Undergraduate Academic Guide

UG-Axes

Objectives & Outcomes

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. Continue reading >>

UG-Axes

Philosophy of Education

The B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering is a broad and highly flexible ABET-accredited degree program structured to provide students with the smallest set of constraints consistent with a rich and comprehensive view of the profession. Continue reading >>

UG-Axes

Overview

The ECE Curriculum revolves around requirements in ten different areas. Continue reading >>


Program Details

Students Entering CMU Fall 2013 and later

Frequently Asked Questions

The College of Engineering page provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to scheduling, unit loads, transferring credits, general education requirements, and a lot of other information. It is recommended you start there for a list of FAQs - the questions below are more specifically related to ECE. Click here to be directed to the College of Engineering (CIT) list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: What courses count for the math/science elective requirement?

A: The Math/Science Electives may be satisfied by any course 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, 21-261, 33-106, 33-107, 33-115, 33-124, 36-201, 36-202, 36-203, 36-207, 36-208, 36-209, 36-210, 36-247, 36-309, 36-310. Mathematics courses of particular interest to students in ECE are: 21-228 (Discrete Mathematics), 21-259 (Calculus in Three Dimensions), 21-260 (Differential Equations).
Math/Science/Technical Requirements

Math/Science Requirements

CourseUnits
21120 Differential and Integral Calculus 10
21122 Integration, Differential Equations, Approximations 10
33106 Physics for Engineering Students I 12
33107 Physics for Engineering Students II 12
xxxxx 1 Math/Science Elective 1 9
Math/Science Elective 2 9
36xxx 2 Probability and Statistics 9
Total Units 71

1 The Math/Science Electives may be satisfied by any course in 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, 21-240, 21-257, 21-261, 33-106, 33-107, 33-115, 33-124, 36-201, 36-202, 36-203, 36-207, 36-208, 36-209, 36-210, 36-247, 36-309, 36-310. Mathematics courses of particular interest to students in ECE are: 21-228 (Discrete Mathematics), 21-241 (Matrices and Linear Transformations), 21-259 (Calculus in Three Dimensions), 21-260 (Differential Equations).

2 The probability and statistics requirement may be satisfied by 36-217 or 36-225.

General Technical Requirements

CourseUnits
xx10x Introduction to Engineering Elective (other than ECE) 12
18202 3 Mathematical Foundations of Electrical Engineering 12
21127 4 Concepts of Mathematics 10
15112 Fundamentals of Programming 12
15122 Principles of Imperative Computation 10
Total Units 56

3 Corequisite to 18-220 and 18-290 Electronic Devices and Analog Circuits.

4 Corequisite to 18-240, Structure and Design of Digital Systems, and corequisite to 15122, Principles of Imperative Computation.

Core Requirements

ECE students are required to take the following core courses along with their co- or pre-requisites.

CourseUnits
18100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering 12
18200 Emerging Trends in Electrical and Computer Engineering 1
18220 Electronic Devices and Analog Circuits 12
18213 Introduction to Computer Systems 12
18240 Structure and Design of Digital Systems 12
18290 Signals and Systems 12
Area Requirements

The following topics are the five areas of study within the ECE department:

To satisfy the ECE Area Requirements:

  • Two courses (24 units) must be taken from one of the areas
  • One additional course from a second area (12 units)

Total of 36 units in area courses.

Device Sciences and Nanofabrication

Course UnitsSemester(s) OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-300 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics 12 Fall only 18-220
18-310 Fundamentals of Semiconductor Devices 12 Spring only 18-220
18-401 Electromechanics 12 Fall only 18-300
18-402 Applied Electrodynamics 12 Spring only 18-300
18-419 Semiconductor Device Applications - Optoelectronics and Nanoelectronics 12 Fall only, odd years 18-310

Signals and Systems

Course UnitsSemester(s) OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-370 Fundamentals of Control 12 Fall only 18-290
18-372 Fundamentals in Electric Energy Systems 12 Fall or Spring 18-202 & 18-220
18-418 Electric Energy Processing: Fundamentals and Applications 12 Spring only 18-220
18-491 Fundamentals of Signal Processing 12 Spring only 18-290
18-496 Introduction to Biomedical Imaging and Image Analysis 12 Fall only 18-290

