Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
T.E. (Ed) Schlesinger, Head
James Hoe, Associate Head
The field of electrical and computer engineering encompasses a remarkably diverse and fertile set of technological areas, including analog and digital electronics, computer architecture, computer-aided design and manufacturing of VLSI/ULSI circuits, intelligent robotic systems, computer-based control systems, telecommunications and computer networking, wireless communication systems, signal and information processing and multimedia systems, solid state physics and devices, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), electromagnetic and electromechanical systems, data storage systems, embedded systems, distributed computing, mobile computing, real-time software, digital signal processing, and optical data processing. The extraordinary advances in the field during the last fifty years have impacted nearly every aspect of human activity. These advances have resulted not only in advanced computer systems but also in consumer products such as “smart” cars, programmable dishwashers and other home appliances, cell phones and mobile computing systems, video games, home security systems, advanced medical systems for imaging, diagnosis, testing and monitoring. Systems and products such as these serve to enhance our quality of life and have also served as the basis for significant economic activity. In short, the field of electrical and computer engineering has become central to society as we know it.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon is actively engaged in education and research at the forefront of these new technologies. Because of the diverse and broad nature of the field and the significant growth in knowledge in each of its sub areas, it is no longer possible for any single individual to know all aspects of electrical and computer engineering. Nevertheless, it is important that all electrical and computer engineers have a solid knowledge of the fundamentals with sufficient depth and breadth. Society is placing increasing demands on our graduates to try their skills in new contexts. It is also placing increasing value on engineers who can cross traditional boundaries between disciplines, and who can intelligently evaluate the broader consequences of their actions. Our curriculum is designed to produce world-class engineers who can meet these challenges.Back To Top
Educational Outcomes and Objectives
The B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering is a broad and highly flexible degree program structured to provide students with the smallest set of constraints consistent with a rich and comprehensive view of the profession. It is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. Students are encouraged and stimulated to explore multiple areas of theory and application. The Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering have adopted the following outcomes from ABET and have established the following objectives for the B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering curriculum:
- An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering.
- An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
- An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability.
- An ability to function in multi-disciplinary teams.
- An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.
- An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities.
- An ability to communicate effectively.
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context.
- A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
- A knowledge of contemporary issues.
- An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
ECE Education Objectives
The ECE program objectives are shown below. They represent our vision for what our students will be doing in their engineering careers five years after they have graduated. The principal behaviors we seek to foster in our students are expertise, innovation and leadership.
Our graduates will be:
- They will solve problems by applying ECE fundamentals
- Their solutions will reflect depth of understanding in their sophistication.
- Their solutions will reflect breadth of understanding by drawing on multiple disciplines.
- They will demonstrate creativity in their engineering practice.
- They will consider holistic systems-oriented approaches in their designs.
- They will think strategically in their planning and execution.
- They will take initiative, and demonstrate resourcefulness.
- They will collaborate in multidisciplinary teams.
- They will be leaders in their organizations, their profession and in society.
Three dimensions of objectives for our graduates.
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Minimum number of units required for degree: 379 units.
In addition to the Carnegie Institute of Technology general education and freshman year requirements (143 units), the B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering requires 15-122 Principles of Imperative Computation (10 units), Physics II (12 units), two math or science electives (18 units), a Probability and Statistics course (9 units), 109 units of Electrical and Computer Engineering coursework, and 2 math co-requisites (21 units). The remaining units needed to reach the 379 required to graduate are Free Electives (57 units).
The Electrical and Computer Engineering coursework is divided into the categories of Core, Area Courses, Coverage, and Capstone Design. The Core consists of five courses (18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, 18-220 Electronic Devices and Analog Circuits, 18-240 Structure and Design of Digital Systems, 18-213 Introduction to Computer Systems, and 18-290 Signals and Systems). There are also two math co-requisites (18-202 and 21-127) and Physics II that are required co-requisites for the core. These courses provide the fundamental knowledge-base upon which all other electrical and computer engineering courses are built. 18-100 is generally taken during the freshman year, while the remaining courses in the Core are started in the sophomore year. The core courses are ideally completed by the end of the junior year (The department strongly recommends that students not take more than two core courses in the same semester). Although the core courses (and their co-requisites) may be taken in any order, students generally first take the course in their primary area of interest. This gives added flexibility to later course selection in related areas.
