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Electrical Engineering

Department Overview

AE100R Paul Allen Center

Electrical engineering is concerned with the understanding and utilization of electricity and with providing society useful, efficient, and economic products and services. It encompasses everything from batteries and power supplies to crystal fabrication, autonomous robots, and devices that can recognize human speech. Electrical engineers design, produce, study, and operate all manner of devices and systems that use electric and electromagnetic energy. They also work on systems at the macro scale of electric power grids and at the micro scale of nanotechnology.

Contemporary society is in the midst of an information revolution, created in large part from the fruits of electrical engineering. Rapid improvements in communication technologies, computer visualization, and information access continue to have a significant impact on manufacturing, medicine, transportation, and environmental monitoring. Dramatic advances in personal communication services, digital imaging, and network hardware and software are changing the texture of everyday life for an increasing portion of the world's population.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
AE 100R Paul Allen Center
(206) 543-2142
undergrad@ee.washington.edu

The Department of Electrical Engineering offers the following program of study

  • The Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree
  • The Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree with an option in nanoscience and molecular engineering

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142; English composition; PHYS 121 (and beyond if possible). Students should start in math courses right away and follow with physics, chemistry, computer programming, etc., as soon as possible. The department publishes a sample four-year plan of study for fulfilling all degree requirements, including those to be taken during the first year, online at www.engr.washington.edu/sites/default/files/curr_students/docs/EE_2011.pdf.

Department Admission Requirements

Because resources are limited, students must apply for admission to the electrical engineering program. Admission to the department is competitive and completion of the requirements does not guarantee admission. Appeal of the departmentís admission decision is possible only if there was an error in the data considered by the admissions committee. Additional information on the program and admission is available through the departmentís website.

Direct Freshman Admission

The Department of Electrical Engineering enrolls up to one-third of its incoming class directly out of high school, prior to completion of University-level prerequisites. Freshman applicants to the UW who list electrical engineering as their intended major are automatically considered. Competitive applicants have taken or are taking calculus and at least one year of laboratory science (preferably physics). Admission is for autumn quarter only.

General Admission

Application for general admission is through the online College of Engineering Departmental Application. Application deadlines are February 1 for spring quarter and July 1 for autumn quarter

  1. Course Requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; PHYS 121, PHYS 122; CHEM 142; 5 credits of English composition.
  2. Grade Requirements: minimum overall 2.50 GPA and minimum 2.50 GPA in courses required for admission.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): Admission to the NME option is by self-selection and normally occurs in winter quarter of the junior year, upon completion of all electrical engineering prerequisites and formal admission to the BS electrical engineering major. Students who have completed NME 220 with a minimum 2.0 grade are eligible. To declare, students schedule an appointment with an EE undergraduate adviser. Students applying for the NME option should indicate that interest on their electrical engineering major application and discuss their interests/background in their application personal statement.

Graduation Requirements

General Education Requirements (81 credits)

  1. Written and Oral Communications: 12 credits, to include one 5-credit English composition course from the University list; HCDE 231; HCDE 333 (or department-approved alternative).
  2. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA), and Individuals & Societies (I&S) (25 credits): Minimum 10 credits required in each area.
  3. Natural World (44 credits):
    1. Mathematics (24 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307 (or AMATH 351), MATH 308 (or AMATH 352), and MATH 324.
    2. Science (20 credits): CHEM 142; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123

Major Requirements (80-81 credits)

  1. Computer Programming (9 credits): CSE 142, CSE 143
  2. Electrical Engineering Core (14 credits): E E 215, E E 233, E E 235
  3. Electrical Engineering Major Concentration Area (24 credits minimum)
  4. Electrical Engineering Electives (up to 20 credits): See adviser for list of acceptable courses. Number of credits of the major concentration and electives should total 44.
  5. Professional Issues: One course. See adviser for list of acceptable courses. Course may also be counted toward Electrical Engineering Core, Electrical Engineering Major Concentration Area, or Electrical Engineering Electives requirement.
  6. Engineering Electives (10 credits): See adviser for list of acceptable courses.
  7. Statistics (3-4 credits): STAT 390/MATH 390 or IND E 315
  8. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.00 GPA in all E E courses with no grade below 2.0 in any of these courses.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option Requirements (80-81 credits)

