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Engineering Physics

Undergrad Degree: BS

The undergraduate engineering physics curriculum is designed for students who want to pursue careers of research or development in applied science or advanced technology or engineering. Its distinguishing feature is a focus on the fundamentals of physics and mathematics, both experimental and theoretical, that are at the heart of modern engineering and research and have broad applicability. By choosing areas of concentration, students combine this physics base with a firm background in a conventional area of engineering or applied science.

The industrial demand for graduates with baccalaureates is high, and many students go directly to industrial positions where they work in a variety of areas that either combine, or are in the realm of, various more conventional areas of engineering. Recent examples include aerospace engineering, computer technology, laser technology and engineering, mechanical engineering, microwave engineering, nuclear engineering, optical design and engineering, software engineering and solid-state-device development.

In addition, a number of graduates go on for advanced study in all areas of applied science, basic science, and engineering. Examples include applied physics, astrophysics, biophysics, computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental science, laser optics, mathematics, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, physics and psychology. The undergraduate program can also serve as an excellent preparation for medical school, business school, or specialization in patent law.

The engineering physics program fosters this breadth of opportunity because it both stresses the fundamentals of science and engineering and gives the student direct exposure to the application of these fundamentals. Laboratory experimentation is emphasized, and ample opportunity for innovative design is provided. Examples are A&EP 110, The Laser and Its Applications in Science, Technology, and Medicine (an introduction to engineering course); A&EP 264, Computer-Instrumentation Design (a sophomore engineering distribution course); A&EP 330, Modern Experimental Optics; A&EP 363, Electronic Circuits (junior courses); Physics 410, Advanced Experimental Physics (a senior course).

The program promotes the development of strong analytical skills as well as experimental capability through many of its upper-class core courses. And through elective courses such as A&EP 438, Computational Engineering Physics, students develop the ability to use modern computational methods for solving difficult problems in a variety of areas of engineering and applied science.

Undergraduates who plan to enter the Field Program in Engineering Physics are advised to arrange their Common Curriculum courses with their developing career goals in mind. They are encouraged to begin the general three-semester physics sequence during their first semester (if their advanced placement credits permit) and to satisfy the computing applications requirement with an engineering distribution course, e.g., A&EP 264. This course also satisfies the college technical writing requirement. Engineering physics students need to take only two engineering distribution courses, since A&EP 333, which they take in their junior year, counts as a third member of this category.

If a scientific computing course was not selected as an engineering distribution course, one of the technical electives may be needed to satisfy the computing applications requirement. For students going on to graduate school, an additional course in mathematics is recommended.

The variety of course offerings provides considerable flexibility in scheduling. In addition, if scheduling conflicts arise, the school may allow substitution of courses nearly equivalent to the courses listed as required.