Engineering Physics

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The engineering physics major offered through the Engineering Science Program interweaves classical and modern physics, chemistry, and mathematics with their engineering applications. Chief among the attractions of the major is its flexibility in that students have the ability to take diverse engineering, math, and science classes based on individual research goals. The solid base in physics and mathematics is augmented with a selection of engineering course options that prepare students to tackle complex problems faced by society.

Admission to the Major

Prospective undergraduates in the College of Engineering must apply to one specific major/degree program. For further information, please see the College of Engineering's website.

Admission to engineering via a Change of College application for current UC Berkeley students is very competitive as there few open spaces in engineering for students admitted to other colleges at UC Berkeley. For further information regarding a Change of College to Engineering, please see the College's website.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in engineering physics.

Other Majors offered by the Engineering Science Program

Energy Engineering (Major and Minor)
Engineering Mathematics and Statistics (Major)
Environmental Engineering Science (Major)

Visit Program Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, students must fulfill the requirements listed below specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All technical courses taken in satisfaction of major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.

  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student’s major and minor programs.

  3. A minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for all work undertaken at UC Berkeley.

  4. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for all technical courses taken in satisfaction of major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

For a detailed plan of study by year and semester, please see the Plan of Study tab.

Lower Division Requirements

MATH 1ACalculus4
MATH 1BCalculus4
MATH 53Multivariable Calculus4
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
or PHYSICS 89 Introduction to Mathematical Physics
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory
or CHEM 4A General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
ENGIN 7Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers3-4
or COMPSCI 61A The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
or COMPSCI 61B Data Structures
or PHYSICS 77 Introduction to Computational Techniques in Physics
PHYSICS 5AIntroductory Mechanics and Relativity3-4
or PHYSICS 7A Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Introductory Electromagnetism, Waves, and Optics
and Introduction to Experimental Physics I
or PHYSICS 7B Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Introductory Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics
and Introduction to Experimental Physics II
or PHYSICS 7C Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Lower division technical electives, select three from the following:11-14
Introduction to Astrophysics [4]
Introduction to Astrophysics [4]
General Biology Lecture
and General Biology Laboratory
General Biology Lecture and Laboratory [4]
General Chemistry [4]
Chemical Structure and Reactivity
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis [4]
Properties of Materials [3] (MAT SCI 45L recommended)
Course Not Available
Introduction to Solid Mechanics [3]
Course Not Available
ENGIN 92Perspectives in Engineering (Optional)1

Upper Division Requirements

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this major, electives must be selected and approved in consultation with a faculty adviser.

MEC ENG 104Engineering Mechanics II3-4
or PHYSICS 105 Analytic Mechanics
MEC ENG 185Introduction to Continuum Mechanics3
or MEC ENG 106 Fluid Mechanics
PHYSICS 137AQuantum Mechanics4
PHYSICS 137BQuantum Mechanics4
Take one of the following math series:8
Introduction to Analysis
and Introduction to Complex Analysis
Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
and Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
Take one of the following series:7-8
Electromagnetism and Optics
and Electromagnetism and Optics
Electromagnetic Fields and Waves
and Introduction to Optical Engineering
MAT SCI 111Properties of Electronic Materials4
or PHYSICS 141A Solid State Physics
ENGIN 40Engineering Thermodynamics4
or PHYSICS 112 Introduction to Statistical and Thermal Physics
PHYSICS 111AInstrumentation Laboratory 13-4
or EL ENG 143 Microfabrication Technology
or NUC ENG 104 Radiation Detection and Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory
Technical Electives 2

Students planning to pursue graduate school in physics are advised to complete PHYSICS 111B (for 3 units) to satisfy the laboratory requirement. Note: Students will need to obtain consent of the PHYSICS 111B instructor if they have not completed the prerequisites of PHYSICS 111A and PHYSICS 137A.


Technical electives must include:

  • 15 units of upper division courses in engineering. Upper division engineering units cannot include: any course taken on a Pass/No Pass basis and any of the following courses:BIO ENG 100COMPSCI 195COMPSCI H195, DES INV courses (except DES INV 190E), ENGIN 125ENGIN 157ACENGIN 180IND ENG 172IND ENG 185IND ENG 186, the IND ENG 190 series, IND ENG 191IND ENG 192IND ENG 195MEC ENG 191ACMEC ENG 190K, and MEC ENG 191KENGIN 185 and ENGIN 187 cannot be used to fulfill engineering electives.
  • A minimum of 14 units of upper-division physics.
  • The 15 units of upper division engineering and 14 units of upper-division physics DO include all required upper division engineering and physics units completed. If in selecting options to meet upper division requirements the totals do not come to 15 units of ENGIN and 14 units of PHYSICS, additional units (chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser) must be added. 
  • At least 40 units of approved upper division technical subjects (mathematics, statistics, science, and engineering). These 40 units DO include all required upper division technical course work taken for the major.

