The Department of Engineering Physics offers the B.S. degree in engineering physics.  The degree is designed to provide graduates with skills in emerging technological areas. These graduates are highly prepared to pursue advanced graduate degrees and will become a source of qualified employees for high-tech start-up companies and traditional engineering firms, as well as positions in academia, government, and national laboratories.

Students specialize in one of three technological focus areas: nanoengineering, plasma science and engineering, and scientific computing.

Distinguishing features of the engineering physics degree include a strong emphasis on math, physics, and engineering fundamentals; choice of a technical focus area; and emphasis on research as part of a campus research group or through individually mentored research with a faculty member, culminating in a senior thesis.

Objectives of the Engineering Physics Program

The objectives of the engineering physics program are to:

  • Educate students to think and participate deeply, creatively, and analytically in emerging areas of engineering technology.
  • Educate students in the basics of instrumentation, design of laboratory techniques, measurement, data acquisition, interpretation, and analysis.
  • Educate students in the methodology of research.
  • Provide and facilitate teamwork and multidisciplinary experiences throughout the curriculum.
  • Foster the development of effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Expose students to environmental, ethical and contemporary issues.

Admission to the College as a Freshman

Students applying to UW–Madison need to indicate an engineering major as their first choice in order to be considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Direct admission to a major means students will start in the program of their choice in the College of Engineering and will need to meet progression requirements at the end of the first year to guarantee advancement in that program.

Cross-Campus Transfer to Engineering

UW–Madison students in other schools and colleges on campus must meet the course and credit requirements for admission to engineering degree granting classifications specified in the general college requirements. The requirements are the minimum for admission consideration. Cross-campus admission is competitive and selective, and the grade point average expectations may increase as demand trends change. The student’s overall academic record at UW–Madison is also considered. Students apply to their intended engineering program by submitting the online application by stated deadlines for spring and fall. The College of Engineering offers group information sessions for students to learn about the cross-campus transfer process.

Off-Campus Transfer to Engineering

With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have earned more than 80 transferable semester credits at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Admissions and Advising Coordinator in the College of Engineering: or 608-262-2473.

Second Bachelor's Degree

The College of Engineering does not accept second undergraduate degree applications. Second degree students might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program at UW–Madison, an undergraduate engineering degree elsewhere, or a graduate program in the College of Engineering.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the program after fall 2016.

Summary of Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics25
Engineering Science25-27
Focus Area22
Technical Electives6
Communication Skills8
Liberal Studies16
Total Credits130-132

Mathematics and Statistics 

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
or MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
or MATH 275 Topics in Calculus I
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
or MATH 276 Topics in Calculus II
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations3
MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis3
MATH 340 Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra3
or MATH 341 Linear Algebra
STAT 224 Introductory Statistics for Engineers3
Total Credits25


CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry5
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
or PHYSICS 205 Modern Physics for Engineers
PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields3
COMP SCI 310 Problem Solving Using Computers3
or E P 271 Engineering Problem Solving I
M S & E 350 Introduction to Materials Science3
or M S & E 351 Materials Science-Structure and Property Relations in Solids
or CBE 440 Chemical Engineering Materials
N E 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering3
or PHYSICS 531 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
Computing Elective (select one)3
Introduction to Data Structures
Introduction to Numerical Methods ((required for students in Scientific Computing Focus Area))
Intermediate Problem Solving for Engineers
Introduction to Scientific Computing for Engineering Physics
Total Credits28

Engineering Science

E M A 201 Statics3
PHYSICS 311 Mechanics3
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
or M E/​E M A  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab
M E 361 Thermodynamics3
or M S & E 330 Thermodynamics of Materials
E C E 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits3
or PHYSICS 321 Electric Circuits and Electronics
M E 363 Fluid Dynamics3
M E 364 Elementary Heat Transfer3
or M S & E 331 Transport Phenomena in Materials
INTEREGR 110 Introduction to Engineering1
INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum2
Total Credits25

 Focus Area

Research and Development/Senior Thesis

Expectations for Research Projects

Completion of the engineering physics degree program requires satisfactory completion of the E P 468 Introduction to Engineering Research, E P 469 Research Proposal in Engineering Physics, E P 568 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics I, E P 569 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics II coursework sequence, which culminates in a senior research thesis. The research topic chosen by the student and agreed upon by the advisor should be on a topic connected to the chosen Focus Area. The research conducted should be such that the student participates in the creation of new knowledge, experiences the excitement of the research process, and makes a contribution so that it would be appropriate to include the student's name on a scholarly publication if one results from the research.

