Engineering Physics

The engineering physics program focuses on the foundations of modern technology. The program prepares students for research, development, and entrepreneurial careers in many frontier areas of engineering, including quantum devices, ultra fast lasers, adaptive optics, cryogenic electronics, computer simulation of physical systems, solar cells, magnetic storage technology, micro-mechanical systems, and molecular electronics. All students study the core theoretical subjects of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics, and quantum mechanics, supplemented by courses in mathematics, computation, and laboratory technique. The program can be tailored to a student’s interests through electives in engineering, physics, or other sciences.

Course code for this program is PHYS. 

Minor Program

The Department of Physics offers a minor in physics. A detailed plan can be found at www.colorado.edu/physics.

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Physics

The bachelor of science majoring in engineering physics is granted by the College of Engineering and Applied Science through the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Requirements

During the freshman and sophomore years, students receive a broad introduction to physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and mathematical methods in physics. Starting in the sophomore year, students take electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, and mathematical methods, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, and advanced mathematics. In addition, there is a core of four laboratory courses that students take. Laboratory courses emphasize student-developed and student-designed independent projects in which students use the knowledge acquired to build apparatus of their own choosing. The capstone lab course, PHYS 3340 Advanced Laboratory, provides students with hands-on experience with optical spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning tunneling microscopy, and laser cooling and trapping of atoms, among other experiments. The program encourages the formation of student research collaborations with faculty in the pursuit of senior thesis projects. Recent projects include research in pulsed laser deposition of high-temperature superconductors, electron diffraction studies of protein structure, and lattice distortion theory of colossal magnetoresistance materials.

For more information about the bachelor’s degree in engineering physics, contact the Department of Physics, Duane Physics E-1B32; 303-492-6953; or by visit www.colorado.edu/physics.

Students who plan to become registered professional engineers should check the requirements for registration in their state before choosing their engineering major.

In order to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics, students must complete the curriculum in the undergraduate major programs available through the Department of Physics. (Some variations may be possible; see an engineering physics faculty mentor.) In addition, students must meet the general undergraduate degree requirements of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Curriculum for BS in Engineering Physics

Below is a suggested schedule only. For a complete description of the engineering physics course requirements, go to www.colorado.edu/physics.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Freshman Year
Fall Semester (15 credit hours)

  • APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers—4
  • CSCI 1300 Computer Science 1 (Note 1)—4
  • PHYS 1110 General Physics 1—4
  • Humanities or social science elective (Note 2)—3

Spring Semester (15 credit hours)

  • APPM 1360 Calculus 2 for Engineers—4
  • AREN 1027 or MCEN 1025 (Note 1)—3
  • PHYS 1120 General Physics 2—4
  • PHYS 1140 Experimental Physics—1
  • Humanities or social science elective  (Note 2)—3

Sophomore Year
Fall Semester (17 credit hours)

  • APPM 2350 Calculus 3 for Engineers—4
  • CHEM 1113 General Chemistry 1—4
  • CHEM 1114 General Chemistry 1 Lab—1
  • PHYS 2150 Experimental Physics—1
  • PHYS 2170 Foundations of Modern Physics—3
  • Engineering elective (Note 3)—4

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

  • APPM 2360 Introduction to Differential Equations with Linear Algebra—4
  • PHYS 2210 Classical Mechanics and Math Methods 1—3
  • Engineering Elective (Note 3)—3
  • General elective—3
  • Humanities or social science elective (Note 2)—3

Junior Year
Fall Semester (16 credit hours)

  • CHEM 1133 General Chemistry II—4
  • CHEM 1134 General Chemistry II Lab—1
  • PHYS 3210 Classical Mechanics and Math Methods 2—3
  • PHYS 3310 Principles of Electricity and Magnetism 1—3
  • PHYS 3330 Electronics for the Physical Sciences—2
  • General elective—3

Spring Semester (18 credit hours)

  • PHYS 3220 Quantum Mechanics—3
  • PHYS 3320 Principles of Electricity and Magnetism 2—3
  • PHYS 4230 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics—3
  • Upper Division Math or Applied Math—3
  • Physics elective (Note 4)—3
  • Humanities or social science elective (Note 2)—3

Senior Year
Fall Semester (15 credit hours)

  • PHYS 4410 Atomic and Nuclear Physics—3
  • Engineering elective (Note 3)—3
  • Physics elective (Note 4)—3
  • General elective—3
  • College-approved writing course—3

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

  • Engineering electives (Note 3)—8
  • Physics electives (Note 4)—3
  • General elective—3
  • Humanities or social science elective (Note 2)—2

Minimum total hours for the degree—128

Curriculum Notes

1. Engineering physics computer science/drafting requirement (6–8 hours) is as follows: CSCI 1300-4 or GEEN 1300-3 or ECEN 1310-4; plus AREN 1027-3 or MCEN 1025-4 or second computer science course (of at least 3 credit hours) other than CSCI 1300 or GEEN 1300 or ECEN 1310.
2. A total of 18 credit hours of humanities or social science courses is required. See www.colorado.edu/engineering/academics/policies/hss for specific requirements.
3. Engineering electives: 17–19 engineering elective hours above and beyond the required courses for engineering physics plan 4, including one upper-division laboratory course. Total hours required in engineering electives plus the required computer sciences and drafting hours: 25.
4. Nine hours of physics electives are required. For details, see www.colorado.edu/physics.