The Department of Physics and Optical Engineering has provided both science and engineering foundation at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology through its physics and optics engineering programs. Physics is the foundation subject to all engineering and through the study in engineering physics we aim at blending a strong physics component with relevant engineering backgrounds that are usually necessary to work in areas such as semiconductor, optical technologies, biomedical applications, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, and polymer and biochemistry. The students will get their traditional undergraduate engineering education that has a broad foundation in mathematics, engineering sciences and technology. This program emphasizes problem solving skills and an understanding of engineering design to address the needs and challenges of the technology age and allow students to take a broad range of engineering careers.

Engineering Physics at Rose-Hulman will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn the foundation concepts of physics and make a concentrated study in micro and nano technology. Engineering physicist will be able to apply both scientific and engineering approaches to a wide variety of problems which otherwise is not possible with any traditional engineering or science degree. Rose-Hulman’s engineering physics graduates will be trained to take up challenging jobs in engineering and development of new technologies or to pursue further studies in engineering or physics.

Mission: To provide a coherent foundation of physics for all majors and a strong foundation of physics, engineering physics and optical engineering for our majors so that all students can acquire education appropriate to their majors. The engineering disciplines of optical engineering and engineering physics enable students to practice in their dynamic and progressive engineering professional careers with responsibility to society.

Vision: To cultivate in the students responsibility, independence, and knowledge that allows them to be fully engaged in all disciplines, to continuously improve the curriculum, and to be engaged in professional development.

EP Program Educational Objectives

  • Our graduates will set their career path and advance beyond their entry-level position or progress toward the completion of an advanced degree.
  • Our graduates will contribute to society locally, nationally or globally 
  • Our graduates will collaborate within their organization; and be active in research and development in a relevant area of science and technology.
  • Our graduates will continue to develop professionally. 

EP Student Learning Outcomes

Outcome A: Knowledge of the Fundamentals: An understanding of the fundamentals of science and engineering.
Outcome B1: Interpreting Data: Ability to interpret graphical, numerical, and textual data.
Outcome B2: System Level Modeling: Ability to model components and system level engineering problems.
Outcome B3: Experimentation: Ability to design and conduct experiments to understand the relationships between variables in a problem which may or may not have been mathematically modeled before.
Outcome C: Design: Ability to design a product or process to satisfy client's needs subject to constraints.
Outcome D: Team work and Deliverables: Ability to work in teams and understand the effective team dynamics and be able to deliver a product.
Outcome E: Problem Solving: Ability to apply relevant scientific and engineering principles to solve real world engineering problems.
Outcome F: Professional Practice and Ethics: Sound understanding of what a Materials professional is, and an awareness and understanding of professional ethics.
Outcome G: Communication: Ability to communicate effectively in oral, written and visual forms.
Outcome H: Contemporary issues, non-technical issues, global awareness: An awareness of contemporary and non-technical issues in engineering profession and the role of professionals in an interdependent global society.
Outcome I: Life Long Learning: A facility for independent learning and continued professional development.


Freshman Year  
Fall Term   Credit
PH 111 Physics I 4
MA 111 Calculus I 5
CLSK 100 College & Life Skills 1
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I 4
EM 104 Graphical Communications 2
  Total 16
Winter Term   Credit
PH 112 Physics II 4
MA 112 Calculus II 5
CHEM 113 General Chemistry II 4
RH 131 Rhetoric and Composition 4
  Total 17
Spring Term   Credit
PH 113 Physics III 4
MA 113 Calculus III 5
ME 123 Computer Applications I 4
EP 180 Engineering at Nanoscale* 2
EM 103 Introduction to Design 2
  Total 17*
Sophomore Year  
Fall Term   Credit
ECE 203 DC Circuits 4
PH 235 Many Particle Physics 4
MA 211 Differential Equations 4
SEM Sci, Engr or Math Elective 4
  Total 16
Winter Term   Credit
EP 280 Intro to Nano Engineering 4
PH 255 Foundations of 
Modern Physics
MA 212 Matrix Algebra and Systems
of Differential Equations
ECE 204 AC Circuits 4
  Total 16
Spring Term   Credit
EP 380 Nano Technology
Entrepreneurship and Ethics
OE 295 Optical Systems 4
SV 151 Principles of Economics 4
EM 121 Statics 4
  Total 16
Junior Year  
Fall Term   Credit
PH 316 Electric and Magnetic Fields 4
ENG 200 Level Engineering Elective 4
PH 405 Semiconductor Materials 
and Applications
MA 223 Engineering Statistics I 4
  Total 16
Winter Term   Credit
HSS Elective 4
PH 317 Electromagnetism 4
RH 330 Technical and 
Professional Communication.
EP 406 Semiconductor Devices 
and Fabrication
  Total 16
Spring Term   Credit
PH 327 Thermodynamics & Stat Mech 4
EP 410 Intro to MEMS 4
EP 415 Engineering Physics 
Project I
HSS Elective 4
  Total 16
Senior Year  
Fall Term   Credit
EP 416 Engineering Physics 
Project II
EP 407 Semiconductor Fabrication
  and Characterization
EP 411 Advanced MEMS 4
HSS Elective 4
  Total 16
Winter Term   Credit
EP 417 Engineering Physics 
Project III
ENG 300/400 Engineering Elective 4
HSS Elective 4
PH 401 Intro Quantum Mechanics 4
  Total 16
Spring Term   Credit
HSS Elective 4
HSS Elective 4
ENG Engineering Elective 4
Free Free Elective 4
  Total 16
  Total credits required: 194

