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306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075

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Undergraduate Curriculum in Electrical Engineering
Prior to Fall 2006

For Students Entering as Freshmen from Fall 1995 through Spring 2011
and Transfer Students Entering from Fall 1997 through Spring 2008

See Electrical Engineering Curriculum for students entering after Fall 2011


A list of the twenty greatest engineering achievements of the twentieth century compiled by the National Academy of Engineering includes ten achievements primarily related to the field of electrical engineering: electrification, electronics, radio and television, computers, telephone, internet, imaging, household appliances, health technologies, and laser and fiber optics. The remaining achievements in the list - automobile, airplane, water supply and distribution, agricultural mechanization, air conditioning and refrigeration, highways, spacecraft, petroleum/petrochemical technologies, nuclear technologies, and high-performance materials - also require knowledge of electrical engineering to differing degrees. In the twenty-first century the discipline of electrical engineering continues to be one of the primary drivers of change and progress in technology and standards of living around the globe.

Educational Objectives

The Electrical Engineering (EE) curriculum is administered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The Educational Objectives of the department’s programs are based on the mission of the department and the perceived needs of the constituents, and consistent with Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2K) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The mission statement has a preamble followed by declarations of four interconnected commitments: to students, to faculty, to alumni, and to the State of Illinois, with the understanding that the latter two include industry. There are four Program Educational Objectives for the EE program:
  1. Depth. To provide students with understanding of the fundamental knowledge prerequisite for the practice of, or for advanced study in, electrical engineering, including its scientific principles, rigorous analysis, and creative design.
  2. Breadth. To provide students with the broad education, including knowledge of important current issues in engineering with emphasis on electrical engineering, necessary for productive careers in the public or private sectors, or for the pursuit of graduate education.
  3. Professionalism. To develop skills for clear communication and responsible teamwork, and to inculcate professional attitudes and ethics, so that students are prepared for the complex modern work environment and for lifelong learning.
  4. Learning Environment. To provide an environment that enables students to pursue their goals in an innovative program that is rigorous and challenging, open and supportive.


To prepare the student for the Program Educational Objectives to be achieved, a set of Program Outcomes, that is, statements that describe what students are expected to know and are able to do by the time of graduation, have been adopted. These Outcomes, which parallel the ABET EC2K Criterion 3 list of outcomes and the applicable Program Criteria, are:

    1. Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. Ability to design and conduct experiments as well as analyze and interpret data
    3. Ability to design a system to meet desired needs
    4. Ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
    5. Ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    6. Understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
    7. Ability to communicate effectively
    8. Broad education necessary to understand impact of engineering solutions in a global/societal context
    9. Recognition of the need for and ability to engage in lifelong learning
    10. Knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. Ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
    12. Knowledge of probability and statistics, including applications to electrical engineering
    13. Knowledge of mathematics, and basic and engineering sciences, necessary to carry out analysis and design appropriate to electrical engineering
    14. Knowledge of advanced mathematics

The Importance of the First Year ECE Experience

First year students take ECE 110, Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, a four credit hour class combining theory, laboratory measurement, and design. Not only do beginning students get a substantive course in their major, they also gain a better appreciation for the basic science and mathematics courses which are taken during the first two years of study. Students gain first hand experience in the activities of a professional electrical engineer and are better able to make the important decision as to whether they have chosen the major best suited to them.

Intellectual Content of the EE Curriculum

Student involvement in the electrical engineering discipline increases during each year of the program. Most of the core EE courses are taken in the fourth and fifth semesters. During the last three semesters the student chooses electives to define a curriculum to meet specific educational and/or career needs.

The electrical engineering core curriculum focuses on fundamental electrical engineering knowledge: circuits (ECE 110), systems (ECE 210), electromagnetics (ECE 329), solid state electronics (ECE340), computer engineering (ECE 290, ECE 385), computer science (ECE 190 or CS 125), and design (ECE 445). The rich set of ECE elective courses permits students to select from collections of courses from the seven areas of electrical and computer engineering: bioengineering, acoustics, and magnetic resonance engineering; circuits and signal processing; communication and control; computer engineering; electromagnetics, optics, and remote sensing; microelectronics and quantum electronics; power and energy systems.