Students are also required to complete a seminar course during the fall semester of the sophomore year. This course, 18-200 Emerging Trends in Electrical and Computer Engineering, introduces students to the many areas within ECE and helps them decide which areas are of primary interest to them.
To satisfy the ECE Area Courses Requirement, at least two Area courses must be completed from one of the following five principal areas in ECE (24 units):
- Device Sciences and Nanofabrication: Solid State Physics, Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, Magnetics, Optics, etc.;
- Signals and Systems: Digital Signal Processing, Communication Systems, Control Systems, etc.;
- Circuits: Analog and Digital Circuits, Integrated Circuit Design, etc.;
- Computer Hardware: Logic Design, Computer Architecture, Networks, etc.; and
- Computer Software: Programming, Data Structures, Compilers, Operating Systems, etc.
One additional course from a second area must be taken (12 units)
For Coverage any additional ECE course(s) can be taken or an approved Computer Science course (see the ECE website for the list of approved Computer Science courses) totaling at least 12 units.
Finally, all students are required to take a Capstone Design course. In the Capstone Design courses, numbered 18-5XX, students participate in a semester-long design project with teams of other students. Students learn project management skills, make oral presentations, write reports, and discuss the broader social and ethical dimensions of ECE. Current Capstone Design courses are listed on the ECE Department website.
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Minimum number of units required for degree: 379
For detailed information and regulations of the curriculum along with the degree requirements and the most recent version of the ECE curriculum primer and course descriptions, please refer to the ECE Home Page: http://www.ece.cmu.edu/
|99-101||Computing @ Carnegie Mellon||3|
|or 99-102||Computing @ Carnegie Mellon|
CIT Requirements (see CIT section of the catalog for specifics):
|CIT General Education||72|
|Two semesters of calculus||20|
|33-106||Physics I for Engineering Students 1||12|
|One other introductory engineering course (generally taken during the freshman year)||12|
Specific ECE requirements:
|One Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering course (generally taken during the freshman year)|
|18-100||Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering||12|
|One ECE Seminar, taken during the fall of the sophomore year|
|18-200||Emerging Trends in Electrical and Computer Engineering||1|
|Four ECE core courses, three with math co-requisites|
|18-220||Electronic Devices and Analog Circuits||12|
|33-107||Physics II for Engineering Students|
(co-requisite to 18-220)
|18-290||Signals and Systems||12|
|18-202||Mathematical Foundations of Electrical Engineering|
(co-requisite to 18-220 and 18-290)
|18-240||Structure and Design of Digital Systems||12|
|21-127||Concepts of Mathematics|
(co-requisite to 18-240)
|18-213||Introduction to Computer Systems||12|
|Two Area Courses from 1 of the 5 Areas within ECE||24|
|One additional Area Course from a second Area||12|
|One Coverage Course (any additional ECE course or Approved CS course as listed on the ECE web site)||12|
|One Capstone Design Course (any 18-5xx course)||12|
Other ECE Requirements:
|15-112||Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science||12|
|15-122||Principles of Imperative Computation||10|
|Two Math/Science electives||18|
|36-217||Probability Theory and Random Processes||9|
|or 36-225||Introduction to Probability Theory|
The math/science requirement can be satisfied with any course from The Mellon College of Science or The Department of Statistics except for: 100-level courses in Mathematics or Statistics, and courses designed for non-science or engineering majors, such as (but not limited to) 09-103, 09-104, 21-257, 33-124, 36-201, 36-202, 36-207 or 36-208. Although shown in the Fall of the Junior and Senior years, these courses may be taken at any time. Mathematics courses of particular interest to students in ECE are:
|21-241||Matrices and Linear Transformations||10|
|21-259||Calculus in Three Dimensions||9|
[57 units]Free Electives
A Free Elective is defined as any graded course offered by any academic unit of the university (including research institutes such as the Robotics Institute and the Software Engineering Institute). A total of at least 60 units of Free Electives must be taken.
