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As a Carolina engineering student, you’ll work with your major advisor to map a path of study that leads to the bachelor’s of science degree in applied sciences. The degree is designed to meet all of the requirements needed for ABET accreditation and we plan to seek accreditation at a later date.

Our curriculum gives students a strong technical background along with a rich liberal arts experience. Whereas many engineering programs have a more rigid four-year mapping of courses, Carolina’s curriculum allows you more flexibility to supplement your core engineering courses with other courses that interest you and complement your major—whether those include additional STEM, humanities or social science courses.

The following curriculum has been approved by UNC and will be published in the 2024-25 UNC Catalog.

Curriculum Summary

(click on any of the colored boxes for additional information)

Foundations (32 credits)

Engineering Fundamentals (25 credits)

Environmental Engineering Track (16 cr)

Materials Engineering Track (15 cr)

Curriculum Details

Foundations (8 Courses)

These courses will provide you with the core STEM and liberal arts building blocks in math, physics, and chemistry, which you’ll use throughout your other degree coursework. These course requirements are similar to requirements for other BS degrees at UNC.

Engineering Fundamentals (7 Courses)

These courses will equip you with fundamental knowledge of numerous essential engineering principles. You will gain experience in design, fabrication, problem solving, and computational skills, which are common to all engineering disciplines. In addition, you will gain a background in basic principles of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and materials engineering.

Engineering Tracks (5 Courses)

These tracks will allow you to specialize in environmental engineering or materials engineering:

Environmental engineering track: Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Explore how the natural and human worlds intersect—and how you can design new ways for them to interact in a safer, healthier manner. You’ll learn how to use scientific and engineering methods to protect people from pollution and other negative effects of environmental change, develop sustainable energy solutions, and improve air, water and soil quality. By combining foundations in chemistry, biology and physics with engineering principles, modeling and computational analysis, this track will prepare you to design solutions for sustainable resources, human health, and environmental restoration.

Curriculum: five classes in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

  • Gateway: engineering tools for environmental problem solving.
  • Foundational environmental engineering: chemical equilibria of natural water, environmental health microbiology, sustainable energy systems.
  • Modeling: groundwater hydrology, energy modeling, temporal GIS and space/time geostatistics, computational toxicology, exposure science.
  • Process engineering (2 classes): environmental process biotechnology, analysis of water resource systems, physical/chemical treatment processes.


Materials engineering track: Department of Applied Physical Sciences

Learn advanced science and explore the properties of engineering materials—polymers, composites, ceramics, metals, glass—that have useful (and often amazing) characteristics. As you gain an understanding of how to work with, characterize and select a variety of materials—including emerging sustainable, intelligent, nano, and bioelectric varieties—you’ll learn how to develop, design and apply materials in new products—and how to create next-gen improvements.

Curriculum: five classes in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences

  • Gateway: advanced class on the properties, selection and design of engineering materials.
  • Materials Characterization: learn how to use advanced scientific equipment to take measurements of material characteristics
  • Electives (3 classes): choose any three classes from one or both of the following categories:
    • Electronics and optics: Optoelectronics, Nanophotonics, Bioelectric materials.
    • Soft materials: Materials Design for Biomedicine, Engineering of Soft Materials: SpongeBob Squarepants and Other Squishy Things

Capstone Design

The capstone is your chance to apply what you learn over four years to a single year-long, practical project. Students will work on a project in collaboration with other organizations in Research Triangle Park and the local community, including industry, non-profit organizations, and government entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Faculty advisors and industry mentors will provide guidance, as students address problems that originate in real-world workplaces.

As part of the process, you’ll complete two capstone design courses and work with other students as part of a small interdisciplinary project team that gets to design, develop, test and iterate on solutions that meet the requirements of actual clients. You can plan to take the capstone design courses in conjunction with upper-level engineering electives.