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Engineering Physics Program

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2023-24 Engineering Physics UG Major Program (BS, BSH)

The Engineering Physics program is designed for students who have an interest in and an aptitude for both engineering and physics. The program provides students with a firm foundation in physics and mathematics, together with engineering design and problem-solving skills.

This background prepares students to tackle complex problems in multidisciplinary areas that are at the forefront of 21st-century technology, such as aerospace physics, biophysics, computational science, quantum science and engineering, materials science, electromechanical systems, renewable energy, and any engineering field that requires a very solid background in physics. Because the program emphasizes science, mathematics and engineering, students are well prepared to pursue graduate work in either engineering or physics.

The main contacts for the EPhys major are Prof Pat BurchatProf Mark Cappelli, or student services administrator Darlene Lazar, located in 135 Huang.

Preparing for the Major:

Students interested in pursuing the Engineering Physics major should plan to take Math and Physics courses in the first year.  Take the Physics and Math Placement Diagnostics to get advice on where to start in the sequences and then see the sample plans for the start of the Engineering Physics (or Physics) major and the Program Sheet for the Engineering Physics major. 


Many School of Engineering, Physics and Applied Physics faculty members serve as advisors in the Engineering Physics program. They are listed below by Engineering Physics specialty.

    Aerospace Physics: Ken HaraMark CappelliSigrid CloseIlan Kroo
    Biophysics: Polly FordyceStephen QuakeJan LiphardtAndy Spakowitz
    Computational Science: Tom AbelRon FedkiwPatrick Hanrahan
    Electromechanical System Design: Mark CappelliSigrid Close
    Materials Science: Mark BrongersmaBruce ClemensJen Dionne
    Quantum Science and Engineering: Mark KasevichAmir Safavi-Naeini
    Renewable Energy: Bruce Clemens

Grading Policy

  • All courses applied toward the major must be taken for a letter grade and a grade of 'C-' or better received unless a letter grade option is not offered by the instructor.
  • Covid-19 Exception: The Engineering Physics program will count all courses taken Spring 2020 through Summer 2021 with a grade of 'CR' (credit) or 'S' (satisfactory) towards satisfaction of undergraduate degree requirements that otherwise require a letter grade. Engineering Physics majors who enrolled in Physics 43 or Physics 65 in Spring quarter 2020 are not required to take the associated lab courses (Physics 44 or Physics 67) since those classes were canceled due to COVID in that quarter.

EPIC: The Engineering Physics Student Society

Check out the the Engineering Physics Interdisciplinary Community (EPIC) webpage for current news, links, and answers to common questions.


EPHYS majors have the option to pursue an honors degree (ENGR-BSH, Engineering Physics), applying autumn quarter of the senior year; the deadline to submit a proposal for honors is November 1.

Honors Criteria: Minimum GPA of 3.5 and independent research conducted at an advanced level with a faculty research advisor and documented in an honors thesis. The honors candidate must identify a faculty member who will serve as his or her honors research advisor and a second reader who will be asked to read the thesis and give feedback before endorsing the thesis. One of the two must be a member of the Academic Council and in the School of Engineering.

Application: Application documents should be submitted to Darlene in 135 Huang no later than November 1 of senior year:

  • One-page description of the research topic
  • Application form signed by the honors thesis advisor
  • Unofficial Stanford transcript

Students may enroll for research units in ENGR 199(W) or in departmental courses such as ME 191(H). A completed thesis draft must be submitted to the research advisor and second reader by April 15. For more details on completing the honors requirements, see the EPhys Honors description on the Stanford Bulletin Major Programs page.

Summer Research

Engineering Physics majors may participate in on-campus summer research programs in engineering, physics, or applied physics. To conduct research with a faculty member in the School of Engineering, students apply to the summer research program for the department of the faculty mentor. To conduct research with a faculty member in the Physics or Applied Physics Departments or at SLAC, students apply through the Physics, Applied Physics and SLAC program.

EPHYS Program Sheet Excel or PDF version


Find current major requirements for this and all other School of Engineering major programs at Explore Degrees

Math and Science Requirements: Includes the following required courses:
Math (18-19 units):

  • MATH 51, 52, 53*
  • PHYSICS 111 (or MATH 131P, MATH 173, CME 204, or MATH 220)

*The Math 50 series is a corequisite for PHYSICS 61, 71, 81. Although the CME 100 series can be substituted by petition, the Math 50 series is strongly recommended for all Engineering Physics students. The prerequisite to enroll in Math 51 is Math 21, or 10 units AP BC credit or equivalent.