Up to 9 units of ROTC and Physical Education courses or other courses taken as Pass/Fail may also be used toward Free Electives.
Transfer of courses from other high-quality universities may be accepted through submission of the Transfer Credit Request form on the CIT web page.
The large number of units without categorical constraints provides the student, in consultation with their Faculty Advisor or Mentor, with the flexibility to design a rich educational program.
The following table shows a possible roadmap through our broad and flexible curriculum:
|Freshman Year||Sophomore Year|
|18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering||Introductory Engineering Elective||18-200 Emerging Trends in Electrical and Computer Engineering||18-2xx ECE Core Course 2|
|Calculus||33-106 Physics I for Engineering Students||18-2xx ECE Core Course 1||21-127 Concepts of Mathematics or 18-202 Mathematical Foundations of Electrical Engineering|
|15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science||Calculus||18-202 Mathematical Foundations of Electrical Engineering or 21-127 Concepts of Mathematics||15-122 Principles of Imperative Computation|
|76-101 Interpretation and Argument||General Education Course||33-107 Physics II for Engineering Students||General Education Course|
|99-101 Computing @ Carnegie Mellon or 99-102 Computing @ Carnegie Mellon||General Education Course||36-217 Probability Theory and Random Processes|
|Junior Year||Senior Year|
|18-2xx ECE Core Course 3||18-2xx ECE Core Course 4||18-xxx ECE Coverage Course||18-5xx ECE Capstone Course|
|18-3xx/4xx ECE Area Course 1||18-3xx/4xx ECE Area Course 2||18-3xx/4xx ECE Area Course||General Education Course|
|General Education Course||Math/Science Elective 1||Math / Science Elective 2||Free Elective|
|Free Elective||General Education Course||General Education Course||Free Elective|
|Free elective||Free Elective||Free Elective||Free Elective|
Notes on the Curriculum
Policy on ECE Coverage Courses with Fewer than 12 Units
The basic curriculum requirements for Breadth, Depth, Coverage and Capstone Design are stated in terms of courses rather than units. The nominal total of 60 units for these categories is determined by assuming that each course is 12 units. In the event that courses with fewer than 12 units are used to satisfy some or all of these requirements, additional courses from the ECE coverage lists must be taken until the total units in ECE courses beyond the core meets or exceeds 60 units. Any ECE coverage course is acceptable, and any excess units may be counted as free elective credit.
QPA Requirement and Overload Policy
An overload is defined as any schedule with more than 54 units in one semester. A student will only be permitted to overload by 12 units if he or she achieved a QPA of at least 3.5 out of 4.0 in the previous semester he or she is registering for, or if his or her overall QPA is at least a 3.5.
Up to 9 units of ROTC and Physical Education courses or other courses taken as Pass/Fail may be used toward Free Electives. ECE core courses may not be taken as pass/fail. ECE project-based courses (including capstone design courses) may not be taken pass/fail. No ECE requirements may be fulfilled using a pass/fail course (except for 99-10x and 18-200)
Other Graduation Requirements
To be eligible to graduate, undergraduate students must complete all course requirements for their program with a cumulative Quality Point Average of at least 2.0 for all courses taken. For undergraduate students who enrolled at Carnegie Mellon as freshmen and whose freshman grades cause the cumulative QPA to fall below 2.0, this requirement is modified to be a cumulative QPA of at least 2.0 for all courses taken after the freshman year. Note, however, the cumulative QPA that appears on the student's final transcript will be calculated based on all grades in all courses taken, including freshman year. Students are encouraged to confirm all graduation requirements with their academic advisor.
CIT has the following requirement for graduation. “Students must complete the requirements for their specified degrees with a cumulative quality point average of 2.00 or higher for all courses taken after the freshman year (this is the CIT QPA on the Academic Audit).
