The undergraduate design experience within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering follows a continuous and integrated pattern. Students participate in basic design exercises during the freshmen and sophomore 'pre-engineering' courses. This experience is later reinforced by design exercises, which are a component of many core courses and all advanced elective courses, and culminates in the senior design project.
I. Pre-engineering Design Experience
One criticism of the traditional engineering programs has been that students get no exposure to engineering in the first two years of their study. This problem has been rectified within this department by the offering of an introductory course titled Introduction to Engineering Science. This provides a forum to introduce students to engineering and to basic engineering design. Each student is required to complete a series of simple design exercises. Technical Communications is another introductory level course in which students perform some introductory research and present their work as an exercise in oral and written communications.
II. Design Experience in Core Courses
Basic courses such as Circuit Analysis, Engineering Electromagnetics I and II, Electronics I and II, Signals and Systems, Digital Logic Fundamentals, and Microprocessor Systems Design are courses with an inherent design content. Design has, however, been made a complementary part of these courses in two ways: 1) open-ended problems are assigned in addition to regular analysis type exercises; 2) students must complete a design project that is limited in scope. A fraction of the course grade is allocated to the project.
III. Experience in Advanced Courses
Advanced courses such as Microwaves, Antenna Engineering, Optics, Electrical Power Systems and Energy Conversion, Control Theory, Digital Control, Modern Control, Adaptive Control, Multivariable Control, Communication Systems Theory, DSP, Digital Data and Computer Communications, Computer Systems, Embedded Controllers, Solid State Electronics, Digital Integrated Circuits, and VLSI, that students take as elective courses, afford them an opportunity to gain design experience in their area of interest. Design content of these courses is more complex than that of core courses. At this stage of their studies, students have a better insight into engineering and can complete projects that are more substantial. As a requirement for graduation, students must complete at least five Design Projects in five advanced courses. The corresponding five project reports must be submitted to the Department in a Design Folder. Click here to obtain a Course Project Coversheet.
IV. Senior Design Project
A requirement of graduation of this department is the completion and presentation of a Senior Design Project. Two courses, Senior Design I (2 credits) and Senior Design II (4 credits) serve this purpose. The objectives of Senior Design 1 are to select a work team and an appropriate project topic, do a literature search, prepare a work plan and write a preliminary report. Click here for a Senior Design 1 Syllabus. By the end of this course, the boundaries of the project are well defined and some preliminary design is made. In Senior Design 2, the faculty supervisor and the student team meet regularly to discuss the students? progress. Upon completion, each student team submits a senior design report and makes a public presentation of their work at a faculty/student seminar. Senior Design Projects within our department are predominantly teamwork and exhibit a diversity of approaches: hardware-based, software-based, combinations of hardware and software, industrial applications and faculty research support. Some senior design projects have been part of contractual projects between our department and local companies. Others have led to conference presentations and publications. Click here for a Senior Design 2 Syllabus.