  • PHYSICS (41, 43*, 61, 61L, 71, 71L, 81, 89L)

*Students may be able to place out of Physics 41 and/or 43 based on advice from the Physics Placement Diagnostic.

Technology in Society: One 3-5 unit approved course required; see Approved Courses page for SoE list. The course chosen must be on the Approved list the year it is taken.

Engineering Fundamentals and Depth:

  • At least 45 units in Math+Science+Physics are required
  • At least 35 of the units in Engineering Fundamentals, Required Depth Classes, Required Depth Electives, and other electives must be School of Engineering (AA, BIOE, CEE, CHEME, CME (numbered 106 or above), CS, EE, ENGR, MS&E, MATSCI, ME) units. 
    • Up to 3 research units (e.g., ENGR 199ENGR 199W, or a departmental research course such as ME 191) may be counted towards the 35-unit requirement.
    • ENGR 1, Introductory Seminar, Sophomore College courses, and student-initiated courses are not allowed to fulfill the 35-unit engineering requirement.

Engineering Fundamentals:
Two courses from the ENGR Fundamentals approved list; either PHYSICS 104 (or 105, last offered 2019-20) is also acceptable as a substitute for ENGR 40M. A course in computer science, such as CS106A, AX, B, or X, is recommended. Fundamentals courses acceptable for the core program (below) may also be used to satisfy the two-course Fundamentals requirement as long as 35 unduplicated units of engineering are taken.

Engineering Physics Depth - Core Courses Required in All Specialty Areas:

  • Advanced Mathematics: One elective such as EE 261, PHYSICS 112, CS 109 or CME 106. Also qualified are EE 263, any Math or Statistics course numbered 100 or above, and any CME course numbered 200 or above, except CME 206. 
  • Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism: EE (142 and 242) or PHYSICS (120 and 121)
  • Numerical Methods: CME 108 (MATH 114) or CME 206/ME 300C or PHYSICS 113
  • Electronics Laboratory: ENGR 40M (count units toward ENGR Fundamentals or Electronics Lab, but not both), or EE 101A, or EE 101B, or PHYSICS 104 or 105, or APPPHYS 207
  • Writing in the Major (WIM): one of the WIM courses listed for any of the specialties; see WIM recommendations for each Specialty area below. Alternatively, ENGR 199W is available to students pursuing an independent research project. PHYS 191, and ENGR 102W are available to any specialty.
  • Quantum Mechanics: EE 222 or PHYSICS 130
  • Statistical Mechanics (choose one): PHYSICS 170, ME 346A, or MATSCI 310 (not offered every year)
  • Design Course: At least one of the following design-project courses must be included in each program:
    • AA 136A, CE 107E, CS 108, CS 140E, CS 230, CS 248E; EE 133, EE 134, EE 153, EE 155, ME 103, ME 210 or PHYSICS 106 or PHYSICS 108
  • Capstone (required for all students matriculating in AY 2021-22 or later): To satisfy the capstone requirement, students must complete at least one of the following:.
  1. Complete an Honors thesis for the Honors program
  2. Complete a research project and document it in a capstone paper for ENGR 199W.
  3. Complete the capstone course(s) in a department closely aligned with the chosen specialty (e.g., BIOE, CS, ME, etc) or Physics.

Three Courses from one of the following Specialty Areas:

Since new courses that are well suited to one of the Engineering Physics Specialty Areas may be introduced at any time, please contact Prof Pat Burchat and Prof Mark Cappelli to petition to use a course not on the current list of options.  The course will be evaluated on the basis of relevance to the specialty, and math and physics level and content. 

Aerospace Physics: Students develop a deep background in physics and mathematics and apply it to understanding the space environment, and the dynamics, design, and control of space vehicles. 

