Engineering Physics Program

From Undergraduate Engineering Handbook

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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 solid state devices, quantum optics and photonics, materials science, nanotechnology, electromechanical systems, energy systems, 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 new student services administrator Darlene Lazar, located in 135 Huang.



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 and honors degree (ENGR-BSH, Engineering Physics). The deadline to submit a proposal for honors in 2011-12 was December 2, 2011 (it is normally in mid-October). For further details on EPHYS honors criteria and guidelines, see page 327 of the 2011-12 UGHB.

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


Math and Science Requirements: Includes the following required courses:
Math: MATH 51 and 52 or CME 100 and 104, MATH 53 or CME 102, MATH 131P (MATH 173 can be taken in place of MATH131P).

Science: 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 recommended in place of 44 for students taking the PHYSICS 40 series.

Technology in Society: One 3-5 unit approved course required; see Figure 3-3 for SoE approved course list.
Engineering Fundamentals and Depth:
At least 45 of the units in Engineering Fundamentals, Required Depth Classes, Required Depth Electives, and other electives must be engineering units.

Engineering Fundamentals:
Three courses from ENGR Fundamentals approved list.
A course in computer science, such as CS106A, B, or X, is recommended.

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.

  • Intermediate Mechanics ENGR 15 or PHYSICS 110
  • Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism EE (141 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 EE 101B or EE 122A or
  • PHYSICS 105 or APPPHYS 207
  • Writing Laboratory (WIM; choose one of the five options below)

EE108A and ENGR 102E or

ME 203 and ENGR 102M or

MATSCI 161 or

MATSCI 164 or


  • Quantum Mechanics EE 222 and 223 or PHYSICS 130 and 131
  • Thermodynamics, Kinetics, & Statistical Mech PHYSICS 170 and 171, or ME 346A.
  • Design Course: At least one of the following design-project courses must be included in each program:

CS 108, EE 133, ME 203*, ME 210 or EE 118, PHYSICS 108
*If ME 203 is used to satisfy both the Writing Laboratory and the Design Course requirements, then the combination of ME 203, ME 103D and ENGR 102M should be taken.

  • Three Courses from one of the following Specialty Areas:

1. In the Solid State Physics specialty, students have the opportunity to learn about the macroscopic physical properties of solids, including electrical, magnetic and optical properties, superconductivity, and heat transfer in solids. Students learn how these properties can be manipulated and applied in electronic devices. Choose from APPPHYS 272/PHYSICS 172, APPHYS 273, EE 116, EE 216, MATSCI 199.
2. 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 recommended as WIM course.
3. 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. In addition, ENGR 31 or CHEM 31 highly recommended.
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. Take ME 203 and ENGR 102M as WIM 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. Take ME 203 and ENGR 102M as WIM and/or Design Course. ME 103D and ME 70 also recommended.
6. 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 EE 237, EE 293A, EE 293B, MATSCI 156, MATSCI 302, MATSCI 316, ME 260.
7. 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; biophysics).

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