The Engineering Physics degree combines a deep understanding of science fundamentals with the practical knowledge and skills of engineering practice and design. When you graduate from Mines with a major in Engineering Physics, you’ll be ready to jump right into jobs that require a broad technical education. You will also be well-prepared to continue specialization through graduate school, whether in physics or related technical fields, or even medicine and law.
Graduates who have chosen to continue to study physics have successfully competed with the best students from around the country for admission to the most competitive graduate schools. Our curriculum combines aspects of an engineering degree with the rigorous foundation of traditional physics.
In addition to the core courses required of every student at Mines, physics majors tackle advanced topics in mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, electronics and modern physics.
The department offers a broad selection of electives, with flexibility that makes it possible to minor in almost any area. Many of our graduates apply to and are accepted at engineering graduate programs in mechanical, electrical, and materials engineering.
Our Engineering Physics program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology — one of only 20 such programs in the country with this distinction, and the only one in Colorado.
Additional Program Information
Summer Field Session and Senior Design
One of the unique aspects of the Mines Engineering Physics Curriculum is the practical training that comes through the combination of the Summer Field Session, prior to the junior year, and the full year of Senior Design.
In Summer Field Session, students are introduced to machine shop techniques, vacuum technology, materials preparation, and specialized applications of computer technology.
In the Senior Design sequence students work with a member of the faculty on an independent research, design, and/or fabrication project. This experience is very much like that of professional physicists.
Combined BS/MS Programs
The Department of Physics, in partnership other departments, offers combined programs in which students can obtain a baccalaureate degree in Engineering Physics in as few as four years as well as a master’s degree with just one additional year of study.
Students can follow tracks in Electrical Engineering (Energy Systems Power Electronics or Information and Systems Sciences), Nuclear Engineering, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, or Mathematics and Statistics.
Undergraduate Research Environment
Physics majors at Mines participate in the research activities of the physics faculty through senior design. But it is also possible to work with a research group as an Undergraduate Research Assistant.
Research in the Department is supported by state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. For example, the experimental nuclear physics group has a 180 keV particle accelerator.
In other labs, you will find the latest photon generation and detection hardware, including high-power and ultrafast lasers. These devices play key roles in research involving nonlinear biological imaging and in characterizing photovoltaic materials.
Students may also work with high-flux X-ray scattering equipment, or surface physics characterization facilities such as X-ray photoemission and atomic force microscopy. There is a class 1000 clean room for the preparation of high-technology materials and devices in addition to a major effort in solar cell technology using CdTe.
As an Engineering Physics major you will have a chance to work with the professors that are at the forefront in their areas of expertise. This is the kind of experience that will give you a head start on your career path.
Student Life as a Physics Major
When you join the undergraduates who have declared Engineering Physics as their major, you will become part of a close-knit intellectual community. As a Mines Engineering Physics major, you may join the Society of Physics Students, which is free the first year and has very modest student dues in subsequent years. It is affiliated with the National Society of Physics Students. This is one of the most active professional student organizations on campus. The Mines chapter has the distinction of having often been selected as one of the outstanding chapters in the country. SPS students participate in all sorts of activities of mutual interest, promoting physics both within and outside of the Mines community and just having fun.
You’ll also find community with the faculty in the department. The professors take an active interest in all of the undergraduate physics majors. This is particularly valuable when it comes time to have recommendations sent on your behalf to prospective employers or graduate schools. Your professors will be able to provide substantive comments that feature your best qualities to help you compete with other applicants.