    Aerospace Physics: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Choose three courses from:Units
AA 203Intro to Optimal Control Theory3
AA 242A or ME 333A or PHYSICS 110Advanced Mechanics & Dynamics3 or 4
AA 244AIntro to Plasma Physics & Engineering3
AA 244BAdvanced Plasma Physics and Engineering3
AA 251Intro to Space Environment3
AA 279ASpace Mechanics3
ME 161Dynamic Systems4
Recommended Courses for Aerospace Physics Depth Requirements: 
WIMAA 190: Directed Research & Writing in AA5
DesignAA 136A: Spacecraft Design5
OtherAA 100: Intro to AA3

Biophysics: Prepares students to employ methods in physics to the study of biological systems.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the physical biology of systems on a broad range of scales, techniques developed in biophysics for imaging, measuring, and manipulating biological systems, and the application of quantitative analysis techniques to topics in biology and genomics. 

Biophysics: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Choose three courses from:Units
BIOE 42Physical Biology4
BIOE 44Fundamentals for Engineering Biology Lab4
BIOE 101Systems Biology3
BIOE 103Systems Physiology and Design4
BIOE 123Bioengineering Systems Prototyping Lab4
BIOE 211Biophysics of Multicellular Systems & Amorphous Computing2-3
BIOE 214Representations & Algorithms for Computational Molecular Biology3-4
BIOE 221Physics and Engineering of Radionuclide-based Medical Imaging3
BIOE 222Physics & Engineering Principles for Multi-Modality Molecular Imaging of Living Subjects4
BIO 132Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics4
BMP 251Medical Physics and Dosimetry (RADO 251)3
APPPHYS 205Intro to Biophysics3-4
Recommended Courses for Biophysics Depth Requirements: 
Advanced MathEE 2613

Design OR

Electronics Lab

BIOE 123 (if used for Design or Electronics Lab cannot also be one of 3 specialty electives)5
ENGR FundamentalBIOE 803

Computational Science: Prepares students to apply modern computational techniques to problems in engineering and applied science, and to the analysis of data. Students have the opportunity to study computational theory and algorithms, as well as applications in modeling, data analysis, data science, and machine learning.

Computational Science: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Choose three courses from:Units
CS 103Mathematical Foundations of Computing5
CS 154Intro to the Theory of Computation3-4
CS 161Design and Analysis of Algorithms5
CS 205LContinuous Mathematical Methods with Emphasis on Machine Learning3
CS 221Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques3-4
CS 228Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques3-4
CS 229Machine Learning3-4
CS 230Deep Learning4
CS 231NDeep Learning for Computer Vision4
CME 212Advanced Software Development for Scientists & Engineers3
CME 215A or 215BAdvanced Computational Fluid Dynamics3
Any CME course greater than CME 300 and less than 390 
STATS 202Data Mining and Analysis3
STATS 213Intro to Graphical Models (last offered 2014-15)3
Recommended Courses for Computational Science Depth Requirements: 
WIM/TiSCS 181W or CS 182W4
Advanced MathCS 109 Intro to Probability for Computer Scientists5
DesignCS 107E, CS 108, CS 140E, CS 230, or CS 248A3-4
ENGR FundamentalCS 106 A/AX/B/X5

Electromechanical System Design: Provides the opportunity for students to explore the process of design, analysis, and realization of modern electromechanical systems including “smart products” with embedded sensing and actuation.

Electromechanical System Design: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core

Specialty Electives: Take at least two of:Units
CS 223AIntroduction to Robotics3
ME 104Mechanical Systems Design (Prerequisites of ME 80, 102, and 103)4
ME 220Introduction to Sensors4
ME 333A or AA 242A or PHYSICS 110Advanced Mechanics and Dynamics 
and take at least one of  

ME 210/EE 118

ENGR 240

Intro to Mechatronics

Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems

*Prereqs for ME 104 are ME 80, ME 102, and ME 103
Recommended Courses for Electromechanical System Design Depth Requirements: 
WIMENGR 199W for students pursuing an independent research project, or ENGR 102W or PHYSICS 1914
DesignME 103 Product Realization: Design and Making4
ENGR FundamentalsENGR 40M or PHYSICS 104, and CS 106 A/AX/B/X4 or 5
OtherME 101 & ME 103D3

Materials Science:  Students learn how to design and synthesize materials with particular structures at the nanometer and micrometer scale that provide special electrical, optical, magnetic or mechanical properties.  Students can learn how to use these materials to make integrated circuits, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, fuel cells, microelectromechanical systems and other advanced devices.