Circuits

Course UnitsSemester(s) OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-320 Microelectronic Circuits 12 Fall only 18-220
18-415 From Design to the Market for Deep Submicron ICs 12 Spring only (sporadically offered) 18-320
18-421 Analog Integrated Circuits I 12 Spring only 18-290 & 18-320
18-422 Analysis and Design of Digital Circuits 12 Spring only 18-290 & 18-320

Hardware Systems

Course UnitsSemester(s) OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-340 Digital Computation 12 Spring only 18-240
18-341 Logic Design and Verification 12 Fall only 18-240
18-447 Introduction to Computer Architecture 12 Spring only 18-240 & 18-213 & (18-320 or 18-340 or 18-341 or 18-348 or 18-349)

Software Systems

Course UnitsSemester(s) OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-345 Telecommunications Networks 12 Spring only 36-217 & 18-213
18-348 Embedded System Engineering 12 Spring only 18-213 & 18-240
18-349 Embedded Real-Time Systems 12 Fall only 18-213 & 18-240
18-487 Introduction to Computer and Network Security and Applied Cryptography 12 Fall only 18-213
15-313 Foundations of Software Engineering 12 Fall only 15-214
15-410 Operating Systems Design and Implementation 12 Fall & Spring 18-213
15-411 Compiler Design 12 Fall only 18-213
15-415 Database Applications 12 Spring only 15-210
15-418 Parallel Computer Architecture and Programming 12 Spring only 18-213
15-437 Web Applications Development 12 Fall & Spring 15-214
15-440 Distributed Systems 12 Fall & Spring 18-213
15-441 Computer Networks 12 Fall & Spring 18-213
15-462 Computer Graphics 12 Fall & Spring 18-213 & 18-202
Coverage Requirement

One additional course (12 units) from the ECE curriculum is required as a coverage requirement. Students may use this requirement to further specialize in their main area, or they may use this to explore some of the other areas within the department.

Undergraduate ECE students are encouraged to incorporate undergraduate projects in their program. This engineering experience will enhance both their education and resume in pursuit of further education and professional employment. All undergraduate projects conceived to meet the ECE coverage requirement must be conducted with ECE faculty members. Should you have any questions, please check with your Academic Advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Office located in HH 1116.

Device Sciences and Nanofabrication

Course Units
18-300 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics 12
18-310 Fundamentals of Semiconductor Devices 12
18-401 Electromechanics 12
18-402 Applied Electrodynamics 12
18-419 Semiconductor Device Applications - Optoelectronics and Nanoelectronics 12
18-510 Sensor Systems Design 12
18-610 Fundamentals of Modern CMOS Devices 12
18-614 Microelectromechanical Systems 12
18-615 Micro and Nano Systems Fabrication 12
18-712 Elements of Photonics for Communication Systems 12
18-715 Physics of Applied Magnetism 12
18-817 Applied Physics: Fundamentals of Semiconductors and Nanostructures 12
18-819 Special Topics in Applied Physics - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12

Circuits

Course Units
18-320 Microelectronic Circuits 12
18-421 Analog Integrated Circuits I 12
18-422 Analysis and Design of Digital Circuits 12
18-525 Integrated Circuit Design Project 12
18-622 Advanced Digital Integrated Circuit Design 12
18-623 Analog Integrated Circuit Design 12
18-629 Special Topics in Circuits - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-721 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits Design 12
18-723 RF IC Design and Implementation 12
18-729 Special Topics in Circuits - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-762 Circuit Simulation: Theory and Practice 12
18-764 Technology Foundations and Roadmap for System on Chip and System in Package Products 12
18-769 Design for Manufacturability in Nanometer Era 12

