Undergraduate Academic Guide: Overview

The graduation requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering are summarized in the following subsections. The detailed lists that appear in these sections are subject to periodic revision by the faculty. The ECE Curriculum revolves around requirements in ten different areas:

Total units required to graduate 379
General Education Requirements 75
Mathematics, Science and Computer Programming 111
Freshman Engineering 24
ECE Core 48
ECE Seminar 1
ECE Breadth 24
ECE Depth 12
ECE Coverage 12
ECE Capstone Design 12
Free Electives 60

In addition to the Carnegie Institute of Technology general education and freshman year requirements (141 units), the B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering requires Effective Programming in C and Unix (9 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 (60 units).

The Electrical and Computer Engineering coursework is divided into the categories of Core, Breadth, Depth, 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, 18-243 Introduction to Computer Systems, and 18-290 Signals and Systems), and two math co-requisites. 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 taken starting in the sophomore year. The four 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 Breadth Requirement, at least one Breadth course must be completed from the lists of Breadth courses on the Web for two of the following five principal areas in ECE (24 units):

Major Course Groupings

Applied Physics

Solid State Physics, Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, Magnetics, Optics, etc.

Signals and Systems

Digital Signal Processing, Communication Systems, Control Systems, etc.


Analog and Digital Circuits, Integrated Circuit Design, etc.

Computer Hardware

Logic Design, Computer Architecture, Networks, etc.

Computer Software

Programming, Data Structures, Compilers, Operating Systems, etc.

For the ECE Depth Requirement, one course must be taken that has one of the ECE Breadth courses as a prerequisite. For Coverage any additional ECE course(s) can be taken or approved Computer Science course (see the Computer Software area 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 projects 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.