CoE_engr-physics-bs

As an engineering physics major, you’ll dive into research alongside professors who work at the frontier of translating emerging science into novel technologies. With a curriculum designed specifically to launch your research career and a tight-knit community of scholars, you’ll find a supportive environment to pursue a flexible math and physics-centered curriculum and publish an undergraduate thesis. The engineering physics major is ideal for students who are already thinking about graduate school and want the flexibility to design their undergraduate experience to support that goal—but it also prepares students to join high-tech startup companies developing new technologies.

Students choose from three flexible focus areas: nanoengineering, plasma science and engineering, and scientific computing, that include graduate-level courses and laboratory experiences. Students in nanoengineering take courses in physics, material science, engineering mechanics, and electrical engineering to learn how to design, build and use innovative devices and structures at the nanoscale.  Plasma science and engineering students join one of the largest university plasma and fusion communities in the world, with collaborations between physics, electrical engineering, and nuclear engineering, and world-leading facilities.  Scientific computing can be applied to nearly every discipline in science, combining modern computing practices with scientific discovery in research groups across campus.

As some of our best and brightest engineering students, EP majors move quickly through fundamental math and physics courses, opening the door for more advanced courses that support their research interests. With more flexibility than most engineering majors, each student works with their faculty advisor to find a selection of courses that is tuned to their specific research needs. The senior thesis is a defining aspect of this program, where students summarize their research findings and present them to a committee of professors, and possibly publish a paper in a scientific journal.

At the heart of the engineering physics program is a small learning community where students develop skills for conducting original research, with support from faculty and peers. The curriculum is designed to bring sophomores, juniors and seniors together in a community where younger students learn from the general research experiences of their more senior counterparts.  In addition, every student joins a research group where graduate students, post-docs, scientists and faculty members support the specific skills and expertise needed for their research.  Nearly all of our graduates go on to graduate degrees at the best universities in the US and around the world, and ultimately in careers in a variety of fields in academia, industry or national laboratories.

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 minimum admission requirements for admission consideration to engineering degree granting classifications. 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 an online information tutorial and drop-in advising 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 exceeded the 80 credit limit at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

The College of Engineering has dual degree programs with select four-year UW System campuses. Eligible dual degree applicants are not subject to the 80 credit limit.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Coordinator in the College of Engineering: ugtransfer@engr.wisc.edu 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.

Summary of Requirements

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the program after fall 2018.

Mathematics and Statistics25
Science28
Engineering Science25
Focus Area22
Technical Electives6
Communication Skills8
Liberal Studies16
Total Credits130

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 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers3
or STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I
or STAT/​MATH  431 Introduction to the Theory of Probability
Total Credits25

Science 

Select one of the following:5-10
Advanced General Chemistry
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
or PHYSICS 208 General Physics
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
or PHYSICS 205 Modern Physics for Engineers
PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields3
E P 271 Engineering Problem Solving I3
or COMP SCI 200 Programming I
or COMP SCI 220 Data Science Programming I
or COMP SCI 310 Problem Solving Using Computers
M S & E 351 Materials Science-Structure and Property Relations in Solids3
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
Programming II
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 Credits28-33

Engineering Science

E M A 201 Statics3
or PHYSICS 201 General Physics
or PHYSICS 207 General Physics
PHYSICS 311 Mechanics3
or E M A 202 Dynamics
or M E 240 Dynamics
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
or M E 306 Mechanics of Materials
E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
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 170 Design Practicum3
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 PhysicsE P 568 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics I, and 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 is taken, 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
E P 468 Introduction to Engineering Research1
E P 469 Research Proposal in Engineering Physics1
E P 568 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics I3
E P 569 Research Practicum in Engineering Physics II3

 Focus Area Electives

Nanoengineering

Focus Area Total Credits:14
Required:
PHYSICS 551 Solid State Physics3
At Least One of:
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)0-3
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
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
Required:
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 623 Electronic Aids to Measurement4
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 beyond the required chemistry and mechanics of materials courses
Open Electives:
E P/​E M A  476 Introduction to Scientific Computing for Engineering Physics3
COMP SCI 300 Programming II3
COMP SCI/​MATH  513 Numerical Linear Algebra3
COMP SCI/​MATH  514 Numerical Analysis3
COMP SCI/​I SY E/​MATH/​STAT  525 Linear Optimization3
COMP SCI/​E C E/​M E  532 Matrix Methods in Machine Learning3
COMP SCI/​E C E/​M E  539 Introduction to Artificial Neural Networks3
COMP SCI 540 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
COMP SCI/​E C E  561 Probability and Information Theory in Machine Learning3
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 459 Computing Concepts for Applications in Engineering3
M E/​COMP SCI/​E C E/​E M A/​E P  759 High Performance Computing for Applications in Engineering3
Any scientific-computing-related special topics course in NE