Hardware Systems

Course Units
18-340 Digital Computation 12
18-341 Logic Design and Verification 12
18-345 Introduction to Telecommunication Networks 12
18-447 Introduction to Computer Architecture 12
18-540 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems 12
18-545 Advanced Digital Design Project 12
18-549 Embedded Systems Design 12
18-640 Foundations of Computer Architecture 12
18-646 Low-Power System-on-Chip Architecture 12
18-667 Design of Integrated Embedded Systems 12
18-669 Special Topics In Cad I: Computing and Biology: Theory and Practice 12
18-740 Computer Architecture 12
18-742 Parallel Computer Architecture 12
18-743 Energy Aware Computing 12
18-745 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems 12
18-746 Advanced Storage Systems 12
18-755 Networks in the Real World 12
18-759 Wireless Networks 12
18-760 VLSI CAD: Logic to Layout 12
18-765 Digital Systems Testing and Testable Design 12
18-843 Mobile and Pervasive Computing 12

Software Systems

Course Units
15-210 Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms 12
15-214 Principles of Software Systems Construction 12
15-312 Foundations of Programming Languages 12
15-313 Foundations of Software Engineering 12
15-381 Artificial Intelligence: Representation and Problem Solving 9
15-385 Computer Vision 9
15-410 Operating Systems Design and Implementation 12
15-411 Compiler Design 12
15-412 Operating System Practicum 12
15-415 Database Applications 12
15-437 Web Applications Development 12
15-440 Distributed Systems 12
15-441 Computer Networks 12
15-451 Algorithm Design and Analysis 12
15-453 Formal Languages, Automata, and Computability 9
15-462 Computer Graphics 12
15-712 Advanced Operating Systems and Distributed Systems 12
15-721 Database System Design and Implementation 12
15-744 Computer Networks 12
15-829 Advanced Database Applications 12
18-348 Embedded System Engineering 12
18-349 Embedded Real-Time Systems 12
18-411 Computational Techniques in Engineering 12
18-487 Introduction to Computer and Network Security and Applied Cryptography 12
18-631 Introduction to Information Security 12
18-637A Wireless Network Security 12
18-638 Mobile Security 12
18-641 Java for Smart Phone Development 12
18-642 Introduction to Software Engineering 12
18-644 Mobile Hardware for Software Engineers 12
18-648 Real-Time Embedded Systems 12
18-649 Distributed Embedded Systems 12
18-730 Introduction to Computer Security 12
18-731 Network Security 12
18-732 Secure Software Systems 12
18-734 Foundations of Privacy 12
18-739 Special Topics in Security - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-748 Wireless Sensor Networks 12
18-756 Packet Switching and Computer Networks 12
18-757 Network Management and Control 12
18-759 Wireless Networks 12
18-842 Distributed Systems 12
18-843 Mobile and Pervasive Computing 12
18-845 Internet Services 12
18-848 Special Topics in Embedded Systems - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-849 Dependable Embedded Systems 12
18-859 Special Topics in Communications - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 6
18-879 Special Topics in Systems and Controls - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12

Professional, Policy, and Interdisciplinary Topics

Course Units
18-482 Telecommunications, Technology Policy & Management 12
39-405 Engineering Design 12

Signals and Systems

Course Units
10-601
Introduction to Machine Learning
12
15-780 Graduate Artificial Intelligence 12
15-781 Machine Learning 12
15-883 Computational Models of Neural Systems 12
16-384 Robot Kinematics and Dynamics 12
16-711 Kinematics, Dynamic Systems and Control 12
16-720 Computer Vision 12
16-722 Sensing and Sensors 12
16-811 Mathematical Fundamentals for Robotics 12
16-824 Learning-based Methods in Vision 12
18-370 Fundamentals of Control 12
18-372 Fundamental Electrical Power Systems 12
18-418 Electronic Energy Processing: Fundamentals and Applications 12
18-474 Embedded Control Systems 12
18-491 Fundamentals of Signal Processing 12
18-492 Special Topics in Speech Processing 12
18-496 Introduction to Biomedical Imaging and Image Analysis 12
18-551 Digital Communication and Signal Processing Systems Design 12
18-578 Mechatronic Design 12
18-587 Electrical Energy Conversion, Control, and Management 12
18-618 Smart Grids and Future Electric Energy Systems 12
18-650 Policies of Wireless Systems and the Internet 12
18-690 Introduction to Neuroscience for Engineers 12
18-697 Statistical Discovery and Learning 12
18-698 Neural Signal Processing 12
18-751 Applied Stochastic Processes 12
18-752 Estimation, Detection and Identification 12
18-753 Information Theory and Coding 12
18-754 Error Control Coding 12
18-756 Packet Switching and Computer Networks 12
18-757 Network Management and Control 12
18-758 Wireless Communications 12
18-759 Wireless Networks 12
18-771 Linear Systems 12
18-776 Non Linear Control 12
18-781 Speech Recognition and Understanding 12
18-782PP Machine Learning 12
18-790 Wavelets and Multiresolution Techniques 12
18-791 Methods in Medical Imaging Analysis 12
18-792 Advanced Digital Signal Processing 12
18-794 Pattern Recognition Theory 12
18-795 Bioimage Informatics 12
18-797 Machine Learning for Signal Processing 12
18-798 Image, Video, and Multimedia 12
18-799 Special Topics in Signal Processing - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail Variable
18-859 Special Topics in Communications - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 6
18-875 Engineering and Economics of Electric Energy Systems 12
18-879 Special Topics in Systems and Controls - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-882 Special Topics in Energy Systems - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 12
18-899 Special Topics in Signal Processing - Various topics depending on course section. See course listings for more detail 6