In addition, a student is expected to achieve a cumulative quality point average of 2.00 in a series of core departmental courses.” In ECE, this means that the student must complete 18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, ECE Core, Area Courses, Coverage, and Capstone Design courses with a minimum QPA of 2.0 to graduate. When more than one possibility exists for meeting a specific requirement (e.g., Area Course), the courses used for calculating the ECE QPA will be chosen so as to maximize the QPA. Similarly, when an ECE course is retaken, the better grade will be used in the computation of the minimum QPA for the ECE QPA requirement.
Other Opportunities in ECE
ECE Cooperative Education Program
The ECE Co-Op is a unique 8-month contiguous extended internship experience in which ECE students with a minimum QPA of 3.0 may opt to participate in. Students typically engage in this option in the spring semester of their junior year, from January through August. A May through December option is also available. Students who engage in this program typically graduate in 4.5 academic years (but still eight semesters). Eligible students interested in participating should contact their advisor in the ECE Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Office. Students are required to submit a formal application consisting of a transcript, a resume, and a one-page statement of purpose including an academic plan. Students then work with the Career Center to find a Co-Op position. Once a Co-Op position is found, a Co-Op job description is required from the employer, to be approved by the ECE Undergraduate Office.
While on the Co-Op assignment, the students are participating in a recognized CIT educational program, retaining their full-time student status, akin to our students who study abroad in established exchange programs (such as NCTU or EPFL) for one or two semesters.
Upon returning to Carnegie Mellon, the students are required to submit for approval the following two documents to the ECE Undergraduate Office: a three to five page technical report of the Co-Op work, and a one page assessment and evaluation of the Co-Op experience.
Students may obtain more detailed information through the department, the Career Center in the University Center, or online at http://www.ece.cmu.edu/undergrad/
Integrated M.S./B.S. Degrees Program
The Integrated Master’s/Bachelor’s program (otherwise known as the IMB program) is an exciting opportunity for students who excel academically to achieve not just a Bachelor’s degree in ECE, but also a Master’s degree- through our Professional MS degree program-without needing to apply separately. This means no application fee, and no need to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). In order to be awarded the MS degree in the IMB program, the student must also earn their BS degree, either simultaneously with the MS degree or in a semester prior to the awarding of the MS degree. If a course is eligible for the MS degree but must be used to complete the BS degree, the BS degree takes priority over the MS degree.
If a student is at least a 2nd semester junior, has completed at least 270 units and has at least an overall 3.00 QPA, he or she is guaranteed admission into the Professional MS degree in ECE through the IMB program. To be officially admitted, the student must complete the IMB Program form.
If a student does not meet the exact overall 3.00 QPA requirement, he or she is eligible to petition for his or her admission into the IMB program during his or her senior year. Students may obtain the petition forms through a meeting with their assigned academic advisor.
Professional MS Degree Requirements:
Please see the ECE web site for the requirements for the Professional MS degree. For students in the ECE IMB program, all requirements for the Professional MS degree are in addition to the requirements for the BS in ECE. No requirements for the MS degree may be used in any way toward the BS degree, including minors, additional majors or dual degrees.
Residency requirements and financial impacts:
Once a student in the IMB program has completed all of the requirements for the BS degree, he or she may become a graduate (Masters) student. To do this, the student’s undergraduate degree is certified, and that student officially graduates with the BS degree. Once a student’s undergraduate degree has been certified, no more courses may then be applied toward the BS degree. This includes courses toward minors and additional majors, although students pursuing an undergraduate dual degree with another department may still continue to apply additional coursework toward that second degree.
If a student takes more than 8 semesters to complete both the BS and MS degrees, then he or she must be a graduate student for at least one semester before graduating.
To determine the most appropriate time for an undergraduate student to become a graduate student, he or she should consult with Enrollment Services to understand how becoming a graduate student will affect financial aid, and with his or her academic advisor to determine a course schedule. When a student is a graduate student through the IMB program, the department is able to provide some financial assistance through Teaching Assistantships. Please see the ECE web site for further information regarding this financial assistance.