Caltech Applied Physics was founded by faculty who could foresee research subjects not represented in traditional engineering and physics programs. Originally encompassing semiconductor devices and lasers, today, it also includes subjects spanning quantum engineering to physical biology, and reflects new and varied intersections within science and technology. Academics are rooted in fundamental physics: quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics/thermodynamics, mechanics, and mathematical physics. The intensive curriculum combined with broad research opportunities give the Applied Physics student technical depth and the capacity to impact a wide range of fields.
Our programs, both undergraduate and graduate, emphasize the chemistry, physics and mathematics of materials. Students learn fundamental tools for creating materials with unprecedented properties and for discovering new phenomena in materials. Graduate students take a series of foundational courses in materials structure, thermodynamics, and kinetics, along with courses focused on a selected class of materials. We welcome graduate students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds into our program, including physics, chemistry and all engineering disciplines. Please take a look at the diversity of faculty interests and Ph.D. thesis titles (under People/Alumni).