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Undergraduate Nanotechnology Minor

What is the minor about and who is it for?

The Nanotechnology Minor is designed to help prepare students from a broad range of disciplines for careers or graduate study in fields involving nanotechnology. These fields cover a spectrum from medicine and catalysis to textiles and to quantum computing.

The minor builds on the strengths of Penn State's faculty, expertise base, academic programs and nanofabrication facilities including its class 1 and class 10 clean rooms. The minor provides students with fundamental knowledge and skills in nano-scale simulation, design, syntheses, characterization, properties, processing, manufacturing and applications.

Nanotechnology is inherently interdisciplinary and bridges across physics, biology, materials science, and chemistry. Students in the minor are encouraged to develop this interdisciplinary approach to science and engineering and to choose the 18 credits of the minor accordingly. Students must take two prescribed courses (6 credits) in nanoscience fundamentals, and then select four additional courses (12 credits) from a growing list of interdisciplinary courses. A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor.

In addition to preparing students for career opportunities in a diverse variety of fields such as microelectronics, information storage, optoelectronics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and medicine, the minor also prepares undergraduate students for exciting research opportunities in graduate school.  Interested 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students in engineering, the chemical, physical, and the biological sciences, medicine, life and agricultural sciences are encouraged to enroll.

Info Brochure

Nanotechnology Minor pamphletClick here for a pamphlet with details on the Nano Minor (Adobe Acrobat format)

What courses do I take for the minor?

The minor requires 18 credits. Six of these eighteen are required courses taken by everyone in the minor. The remaining 12 credits are selected from among courses in an approved list. The prescribed and approved course offerings (with their semester standing scheduling recommendations denoted by (Sem: 5-6)) are given below.


E SC 312 Engineering Applications of Wave, Particles, and Ensemble Concepts (3) (Sem: 5-6)
The engineering applications of the wave and ensemble pictures of the physical world.
Prerequisite of Concurrent: PHYS 214

E SC 313 Principles, Fabrication Methods, and Applications of Nanotechnology (3) (Sem: 5-6)
Principles, fabrication methods, and applications of the nanoscale.
Prerequisites: CHEM 12, CHEM 14, PHYS 212 and 214

(2) THE ADDITIONAL COURSES: (12 CREDITS—TO BE SELECTED) (Select 12 credits from the following list)

CH E 340 Introduction to Biomolecular Engineering (3) (Sem: 5-6)
Introduction to concepts and principles of biomolecular engineering, with emphasis on biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Prerequisites: CH E 210, BMB 251, CHEM 039

E SC 419 Electronic Properties and Application of Materials (3) (Sem: 7-8)
The electrical, optoelectronic, dielectric, and other electron-based properties of solids, semiconductors in particular, and their engineering /device applications.
Prerequisite: E SC 312

E SC 481 Elements of Nano/Micro-Electormechanical System Processing and Design (3) (Sem: 6-7)
Interdisciplinary fundamentals of nano/microelectromechanical systems (NEMS/MEMS), including design, fabrication and machining of miniature systems. Draws from mechanics, science, and materials.
Prerequisites: E MCH 013, or E MCH 215, or E SC 312

E SC 482 Micro-Optoelectromechanical Systems (MOEMS) and Nanophotonics (3) (Sem: 7-8)
Principles and applications of Micro-Optoelectromechanical and Nanophotonic device systems.
Prerequisites: PHYS 212 and 214

E SC 483 Simulation and Design of Nanostructures (3) (Sem: 7-8)
Introduction to computer simulation techniques and their applications at the physical/life sciences interface.
Prerequisites: PHYS 214 or E SC 312 and MATH 230

E SC 484 Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials (3) (Sem: 6-7)
Advances in biomolecular-based science and technology at the physical /life sciences interface.
Prerequisites: PHYS 214 and MATH 230

For further information about the minor, please contact:

Mark W. Horn, Ph.D.
Nanotechnology Minor Coordinator
The Pennsylvania State University
212 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802-1909

Tel: 814-777-0332

Email: or