College Requirements

Students in the College of Engineering must complete no fewer than 120 semester units with the following provisions: 

  1. Completion of the requirements of one engineering major program study. 
  2. A minimum overall grade point average of 2.00 (C average) and a minimum 2.00 grade point average in upper division technical coursework required of the major.
  3. The final 30 units and two semesters must be completed in residence in the College of Engineering on the Berkeley campus.
  4. All technical courses (math, science and engineering) that can fulfill requirements for the student's major must be taken on a letter graded basis (unless they are only offered P/NP). 
  5. Entering freshmen are allowed a maximum of eight semesters to complete their degree requirements. Entering junior transfers are allowed a maximum of four semesters to complete their degree requirements. (Note: junior transfers admitted missing three or more courses from the lower division curriculum are allowed five semesters.) Summer terms are optional and do not count toward the maximum. Students are responsible for planning and satisfactorily completing all graduation requirements within the maximum allowable semesters. 
  6. Adhere to all college policies and procedures as they complete degree requirements.
  7. Complete the lower division program before enrolling in upper division engineering courses. 

Humanities and Social Sciences (H/SS) Requirement

To promote a rich and varied educational experience outside of the technical requirements for each major, the College of Engineering has a six-course Humanities and Social Sciences breadth requirement, which must be completed to graduate. This requirement, built into all the engineering programs of study, includes two reading and composition courses (R&C), and four additional courses within which a number of specific conditions must be satisfied. Follow these guidelines to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Complete a minimum of six courses from the  approved Humanities/Social Sciences (H/SS) lists
  2. Courses must be a minimum of 3 semester units (or 4 quarter units).
  3. Two of the six courses must fulfill the college's Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement. These courses must be taken for a letter grade (C- or better required) and must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year (fourth semester of enrollment). The first half of R&C, the “A” course, must be completed by the end of the freshman year; the second half of R&C, the “B" course, must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year. Use the Class Schedule to view R&C courses offered in a given semester. View the list of exams that can be applied toward the first half of the R&C requirement. Note: Only the first half of R&C can be fulfilled with an AP or IB exam score. Test scores do not fulfill the second half of the R&C requirement for College of Engineering students.
  4. The four additional courses must be chosen within College of Engineering guidelines from the H/SS lists (see below). These courses may be taken on a Pass/Not Passed basis (P/NP).
  5. Two of the six courses must be upper division (courses numbered 100-196).
  6. One of the six courses must satisfy the campus American Cultures requirement. For detailed lists of courses that fulfill American Cultures requirements, visit the American Cultures site. 
  7. A maximum of two exams (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or A-Level) may be used toward completion of the H/SS requirement. View the list of exams that can be applied toward H/SS requirements.
  8. Courses may fulfill multiple categories. For example, CY PLAN 118AC satisfies both the American Cultures requirement and one upper division H/SS requirement.
  9. No courses offered by any engineering department other than BIO ENG 100, COMPSCI C79, ENGIN 125, ENGIN 157AC, and MEC ENG 191K may be used to complete H/SS requirements.
  10. Foreign language courses may be used to complete H/SS requirements. View the list of language options.
  11. Courses numbered 97, 98, 99, or above 196 may not be used to complete any H/SS requirement.
  12. The College of Engineering uses modified versions of five of the College of Letters and Science (L&S) breadth requirements lists to provide options to our students for completing the H/SS requirement. The five areas are:
  • Arts and Literature
  • Historical Studies
  • International Studies
  • Philosophy and Values
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

Within the guidelines above, choose courses from any of the Breadth areas listed above. (Please note that you cannot use courses on the Biological Science or Physical Science Breadth list to complete the H/SS requirement.) To find course options, go to the Class Schedule, select the term of interest, and use the Breadth Requirements filter.

Class Schedule Requirements

  • Minimum units per semester: 12.0
  • Maximum units per semester:  20.5
  • Minimum technical courses: College of Engineering undergraduates must enroll each semester in no fewer than two technical courses (of a minimum of 3 units each) required of the major program of study in which the student is officially declared. (Note: For most majors, normal progress will require enrolling in 3-4 technical courses each semester).
  • All technical courses (math, science, engineering) that satisfy requirements for the major must be taken on a letter-graded basis (unless only offered as P/NP).

Minimum Academic (Grade) Requirements

  • A minimum overall and semester grade point average of 2.00 (C average) is required of engineering undergraduates. Students will be subject to dismissal from the University if during any fall or spring semester their overall UC GPA falls below a 2.00, or their semester GPA is less than 2.00. 
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.00 (C average) in upper division technical courses required for the major curriculum each semester.
  • A minimum overall grade point average of 2.00, and a minimum 2.00 grade point average in upper division technical course work required for the major is needed to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

Unit Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, students must complete at least 120 semester units of courses subject to certain guidelines:

  • Completion of the requirements of one engineering major program of study. 
  • A maximum of 16 units of special studies coursework (courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, or 199) is allowed towards the 120 units.
  • A maximum of 4 units of physical education from any school attended will count towards the 120 units.
  • Students may receive unit credit for courses graded P (including P/NP units taken through EAP) up to a limit of one-third of the total units taken and passed on the Berkeley campus at the time of graduation.

