Coursework in Applied Sciences and Engineering

The Department of Applied Physical Sciences (APS) is developing a variety of courses that will integrate into our undergraduate academic programs and make engineering and making concepts accessible to all UNC students. An undergraduate major will be offered beginning Fall 2023.*

*The undergraduate division of the Applied Physical Sciences department timeline is tentative.

Looking for available courses by semester? Click to view Spring 2020 available courses.

Course Listing

APPL 110 — Intro to Design and Making: Developing Your Personal Design Potential
3 Credits.

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.

APPL 290-001 — Materials Science and Engineering: Living in a Material World
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number is APPL 260)
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

APPL 290-002 — Developing Your Sixth Sense: Designing Sensors and Electrical Circuits to make Measurements
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number is APPL 240).
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.

APPL390 — Convergent Engineering: Team-Science Approaches to Discovery and Innovation
3 Credits. (Permanent course number is APPL 405.)
Students will participate in various take-home and in-class activities, group discussion and problem-solving coaching to enhance understanding of how chemistry, physics, materials science and biology are applied to engineering. There will be special focus on BioEngineering, Chemical, Mechanical and Environmental Engineering. Discussions of relevant scientific literature introduce each topic. Guest lecturers and faculty will provide perspectives in fields like mathematical modeling, mechanical engineering or circuit design so students gain a true interdisciplinary view of topics.

APPL 411Practical Electronics for Everyone
1 Credit.

Design and fabrication for practical electronics circuits, including interfacing with sensors and actuators.

APPL 412 — Design and Making: Turning Your Entrepreneurial Ideas Into Reality
3 Credits.

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.

APPL 413LabView for Data Acquisition
1 Credit.

The basics of data acquisition and hardware interfacing using LabVIEW graphical programming.

APPL 420Introduction to Polymer Chemistry
3 Credits.

Chemical structure and nomenclature of macromolecules, synthesis of polymers, characteristic polymer properties.
Requisites: Prerequisites,CHEM 261 or 261H; pre- or corequisites, CHEM 262 or 262H, and 262L or 263L
Same as: CHEM 420

APPL 421Synthesis of Polymers
3 Credits.

Synthesis and reactions of polymers; various polymerization techniques.
Requisites: Prerequisites, CHEM 251 and 262 or 262H
Same as: CHEM 421

APPL 422Physical Chemistry of Polymers
3 Credits.

Polymerization and characterization of macromolecules in solution.
Requisites: Prerequisites, CHEM 420 and 481
Same as: CHEM 422

APPL 423Intermediate Polymer Chemistry
3 Credits.

Polymer dynamics, networks and gels.
Requisites: Prerequisite, CHEM 422
Same as: CHEM 423

APPL 470Fundamentals of Materials Science
3 Credits.

Prerequisite, CHEM 482; or Crystal geometry, diffusion in solids, mechanical properties of solids, electrical conduction in solids, thermal properties of materials, phase equilibria.
Requisites: Prerequisite, PHYS 128 and pre- or corequisite, PHYS 441
Same as: CHEM 470

APPL 473Chemistry and Physics of Surfaces
3 Credits.

The structural and energetic nature of surface states and sites, experimental surface measurements, reactions on surfaces including bonding to surfaces and adsorption, interfaces.
Requisites: Prerequisite, CHEM 470
Same as: CHEM 473

APPL 475Design and Fabrication of Fluids Monitoring Devices 
3 Credits.

Review of basic fluid mechanics theory including the fundamentals of pressure/flow relationships, fluid properties, and flow regimes. Class and laboratory time will be devoted to design and creation of physical prototypes that demonstrate specific concepts and measure defined parameters. Students will use the BeAM makerspace network extensively to make things that illustrate fluid device design concepts. Class time will include exercises to reinforce concepts and a guided design activity to create a physical device.

APPL 490-001 — Sensors & Measurement Technologies
3 Credits.

The course will have an active learning format. For most class sessions, we will start by learning new material, and then transition to hands-on laboratory exercises to reinforce these new concepts. There will be a final project in which students design and develop a system that measures a parameter, and acquires and analyzes the resulting signal on the computer.
Requisites: No prerequisites

APPL 490-002 — Electronics for measurement, control, and the Internet of Things
1 Credit.

This class builds on the material in APPL 411 Practical Electronics for Everyone. Students learn how to acquire electrical circuits to a computer, perform basic filtering and signal processing, and then control indicators and motors. Students also learn how to develop circuits that are part of the Internet of Things. Students will get hands on experience with electronics in this course.
Requisites: APPL 411 or permission of the instructor

APPL 490-003 — Data Science for Applied Science and Engineering
3 Credits.

This course brings together various topics in data science of particular interest for data analysis across different areas of applied science and engineering. Possible topics will include dimensionality reduction, transforms, clustering, classification, and neural networks.
Requisites: BMME 410 or MATH 528, or must be concurrently enrolled. Instructor approval required.

APPL 490-001 — Optical Instrumentation (Spring 2020)
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number is APPL 460.)
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

APPL 490-002 — Sponge Bob SquarePants and other Soft Materials (Spring 2020)
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number is APPL 465.
What kind of material is Sponge Bob made of? Or, what about the slime of his pet snail, Gary? We are taught that there are three states of matter: solid, gas, and liquid. However, in our daily lives we encounter materials that challenge this simple description such as foams, pastes, gels, soap, and rubber. These are Soft Materials and in this course we will learn about their special properties.
Requisites: TBD

APPL 490-003 — Nanophotonics (Spring 2020)
3 Credits.
(Permanent course number is APPL 435.)
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: PHYS117 or CHEM251 or permission of the instructor

APPL 520LPolymer Chemistry Laboratory
2 Credits.

Various polymerization techniques and characterization methods. One four-hour laboratory each week.
Requisites: Pre- or corequisite, CHEM 420 or 421 or 425
Same as: CHEM 520L

APPL 573 Introductory Solid State Physics
3 Credits.

Crystal symmetry, types of crystalline solids; electron and mechanical waves in crystals, electrical and magnetic properties of solids, semiconductors; low temperature phenomena; imperfections in nearly perfect crystals.
Requisites: Prerequisite, PHYS 321; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite
Same as: PHYS 573

APPL 710Seminar in Materials Science and Engineering
2 Credits.

Design and fabrication for practical electronics circuits, including interfacing with sensors and actuators.

APPL 760LNanofabrication/micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) Laboratory
2 Credits.

Permission of the instructor. A laboratory course covering fabrication technologies for building materials and structures in biomedical devices, electronics, MEMS, and nanomedicine. The course includes lectures on thin film deposition, etching, and photolithography and hands-on laboratories to apply knowledge and practice skills covered in the lectures.