To avoid a specialization that is too narrow and in preparation for taking courses from the seven areas, the students are required to take three selections from a list of five second-level core courses: Digital Signal Processing (ECE 410); Power Circuits and Electromechanics (ECE 430); Lines, Fields and Waves (ECE 450); Electronic Circuits and Electronic Circuits Laboratory (ECE 442 and ECE 443); and Computer Engineering II or Data Structures and Software Principles (ECE 390 or CS 225).

Methods of Instruction and Design Experience

Instruction is given using a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and project methodologies of the highest quality. The large number of laboratory courses and superb access to advanced computer facilities provide excellent practical experience in the field. Laboratory and design work are emphasized throughout the curriculum beginning with Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE 110). The sophomore year includes design experience in Introduction to Computer Engineering I (ECE 290) and the Digital Systems Laboratory (ECE 385). During the junior and senior years students gain further design experience in elective courses, including at least two laboratory courses, in their chosen subdiscipline. In the Senior Design Laboratory (ECE 445) students learn to combine all phases of an engineering project including design, analysis, construction, teamwork and reporting.

Honors Activity

Students wishing to do honors work are encouraged to apply to the James Scholar Program administered jointly by the College of Engineering and the ECE Department. In consultation with departmental honors advisors, students create and carry out honors activity contracts. They must also participate in the ECE Honors Seminar and are encouraged to participate in the yearly Undergraduate Honors Symposium. The department offers thesis courses and project opportunities for students wishing to graduate with Highest Honors.

Grade Point Average Requirements

A student must have a grade-point average of at least 2.0 (A=4.0) in ECE courses in order to remain in good standing and to graduate.

Junior Eligibility Rule (2.25 Rule)

To qualify for registration for the ECE courses shown in the third year of the curriculum, a student must have completed, with a combined 2.25 grade point average, the mathematics, physics, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering courses shown in the first two years.

Overview of Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requires 128 hours for graduation and is organized as follows:

Required Courses

flowchar-iconRequired courses total 62 hours. See required courses flow chart.

Basic Sciences and Mathematics

These courses stress the scientific principles upon which the engineering discipline is based.

Course Number and Name
MATH 220 - Calculus I
MATH 231 - Calculus II
MATH 242 - Calculus of Several Variables or
MATH 241 - Calculus III
MATH 385 - Intro Differential Equations or
MATH 386 - Intro Differential Equations Plus
PHYS 211 - Univ Physics, Mechanics 
PHYS 212 - Univ Physics, Elec & Mag
PHYS 213 - Univ Physics, Thermal Physics
PHYS 214 - Univ Physics, Quantum Phys
CHEM 102/103 - General Chemistry and Lab

Electrical Engineering Core

These courses stress fundamental electrical engineering concepts and basic laboratory techniques which comprise the common intellectual understanding of all electrical engineering.

ECE 110 - Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE 190 - Introduction to Computing Systems or
CS 125 - Introduction to Computer Science
ECE 210 - Analog Signal Processing
ECE 329 - Fields and Waves I
ECE 385 - Digital Systems Laboratory
ECE 290 - Introduction to Computer Engineering
ECE 340 - Semiconductor Devices

ECE 445 - Senior Design Project Lab (or alternatives)


Probability and Statistics

(3 hours). This course lays the ground work for understanding problems ranging from communications engineering to data analysis in medicine and manufacturing.

ECE 313 - Probabilistic Methods of Signal and System Analysis


Note that ECE 313 above may be replaced by one of:

IE 300 - Analysis of Data
Stat 400 /Introduction to Mathematical Statistics and Probability, I
Math 463


Composition I

This course (Rhet 105) teaches fundamentals of expository writing.

Hours Course Number & Name
4 RHET 105 - Principles of Composition


Engineering & Science Electives

(37 hours)

ECE Electives

(22 hours). These upperclass electives stress the rigorous analysis and design principles practiced in the
subdisciplines of electrical engineering.

  1. ECE Advanced Core Electives The following seven course selections are introductory to five major speciality areas of electrical engineering. Students must take courses representing three of the areas.

    Hours Course Number & Name
    ECE 390 - Computer Engineering II or
    ECE 391 - Computer Systems Engineering or
    CS 225 - Data Structures and Software Principles
    4 ECE 310 - Digital Signal Processing
    3 ECE 330 - Power Circuits and Electromechanics
    ECE 342 - Electronic Circuits and
    ECE 343 - Electronic Circuits Laboratory
    3 ECE 350 - Fields and Waves II

  2. ECE Elective Laboratories

    Every student must take two laboratories. The elective laboratory courses provide the student with essential hands-on experience in techniques and design that are important for the practicing engineer as well as the research scientist. Students choose from a departmentally approved list --- see the list of approved ECE Elective Laboratories. These hours count toward the ECE Elective total.

