ECE Majors, Minors, Honors

The Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers undergraduate programs leading to the BS in electrical engineering, engineering physics, and computer engineering, and the BA in electrical engineering and society. Each of these programs can be tailored to provide preparation for graduate study or employment in a wide range of fields. The Electrical Engineering (B.S.) program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,    


Students in the Electrical Engineering Program must take lower division courses in Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics (seventy-two units or seventy-six units, depending on selected depth) and follow a very flexible structure in the upper division depth requirements (sixty-four units or sixty-eight units, depending on selected depth), for a total of 140 units of lower division and upper division coursework in any given depth. After the lower-division courses, all students must take upper-division courses that include a combination of breadth courses, depth courses, technical electives, two professional electives, and one design course.


The Engineering Physics Program is conducted in cooperation with the Department of Physics. Its structure is very similar to that of electrical engineering except the depth requirement includes seven courses and there are only five electives.


The Computer Engineering Program is conducted jointly with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. It has a more prescribed structure. The program encompasses the study of hardware design, data storage, computer architecture, assembly languages, and the design of computers for engineering, information retrieval, and scientific research.


The BA—Electrical Engineering and Society Program intends to better prepare engineering students in the areas of social sciences and the humanities, as a response to the globalization of engineering and technology. We recognize that “engineering only” training may not be sufficient when students seek alternate career paths besides engineering upon graduation, such as in the law, finance, and public policy sectors.


For information about the program and about academic advising, students are referred to the section on ECE departmental regulations. In order to complete the programs in a timely fashion, students must plan their courses carefully, starting in their freshman year. Students should have sufficient background in high school mathematics so that they can take freshman calculus in the first quarter.


For graduation, each student must also satisfy general-education requirements determined by the student’s college. The six colleges at UC San Diego require widely different numbers of general-education courses. Students should choose their college carefully, considering the special nature of the college and the breadth of education required. They should realize that some colleges require considerably more courses than others. Students wishing to transfer to another college should see their college adviser.


Graduates of community colleges may enter ECE programs in the junior year. However, transfer students should be particularly mindful of the freshman and sophomore course requirements when planning their programs.


These programs have strong components in laboratory experiments and in the use of computers throughout the curricula. In addition, the department is committed to exposing students to the nature of engineering design. This is accomplished throughout the curricula by use of design-oriented homework problems, by exposure to engineering problems in lectures, by courses that emphasize student-initiated projects in both laboratory and computer courses, and finally by senior design-project courses in which teams of students work to solve an engineering design problem, often brought in from industry.