Physical Science & Engineering

Students interested in engineering find themselves immersed in creativity, science, technology, and problem-solving. Engineering demands a solid foundation in science, math, engineering technology, and computing. Prospective engineers can forsee themselves inventing, designing, analyzing, building and testing machines, complex systems, structures and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost.



  • I like the environment and would like to protect it.

  • I like contributing to my community through my work.

  • I like the satisfaction of completing projects.

  • I like to problem solve.

  • I like working with my hands.

  • I like to use my creativity to design and build things.

  • I am entrepreneurial.

  • I aspire to become self-reliant.

  • I find technology exciting.

  • I want to have a variety of tasks and locations in my work.

Kids in Art Class
Living Room Sketch
Image by Christian Joudrey

Explore the Different Possibilities

Check out the specific concentrations within this interest cluster, with information regarding specific careers, as well as potential majors to pursue in college!

Aerospace, Aeronautical and Space

This ever-growing field features the design and operation of air and spacecraft, including the intricacies of how flight works.

Potential Majors

Agricultural Engineering

Apply engineering science to agricultural production and farming. Combines elements of mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering with animal and plant biology.

Potential Majors

Biomedical Engineering

Apply engineering principles and technology to the field of medicine, creating new and improved medical treatments for patients. Tissue engineering, while also considered a specialization within biotechnology, is one such example of biomedical engineering in action.

Potential Majors

Civil Engineering

Deals primarily with the design, construction and maintenance of bridges, roads, canals, and the like. As a point of interest, this engineering discipline was enshrined to distinguish itself from military engineering. It is considered the second-oldest discipline, after military.

Potential Majors

Computer Engineering

Combines computer science and electronic engineering. Computer engineers design both computer software and computer hardware, in addition to developing solutions for the integration of the two.

Potential Majors

Electrical Engineering

The study and application of electromagnetism, electronics, and electricity. It's a broad-based discipline that encompasses the design and implementation of various electronic / electrical systems such as circuits, generators, motors, and transformers.

Potential Majors

Environmental Engineering

The application of scientific principles to environmental improvement. Generally speaking, this discipline attempts to provide healthy air, water and land for safe habitation. Additionally, this particular discipline attempts to find ways to reverse environmental damages caused by pollution.

Potential Majors

Industrial Engineering

Development and ongoing improvement of integrated systems. Industrial engineers seek to minimize waste and maximize efficiency by tweaking current production systems.

Potential Majors

Manufacturing Engineering

Deals almost exclusively with the design and maintenance of different manufacturing processes, tools, equipment and machines. Lean manufacturing principles are one such example of scientific manufacturing in action.

Potential Majors

Material Engineering

Concerned with the properties of matter and its application to science and technology. This generally refers to the study of the structure of materials at the molecular level, and includes elements of applied physics and chemistry. Nanotechnology is one such example of materials engineering in action.

Potential Majors

Mechanical Engineering

Primarily concerned with the design, production and use of tools and machines. Mechanical engineers are the inventors and builders of the machines that will shape our future.

Potential Majors


For the student that seeks to explore and explain fundamental questions that range from understanding the origin of the universe, including string theory, cosmology, and astrophysics, to understanding the visible world of colloids and the world on an ever diminishing scale, from the mesoscale to the nanoscale, condensed matter, and atomic, molecular and particle physics.

Potential Majors

Structural Engineering

For the future engineering aiming to analyze, design, simulate, visualize, optimize, monitor and assess the behavior and environmental interactions of structures and structural materials from a holistic perspective, including those used in civil, geotechnical, aerospace, naval, marine, energy, and biological applications.

Potential Majors

​Nuclear Engineering

Primarily concerned with finding practical applications of nuclear energy. This includes the development and maintenance of nuclear reactors, power plants, and weapons.

Potential Majors




Connect with Alumni or a Senior Mentor

Check out how our alumni students and current seniors are pursuing this pathway! Learn about what it takes. To learn more about an alumni's journey, check out their roadmap.