  3. ECE Subdiscipline Electives

    With these courses a student defines her or his interest area within the field of electrical engineering. Elective choice should be made with care, planning, and flowchar-iconconsultation with an adviser. Consult also the advising materials for all the Subdisciplines both Electrical and Computer Engineering. These courses make up the balance of the 22 ECE elective hours and can be taken from departmentally approved lists including almost all of the 200-400-level ECE courses. See the electrical engineering subdisciplines flowchart for a visual depiction.

Restrictions on ECE Electives

  1. ECE/PHIL 316 (Engineering Ethics) is a Campus and College Gen. Ed. Humanities, and Advanced Composition (Comp II) course. This will not count as an ECE Elective
  2. Specifically required ECE courses (e.g. ECE 329) do not count.
  3. Courses for non-majors (ECE 205, 206, 211, 317) do not count.
  4. Students may use ECE 297 (Individual Study), ECE 397 (Individual Study in ECE Problems), ECE 396 (Honors Project), ECE 496 (Senior Research Project), and ECE 499 (Thesis). However, ECE 297 is restricted to a maximum of 2 hours, and no more than a total of additional 6 hours of individual study, individual problems, individual projects, thesis, and similar courses may count as ECE Electives.

Technical Electives

(15 hours). This elective requirement gives each student freedom to define a technical course of study of considerable breadth or focus. See the Departmentally approved list of technical electives for this curriculum.

A. Total technical elective hours: 15 Hours

B. Basic Science Elective (3 or 4 hours):

One course must be from the Basic Science Elective List
(if a second course is taken it will count as a FreeElective)

Hours Course Title
CHEM 104/105 - General Chemistry with Lab
ASTR 404 - Astrophysics, I


ATMS 402 - Principles of Atmospheric Dynamics
IB 104 - Animal Biology
IB 150 - Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
MCB 150 - Molecular and Cellular Biology
MCB 103/104 - Introduction to Human Pysiology and Lab

C. Engineering Science Electives (3 or 4 hours):
At least one of the courses must be from the Engineering Science Electives:

Hours Course Number & Name
3 BIOE 471 - Biomaterials for Engineers
3 CEE 330 - Environmental Engineering
3 IE 330 - Industrial Quality Control
3 MSE 280 - Introduction to Engineering Materials
4 MSE 401 - Thermodynamics of Materials
3 ME 300 - Thermodynamics
3 NPRE 402 - Nuclear Power Engineering
3 PHYCS 485 - Atomic Physics and Quantum Theory
3 TAM 211 - Engineering Mechanics I: Statics

Including the engineering science hours each student must have:

D. Breadth:

At least 9 hours must be in courses outside of the ECE Department
and must be taken from a list of Technical Electives

E. Engineering Content:

At least 9 hours must be in engineering courses
and must be taken from a list of Technical Electives

Graduation Check Sheet Examples
(Graduation Check Sheet)

Restrictions on EE Technical Electives

  1. No more than 6 hours of individual study, individual problems, individual projects, thesis, and similar courses may count as technical electives and ECE electives regardless of the department in which taken.
  2. You may petition ("Curriculum Modification Request") for acceptance of other technical electives.

Social Sciences and Humanities

(18 hours) The Social Science and Humanities courses, as approved by the College of Engineering, assure that students have exposure in breadth and depth to areas of intellectual activity which are essential to the general education of any college graduate. Humanities, Social Sciences, and General Education Requirements .

Other Electives

(11 hours) These electives give the student the opportunity to explore any intellectual area. This freedom plays a critical role in helping students to define minor concentrations in areas such as bioengineering, technology and management, languages, or research specialties. At least six hours must be taken for a letter grade.

