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College of Engineering

Engineering Physics
P hysicists are concerned with an extremely broad range of
natural phenomena extending from the submicroscopic world
of elementary particles to the vast reaches of the cosmos and the
• Provide students with the opportunity to develop a strong
background in one of the following fields of engineering:
aeronautical and astronautical engineering, chemical
origins of the universe, from the simplest of everyday activities and biomolecular engineering, computer and information
to the behavior of matter at the furthest extremes in energy, science, electrical engineering, industrial and systems
temperature, distance, and time. engineering, and nuclear engineering;
• Allow students to develop problem-solving skills and the
The defining characteristic of physics is the quest for the ability to analyze physical systems and to understand the
underlying logic—the theoretical structure that unifies theoretical framework which applies to them;
and explains all the different phenomena that are studied • Provide students with a basic mastery of experimental
experimentally. Experiments and theoretical work alike are science, including an understanding of data reduction and
motivated primarily by this quest. As a by-product, physicists error analysis;
have pioneered many of the basic ideas on which our modern • Teach students to communicate effectively both orally and in
technology rests, such as transistors and lasers, and perhaps writing; and
someday fusion energy. • Provide students with the opportunity to develop a basic
knowledge of and facility with computing.
Pursuing Engineering Physics at Ohio State
The most important preparation for a major in engineering physics Physics Requirements
is strong high school science and math. Students should have had There are two different options for the physics major at Ohio
some calculus, or be prepared to begin calculus upon arrival. State. These are: B.S. in Physics (ASC) and B.S. in Engineering
Physics (College of Engineering). Within each option, there is
Students who come to Ohio State to study engineering that a set of standard college requirements, plus math and physics
have a minimum ACT Math score of 24 or SAT Math score of requirements that are the same for both options. A student who is
560 will be directly enrolled as pre-engineering students in interested in studying physics should consider carefully whether
the College of Engineering. Students directly enrolled in the to choose a program in the College of Engineering (engineering
College of Engineering may preselect an engineering major, or physics major) or in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (physics
if they wish to spend the first year examining the engineering major with B.S.). The courses of study are very similar and
options, they may enroll in engineering undecided. In either prepare students for a variety of outcomes, including graduate
case, these students will be enrolled in a pre-major sequence of school in physics, advanced work in other fields, and employment
courses, including math, chemistry, physics, engineering basics, as engineers, programmers, teachers, and technicians. Students
and English, which provide the fundamental background for all in the engineering physics major take 30 hours of technical
engineering disciplines. electives in an engineering field, which augment their strong
background in physics. Students in the physics major have the
Those not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in time to take more physics courses or to exercise an option that
the Science and Technology Exploration Program that is part of allows them to explore other areas.
our Exploration Program described further at
The math requirements (with some flexibility) are: four quarters
The Department of Physics wants to become involved with of calculus, differential equations, vector analysis, and linear
students as soon as they know that they intend to become algebra. The physics requirements are: three courses in
engineering physics majors, which can be as early as their first introductory physics, three courses in mechanics and modern
arrival at Ohio State. Those who intend to major in engineering physics, sophomore seminar, three lab courses, two courses
physics or are interested in exploring that option should visit in electromagnetic theory, three courses in quantum theory,
the Undergraduate Studies Office, Department of Physics, Room thermodynamics and statistical physics, senior writing course,
1040K Physics Research Building, or call the Vice Chair for and one additional course depending on the option chosen. In
Undergraduate Studies, (614) 292-8523. addition, the engineering physics major includes a coherent
sequence of 30 credit hours of “engineering technical electives,”
Program Educational Objectives selected from one of seven possible engineering disciplines.
• Provide students with the opportunity to master the There is an honors option for the introductory physics sequence,
fundamental areas of physics: classical mechanics, which engineering physics majors are encouraged to take.
electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and

For more information, check these web sites:

