Colorado School of Mines to launch quantum engineering minor
New minor will prepare undergraduates for varied careers in growing field of quantum technology
A new quantum engineering minor at Colorado School of Mines will give undergraduate students the opportunity to gain exposure to quantum theory and hands-on experience with relevant hardware and prepare for careers in the rapidly evolving field of quantum technology.
Currently, there are only a handful of quantum engineering programs at U.S. universities, and all are graduate level only. The Mines quantum engineering minor will be unique in that it will offer the full range of interdisciplinary courses necessary for understanding quantum engineering problems and solutions – giving engineering students a little extra fluency in quantum so that they can work with physicists already in the field.
“There is a real and growing need for materials, electrical, mechanical and computer engineers who also speak the language of quantum information to help bring advances in quantum computing, communication and sensing out of the lab and into real-world technologies,” said Geoff Brennecka, associate professor of metallurgical and materials engineering. “This minor will help prepare Mines students for these jobs.”
The interdisciplinary minor is a collaborative effort across Mines departments, including chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, materials science and physics. Core classes include linear algebra, plus a subset of courses in topics such as quantum many-body physics, microelectronics processing, quantum programming and low temperature microwave measurement. The rest of the 18 required credit hours for the minor can come from a large list of relevant courses across the five participating departments.
Mines launched a graduate program in quantum engineering in Fall 2020, currently one of only two master’s level programs in the nation. Undergraduate students can already take some courses in quantum engineering, but the minor will serve as a way to formally recognize their focus on this emerging and exciting field.
“Quantum engineering is all about translating scientific discoveries into practical applications,” Brennecka said. “With growing interest in quantum technologies, students with a minor in quantum engineering will be at a competitive advantage. Mines has strong ties to local and global companies with quantum research programs, and our quantum engineering program directly addresses the hiring needs of these industry partners now and into the future.”