*If students miss EP 180 in the freshmen or sophomore year, this requirement must be replaced with a 300 or 400-level EP course of at least 2 credits.

EP course descriptions are listed under the Physics and Optical Engineering Department.

Courses taken in the respective departments:

Subjects #Classes Hours
Physics(PH) 10 40
Math(MA) 6 27
Chemistry(CHEM) 2 8
ME 1 4
EM 3 8
CLSK 1 1
Electrical Engineering 2 8
Optical Engineering (OE) 2 6
HSS 9 36
Engineering Physics (EP) 6 24
Engineering Physics Project(EP) 3 12
Elective(SEM, Eng. and Free) 5 20
Total 50 194


  1. All the courses listed above by the number.
  2. The program must be approved by the EP advisor.
  3. A list of the engineering electives is provided.
  4. SEM (Science, Engineering, Math) electives are courses that need to be taken at the 200 level (CHEM115 is allowed) or above in biology, biomathematics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics or physics.
  5. A free electives is any course in engineering, science, humanities, military science, or air science.
Classes by Subjects Hours
Physics Coursework* 40
Chemistry and Mathematics Coursework** 35
Humanities and Social Science(Standard requirement) 36
EM, ME, CLSK Courses 13
Electrical Engineering Courses 8
Optical Engineering Courses 6
EP Courses 24
EP Projects 12
Engineering Electives 8
SEM and Free Electives 8
Total 193

Foundation Physics Classes

Course Description Hours
PH 235 Many Particle Physics 4
PH 255 Modern Physics 4
PH 316 Electric & Magnetic Fields 4
PH 317 Electromagnetism 4
PH 327 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics 4
PH 401 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 4
Total   24

General Foundation Classes

Course Description Hours
PH 111 Physics I 4
PH 112 Physics II 4
PH 113 Physics III 4
MA 111 Calculus I 5
MA 112 Calculus II 5
MA 113 Calculus III 5
MA 211 Differential Equations 4
MA 212 Matrix Algebra and Systems of Differential Equations 4
MA 223 Engineering Statistics 4
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I 4
CHEM 113 General Chemistry II 4
Total   47

Engineering Sciences Foundation

Course Description Hours
EM 104 Graphical Communications 2
OE 172 Lasers and Fiber Optics 2
EM 121 Statics I 4
ECE 203 DC Circuits 4
ECE 204 AC Circuits 4
EP 280 Introduction to Nano-engineering 4
EP 380 Nanotechnology, Entrepreneurship and Ethics 4
OE 295 Photonic Devices and Systems 4
PH 405 Semiconductor Materials and Applications 4
EP 406 Semiconductor Devices and Fabrication 4
EP 410 Introduction to MEMS; Fabrication and Applications 4
EP 411 Advance Topics in MEMS 4
EP 407 Semiconductor Fabrication % Characterization 4
  Engineering Elective 12
 ME123 Computer Applications 4
Total   68

Design Sequence

Course Description Hours
EM 103 Introduction to Design 2
EP 415 Engineering Physics Projects I 4
EP 416 Engineering Physics Projects II 4
EP 417 Engineering Physics Projects III 4
Total   14


Approved Engineering 200-Level Electives (4 credit hours required)
ECE 205  Circuits and Systems
ES 201    Conservation and Accounting Principles
ES 202    Fluid and Thermal Systems
EM 204    Statics II
OE 280    Geometric Optics
EP 290    Directed Study
EP 490    Directed Study

Approved Engineering Electives
OE 360   Optical Materials
OE 393   Fiber Optics
OE 437   Introduction to Image Processing
OE 450   Laser Systems and Applications
OE 495   Optical Metrology
EP 330   Materials Failure
EP 450   Nanomedicine
EP 470   Special Topics in Engineering Physics
EP 490   Directed Study
CHE 315 Materials Science and Engineering
ME 328   Materials Engineering
ME 417   Advanced materials Engineering
ME 422   Finite Elements for Engineering Applications
EM 403   Advanced Mechanics of Materials
ECE 351  Analog Electronics
ECE 250  Electronic Device Modeling