Materials Science: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Choose three courses from:Units
MATSCI 142 to 199 (except 150 and 159Q) 
PHYSICS 172Solid State Physics3
Recommended Courses for Materials Science Depth Requirements: 
WIMMATSCI 161 or 1645
ENGR FundamentalENGR 50/50E/50M4
OtherCHEM 31A/B or 31M (formerly 31X)5-10

Quantum Science & Engineering: Provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of quantum systems – including atoms, lasers, and quantum devices – and investigate potential applications, such as timing and navigation, quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum cryptography, and tests of fundamental physics..

Quantum Science & ENGR: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Complete one of the quantum mechanics series by taking one of the following courses:Units
EE 223Applied Quantum Mechanics II 
PHYSICS 131Quantum Mechanics II 
And choose at least one course from:  
APPPHYS 225Probability and Quantum Mechanics3
PHYSICS 134Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics3-4
PHYSICS 230Graduate Quantum Mechanics I3
PHYSICS 231Graduate Quantum Mechanics II3
And choose at least one course from: 
APPPHYS 203Atoms, Fields, & Photons4
APPPHYS 228Quantum Hardware (not offered 2019-20)4
CS 254Computational Complexity3
CS 259Q or 269QQuantum Computing or Elements of Quantum Computer Programing3
EE 224Quantum Control & Engineering3
EE 234Photonics Lab3
EE 236CLasers3
EE 243Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices3
EE 340Optical Nano- and Micro-Cavities3
EE 376A/STATS 376AInformation Theory3
PHYSICS 106Experimental Methods in Quantum Physics4
PHYSICS 182Quantum Gases3
Recommended Courses for Quantum Science Depth Requirements: 
WIMEE 134 or PHYS 191 or ENGR 102W5
DesignEE 134 or PHYSICS 1065

Renewable Energy: Students explore energy conversion and storage technologies that are relevant in renewable energy systems, such as solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, fuel cells, and hydrogen production and storage.

Renewable Energy: Specialty Electives & Recommended Core Courses

Specialty Electives: Choose three courses from:Units
CEE 176BElectric Power: Renewables and Efficiency3-4
CEE 161IAtmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics: The Atmospheric Circulation3
EE 153Power Electronics3-4
EE 157Electric Motors for Renewable Energy, Robotics, and Electric Vehicles3
EE 218Power Semiconductor Devices and Technology3



EE 293

Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, Batteries: Materials for Energy Solution

Energy Storage & Conversion: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, Batteries and Supercapacitors




EE 293BFundamentals of Energy Processes3
MATSCI 302Solar Cells3
MATSCI 303Principles, Materials and Devices of Batteries3
MATSCI 316Nanoscience, Engineering, and Technology3
Recommended Courses for Renewable Energy Depth Requirements: 
WIMEE 153 or MATSCI 1614

Other Specialty: With approval of advisor and by petition, a set of three courses in one area of concentration

Capstone: (required for all students matriculating in AY 2021-22 or later)

To satisfy the capstone requirement, students must complete at least one of the following:.

  1. Complete an Honors thesis for the Honors program
  2.  Complete a research project and document it in a capstone paper for ENGR 199W.
  3. Complete the capstone course(s) in a department closely aligned with the chosen specialty (e.g., BIOE, CS, ME, etc) or Physics.

Declaring Engineering Physics

  1. Make a pre-major advising appointment with either Prof Pat Burchat in Physics, or with Prof Mark Cappelli in Mechanical Engineering, to discuss math and physics requirements, the selection of a specialty in Engineering Physics, and choosing an advisor.
  2. Declare the Engineering Physics subplan on Axess: select “Engineering” as your major and "Engineering Physics" as your subplan. Do not select Engineering Honors; this option may be elected later should you choose to pursue the Honors program.
  3. Print your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess.
  4. Download the Engineering Physics Program Sheet from the Program Sheet page. Complete the Program Sheet, indicating how you plan to fulfill the major requirements (or do this when you meet with your advisor).
  5. Make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your program. Have your advisor sign the Program Sheet. Your program proposal may change as you progress in the program; submit revisions in consultation with your advisor. (Submit an initial Program Sheet during the quarter in which you declare, and a final Program Sheet at least two quarters before you graduate.)
  6. Return your signed form and a copy of your unofficial transcript to Darlene in 135 Huang; she can then approve your declaration in Axess and enter your new advisor. You can also get AP or transfer credit approval taken care of at this time.