Technical Elective

Select 6 credits from:6
Co-op (no more than 3 credits)
300+ level courses in the CoE except for E P D/INTEREGR
300+ level courses in MATH, PHYSICS, COMP SCI, STAT (except STAT 301), ASTRON, MED PHYS, and CHEM departments
Students may also propose any class that they feel will benefit their education path with pre-requisite of two physics or calculus classes. For these courses the advisor will review the request and if approved, recommend a DARS substitution.

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
INTEREGR 397 Engineering Communication (was EPD 397 before Fall 2020)3
Total Credits8

 Liberal Studies

Complete Requirements 1
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 subject area (the description before the course number). 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 they only 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.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering research practices to produce results that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to apply experimental, theoretical, and computational methods to address scientific and engineering objectives
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

SAMPLE FOUR-YEAR PLAN

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 10915E M A 2013
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Communications A3PHYSICS 2025
INTEREGR 17023Liberal Studies Elective3
or Liberal Studies Elective
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 3193MATH 2344
PHYSICS 241 or 2053PHYSICS 32243
PHYSICS 3113M S & E 351 or CBE 4403
E P 271 or COMP SCI 3103E M A 3033
E P D 275 or COM ARTS 1052E M A/​M E  3071
STAT 3243Liberal Studies Elective3
E P 46831E P 4691
 18 18
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
N E 305 or PHYSICS 53153Technical Elective3
E P Focus Area Course3INTEREGR 397 (was EPD 397)3
MATH 3213E C E 376 or PHYSICS 3213-4
M E 361 or M S & E 3303-4MATH 340 or 3413
Computing Elective3Liberal Studies Elective3
 15-16 15-16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
E P 5683E P 5693
M E 3633E P Focus Area Course2
E P Focus Area Course3M E 364 or M S & E 3313
E P Focus Area Course3Technical Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective4E P Focus Area Course3
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 17
Total Credits 130-132
1

 It is recommended that students take CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry for 5 credits. However, depending on their high school chemistry experience, students may substitute this with CHEM 103 General Chemistry I and CHEM 104 General Chemistry II for a total of 9 credits.

2

Students who were not able to take INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum as freshmen may, with the approval of their advisor, substitute a course offered in the College of Engineering or in the departments of Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics.

3

Students are encouraged to take E P 468 Introduction to Engineering Research during their second year to allow for more flexibility in the research sequence.

4

Topics from MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis are applied in PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields, and some students may find it helpful to take PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields after MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis if PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields is not required for focus area courses.

5

Students in the nanoengineering focus area should take PHYSICS 531 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

Advising

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. 

Continuing students who have fulfilled the progression requirements will also be assigned an Engineering Physics faculty advisor. Before enrolling in courses each semester, students must meet with their faculty advisor for assistance in planning courses and reviewing degree requirements. Faculty advisors are a valuable resource, as they can provide students with in-depth guidance on course content, internship and job opportunities, research, and more.

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

Paul Wilson (Chair)
Riccardo Bonazza
Curt A. Bronkhorst
Wendy Crone
Adrien Couet
Chris Hegna
Roderic Lakes
Oliver Schmitz
Carl Sovinec
Kumar Sridharan
Fabian Waleffe

ASSISTANT PROFESSORS

Jennifer Choy
Stephanie Diem
Jennifer Franck
Benedikt Geiger
Ben Lindley
Jacob Notbohm
Ramathasan Thevamaran
Yongfeng Zhang

See also Engineering Physics Faculty Directory.

Facilities

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

Scholarships

The Department of Engineering Physics and the College of Engineering have several types of scholarships available to incoming and current engineering students. Students should explore the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH), where you can apply to and find specific information on scholarships at UW-Madison. You can use WiSH to find engineering scholarships available through the College of Engineering, the Diversity Affairs Office, the Engineering Physics Department, and other UW and external organizations. (Please note: students must be currently enrolled in, or have applied to, the College of Engineering to be considered for engineering scholarships.) To be matched with these available scholarship funds an application is required and the system is typically open to students in the spring of each year. Questions on the process can be directed to: coescholarships@engr.wisc.edu. Additional financial assistance may be awarded through the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 E. Campus Mall RM 9701, 262-3060).