Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics
Our undergraduate degree in engineering physics is a research-oriented degree for top students ultimately interested in attending graduate school. You must have a GPA of at least 3.5 and junior standing to be eligible for admission. Students in the program choose a focus area that influences course requirements and research topic areas.
Students choosing this topic area study the physics, chemistry, and mathematics of nanostructured materials. Nanoengineering requires manipulation and control of matter on the molecular and atomic scale in order to obtain materials and properties not otherwise achievable. Examples include molecular machines, high strength composite materials, and new concepts for solar cells.
Plasma science and engineering
Plasmas are ionized gases with engineering applications ranging from electricity production via fusion reactions to to industrial processing (such as semiconductor etching). Students in this thrust area obtain a strong background in physics and engineering, with an emphasis on electricity and magnetism.
Modeling and simulation are rapidly reaching the point where they can provide realistic simulation of very complex engineering systems. In order to exploit these capabilities, students choosing this focus area develop strong backgrounds in numerical analysis and software engineering and apply these techniques to realistic engineering applications.
Research projects for the BS degree in engineering physics
Rather than the traditional focus on design in an engineering undergraduate degree, the Engineering Physics degree is focused on research. EP majors spend two years on common math, science, engineering and liberal electives courses and then specialize in a research-active emerging technology focus area. This includes a research project in which EP majors work closely with a faculty research mentor, accumulate eight research credits over their last four semesters, and complete a research thesis.
The first course in the research sequence — EP 468, Introduction to Engineering Research — assists students in learning about the research process and identifying a research project, in order to provide them with a successful launch into their research. This is the first in a series of four courses in the research sequence that were developed to guide students in their pursuit of research and completion of a thesis. The research sequence courses also provide connections between the students in the EP major and a supportive framework for engaging in research.
In the subsequent courses of the research sequence, a student works with their faculty mentor to formulate a research proposal, conducts the research to solve or otherwise address the problem, and presents their research in a written thesis and oral defense of the results. Throughout this process, the EP research students meet weekly to develop and hone their skills. Frequently the advanced students meet in conjunction with the EP 468 students to provide guidance and promote community amongst students in the major.
Examples of past thesis topics completed by EP students:
- Kevin Gotrik:
- Surface Studies of Random Block Copolymer PS-r-P2VP on Silicon Substrates by Near Edge X-Ray Adsorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS) Spectroscopy
- Adam Jandl:
- Development of Flexible Ferroelectric Thin Films for Use in Memory Applications
- Eric Newton:
- Asymptotic Analysis of Crack Tip Fields in Ductile Single Crystals with Cubic Symmetry
- Andrew Scholbrock:
- Attribute Management in ACIS Based Geometry Files
- John P Sheehan:
- Isolating Pseudowaves for Use in Determining Relative Ion Concentrations in a Multi-Ion Species Plasma
- Shauheen Soofi:
- The Elastic Modulus of Matrigel as Determined by Atomic Force Microscopy
- Stephen Throson:
- Use of a Non-Ambipolar Electron Source To Produce a Plasma in a Multi-Dipole Chamber
The Department of Engineering Physics has not sought ABET accreditation for the engineering physics undergraduate degree because it is intended for those who plan to go on to graduate studies and/or a research-related career. Although the lack of ABET accreditation does not preclude one from obtaining professional licensing, the process is somewhat longer in most states than licensed professional engineers.