  1. Computer Programming (9 credits): CSE 142, CSE 143
  2. Electrical Engineering Core (14 credits): E E 215, E E 233, E E 235
  3. Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Courses (6 credits): NME 220, NME 221, NME 421
  4. Electrical Engineering Major Concentration Area (24 credits minimum) See adviser for list of acceptable courses.
  5. Electrical Engineering Electives (up to 20 credits): See adviser for list of acceptable courses. Number of credits of the major concentration and electives should total 44.
  6. Professional Issues: One course. See adviser for list of acceptable courses. Course may also be counted toward Electrical Engineering Core, Electrical Engineering Major Concentration Area, or Electrical Engineering Electives requirement.
  7. Engineering Electives (10 credits): See adviser for list of acceptable courses.
  8. Statistics (3-4 credits): STAT 390/MATH 390 or IND E 315
  9. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.00 GPA in all E E courses with no grade below 2.0 in any of these courses.

Electives (18-19 credits)

  1. Approved Non-Electrical Engineering Electives (10 credits): Selected from courses listed in the departmental handbook.
  2. Free Electives (8-9 credits)

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Graduates with a degree in electrical engineering find employment in industries such as aerospace, communications, computer manufacturing, power distribution, consumer electronics, and biomedical engineering. Positions can be found focusing on the research, design, and testing of new products; in technical sales and marketing; business consulting; and even growing areas such as intellectual property. Students who pursue graduate studies are quite successful in highly competitive national and international programs.

    The BSEE program is accredited by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the department has adopted the following student outcomes:

    1. ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. ability to apply knowledge of probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to the program name and objectives
    3. ability to apply knowledge of mathematics through differential and integral calculus, basic science, and engineering sciences necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware and software components
    4. ability to apply knowledge of advanced mathematics, typically involving differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables, and discrete mathematics
    5. ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
    6. ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
    7. ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
    8. ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    9. understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
    10. ability to communicate effectively
    11. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
    12. recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning
    13. knowledge of contemporary issues
    14. ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The department maintains a number of instructional and research laboratorys to support courses and independent study activities. There are three general-purpose computing laboratorys. Instructional laboratorys include a large instrumentation laboratory supporting numerous electronics courses; individual laboratorys for digital design courses; a power laboratory to support the power/energy systems classes; and laboratorys that support capstone design classes. Students participating in undergraduate research and independent study generally have access to the research laboratorys of their supervising faculty member.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Many electrical engineering students participate every year in internship and co-op (cooperative education) programs. The Engineering Co-op Office is one source for companies recruiting for internship and co-op students. The Center for Career Services also lists a variety of internship opportunities.
  • Department Scholarships: Many scholarships specifically for electrical engineering majors and based on merit and financial need are awarded each year. Students interested in applying for these and other College of Engineering scholarships may obtain information from the Department of Electrical Engineering Scholarship Award Committee Chair.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), UW student chapter organizes social activities, workshops, field trips and other professional development opportunities. Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) is an invitation-only honor society for electrical engineering students. HKN organizes tutoring services, tutorial workshops, social activities, and community services projects.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
AE100R Paul Allen Center, Box 352500
(206) 543-2142
grad@ee.washington.edu

The Department of Electrical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Graduate courses and research programs are offered in biosystems, circuits and network theory, computational intelligence, computer networks and distributed systems, computer architecture, digital systems, software engineering, operating systems, microprocessors, VLSI design, control systems, electromagnetics (including optics and radio science), electronic materials (including devices and micro-electronics), energy systems (including power electronics and electric drives), signal and image processing, telecommunications, and virtual reality. Numerous interdisciplinary research opportunities exist, including projects relating to bioengineering, computer engineering, and marine acoustics. The department does extensive research in coordination with the University of Washington's Applied Physics laboratoryoratory and Washington Technology Center.

The MSEE degree may be earned in three ways, each of which requires the accumulation of 45 credits. A student may perform research and write a thesis; a student may pursue a one-quarter project as part of his or her studies; or a student may simply accumulate a suitable distribution of 45 credits of coursework. Coursework for each of the options is developed with the advice of faculty advisers as well as through the department advising staff.

