This is a first version of the University of Iowa 2018-19 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF version will be published soon after the fall semester begins.

Electrical engineers develop technologies and systems for a wide variety of applications ranging from telecommunications to medical imaging. They play a central role in the design and implementation of any technology that is powered by electricity as well as the generation and distribution of electric power. Topics covered in the electrical engineering curriculum include: design of electronic circuits, communication systems, control systems, and semiconductor devices. Students may opt to specialize in any of these areas as well as others that include electrical power generation and distribution, medical image processing, computer systems, or design of micro- and nano-scale optical and electronic devices.

Graduates of the program will:

  • exhibit leadership and vision in contributing to the technical and policy decisions of industry, government, and research enterprises;
  • demonstrate problem-solving abilities that permit them to contribute in a variety of technical, business, and academic careers;
  • thrive in diverse, global, and multidisciplinary environments;
  • possess the ability to communicate effectively and participate collaboratively in interactions with engineers and other professionals; and
  • participate in lifelong learning activities that enhance their professional and personal development.

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) with a major in electrical engineering requires a minimum of 128 s.h. The major provides technical depth and breadth as well as flexibility and the opportunity for students to customize their programs according to their own goals. Students choose one of several elective focus areas (EFAs) according to the type of job or research they plan to pursue. More than 20 EFAs are available; see "Elective Focus Area Courses" below. Students also have the opportunity to work with their academic advisor to build an EFA plan that adheres to their goals and objectives.

Students complete the B.S.E. core requirements, which include RHET:1030 Rhetoric; ENGR:1100 Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving and ENGR:1300 Introduction to Engineering Computing; and courses in chemistry, engineering mathematics and fundamentals, and physics. They must earn a grade of C-minus or higher in the core requirements MATH:1550 Engineering Mathematics I: Single Variable Calculus and MATH:1560 Engineering Mathematics II: Multivariable Calculus. Students also complete the curriculum designed for their major program, which covers four major stems: mathematics and basic sciences, engineering topics, an elective focus area, and the general education component. For information about the curriculum stems, see Bachelor of Science in Engineering in the Catalog.

The  curriculum is built on a common core of electrical and computer engineering courses taken by all students. Beginning in their sophomore year, students select either the electrical or computer curricular track and begin taking more specialized courses. The electrical track is intended to provide a broad background in electrical engineering concepts and practice that prepares students for graduate study or electrical engineering careers in a wide range of industries and organizations. The computer track provides focus and depth for students preparing for graduate study, or a career in computer hardware or software engineering.

Electrical engineering (EE) students first complete the core curriculum. During their second year, they select an elective focus area (EFA) and choose a track that corresponds with it: the computer track or the electrical track. They begin taking track and EFA courses in their third year.

Students must complete core courses; math, science, and communication courses; required electrical engineering program courses; electrical or computer track courses; one depth elective; one breadth elective; approved elective focus area (EFA) courses; general education component (GEC) courses; and a two-semester capstone design sequence.

The B.S.E. with a major in electrical engineering requires the following course work. 

Core Engineering Courses

All of these:
ENGR:1000Engineering Success for First-Year Students1
ENGR:1100Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving3
ENGR:1300Introduction to Engineering Computing3
ENGR:2110Engineering Fundamentals I: Statics2
ENGR:2120Engineering Fundamentals II: Electrical Circuits3
ENGR:2130Engineering Fundamentals III: Thermodynamics3
ENGR:2730Computers in Engineering3

Math, Science, and Communication Courses

All of these:
CHEM:1110Principles of Chemistry I4
PHYS:1611Introductory Physics I4
PHYS:1612Introductory Physics II4
MATH:1550Engineering Mathematics I: Single Variable Calculus4
MATH:1560Engineering Mathematics II: Multivariable Calculus4
MATH:2550Engineering Mathematics III: Matrix Algebra2
MATH:2560Engineering Mathematics IV: Differential Equations3
MATH:3550Engineering Mathematics V: Vector Calculus3
STAT:2020Probability and Statistics for the Engineering and Physical Sciences3

Required Program Courses

All of these:
ECE:2400Linear Systems I3
ECE:2410Principles of Electronic Instrumentation4
ECE:3000Professional Seminar: Electrical Engineering1
ECE:3320Introduction to Digital Design3
ECE:3410Electronic Circuits4
ECE:3700Electromagnetic Theory3

Track Courses

Electrical Track Courses

Students in the electrical track complete these track courses.

All of these:
ECE:3400Linear Systems II3
ECE:3410Electronic Circuits4
ECE:3500Communication Systems3
ECE:3600Control Systems3
ECE:3720Semiconductor Devices3

Computer Track Courses

Students in the computer track complete these courses plus CS:2230 Computer Science II: Data Structures (which is one of the required technical EFA courses).

All of these:
ECE:3330Introduction to Software Design3
ECE:3350Computer Architecture and Organization3
ECE:3360Embedded Systems3
CS:2210Discrete Structures3

Track Breadth and Depth Electives

Students complete one track breadth elective and one track depth elective.

Students in the computer track must choose their track breadth elective from the list of required electrical track courses above. Students in the electrical track must choose their track breadth elective from the list of required computer track courses. Students in either track may instead use ECE:3540 Communication Networks as their track breadth elective.

The track depth elective must be an advanced course in a subject area within a student's track—normally numbered 4000 or above. For a complete list of depth electives for each track, consult the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website.