Engineering Physics: Admissions:
College of Engineering: Multicultural Center:
Ohio State: First Year Experience Program:
Curriculum Sample Co-Curricular Opportunities
This is the sample list of classes a student will take Ohio State offers many opportunities for students to learn and grow outside
to pursue a degree in engineering physics. Since of the classroom. These range from cooperative education (co-op) and
university students need more than specific education internships to study abroad programs to student organizations. Co-ops and
in a narrow field, they also will take classes to internships place students in professional environments while they are Ohio
complete the General Education Curriculum (GEC). The State students. These experiences enable students to gain valuable work
GEC will allow students to develop the fundamental experience, learn about cultures, and take on leadership roles before they enter
skills essential to collegiate success across major the workforce. All of these experiences enhance learning and may provide an
programs. Course work options satisfying the GEC advantage in the job market.
often come from a variety of academic areas of study
allowing students to tailor their GEC toward their Honors & Scholars Programs
interests. Note: This sample represents one of several The department supports an active honors program, starting with the honors
possible paths to a degree in Engineering Physics. sequence Physics H131, H132, H133, which must be started in the autumn
Consult the departmental web site, physics.ohio-state. quarter and is recommended for well-qualified entering freshmen. The honors
edu/undergrad, for details on each specific track. program culminates in research experience in a faculty member’s area of
Freshman Year*:
Engineering Survey 1
General Chemistry and Chemistry for Career Prospects in Physics
Engineers 9 In today’s fast-changing society a physicist may play—sometimes
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15 simultaneously—a number of important roles. As workers in basic research,
Engineering Graphics and Programming 8 physicists may help expand the frontiers of knowledge of the physical universe;
Introductory Physics I and II 10 as teachers in high schools, colleges, or universities, physicists may help
GEC courses 8 transmit to others knowledge and appreciation of that universe and of the
Total hours 51 scientist’s ways of investigating and understanding it.
Sophomore Year:
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 5 In an industrial laboratory or government agency, graduates may deal with
Differential Equations 4 the application of fundamental knowledge to the development of solutions
Introductory Linear Algebra 3 for a variety of practical problems or manage large scientific or technical
Introductory Physics III 5 programs. In collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines, physicists may
Dynamics of Particles and Waves 12 help address problems spanning a number of important areas of current public
Introductory Seminar (Physics) 1 concern such as energy usage, radiation hazards, and environmental issues.
Intermediate Physics Lab 4
GEC courses 15
Recent graduates in engineering physics have been employed at salaries in the
Total hours 49
$40,000 to $45,000 range annually.
Junior Year:
Engineering Mechanics 5 More About Physics
Vector Analysis for Engineers 3 Department of Physics distinctions include:
Introductory Electronics Lab 4 • one Nobel Laureate and National Academy of Science member
Fields and Waves 8
• one Fellow of the Royal Society (Great Britain)
Introduction to Quantum Physics 12
Technical Electives 15 • one Ohio Eminent Scholar
GEC courses 3 • many National Science Foundation Young Investigator awards,
Total hours 50 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award, Department of Energy
Junior Investigator awards, and Sloan Foundation Research Fellows
Senior Year: • millions of dollars in external funding for research
Senior Writing Course (Physics) 3
• recipient of the 1999 University Departmental Teaching Excellence award
Statistical Physics 4
Advanced Physics Lab 4
Engineering Economic Analysis 3
Physics Elective 4
Technical Electives 15
GEC courses 12
Total hours 45
Note: An Arts and Sciences program would not require the
chemistry or core engineering courses and would replace the
technical electives with a broader set of college requirements and
electives. Revised July 2007. For the most up-to-date information on the engineering
*Well qualified entering students are encouraged to start the physic major visit
honors sequence the Autumn of their first year. These students
would take Physics I, II, and III in their freshman year.

Contact information:
Undergraduate Program Coordinator | Department of Physics
Office of Undergraduate Studies | 1040K Physics Research Building
191 West Woodruff Avenue | Columbus, Ohio 43210-1168 | (614) 292-8523