Engineering Physics

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

  1. Our graduates will set their career path and advance beyond their entry-level position or progress toward the completion of an advanced degree.
  2. Our graduates will contribute to society locally, nationally or globally 
  3. Our graduates will collaborate within their organization; and be active in research and development in a relevant area of science and technology.
  4. 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.

Courses taken in the respective departments:

Subjects #Classes Hours
Physics (PH) 10 40
Math (MA) 6 27
Chemistry (CHEM) 2 8
EM 3 8
RHIT100 1 1
Electrical Engineering 2 8
Optical Engineering (OE) 1 4
HSSA 9 36
Engineering Physics (EP) 7 26
Engineering Physics Project (EP) 3 12
Electives (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, Social Science, and the Arts (Standard requirement) 36
EM, ME, RHIT100 Courses 13
Electrical Engineering Courses 8
Optical Engineering Courses 4
EP Courses 26
EP Projects 12
Engineering Electives 12
SEM and Free Electives 8
Total 194

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
EP 180 Engineering at Nanoscale 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 Programming 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

Plan of Study

Freshman Open Close
Sophomore Open Close
Junior Open Close
Senior Open Close

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.

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