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Engineering Physics/Computer Engineering

Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science  

For More Information

Department Head

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5131
Fax: 417-836-6226
Email: Physics@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

The Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics with an emphasis in Computer Engineering will provide the graduate with the appropriate background to find employment in the exciting field of computer engineering. Specifically, the graduate will receive experience in computer interfacing, microcontroller application design and computer hardware problem-solving techniques. This experience will include the design, construction, and operation of computer-based equipment.

The Computer Engineering emphasis was developed for students who have an interest in designing computer systems. Graduates will be employed in commercial industries where knowledge of computer hardware design is necessary for internal control and monitoring or product development. Some students may find opportunities in computer research and development for computer-controlled instrumentation or computer monitored manufacturing processes. 

Academic Program

The program emphasizes techniques in computer engineering to solve electronic design challenges. The student will learn a variety of methods to design instrumentation for scientific applications. As the student nears completion of the degree, a required senior project will serve as the final test of the student’s knowledge. In this project, the student can build a computer-based instrument for direct application in a specific system. At the end of this project the student will present the results in the form of a public presentation or defense.

The Computer Engineering/Engineering Physics program is a 68 credit hour comprehensive program. It requires 39 credit hours in the Engineering Physics core and 29 hours in the Computer Engineering emphasis. Within the Engineering Physics core, 14 credit hours are in Computer Science and Mathematics.


The student must complete the general education requirements. (See the General Education section of the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog.)

Specific General Education Core Requirements

  • CSC 111 (3) Introduction to Computing
  • PHY 203 (5) Foundations of Physics I
  • MTH 261(5) Analytical Geometry and Calculus I
  • ENG 321 (3) Writing II: Beginning Technical Writing

Engineering Physics Core Requirements

  • CSC 121 (3) Introduction to Programming, or
  • CSC 125 (3) Introduction to Programming
  • MTH 280 (5) Analytical Geometry and Calculus II
  • MTH 302 (3) Multivariate Calculus
  • MTH 303 (3) Differential Equations
  • PHY 204 (5) Foundations of Physics II
  • PHY 252 (3) Introduction to Circuit Analysis
  • PHY 343 (3) Thermodynamics
  • PHY 352 (3) Electronic Circuit Design
  • PHY 375 (3) Twentieth Century Physics I
  • PHY 386 (1) Undergraduate Research I
  • PHY 391 (3) Mathematics for Science and Engineering I
  • PHY 392 (3) Mathematics for Science and Engineering II
  • PHY 486 (1) Undergraduate Research II

Required Computer Engineering Emphasis Courses

  • PHY 220 (4) Intro. to the Struc. & Logic of Digital Computers
  • PHY 324 (4) Instrumental/Computer Interfacing
  • PHY 353 (3) Elementary Field Theory
  • PHY 354 (3) Signals and Systems
  • PHY 385 (2) Experiments in 20th Century Physics
  • PHY 475 (3) Introduction to Solid State Physics, or
  • MAT 580 (3) Structure of Solids
  • PHY 485 (3) Instrumentation Circuit Design
  • PHY 524 (4) Digital Signal Processing
  • PHY 558 (3) Physics of Semiconductor Devices


The Department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science has 16 full-time faculty members; 15 have Ph.D. degrees. Faculty interests in the area of computer engineering include instrumentation for astronomical photometry, materials science, molecular beam epitaxy, vacuum technology, x-ray absorption Fourier Spectrometry, condensation studies, ion implantation, electro-optics, neural networking and optical cmputing.


Departmental facilities include use of the Missouri State mainframe computers as well as a number of departmental microcomputer systems and board-level microprocessors. A student-built multi-processor system is also available. Specialized equipment includes multichannel analyzers, coincidence counters, vacuum systems and low-pressure accessories, storage oscilloscopes, lasers and optical components. Other general-purpose laboratory equipment is readily available.

In addition to the general-purpose equipment listed above, undergraduate students in Physics, Engineering Physics/Computer Engineering, Pre-Engineering or Astronomy have access to any of the department’s major experimental facilities. These include the Baker Observatory, which is the best-equipped astronomical observatory in Missouri. It houses a 0.4m telescope and a modern CCD detection system.

The department houses a two million dollar molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) laboratory where thin films of materials are grown, one molecular layer at a time. Lithography on these films and determinations of their physical properties then follow. Scanning Tunneling Microscopy is used to study the surface structure of the films. Another facility is a one million dollar ion implantation laboratory where material modifications are studied. In addition, there are optical, electrical and magnetic characterization laboratories equipped with Raman, micro-Raman, photoluminescence, ac and dc Hall effect, resistivity, thermoelectric power and piezoelectricity setup.


Computer Engineering/Engineering Physics students will conduct a two-semester research project as part of their undergraduate experience. In this project they will work closely with a professor on a topic of mutual interest. Many of these projects will utilize the major research facilities mentioned earlier. In some cases these projects may be funded and provide the student with an undergraduate Work Grant.

Students are encouraged to participate in the department sponsored Student Engineering Club. Students in the club build robots for simple tasks or for contests. The department provides supplies to build the robots. Meetings are held in the student seminar and study room. Interested students can contact the department for further information.

The department also sponsors a chapter of the national Society of Physics Students (SPS) and a chapter of the national physics honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma. SPS members organize and participate in a number of departmental activities, including physics competitions for high school students, tutoring assistance and seminars by guest speakers.

Students often find part-time employment in the department and may participate in the university’s Cooperative Education program. Students may also wish to apply for an appointment to a research semester at one of the U.S. government national laboratories.

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

First Semester Courses Hours
MTH 261 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I 5
CSC 111 Introduction to Computing 3
ENG 110 Writing I 3
GEP 101 First-Year Foundations 2
Electives/general education 3
Total Hours 15
Second Semester Courses Hours
MTH 280 Analytic Geometry and Calculus II 5
PHY 203 Foundations of Physics I 5
COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 3
CSC 125 Introduction to C++ Programming 4
Total Hours 16

Sophomore Year

First Semester Courses Hours
MTH 302 Multivariate Calculus 3
PHY 204 Foundations of Physics II 5
PHY 220 Introduction to Structure and Logic of Digital Computers 4
KIN 100 Fitness for Living 2
Electives/general education 3
Total Hours 17
Second Semester Courses Hours
PHY 391 Mathematics for Science and Engineering I 3
MTH 303 Differential Equations 3
PHY 252 Introduction to Circuit Analysis 3
ENG 321 Writing II Beginning Technical Writing 3
Electives/general education 3
Total Hours 15