the program emphasizes science, mathematics and engineering, students are well prepared to pursue graduate work in either engineering or physics.

View the Engineering Physics Webpage for a list of faculty advisors and further information/links. The main contacts for the EPhys major are Prof Pat Burchat, Prof Mark Cappelli, or student services administrator Darlene Lazar, located in 135 Huang.

EPIC: The Engineering Physics Student Society

Check out the the Engineering Physics Interdisciplinary Community (EPIC) webpage for current news, links, and answers to common questions.


EPHYS majors have the option to pursue an honors degree (ENGR-BSH, Engineering Physics), applying autumn quarter of the senior year; the deadline to submit a proposal for honors is October 15.

Honors Criteria: Minimum GPA of 3.5 and independent research conducted at an advanced level with a faculty research advisor and documented in an honors thesis. The honors candidate must identify a faculty member who will serve as his or her honors research advisor and a second reader who will be asked to read the thesis and give feedback before endorsing the thesis. One of the two must be a member of the Academic Council and in the School of Engineering.

Application: Application documents should be submitted to Darlene in 135 Huang no later than October 15 of senior year:

  • One-page description of the research topic
  • Application form signed by the honors thesis advisor
  • Unofficial Stanford transcript

Students may enroll for research units in ENGR 199(W) or in departmental courses such as ME 191(H). A completed thesis draft must be submitted to the research advisor and second reader by April 15. For more details on completing the honors requirements, see the EPhys Honors description on the Honors Programs page.

Summer Research

Engineering Physics majors may participate in on-campus summer research programs in engineering, physics, or applied physics. To conduct research with a faculty member in the School of Engineering, students apply to the summer research program for the department of the faculty mentor. To conduct research with a faculty member in the Physics or Applied Physics Departments or at SLAC, students apply through the Physics, Applied Physics and SLAC program at

Requirements 2015-16

Math and Science Requirements: Includes the following required courses:

  • MATH 51& 52 or CME 100 & 104
  • MATH 53 or CME 102
  • MATH 131P (MATH 173 or CME 204 or MATH 220 can be taken in place of MATH 131P)


  • PHYSICS (41, 42, 43, 44*, 45, 46, 70) or (61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67)
  • PHYSICS 42 or 62 Mechanics Lab: Required beginning in 2011/12
  • PHYSICS 67 strongly recommended in place of 44 for students taking the PHYSICS 40 series.

Technology in Society: One 3-5 unit approved course required; see Approved Courses page for SoE list. The course chosen must be on the Approved list the year it is taken.
Engineering Fundamentals and Depth:
At least 45 of the units in Engineering Fundamentals, Required Depth Classes, Required Depth Electives, and other electives must be School of Engineering units.

Engineering Fundamentals:
Three courses from ENGR Fundamentals approved list. A course in computer science, such as CS106A, B, or X, is recommended. Fundamentals courses acceptable for the core program (below) may also be used to satisfy the 3-course Fundamentals requirement as long as 45 unduplicated units of engineering are taken.

Engineering Physics Depth - Core Courses Required in All Specialty Areas:

  • Advanced Mathematics: One elective such as EE 261, PHYSICS 112, CS 109 or CME 106. Also qualified are EE 263, any Math or Statistics course numbered 100 or above, and any CME course numbered 200 or above, except CME 206.
  • Advanced Mechanics and Dynamics: AA 242A or ME 333A or PHYSICS 110  
  • Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism: EE (142 and 242) or PHYSICS (120 and 121)
  • Numerical Methods: AP 215 or CME 108 or CME 206/ME 300C or PHYSICS 113
  • Electronics Laboratory: ENGR 40 (or 40A+40B) or EE 101B or EE 122A or PHYSICS 105 or APPPHYS 207 (ENGR 40A alone or 40M or 40P do not satisfy this req't)
  • Writing Laboratory (WIM; choose one of the options below)
    • AA 190 (for Aerospace specialty only)
    • BIOE 131 (for Biophysics specialty only)
    • CS 181W (for Computational Science specialty only)
    • EE 134 (appropriate for Photonics specialty)
    • EE 155 (appropriate for Renewable Energy specialty)
    • ENGR 199W (only if student is pursuing an independent research project)
    • MATSCI 161 or 164 (appropriate for Materials Science and Renewable Energy specialties)
    • ME 112 (for Electromechanical System Design specialty only)
    • ME 131A and 140 (for Energy Systems specialty only)
    • PHYSICS 107 (appropriate for Photonics specialty)
  • Quantum Mechanics: EE 222 and 223 or PHYSICS 130 and 131
  • Thermodynamics, Kinetics, & Statistical Mechanics: PHYSICS 170 and 171, or ME 346A (not offered every year)
  • Design Course: At least one of the following design-project courses must be included in each program:
    • AA 236A, CS 108, EE 133, EE 134, EE 152, ME 203*, ME 210 or PHYSICS 108
  • Three Courses from one of the following Specialty Areas:

1. In the Aerospace Physics specialty, students develop a deep background in physics and mathematics and apply it to understanding the space environment, and the dynamics, design, and control of space vehicles. Choose three courses from ME161, AA 203, AA 244A, AA 251, and AA 279A. AA 242A recommended for Advanced Mechanics requirement. AA236A recommended as Design course. AA190 recommended for WIM requirement. AA100 also recommended.