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis, completed during enrollment in E P 569 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics II is required. The senior thesis is a written document reporting on a substantial piece of work. It should be written in the style of a graduate thesis. The faculty advisor, in consultation with a research mentor, determines the grade which the student receives for the thesis. A bound copy of the thesis must be submitted to the engineering physics department office.

On or before the Friday of finals week of the semester in which E P 569 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics II, the senior thesis must be presented orally by the student to a committee of three professors in a publicly announced seminar. Interested faculty and students will be invited to attend.

Research and Development

Research and Development8
Introduction to Engineering Research
Research Proposal in Engineering Physics
Research Practicum in Engineering Physics I
Research Practicum in Engineering Physics II

 Focus Area Electives


Focus Area Total Credits:14
PHYSICS 551 Solid State Physics3
E P/​E M A  615 Micro- and Nanoscale Mechanics3
M S & E 553 Nanomaterials & Nanotechnology3
At Least One of:
E M A 506 Advanced Mechanics of Materials I3
E M A 622 Mechanics of Continua3
E M A 519 Fracture Mechanics3
At Least One of:
M S & E 448 Crystallography and X-Ray Diffraction3
E M A 611 Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials3
M E 601 Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering (Micro & Nano Fabrication)1-3
N E 602 Special Topics in Reactor Engineering (Vacuum Technology Lab)3
PHYSICS 623 Electronic Aids to Measurement4
PHYSICS 625 Applied Optics4
M S & E 748 Structural Analysis of Materials3
Open Electives:
M S & E 333 Microprocessing of Materials3
E C E 335 Microelectronic Devices3
M S & E 434 Introduction to Thin-Film Deposition Processes3
M S & E 441 Deformation of Solids3
E C E 445 Semiconductor Physics and Devices3
M S & E 451 Introduction to Ceramic Materials3
E M A/​M S & E  541 Heterogeneous and Multiphase Materials3
CBE/​E C E/​M S & E  544 Processing of Electronic Materials3
M S & E 560 Fundamentals of Atomistic Modeling3
M S & E 570 Properties of Solid Surfaces3
CHEM 630 Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry1-3
M S & E 756 Structure and Properties of Advanced Electronic Materials3

Plasma Science and Engineering

Focus Area Total Credits:14
N E/​E C E/​PHYSICS  525 Introduction to Plasmas3
At Least One of:
N E/​E C E/​PHYSICS  527 Plasma Confinement and Heating3
N E/​E C E  528 Plasma Processing and Technology3
At Least One of:
N E 526 Laboratory Course in Plasmas3
Open Electives:
N E 408 Ionizing Radiation3
N E 536 Feasibility St of Power from Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion3
Any plasma-related special topics course in NE
PHYSICS 415 Thermal Physics3
PHYSICS 625 Applied Optics4
N E/​E C E/​PHYSICS  724 Waves and Instabilities in Plasmas3
N E/​E C E/​PHYSICS  725 Plasma Kinetic Theory and Radiation Processes3
N E/​E C E/​PHYSICS  726 Plasma Magnetohydrodynamics3

 Scientific Computing

Focus Area Total Credits:14
At Least One of:
N E/​MED PHYS  506 Monte Carlo Radiation Transport3
M E 573 Computational Fluid Dynamics3
E M A 605 Introduction to Finite Elements3
E C E 742 Computational Methods in Electromagnetics3
At Least One of:
Students must take at least two credits of laboratory experience in the Physical or Biological Sciences
Open Electives:
E P/​E M A  476 Introduction to Scientific Computing for Engineering Physics3
COMP SCI/​MATH  513 Numerical Linear Algebra3
COMP SCI/​MATH  514 Numerical Analysis3
Any scientific-computing-related special topics course in NE
COMP SCI/​I SY E/​MATH/​STAT  525 Linear Programming Methods3
COMP SCI 577 Introduction to Algorithms4
COMP SCI/​MATH  714 Methods of Computational Mathematics I3
COMP SCI/​MATH  715 Methods of Computational Mathematics II3
M S & E 560 Fundamentals of Atomistic Modeling3
M E/​COMP SCI/​E C E/​E M A/​E P  759 High Performance Computing for Applications in Engineering3

Technical Elective

Select 6 credits at a level that requires two semesters of calculus or two semesters of physics as a prerequisite.