Undergraduate Projects and Special Topics

Visit the undergraduate research page for more information on our undergraduate research program, including instructions on how to submit your proposal online.

Course Units
18-231 Sophomore Projects Variable
18-232 Sophomore Projects Variable
18-331 Junior Projects Variable
18-332 Junior Projects Variable
18-431 Senior Projects Variable
18-432 Senior Projects Variable
39-500 Honors Research Project Variable
Capstone Design Requirement

This requirement provides students with the opportunity for some hands-on experience. Each student must complete at least one of the approved Capstone Design courses. The Capstone Design courses are intended to enhance the student's repertoire of professional problem-solving and engineering design skills in the context of realistic engineering situations. In the Capstone Design courses, students work in teams to formulate the problem, propose an engineering solution or a design in the presence of technical and socioeconomic constraints, and make sound professional judgments among alternative solutions. One course from the following list must be taken (12 units):

Device Sciences and Nanofabrication

Course UnitsSemester OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-510 Sensor Systems Design 12 Spring only
(18320 & 18300) or (18491 & 18300) or (18310 & 18320) or (18491 & 18310) or  (18320 & 18491) or (18300 & 18421) or (18310 & 18421) or (18401 & 18320) or (18320 & 18402) or (18401 & 18421) or (18402 & 18421) or (18401 & 18491) or (18402 & 18491) or (18320 & 18419) or (18419 & 18421) or (18491 & 18419) or (18421 & 18491)
18-513 RF Circuits and Antennas for Wireless Systems 12 Fall only
(18321 & 18300) or (18402)

Circuits

Course Units

Semester Offered

Course Prerequisites

18-525 Integrated Circuit Design Project 12 Fall only 18320 and (18310 or 18340 or 18341 or 18415 or 18450 or 18491)

Hardware Systems

Course UnitsSemester OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-540 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems 12 Spring only (18320 or 18370 or 18491) and (18340 or 18341 or 18348 or 18349)
18-545 Advanced Digital Design Project 12 Fall only
(18341 & 18340) or (18348 & 18340) or (18340 & 18349) or (18447 & 18340) or (18341 & 18348) or (18341 & 18349) or (18341 & 18447) or (18348 & 18341) or (18348 & 18349) or (18348 & 18447) or (18349 & 18447)

Software Systems

Course UnitsSemester OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-549 Embedded Systems Design 12 Spring only
(18491 or 18447 or 15410 or 18370 or 18320) and (18348 or 18349)

Signals and Systems

Course UnitsSemester OfferedCourse Prerequisites
18-551 Digital Communication and Signal Processing Systems Design 12 Spring only 18491 and (18348 or 18349 or 18370 or 18496)
18-578 Mechatronic Design 12 Spring only
(18348 & 18320) or (18348 & 15313) or (18348 & 18370) or (18370 & 18349) or (15313 & 18349) or (18320 & 18349) or (18320 & 18370)
18-587 Electrical Energy Conversion, Control, and Management 12 Fall only
(18491 or 18370 or 18372 or 18418) and (18348 or 18349)
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 56 units of Free Electives must be taken. Up to 9 units of courses taken as Pass/Fail credit, such as ROTC, Physical Education, or StuCo courses, may also be used toward meeting the total units requirement.