Restrictions on Courses Used for Other Electives
Electives Restrictions
Religious Foundation Courses 4 semester hours maximum.
Military Courses May be used for free electives. Effective Fall, 1999
Kinesiology Three-semester-hour maximum on skill courses. No limit on professional physical education courses.
Remedial Courses Credit in any math course below analytical geometry (Math 011, 012, 014, etc.) or chemistry courses below Chem 102 (Chem 101) cannot be used.
Duplicate Courses No credit will be used for graduation which duplicates credit earned in previous college course work.
Foreign Language Up to two years of high school credit in foreign languages can be duplicated if the student takes a placement test and places below the expected entrance level in that language. Example: Student had 4 years of French in high school. He takes the placement test and places in French 101. The student will receive no credit for completing French 101 or 102. Graduation credit to meet the humanities and/or free elective requirement will be awarded for successful completion of French 103 and 104.

Campus General Education Requirements

Students must select courses which satisfy both the college Social Sciences and Humanities requirement and the campus requirements in Social and Behavioral Sciences and in Humanities and the Arts. Proper choices will assure that these courses also satisfy the campus requirements in the areas of Western and Non-Western Cultures. Many of these courses satisfy the campus Composition II requirement, which assures that the student has the advanced writing skills expected of all college graduates. The campus requirements in Composition I, Natural Sciences and Technology, and Quantitative Reasoning are met by required ECE courses. Humanities, Social Sciences, and General Education Requirements .

Suggested Course Sequence
One way to finish in four years

First Year

Hours First Semester
3 CHEM 102 - General Chemistry I
1 CHEM 103 - General Chemistry I Lab
0 ENG 100 - Engineering Lecture
5 MATH 220* - Calculus I1
4 105 - Principles of Composition  or
ECE 110* - Intro Elec & Comp Engrg2
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities3
16 Total
Hours Second Semester
4 ECE 110* - Intro Elec & Comp Engrg  or
RHET 105 - Principles of Composition
3 MATH 230* - Calculus II4
4 PHYS 211* - Univ Physics, Mechanics
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities
3 Free elective
17 Total

Second Year

Hours First Semester
4 ECE 190* - Intro to Computing Systems  or
CS 125* - Intro to Computer Science
3 MATH 242* - Calculus of Several Variables5
4 PHYS 212* - Univ Physics, Elec & Mag
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities
3 Free elective
17 Total
Hours Second Semester
4 ECE 210* - Anaolg Signal Processing
3 ECE 290* - Computer Engineering I
3 MATH 385* - Intro Differential Equations6
2 PHYS 213* - Univ Physics, Thermal Physics
2 PHYS 214* - Univ Physics, Quantum Physics
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities
17 Total

Third Year

Hours First Semester
3 ECE 329—Fields and Waves I
2 ECE 385—Digital Systems Laboratory
3 ECE 313—Probability with Engrg Applic7
3 ECE elective8
3 Technical elective9
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities
17 Total
Hours Second Semester
3 ECE 340—Semiconductor Devices
3 ECE elective
6 Technical electives
3 Elective in social sciences or humanities
15 Total

Fourth Year

Hours First Semester
4 ECE 445—Senior Design Project Lab
9 ECE Electives
3 Technical Electives
14 Total
Hours Second Semester
7 ECE Electives
3 Technical Electives
5 Free Electives



* 2.25 GPA rule courses

  1. May be replaced by Math 221 Calculus I (4 hours)
  2. RHET 105 may be taken in the first or second semester of the first year as authorized. The alternative is ECE 110.
  3. Each student must satisfy the 18-hour social sciences and humanities requirements of the College of Engineering and the campus general education requirements for social sciences and humanities.
  4. Numbered Math 231 after summer 2006
  5. May be replaced by Math 241 Calculus III (4 hours)
  6. May be replaced by Math 386 Intro Differential Equations Plus (4 hours)
  7. May be replaced by one of the following: IE 300—Analysis of Data or STAT 400/MATH 463— Statistics and Probability I.
  8. Chosen from the departmental list of approved ECE Electives, consisting of 22 hours of course work. Three courses must be chosen from the ECE advanced core electives, two from the list of ECE laboratory electives, and the remaining hours may be chosen from the entire list of ECE electives
  9. Chosen from the departmental list of approved Technical Electives, consisting of 15 hours of coursework. One course must be a Basic Science Elective, another a non-ECE engineering science elective. In addition to the basic science elective, each student must take 9 hours of coursework outside of ECE and at least 9 hours of engineering coursework. (Most often, students take non-ECE engineering coursework, which satisfies both requirements.)

Check the Probation and Drop Rules