Cristian Rene Cardenas
Class of 2011
Development professional for an international nonprofit high tech accelerator
Biotechnology, UC Davis, Bioscience, Keck Graduate Institute
Robin Kim
Class of 2020
Undergraduate Student
Civil Engineering, UC Berkeley
Scout Heid
Class of 2013
Product Design Engineer at Amazon
Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley, minor in EECS & Experimental Controls
Katelyn Sulett
Class of 2020
Undergraduate student
Aerospace/Astrophysics Engineer, CalTech
Demi Yurcisin
Class of 2015
Pilot Training
Business/Management, Air Force Academy
Anthony Mouchawar
Class of 2020
Undergraduate student
Biomedical Engineering, Emphasis in Molecular-Cellular Engineering, USC
Diana Renteria
Class of 2018
Undergraduate student
Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tarun Murugesan
Class of 2020
Undergraduate student
Mechanical Engineering, UC San Diego
Tyler Moroso
Class of 2016
Undergraduate student
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT
Kusal Uprety
Class of 2020
Undergraduate Student
Aerospace Engineering, UCSD
Andrew Euredjian
Class of 2017
Undergraduate student
Robotics Engineering/Computer Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Janny Zhang
Class of 2015
Software Engineer at Google
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS), + Certificate in Design Innovation, UC Berkeley



Choosing the Right Courses

Provided here are the COC classes that are recommended for your pathway. You are not required to take all them, so you should talk to your counselor to clarify which classes are right for you. Explore the different possibilities below!

CHEM 151

Preparatory General Chemistry

A preparatory course for Chemistry 201. Provides basic foundation in problem solving, atomic theory, stoichiometry, nomenclature, states of matter and solution chemistry.



General Botany

Surveys the plant kingdom with an emphasis on the biology, ecology, evolution and the economic impact of plant communities. Field trips may be required and may be outside the assigned class times



Environmental Biology

Introduces the principles of human genetics and function of DNA; genes, chromosomes and patterns of inheritance are explored. Not designed for biological science majors.



Organismal & Environmental Biology

Surveys the basic biology and diversity of unicellular and multicellular organisms. It emphasizes general biological principles including population biology and ecology, basic genetics, animal behavior, evolution, classification, structure, function and adaptations of organisms (including plants, fungi, animals, and unicellular organisms) to their environments. This course is intended for Biological Sciences majors. Field trips may be required.


Gimple, P.


General Biology

Explores the nature of science, including cell structure and processes, energetics in living systems, heredity, development, evolution, diversity, and environmental relationships.


CAWT 140

Survey of Microsoft Office Programs

Examines operating systems, Microsoft Office, word processing, spreadsheet analysis, database management, presentation software, and the application of information technologies to organizational settings.


COMS 105

Fundamentals of Public Speaking

Examines the principles and practices of public speaking, communication theory, and techniques for public speaking. Includes speech organization, development, research, audience analysis, reasoning, and presentation skills for the development of informative and persuasive speeches.


ENGR 114

Solids Modeling for Mechanical Drafting

Introduces the computer aided aspects of mechanical design and development utilizing the solids modeling program SOLIDWORKS.


Krizer, C.

ENGR 110

Intro to Engineering Graphics with AutoCAD

Covers the principles of engineering drawings in visually communicating engineering designs and an introduction to computer-aided design (CAD). Topics include the development of visualization skills; orthographic projections; mechanical dimensioning and tolerancing practices; and the engineering design process. Assignments develop sketching and 2-D and 3-D CAD skills. The use of CAD software is an integral part of the course.



Physics: Wave Motion, Heat, & Optics

Prerequisite: PHYSIC-220 and credit for or concurrent enrollment in MATH-212. Introduces modern physics, including heat, thermodynamics and kinetic theory, wave motion and sound, geometric and physical optics. UC credit limitation: PHYSICS 110-111 and 220-221-222 combined, maximum credit one series.



Physics: Electricity & Magnetism

Prerequisite: PHYSIC-220 and credit for or concurrent enrollment in MATH-212.
Introduces electric and magnetic fields, circuit theory and electromagnetic induction



Mechanics of Solids & Fluids

Prerequisite: MATH-211. Presents a calculus-based introductory study of particle and rigid body statics and dynamics, vibrational motion, and fluid mechanics.



Four-Year Ed Plans

Provided here are ed plans for you to take AOC & COC coursework for specific concentrations within this pathway. 

Keep in mind that these ed-plans are subject to change based on your individual needs and preferences.

AA Degrees

The ed-plans above will allow you to earn three Associate Degrees in Mathematics & Science (all 3 have overlapping requirements). If you pursue the Physics ed-plan, you will earn an Associate Degree in Physics. All of the ed-plans above will allow you to complete your IGETC and to transfer several General Ed college credits.


Engineering is a calculus-based curriculum. If you want to get into top engineering schools, it's important to have a solid foundation in math. 

If you take any SAT Subject Tests, it’s important to take and get a high 700 on the SAT Math II Subject Test (preferably 800) to demonstrate you’re strong in Math beyond what’s covered on the SAT or ACT. Getting a perfect or high score Physics or any other science Subject Test as well isn’t required, but it also will help your application.

The key to getting accepted to selective engineering institutions is to build up a “spike” in a certain area. For engineering schools, this area is math and/or science.