For the PhD degree, students must pass the departmental qualifying examination, pass an advanced General Examination, pursue an original research problem, and report the results of that research in a dissertation that must be a contribution to knowledge. At least one year of coursework beyond the MSEE degree is usually desirable.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting Graduate School admission requirements, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is required. Official test scores must be submitted, along with a formal application, a statement of purpose, and a minimum of two reference letters.

Although most applicants have baccalaureate degrees in electrical engineering, applicants with degrees in other branches of engineering, the physical sciences, computer science, or mathematics often are able to pursue graduate study in electrical engineering following some additional preparation. Such applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the department for further information.

For more information on admission qualifications, visit the department's website at www.ee.washington.edu/admissions/graduate/index.html.

Degree Requirements

Master's students have the option of choosing between two different pathways for pursuing their degree:

  1. Thesis option: The thesis option is best for students who wish to pursue an in-depth research experience with intended preparation for pursuing a PhD
  2. Coursework option: A student whose main goal is to work in industry immediately upon graduation may find the coursework option more suitable to his or her needs.

These two options have several related requirements:

  1. Complete a plan of study by second quarter of study
  2. Complete a minimum of 45 credits
  3. Register full time (10 credits) per quarter (less in summer)
  4. Apply no more than 3 credits of E E 500. 1 credit required
  5. Apply no more than 5 credits of E E 599 to the degree
  6. Take 1 credit of E E 592, offered autumn quarter
Thesis Option

45 credits, as follows:

  1. 9-12 credits of E E 700
  2. At least 20 credits in E E courses numbered 500 and above
  3. No more than 12 credits in E E 400-level courses
  4. No more than 9 credits from non-E E courses

The thesis option is an opportunity to pursue an individual problem in depth and in close collaboration with a faculty member. Typical problems involve basic research or application of classroom principles to a professional problem beyond the routine practice of electrical engineering. Students who choose the thesis option must complete a written thesis and oral examination based upon the thesis material before their degree is granted.

Coursework Option

45 credits, as follows:

  1. At least 25 credits in E E courses numbered 500 and above
  2. No more than 12 credits in E E 400-level courses
  3. No more than 9 credits from non-E E courses

The coursework option allows students to pursue the MSEE by taking a prearranged course load specific to each of the seven curriculum areas. A generic coursework option is also available. The curriculum group chair and the Graduate Program Coordinator must approve deviation from these prearranged plans.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting Graduate School admission requirements, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is required. Official test scores must be submitted, along with a formal application, a statement of purpose, and a minimum of two reference letters.

Although most applicants have baccalaureate degrees in electrical engineering, applicants with degrees in other branches of engineering, the physical sciences, computer science, or mathematics often are able to pursue graduate study in electrical engineering following some additional preparation. Such applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the department for further information.

For more information on admission qualifications, visit the department's Website at www.ee.washington.edu/admissions/graduate/index.html.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 90 credits, to include:

The PhD is awarded based on general proficiency and distinctive attainments in electrical engineering, particularly on the demonstrated ability of independent investigation. As evidence of ability, the student must produce a doctoral dissertation embodying original research yielding a new contribution to knowledge and presented with a satisfactory degree of literary skill. The majority of PhD students hold master's degrees within the same field, although students with degrees in the physical sciences and other engineering fields are also admitted. To earn a PhD, students must:

  1. Pass the department qualifying examination
  2. Complete an individualized course of study approved by the student's PhD Supervisory Committee
  3. Pass the University general examination
  4. Prepare and defend a satisfactory dissertation based on original research
  5. Complete at least 90 credits of coursework, independent study, and dissertation (60 of which must be completed at the UW), 18 of which must be graded credits
  6. Maintain a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.00.
  7. Complete 30 credits of dissertation credits (E E 800)

Research Groups

Facilities in the Department of Electrical Engineering include research laboratories for advanced digital systems, advanced power technology, applied electromagnetics, optics, remote sensing, applied signal and image processing, mechatronics and intelligent control, modern sensors, and semiconductor technology

Financial Aid

Research assistantships, teaching assistantships, scholarships, and graduate fellowships are availablele to qualified graduate students in all areas of electrical engineering. Most awards include a monthly stipend plus payment of tuition and fees.