Engineering physics blends concepts from engineering, physics and math in an effort to bridge the gap between theoretical science and practical engineering. Engineering physicists focus on research and development, design and analysis, often specializing in frontier areas of engineering including nanotechnology, quantum devices, ultrafast lasers, adaptive optics, cryogenic electronics, computer simulation of physical systems, solar cells, magnetic storage technology, micro-mechanical systems and molecular electronics.
Graduates have a strong grasp of the physical world as well as an understanding of how physics is applied to problem-solving in a rapidly changing hightech world. In addition to being qualified for positions both in hightech startup companies and established engineering firms, graduates are exceptionally well prepared for advanced graduate degrees, with nearly half pursuing higher studies in physics, engineering and applied sciences.
The Department of Physics at CU-Boulder offers awardwinning programs, well-established and knowledgeable faculty and an unmatched educational experience. The department is ranked among the top 10 physics departments at public universities and among the top 20 universities overall for graduate-level physics programs by the National Research Council. Engineering physics students take a variety of core and elective laboratory courses that emphasize student-developed and student-designed independent projects. Students are encouraged to form research collaborations with faculty as they pursue senior thesis projects, and many additional research, internship and industry co-op experiences are available. Students can also gain professional exposure through the student chapter of the Society of Physics Students on campus.
Students are exposed to faculty engaged in worldclass research, including the search for the Higgs Boson, studies of quantum gases and optics, condensed-matter theory and experiments into the mysteries of manybody systems. Other areas of interest include the physics of nuclei, both low- and high-energy plasmas and an exciting thrust into the behavior of ultrafast laser pulses and the response of atoms, molecules and solids to such novel light sources. Novel studies of physicochemical reactivity are also under way at temperatures barely above absolute zero, and biophysics and nanoscience thrive at CUBoulder alongside energy science, geophysics, physics education research and other interdisciplinary fields.
Research is a fundamental part of the curriculum, and it provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to gain handson experience in the field. Through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, physics students enjoy ample opportunity to participate in the fascinating, cutting-edge research that the department and its various research partners conduct.
Among the department’s key partners are federal laboratories located both on and off campus: the JILA Center for Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics, the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.