Normal Progress

Students in the College of Engineering must enroll in a full-time program and make normal progress each semester toward the bachelor's degree. The continued enrollment of students who fail to achieve minimum academic progress shall be subject to the approval of the dean. (Note: Students with official accommodations established by the Disabled Students' Program, with health or family issues, or with other reasons deemed appropriate by the dean may petition for an exception to normal progress rules.) 

UC and Campus Requirements

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing Requirement. Satisfaction of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley.

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a U.S. resident graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Campus Requirement

American Cultures

American Cultures (AC) is the one requirement that all undergraduate students at UC Berkeley need to take and pass in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity, and culture in the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

Plan of Study

For more detailed information regarding the courses listed below (e.g., elective information, GPA requirements, etc.), please see the College Requirements and Major Requirements tabs.

CHEM 4A or 1A and 1AL14MATH 1B4
Reading & Composition Course from List A24ENGIN 7, COMPSCI 61A, COMPSCI 61B, or PHYSICS 773-4
Humanities/Social Sciences Course23-4Technical Elective33-5
Freshman Seminar or ENGIN 92 (optional)0-1 
 15-17 13-17
MATH 534MATH 544
Technical Elective33-5Technical Elective33-5
Reading & Composition Course from List B24Humanities/Social Sciences Course23-4
 16-18 15-18
MEC ENG 104 or PHYSICS 1053-4ENGIN 40 or PHYSICS 1124
Math Series Course 144Math Series Course 244
Humanities/Social Sciences Course23-4Technical Elective33-4
Free Elective3 
 17-19 15-16
EL ENG 143, NUC ENG 104, or PHYSICS 111A53-4MEC ENG 185 or 1063
MAT SCI 111 or PHYSICS 141A4Electromagnetics & Optics Series course 263-4
Electromagnetics & Optics Series Course 164Technical Elective33-4
Technical Elective33-4Humanities/Social Sciences Course23-4
Free Elective3 
 17-19 12-15
Total Units: 120-139

CHEM 4A is intended for students majoring in Chemistry or a closely-related field.


The Humanities/Social Science (H/SS) requirement includes two approved reading and composition courses and four additional approved courses, with which a number of specific conditions must be satisfied.  Reading and Composition "A" and "B" must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year.  The remaining courses may be taken at any time during the program.  See Humanities and Social Science Requirements for complete details and a list of approved courses.


Technical electives must include:


Math Series: Select one sequence from the following: MATH 104 and MATH 185; or MATH 121A and MATH 121B.


NUC ENG 104 offered in spring only, prerequisite is NUC ENG 101. Students planning to pursue graduate school in physics are advised to complete PHYSICS 111B (for 3 units) to satisfy the laboratory requirement. Note: Students will need to obtain consent of the PHYSICS 111B instructor if they have not completed the prerequisites of PHYSICS 111A and PHYSICS 137A.


Electromagnetic & Optics Series: Select one sequence from the following: PHYSICS 110A and PHYSICS 110B; or EL ENG 117 and EL ENG 118.

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Ilan Adler, Professor. Financial engineering, optimization theory, combinatorial probability models.
Research Profile

Ana Claudia Arias, Associate Professor. Physical Electronics (PHY), Flexible and Printed Electronics, Energy (ENE).

David Attwood, Professor-in-Residence. Short wavelength electromagnetics, Soft X-ray microscopy, Coherence, EUV lithography.

James Casey, Professor. Continuum mechanics, finite elasticity, continuum thermodynamics, plasticity, theories of elastic-plastic materials, history of mechanics, dynamics.
Research Profile

Alexandra von Meier, Adjunct Professor. Energy, Electric Grids, Power Distribution .
Research Profile

Scott Moura, Assistant Professor. Optimal control, PDE control, estimation, adaptive control, dynamic system modeling, energy management, battery management systems, vehicle-to-grid, smart grid.
Research Profile

Kara L. Nelson, Professor. Water and wastewater treatment, water reuse, detection and inactivation of pathogens in water and sludge, appropriate technologies.
Research Profile

Junqiao Wu, Associate Professor. Semiconductors, nanotechnology, energy materials.
Research Profile

Alex Zettl, Professor. Physics, condensed matter physics, fullerenes, condensed matter experiments, characterize novel materials with unusual electronic and magnetic ground states, low-dimensional and nanoscale structures, superconductors, giant magnetoresistance materials, nanotubes, graphene, boron nitride nanostructures, neural probes, NEMS.
Research Profile

+ Tarek Zohdi, Professor. Finite element methods, computational methods for advanced manufacturing, micro-structural/macro-property inverse problems involving optimization and design of new materials, modeling and simulation of high-strength fabric, modeling and simulation of particulate/granular flows, modeling and simulation of multiphase/composite electromagnetic media, modeling and simulation of the dynamics of swarms.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Engineering Science Program

Visit Program Website

Faculty Adviser

David Attwood, PhD

568 Cory Hall

Faculty Adviser

Junqiao Wu, PhD

322 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Faculty Adviser

Alex Zetti, PhD

341 Birge Hall

Undergraduate Staff Adviser

Felicia Bautista

750 Davis hall

Engineering Student Services Adviser

Bryan Jones

Phone: 510-642-7594

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