Communication Skills

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition3
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
E P D 275 Technical Presentations2
E P D 397 Technical Communication3
Total Credits8

 Liberal Studies

Complete Requirements 1

Students must take 16 credits that carry H, S, L, or Z breadth designators. These credits must fulfill the following subrequirements:

  1. A minimum of two courses from the same department or program. At least one of these two courses must be designated as above the elementary level (I, A, or D) in the course listing.
  2. A minimum of 6 credits designated as humanities (H, L, or Z in the course listing), and an additional minimum of 3 credits designated as social science (S or Z in the course listing). Foreign language courses count as H credits. Retroactive credits for language courses may not be used to meet the Liberal Studies credit requirement (they can be used for subrequirement 1 above).
  3. At least 3 credits in courses designated as ethnic studies (lower case “e” in the course listing). These courses may help satisfy subrequirements 1 and 2 above, but theyonly  count once toward the total required. Note: Some courses may have “e” designation but not have H, S, L, or Z designation; these courses do not count toward the Liberal Studies requirement.

Total Credits: 130–132

For information on credit load, adding or dropping courses, course substitutions, pass/fail, auditing courses, dean's honor list, repeating courses, probation, and graduation, see the College of Engineering Official Regulations. 

  • An ability to apply knowledge of basic mathematics, science and engineering.
  • An ability to use advanced mathematical and computational techniques to analyze, model, and design physical systems consisting of solid and fluid components under steady state and transient conditions.
  • An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • An ability to function on multi‐disciplinary teams.
  • Knowledge of professional and ethical standards.
  • An ability to communicate effectively.
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
  • A recognition of the need for, and ability to engage in life-long learning.
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues.


First Year
CHEM 1095E M A 2013
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Communications A3PHYSICS 2025
INTEREGR 1101Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 15
Second Year
MATH 3193MATH 2344
PHYSICS 241 or 2053PHYSICS 322, M S E 351, or CBE 4403
PHYSICS 3113M S & E 350, 351, or CBE 4403
COMP SCI 310 or E P 2713E M A 3033
E P D 275 or COM ARTS 1052E M A/​M E  3071
STAT 2243Liberal Studies Elective3
 17 17
Third Year
E P 4681E P 4691
N E 305 or PHYSICS 5313Technical Elective3
EP Focus Area Course3E P D 3973
MATH 3213E C E 376 or PHYSICS 3213-4
M E 361 or M S E 3303MATH 340 or 3413
Computing Elective3Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 16-17
Fourth Year
E P 5683E P 5693
M E 3633EP Focus Area Course2
EP Focus Area Course3M E 364 or M S E 3313
EP Focus Area Course3Technical Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective4EP Focus Area Course3
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 17
Total Credits 130-131


Each College of Engineering program has academic advisors dedicated to serving its students. Program advisors can help current College of Engineering students with questions about accessing courses, navigating degree requirements, resolving academic issues and more. Students can find their assigned advisor on the homepage of their student center. 

Engineering Career Services

Engineering Career Services (ECS) assists students in identifying pre-professional work-based learning experiences such as co-ops and summer internships, considering and applying to graduate or professional school, and finding full-time professional employment during their graduation year.

ECS offers two major career fairs per year, assists with resume writing and interviewing skills, hosts workshops on the job search, and meets one-on-one with students to discuss offer negotiations.

Students are encouraged to utilize the ECS office early in their academic careers. For comprehensive information on ECS programs and workshops, see the ECS website or call 608-262-3471.

Professors Henderson (chair), T. Allen, Blanchard, Bonazza, Crone, Drugan, Fonck, Hegna, Kammer, Lakes, Smith (also Mathematics), Sovinec, Waleffe (also Mathematics), Wilson; Associate Professor M. Allen, Witt; Assistant Professors Couet, Notbohm, Scarlat, Schmitz; and Affiliate Faculty (see department webpage for list).


Facilities available for instruction and research include:

Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Laboratories
Instructional Computing Labs (in Computer Aided Engineering)
Nanomechanics Laboratory
Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory
Plasma Physics Laboratories
Superconductivity and Cryogenics Laboratories