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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
  May 26, 2024
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Engineering Science - Engineering Physics Concentration, BSE

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Freshman Engineering Program

All engineering freshmen pursue a common academic program, selecting a major upon completion. The freshman-year curriculum includes two specially designed engineering-oriented courses (ENGR 0011 Introduction to Engineering Analysis  and Engineering 0012 Introduction to Engineering Computing ). These courses provide freshman students with an overview of the various areas of engineering, introduce certain engineering skills and tools, and acquaint students with the engineering problem solving process. Freshman students also participate in an engineering seminar, conducted in part by the Freshman Leadership Team’s Peer Advisors. These seminars provide general information on the transition to college and the improvement of study skills and provide an overview of the various engineering fields so that freshmen can make an informed choice of majors at the end of the first year. Students are also given several opportunities to visit the various programs in order to talk to the faculty and learn about the specific academic requirements. All engineering freshmen participate in the Freshman Engineering Conference during the Spring Term. Outstanding freshman students may also participate in the Fessenden Honors in Engineering Program (See Special Academic Opportunities/Programs for details). For more information on the Freshman Engineering Program, visit

The freshman-year curriculum is detailed below:

Credits: 17

Credits: 17


* Students choose electives from an extensive list of acceptable Arts and Sciences humanities and social science courses, including a large number of languages that students are encouraged to study. Students may not take self-paced, hybrid, or online courses to satisfy the humanities/social science requirement.

Honors Courses for Engineering Freshmen

Outstanding freshman engineering students are eligible to participate in the University Honors College (UHC). Entering freshman students who are in the top 5 percent of their graduating class and have a minimum SAT I score of 1450 are eligible for honors courses. Students participating in the University Honors College may take honors courses that substitute for regular required course offerings in their first two terms. For more information on the UHC, visit

Honors courses offered include:

First Term

Second Term

Credits: 18

*Students who earn a C or higher in MATH 0235  for the first term may take UHC MATH 0240  the second term and will be awarded advanced placement credit for MATH 0220 .

Students who opt to take Engr 0711 (Honors Engineering Analysis and Engineering Computing)  in the fall term of their freshman year have the opportunity to take a unique service learning course in the second term. This course, ENGR 0716 Art of Hands-On System Design and Engineering , is only open to students who successfully complete ENGR 0711  with a grade of C or better. In this course, students will explore tools and techniques for inventing, designing and prototyping systems. Students will gain an introduction to ‘smart systems’; i.e.,automated systems that can sense the world and automatically respond in useful ways.

Writing-Designated Course (W Course) Requirement

Engineering students must demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively. This includes both written and oral communication and the ability to make professional presentations. Upon admission, students with an SAT Critical Reading score below 500 will be required to take at least one English Composition Course during their freshman year that will not count toward the Swanson School of Engineering graduation requirements.

All students must take at least one W course as part of their humanities/social science requirements. Please note that students may also satisfy the W requirement by taking a science course with a writing component. In addition, each engineering program has substantial communications components throughout the curriculum. Some programs require a specific course in communications. It is important to refer to each program’s graduation requirements to identify requisite communication courses.

For students planning on a dual degree from the Swanson School of Engineering and an A&S major, it is important to note the following: The University of Pittsburgh Composition Program has agreed that there is no need for students who have taken freshman writing through the Freshman Engineering English Writing Program to take Seminar in Composition (ENGCMP 0200 ) as well. Taking just one of these courses to meet the A&S General Education requirement for composition is sufficient to meet the composition requirement.

Engineering Science

The Engineering Science Program is designed for students who have a strong interest in science and mathematics as well as a desire to acquire the skills and perspective of engineering. The Engineering Science Program offers flexible curricula in several interdisciplinary areas of concentration. The program is built on sequences of courses from multiple science and engineering programs. All areas of concentration combine in-depth exposure to both science and engineering. All areas of concentration include a two-term capstone design experience. The overall goal of the program is to develop each student’s ability to think analytically across disciplines and develop a knowledge base well suited to tackle future technical challenges that will require a thorough understanding of a discipline in the physical sciences and/or mathematics combined with engineering. Interested students are encouraged to pursue the Engineering Science degree jointly with the University Honors College (UHC) by completing the requirements for Engineering Science and satisfying the special degree requirements of the UHC. The Engineering Science program is ideal preparation for graduate school in a wide range of disciplines, for rewarding careers in industry, and is an excellent background for those who wish to pursue careers in other professions, such as management, law, education, or medicine.

NOTE: The Engineering Physics curriculum (which had been available as a separate Engineering Physics Program until 2010) is now an area of concentration within Engineering Science.

The program objectives for Engineering Science are to produce engineers who build successful, diverse careers based on:

  • an understanding of the physical/life sciences, engineering analysis and design, and interdisciplinary problem solving;
  • a commitment to ongoing professional development as exemplified by, for example, graduate study, training, conference participation, and certification;
  • advancement and leadership in professional and/or community life.

For more information on the program, contact or see

Engineering Science Undergraduate Curriculum

The Engineering Science Program currently offers three areas of concentration: Engineering Physics, Nanotechnology, and Nuclear Energy.

Engineering Physics

Engineering Physics prepares students for engineering practice based on a curriculum designed to develop an understanding of physics and its application in electrical engineering and materials science through classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory experience. The core of the curriculum is comprised of a sequence of fundamental courses in modern physics, electricity and magnetism of materials, design of electronic circuits, semiconductor devices, and signal processing. The  curriculum culminates with program electives and a two-term Senior Design sequence. The design project builds on the knowledge gained in coursework and emphasizes independent and team problem solving under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Area of Concentration: Engineering Physics Sample Curriculum

Credits: 18

Credits: 15

Credits: 16

Credits: 15

Seventh Term

Credits: 18

Eighth Term

Credits: 15

Total Credits: 131


1 or PHYS 1341 

2 or MEMS 1010 , MEMS 1057 , MEMS 1070 

Senior Design: at least one senior design course offered by one of the other SSOE engineering programs is required; the second course may be a senior project arranged with a faculty mentor and taken as ENGSCI 1801 . Students wishing to complete a two-term project with a faculty mentor may request approval for the second term to count as a program elective (ENGSCI 1802 

Upper Level Physics: Physics courses with course numbers > 1000
Upper Level Mathematics: Mathematics courses with course numbers> 1000

51 credits minimum of Engineering, 53 credits minimum of Math/Science


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