Science Instrumentation Track

The Science Instrumentation (SI) Track, coordinated through the College of Science, incorporates coursework from a number of different scientific and engineering disciplines.

Virtually every science-related business or science-based research or development enterprise relies on a variety of instruments and measurement techniques to achieve their goals. Until you can measure a process, it is very hard to improve it.  Understanding the meaning, reliability and accuracy of measurement results also requires both conceptual knowledge and practical experience.  Thus, there is a need for people who understand instrumentation, know how to implement measurement design strategies, and are familiar with useful measurement options and techniques.

Image of scientific instrument

The SI Track is generally focused on the use of instruments, computer systems, and computational algorithms to provide measurement solutions for industrial applications and scientific investigations. To reflect the breadth of the fields of application in which instrumentation is critical, the SI Track offers four distinct focus areas from which to choose (see below) involving coursework from a number of different departments.

Courses in the SI track generally stress the following three elements of instrumentation:

  1. Translation of measured physical quantities into electrical signals
  2. Use of hardware to acquire electrical signals and process the data
  3. Conceptual understanding to extract useful meaning from the measurements

Courses in the different focus areas will stress particular measurement techniques and instrumentation that are used in measurement strategies related to that area.

As designated below, every student in the SI Track, no matter the focus area, must complete “Optical Measurement Techniques and Instrumentation” – PHYS 6770. Students are allowed to enroll either in just the lecture portion of this course for 3 credits, or the lecture + lab for 5 credits (students may not enroll in the laboratory portion alone). The laboratory section is designated as PHYS 6775. In addition to PHYS 6770, there is a set of required courses specific to each focus area. To round out the track-specific coursework (15 hours), students must choose one or two elective courses either from the list of technical electives or from the core courses of alternative focus areas (see below).

Every student in the SI Track, no matter the focus area, must complete at least one course that includes a significant laboratory component (see footnotes below).

Please contact the SI Track Director, Dr. Clayton Williams, with any questions you might have about the SI Track.  His email address is

Course Number Credits Description
Common Core Requirement
PHYS 6770* 3 Optical Measurement Techniques and Instrumentation
PHYS 6775* 2 Optical Measurement Techniques and Instrumentation Lab
Physical Sensors Focus Area Core Courses
PHYS 6610† 4 Electronics for Scientific Instrumentation
PHYS 6620† 4 Data Acquisition for Scientific Instrumentation
Biomedical Sensors Focus Area Core Courses
BIOEN 6102† 3 Bioinstrumentation, Signals and Systems
BIOEN 6302† 3 Biomaterials
Analytical Chemistry Focus Area Core Courses
CHEM 7700 2 Analytical and Chemical Measurements I
CHEM 7710 2 Analytical and Chemical Measurements II
CH EN 6103 3 Biochemical Engineering
Micro/Nanotechnology Focus Area Core Courses
CHEM 5810 / CHEM 6810 3 Nanoscience
ECE 5201 3 Physics of Nano-Electronics and Related Devices
MSE 6075 3 Nanoscale Probing and Imaging
ATMOS 6220 3 Boundary Layer Meteorology
BIOEN 5401 3 Medical Imaging Systems
BIOEN 6405 3 Nanomedicine
BIOEN 6421† 3 Fundamentals of Micromachining Processes
BIOEN 6460 3 Electrophysiology and Bioelectricity
BIOEN 7160 3 Physical Nature of Surfaces
CHEM 7020 2 Introduction to Spectroscopy I
CHEM 7030 2 Introduction to Spectroscopy II
CHEM 7270 2 Organic Spectroscopy I
CHEM 7280 2 Organic Spectroscopy II
CHEM 7730 2 Electrochemistry
CHEM 7770 2 Optical Spectroscopy
CHEM 7780 2 Surface Chemistry
CH EN 6503† 4 Instrumental Analysis of Process Products
CS 6630 3 Scientific Visualization
ECE 5202 4 Integrated Circuit Microfabrication
ECE 6221 3 Fundamentals of Micromachining Processes
ECE 6231/6232† 4 Microsensors and Actuators + Lab
ECE 6325 3 Wireless Communication Systems
MSE 6073 3 Nanostructured Materials: Science and Technology
PHYS 5739† 2 Fundamentals Microscopy: Electron and Optical
PHYS 6210 3 Optics in Biology
PHYS 6720 4 Introduction to Computing in Physics
PHYS 6750† 4 Applied Modern Optics I & II

* The lecture portion of this course, PHYS 6770 (3 credits), is required of all focus areas. The laboratory portion, PHYS 6775 (2 credits) can be taken along with the lecture (5 total credits) to fulfill the laboratory component for the SI Track.  Students registered for PHYS 6775 must be enrolled in PHYS 6770.

† Fulfills laboratory component.

Electives for a particular focus area may be chosen from the list below or from the required course list of an alternate focus area.