Substitutions 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.

Adding Majors or Minors

Combining The ECE Degree With A Major/Minor

ECE students may combine the ECE major with other studies in one of three ways:

  1. Earn two undergraduate degrees (dual degrees);
  2. Pursue an additional major (one degree, two majors), or;
  3. Augment a degree major with a minor

Combinations are possible with virtually all academic departments. Computer science, biomedical engineering, engineering and public policy, business, economics, foreign language, fine arts, and music study, and many others have all been paired successfully with the ECE degree. You can see more information on dual degrees, additional majors, or minors in the undergraduate catalog.

Majors and Minors Available

You can find information on specific programs on their individual websites. Click here to be directed to the list of CMU schools and colleges.

There are a number of additional majors and minors that are available within the College of Engineering exclusively to engineering students. Engineering and Public Policy and Biomedical Engineering are additional majors available exclusively to other engineering majors within CIT. CIT also has a list of minors available only to students within the college as well.

Introduced in 2014, the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) network offers students the opportunity to become immersed in a collaborative community of faculty and peers who share expertise, experience, and passions at the intersection of arts and technology. Students will engage in active “learning by doing” in state-of-the-art maker spaces. The program addresses current and emerging real-world challenges that require disciplinary expertise coupled with multidisciplinary perspectives and collaborative integrative approaches. Students who participate in IDeATe will be able to combine the unique experience of a “deep dive” in their chosen discipline while connecting to the diverse areas of knowledge and skill across the university. A student can choose to enroll in an IDeATe concentration (or minor) either in their sophomore or in their junior year. For more information, please visit the IDeATe website.

Resources for Creating a Course Schedule

There are a number of resources available for you to plan your course schedule. It's recommended that you make at least a tentative course plan well ahead of time, particularly if you are planning on any additional majors or minors, in order to meet your graduation timeline.

Advisors and Mentors

ECE assigns each student staff and faculty members to assist them with course planning, career questions, and general academic advice. While you are encouraged to build staff and faculty relationships throughout the department, college, and university, you also have assignments within ECE to assist you.

Your academic advisor is a full time staff member that is here to assist you with curriculum questions, course questions, study abroad opportunities, or anything else pertaining to your academics. Your ECE academic advisor is assigned to you once you have declared your ECE major and is with you through the duration of your academic career in the department. There are two academic advisors within ECE:

  • Janet Peters, Manager of Undergraduate Advising, advises undergraduate ECE students with last names A-L.
  • Vickie Woodhead, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, advises undergraduate ECE students with last names M-Z.

To make an appointment with any ECE academic advisor, you can click here to schedule an appointment.

Your faculty advisor is an ECE faculty member that is assigned to you for the duration of your sophomore year (in addition to your academic advisor). Your faculty advisor is a person that can help you decide what areas within ECE are related to your interests, help you with choosing courses, and help you plan a course timeline within ECE. You are emailed information about your faculty advisor in the late spring semester of your freshman year after you have declared your ECE major. If you are not sure who your faculty advisor is, please contact your academic advisor (above) for assistance.

Your faculty mentor is an ECE faculty member that is assigned to you is your junior year (in addition to your academic advisor) that you keep for the remainder of your time in ECE. Your faculty mentor is assigned based on your interest areas in ECE. You will receive a survey at the end of your sophomore year that assists us with this matching process. Your faculty mentor is there for your to discuss course selection, ask technical questions, discuss research opportunities or career aspirations, ask questions about graduate school, or discuss community outreach opportunities. You are emailed information about your faculty mentor in the late spring semester of your sophomore year. If you are not sure who your faculty mentor is, please contact your academic advisor (above) for assistance.

Sample Curriculum

You can view a sample four year plan for the ECE degree in the course catalog here. Please note that this catalog reflects the curriculum for students that entered CMU in 2013 or later. 

Academic Audit

The academic audit is a powerful tool to help you stay on track for graduation. You can access your academic audit by clicking on the "Academic Audit Report" link on the HUB website here.