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Undergraduate Coursework in Applied Sciences and Engineering

From big problems like global warming to focused needs in your home or community, engineering is all about solving problems. The Department of Applied Physical Sciences offers courses that make engineering and making concepts accessible to all UNC students. Check out our Minor in Applied Sciences and Engineering to see how you can learn to use technology to make a difference in the world.

Spring 2021 Course Listing

APPL 110 — Intro to Design and Making: Developing Your Personal Design Potential
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
T/Th 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Students work in flexible, interdisciplinary teams to assess opportunities, brainstorm, and prototype solutions. Design thinking and physical prototyping skills are developed through fast-paced, iterative exercises in a variety of contexts and environments.
Requisites: No prerequisites
Instruction mode: This class will accommodate in person and remote students. For in person students, there will be hands on activities in class and lab activities in the BeAM makerspace. Remote students can do these activities at home with a kit, and also send designs to the BeAM makerspace for fabrication. For group projects, remote students can team with in-person students.

APPL 240 — Developing Your Sixth Sense: Designing Sensors and Electrical Circuits to make Measurements
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
M/W 2:30 PM – 4:25 PM

How can you measure temperature, pH, heart rate, movement, distance or anything else in the physical world? First, you need a sensor! In this class, we will learn how to analyze, design, and build systems for the entire sensor to measurement process. We will use a variety of sensors that measure physical and environmental parameters. We will model these sensors and understand how they work and interact with electrical circuits. We will learn the basics of circuit design and analysis so that we can amplify and “clean up” the signals with filters. Finally, we will learn how to acquire these signals to a computer through data acquisition hardware and LabView software.
Requisites: ONE of the following – PHYS 105, 115, 117, or 119.
Instruction mode: This class will accommodate in person and remote students. In person students will do lab activities in class and in the BeAM makerspace. Remote students will have a kit to work on these activities from home.

APPL 260 — Materials Science and Engineering: Living in a Material World
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
T/Th 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

An introduction to a broad range of topics in materials science and with a strong focus on how materials, processing and engineering come together in design and vice versa. Why are some materials hard and others soft? Why can certain plastics be lighter than steel and at the same time be stronger? How do I select materials for a sustainable design?
Requisites: CHEM 102 and PHYS 116 or 118
Instruction mode: This class will accommodate in-person students only. There will be in-class demos and exploration of various materials.

APPL 350 — Data Science for Applied Science and Engineering
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
M/W/F 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM

This course is intended as a first introduction to a variety of mathematical, statistical and computational methods that are of particular interest for analyzing data and performing machine learning across applied science and engineering, including visualization, transforms for time series and image analysis, dimensionality reduction, clustering, and various forms of classification (e.g., logistic regression, support vector machines, neural networks). Course activities will emphasize the ability to perform these data analyses in a computational environment and the written and oral communication of results.
Requisites: APPL 101 or COMP 116 or permission of instructor.
Instruction mode: This class will be taught remotely. There will be hands-on activities that involve data analysis and programming, which students can do from their home on their computer.

APPL 390-001 – Flow of Force, Matter and Energy through the Biosphere
3 credits.
Sample Syllabus. (Permanent course number will be APPL 385 pending approval)
T/Th 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Flow and movement of matter, force and energy are ubiquitous in every aspect of life on our biosphere, from our motile cells that transfer chemical energy to motion to the flow and mixing of air and water in the atmosphere and the oceans. By studying different examples, we will see throughout the course that the flow of mass, momentum and energy can be analyzed in a single framework known as Transport Phenomena in science.
Requisites: MATH 233
Instruction mode: This class will be taught remotely. There will be hands-on activities that include modeling and simulation, which students can do from their home on their computer.

APPL 412 — Design and Making: Turning Your Entrepreneurial Ideas Into Reality
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
T/Th 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Do you have an entrepreneurial idea and you would like to make a prototype to turn your idea into reality? Or do you want to experience the design and making process? In this class, you will go through this process for a semester-long project. The final outcome will be a prototype that meets an entrepreneurial need. Students from any major are welcome to take this class.
Requisites: Prerequisites, ECON 125, Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Orientation in the BeAM makerspace is also required.
Instruction mode: This class will accommodate in person and remote students. Students can participate in many design and making activities whether they are in person or remote. Some making activities will require the use of the BeAM makerspace by students who are in person. Therefore, remote students will be paired with in-person students for the group project.

APPL 430 — Optical Instrumentation for Scientists and Engineers
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
T/Th 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

This course introduces principles of optical system design, covering a broad variety of imaging and microscopy instruments. The material will include computational methods for optical signal processing and basic principles governing light-matter interactions. The course will include theory and hands-on experience to implement and test methods. We will discuss recent publications and state-of-the-art optical systems which are task-driven, controlled by computers, tailored to specific applications, and optimized to monitor or manipulate complex systems.
Requisites: No prerequisites
Instruction mode: This class will accommodate in person and remote students. All students will be able to do simulations and other activities. Hands-on activities will be livestreamed to remote students through Zoom.

APPL 435 — Nanophotonics
3 Credits. Sample Syllabus.
T/Th 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

This course introduces the principles of nanophotonics – an emerging frontier at the nexus of nanotechnology and photonics that deals with light-matter interactions at the nanometer scale. The course will cover the theoretical foundations of nanoscale optical interactions, fabrication and characterization of optical nanomaterials, plasmonics, optical trapping and manipulation, electrodynamic simulations, and applications of nanophotonics.
Requisites: No prerequisites
Instruction mode: This class will be taught remotely. There will be hands-on activities that include simulations, which students can do from their home on their computer.