Elective Focus Area Courses

Students select an elective focus area (EFA) to personalize their curriculum and to prepare them for certain jobs or research study they intend to seek. More than 20 EFAs are available, such as bioinformatics, business, communication systems, medical imaging, nanotechnology, power systems, and software engineering; see Elective Focus Areas on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website. Students also may also work with their academic advisor to create a customized plan tailored to their goals and objectives.

Students complete six elective focus area courses in addition to their track breadth and track depth courses, which they choose according to guidelines established by the department.

Students who choose their track, EFAs, and general education component  carefully may be able to earn the Certificate in Sustainability, the Certificate in Technological Entrepreneurship, or one of several undergraduate minors offered by the University without taking courses beyond those required for the electrical engineering major. Students selecting the computer track are required to take CS:2230 Computer Science II: Data Structures as one of their technical EFA courses that then satisfies the requirements for a minor in computer science. Students who take one additional advanced math course meet the requirements for a minor in mathematics.

General Education Component

Students are required to take at least 15 s.h. of General Education Component (GEC) courses; see General Education Component on the College of Engineering website.

The requirements are:

  • Engineering Be Creative: complete 3 s.h.

A full list of approved courses can be found on the College of Engineering GEC Options: Be Creative Course List web page.

  • GE CLAS Core: complete 3 s.h.

Students must complete 3 s.h. of course work from one of the approved GE CLAS Core areas below.

Interpretation of Literature
World Languages
Historical Perspectives
International and Global Issues
Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts
Social Sciences
Values and Culture

  • Approved Course Subjects: complete 9 s.h.

See the College of Engineering GEC Options: Approved Course Subjects web page.

Capstone Design Courses

In their senior year, students complete a two-semester capstone design sequence culminating in the development and implementation of a significant, original project. The capstone design experience emphasizes team work, professionalism, open-ended problem solving, and the ability to work within real-world constraints and engineering standards.

Both of these:
ECE:4880Principles of Electrical and Computer Engineering Design3
ECE:4890Senior Electrical and Computer Engineering Design3

Double Major in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science and Engineering

Students may earn a double major in electrical engineering (EE) and computer science and engineering (CSE). They must satisfy all requirements of the electrical track of the EE major and all requirements of the CSE major. The double major may be achieved with as few as six courses.

The following list shows the required courses that are not in common between the EE and CSE majors. In addition to the courses below, students must take one computer science elective, one ECE 5000-level course, and an additional 5000-level course that is cross-listed in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. For more information, contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

ECE:3330Introduction to Software Design (required for CSE, EE elective focus area)3
ECE:3350Computer Architecture and Organization (required for CSE, EE elective focus area)3
ECE:3360Embedded Systems (required for CSE, EE elective focus area)3
ECE:3400Linear Systems II (required for EE, CSE elective focus area elective)3
ECE:3410Electronic Circuits (required for EE, CSE elective focus area)4
ECE:3500Communication Systems (required for EE)3
ECE:3540Communication Networks (required for CSE, EE breadth elective)3
ECE:3600Control Systems (required for EE)3
ECE:3700Electromagnetic Theory (required for EE)3
ECE:3720Semiconductor Devices (required for EE)3
EE depth elective (required for EE)3
CS:1210Computer Science I: Fundamentals (required for CSE, EE substitute for ENGR:1100)4
CS:2210Discrete Structures (required for CSE, EE elective focus area)3
CS:2230Computer Science II: Data Structures (required for CSE)4
CS:3330Algorithms (required for CSE)3
CS:3620Operating Systems (required for CSE)3
CS:3820Programming Language Concepts (required for CSE)3
CS:4330Theory of Computation (CSE systems elective, EE depth elective)3
or CS:4350 Logic in Computer Science
CS elective (required for CSE)3
MATH:3550Engineering Mathematics V: Vector Calculus (required for EE)3

B.S.E./M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The College of Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science in Engineering/Master of Science for electrical engineering undergraduate students who intend to earn a M.S. in electrical and computer engineering. B.S.E./M.S. students may take up to 12 s.h. of graduate-level course work and do thesis-level research while they are still undergraduates. They may count 9 s.h. of graduate course work toward both degrees. Once students complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree, they are granted the B.S.E., and they normally complete the M.S. one year later.

To be admitted to the degree program, students must have completed at least 80 s.h., must have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.25, and must submit a letter of application to the chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. For more information, see Joint B.S./M.S. Degree on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website.

The engineering profession is a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting. Engineering majors hold eight of the top ten spots on the list of top-paid majors for bachelor's degree graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Electrical engineers find employment everywhere smart technology is employed. They consistently rank among the most sought after and highest-paid technology professionals. On average, 93-98 percent of graduates are employed in their field of study or pursuing advanced education within seven months of graduation.

Electrical engineers work in research, design, development, manufacturing, sales, market analysis, consulting, field service, and management. They are employed in computer, semiconductor, software, aerospace, telecommunication, medical, radio, television, and power industries.

Engineering Professional Development (EPD) develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship program, engage in employer outreach, and provide opportunities for students to network with employers, including an engineering career fair and other career-development programming each semester. EPD also offers individual advising and class presentations on résumé and cover letter preparation, job and internship search strategies, interviewing skills, and job offer evaluation.