2. The Biophysics specialty prepares students to employ methods in physics to the study of biological systems. Students have the opportunity to learn about the physical biology of systems on a broad range of scales, techniques developed in biophysics for imaging, measuring, and manipulating biological systems, and the application of quantitative analysis techniques to topics in biology and genomics. Choose three courses from BioE 41, 42, 44, 101, 103, 123, Bio 132, EE 169, AP 205, and CS 262. Students taking this specialty may use BioE 41 and 42 to satisfy the Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Statistical Mechanics requirement (substitution recommended), but then cannot count BioE 41 and 42 toward the three courses required for the specialty. Students taking this specialty may use BioE 123 to satisfy either the Electronics Lab or Design Course requirement (substitution recommended), but then cannot count BioE 123 toward the three courses required for the specialty. EE 369A, B or C may be taken instead of EE 169. BioE 131 may be used to satisfy the WIM requirement for this specialty. BioE 80 recommended as an Engineering Fundamental. EE 261 recommended for the Advanced Math requirement.
3.The Computational Science specialty prepares students to apply modern computational techniques to problems in engineering and applied science, and to the analysis of data. Students have the opportunity to study computational theory and algorithms, as well as applications in modeling and data analysis. Choose three courses from CS 103, 121 or 221, 154, 161, 164, 205A, 205B, 228, 229 or 229A; CME 212, 215A, 215B, or any CME course with course number greater than 300 and less than 390; Stats 202, 213. CS 181W may be used to satisfy the WIM requirement for this specialty. CS 106A/B or X recommended as an Engineering Fundamental. CS 108 recommended for the Design Course requirement. CS 109 and 109L recommended for the Advanced Math requirement.
4. The Electromechanical System Design specialty provides the opportunity for students to explore the process of design, analysis, and realization of modern electromechanical systems including “smart products” with embedded sensing and actuation. Take ME 80, ME 112, and ME 210 or EE 118. ME 112 satisfies WIM requirement. Take ME 203 as the Design Course. ME 101 and ME 103D also recommended.
5. The Energy Systems specialty provides the opportunity for students to explore how energy is manipulated in both device applications and for modern energy conversion systems including electrical power, transportation, and propulsion. Take: ME 131A, ME 131B, ME 140. Combination of ME 131A and 140 satisfies WIM requirement. ME 70 also recommended.
6. In the Materials Science specialty, students learn how to design and synthesize materials with particular structures at the nanometer and micrometer scale that provide special electrical, optical, magnetic or mechanical properties. Students can learn how to use these materials to make integrated circuits, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, fuel cells, microelectromechanical systems and other advanced devices. Choose three from any MATSCI courses numbered 151 to 199 (except 159Q) or APPPHYS 272/PHYSICS 172. MATSCI 161 or 164 satisfies WIM requirement. In addition,  CHEM 31 highly recommended.
7. The Photonics specialty provides the opportunity for students to learn about the emission, transmission, amplification, detection, modulation and switching of optical and infrared light. Students can apply this knowledge to optoelectronic devices such as lasers, photodetectors, waveguides and photonic crystals, or to quantum information science, with applications in quantum communication and quantum computing. Choose from EE 216, EE 231, EE 232, EE 234, EE 243, EE 268, MATSCI 199. PHYSICS 107 or EE 134 recommended as WIM course. EE 134 recommended as Design course.
8. In the Renewable Energy specialty, students explore energy conversion and storage technologies that are relevant in renewable energy systems, such as solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, fuel cells, and hydrogen production and storage. Choose from CEE 176B, EE 152, EE 153, EE 237, EE 293A, EE 293B, MATSCI 156, MATSCI 302, MATSCI 316, ME 260. EE 152 recommended as WIM and Design course.
9. Other Specialty: With approval of advisor and by petition, a set of three courses in one area of concentration (e.g., astrophysics and astronautics; quantum information).

Declaring Engineering Physics

1. Make a pre-major advising appointment with either Prof. Pat Burchat at in Physics, or with Prof Mark Cappelli at in Mechanical Engineering, to discuss math and physics requirements, the selection of a specialty in Engineering Physics, and choosing an advisor.
2. Declare the Engineering Physics subplan on Axess: select “Engineering” as your major and "Engineering Physics" as your subplan. Do not select Engineering Honors; this option may be elected later should you choose to pursue the Honors program.
3. Print your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess.
4. Download the Engineering Physics Program Sheet from the Program Sheet page of this site. Complete the Program Sheet, indicating how you plan to fulfill the major requirements (or do this when you meet with your advisor).
5. Make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your program. Have your advisor sign the Program Sheet. Your program proposal may change as you progress in the program; submit revisions in consultation with your advisor. (Submit an initial Program Sheet during the quarter in which you declare, and a final Program Sheet at least two quarters before you graduate.)
6. Turn in your signed form and a copy of your unofficial transcript to Darlene in 135 Huang; she can then approve your declaration in Axess and enter your new advisor. You can also get AP or transfer credit approval taken care of at this time.

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