Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Option Rep

Azita Emami
azitacaltech.edu

Option Manager

Tanya Owen
tanyacaltech.edu

Please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website for on-line applications, downloadable forms, important dates, and complete information about the undergraduate admissions process.

The objective of the undergraduate program in Electrical Engineering at Caltech is to produce graduates who will attain careers and higher education that ultimately lead to leadership roles in academia, industry, and government in areas of rapidly advancing interdisciplinary technology related to telecommunications, solid-state, robotics, information, computer and electrical systems.

The program prepares its students for either graduate study, entrepreneurial careers, or research and development work in government or industrial laboratories. It inspires them to undertake careers and professional practices that provide an opportunity to address the pressing technological needs of society. It accomplishes this by building on the core curriculum to provide a broad and rigorous exposure to the fundamentals (e.g., math, science, and principles of engineering) of electrical engineering. EE’s other program objectives are multiple. The program strives to maintain a balance between classroom lectures and laboratory and design experience, and it emphasizes the problem formulation, system-design, and solving skills that are essential to any engineering discipline. The program is also intended to develop in each student self-reliance, creativity, teamwork ability, professional ethics, communication skills, and an appreciation of the importance of contemporary issues and lifelong intellectual growth. For interested students, there are opportunities to conduct research with a faculty member.

Students electing this option normally choose to take the introductory seminar EE 2 as a freshman-year elective. The formal study of electrical engineering begins in the sophomore year with courses such as, circuits and systems, EE 44; Introduction to Digital Logic and Embedded Systems EE/CS 10ab; semiconductor sensors and actuators, EE 40; the theory and laboratory practice of analog circuits, EE 45; and then a course on feedback control systems, EE 113 or CDS 110. The junior year features the fundamentals of signals and systems and digital signal processing, EE 111; random variables and stochastic processes, ACM/EE/IDS 116; electromagnetic engineering, EE 151; and an analog electronics laboratory, EE 90. In the senior year, the student will be asked to demonstrate his or her ability to formulate and carry out a design project through independent research or either a senior thesis, EE 80 abc, or two courses selected from the senior project design laboratory, EE 91 ab, EE/CS 53, and CS/EE/ME 75 c. In addition, the student throughout his/her studies and especially in the senior year, will have a significant opportunity to take elective courses that will allow him/her to explore earlier topics in depth, or to investigate topics that have not been covered previously.

Attention is called to the fact that any student who has a grade-point average less than 1.9 at the end of the academic year in the subjects listed under electrical engineering may be refused permission to continue work in this option.

Double Majors

The electrical engineering option allows interested students to declare electrical engineering as one of the majors in a double major pursuit. To enroll in the program, the student should meet and discuss his/her plans with the option representative. In general, approval is contingent on good academic performance by the student and demonstrated ability for handling the heavier course load. For students simultaneously pursuing a degree in a second option, courses taken as required courses for that option can also be counted as EE electives where appropriate. However, courses that count toward the electives requirement in the other option cannot be simultaneously counted toward satisfying the elective requirement in EE. To qualify for an EE degree, the student would need to complete all option requirements.

Option Requirements

  1. Ma 2, Ma 3, Ph 2 abc.
  2. APh 109.
  3. EE 2, E 10, E 11, EE/CS 10ab, EE 40, 44, 45, 90, 111, 151, EE/CS/IDS 160 and ACM/EE/IDS 116.
  4. ACM 95 ab.
  5. EE 113 or CDS 110.
  6. One term of EE 91.
  7. EE 80 abc, or a sequence consisting of CS/EE/IDS 143, CS/EE 144, 145, or a sequence consisting of BE/EE/MedE 189 a, or one course selected from an additional term of EE 91, EE/CS 53, EE/CS 119 c, and CS/EE/ME 75 c (note that CS/EE/ME 75 ab does not satisfy this requirement).
  8. In addition to the above courses, 45 units selected from any EE course numbered over 100, or any cross-listed courses numbered over 100 that include EE in the listing. These units must also include at least one course taken for two quarters (an absequence). Included in these units must be at least one of EE 112, EE/Ma/CS 126a, or EE/Ma/CS/IDS 127.
  9. Passing grades must be earned in a total of 486 units, including courses listed above. Courses used to satisfy requirements 1 through 8 must be taken for grades, unless they are only offered pass/fail.

Typical Course Schedule

Units Per Term
Second Year - Schedule 1 1st 2nd 3rd
Ph 2 abc Sophomore Physics 9 9 9
Ma 2, Ma 3 Sophomore Mathematics 9 9 -
HSS Electives1 9 9 9
EE 40 Introduction to Semiconductors and Sensors - - 9
EE 44 Circuits and Systems 12 - -
EE 45 Electronics Laboratory - 12 -
EE 113 Feedback and Control Systems - - 9
EE/CS 10 ab Introduction to Digital Logic and Embedded Systems - 6 6
Electives 9 - -
48 45 42
Units Per Term
Second Year - Schedule 2 1st 2nd 3rd
Ph 2 abc Sophomore Physics 9 9 9
Ma 2, Ma 3 Sophomore Mathematics 9 9 -
HSS Electives 9 9 9
EE 40 Introduction to Semiconductors and Sensors - - 9
EE 44 Circuits and Systems 12 - -
EE 45 Electronics Laboratory - 12 -
EE 113 Feedback and Control Circuits - - 9
ACM 95 ab Intro. Methods of Applied Math - 12 12
Electives 9 - -
48 51 48
Units Per Term
Third Year - Schedule 1 1st 2nd 3rd
E 10 Technical Seminar Presentations 3 - -
EE 11 Written Technical Communication - 3 -
ACM 95 ab Intro. Methods of Applied Math. - 12 12
HSS Electives1 9 9 9
EE 151 Electromagnetic Engineering - - 9
EE 111 Signals, Systems, and Transforms 9 - -
EE/CS/IDS 160 Fundamentals of Information Transmission and Storage - 9 -
EE 90 Analog Electronics Project Lab - - 9
Electives 9 9 9
39 42 48
Units Per Term
Third Year - Schedule 2 1st 2nd 3rd
E 10 Technical Seminar Presentation 3 - -
E 11 Written Technical Communication - 3 -
EE/CS 10 ab Introduction to Digital Logic and Embedded Systems - 6 6
HSS electives 9 9 9
EE/CS 151 Electromagnetic Engineering - - 9
EE 111 Signals, Systems, and Transforms 9 - -
EE/CS/IDS 160 Fundamentals of Information Transmission and Storage - 9 -
EE 90 Analog Electronics Project Lab - - 9
ACM/EE/IDS 116 Introduction to Probability Models 9 - -
Electives 9 18 9
39 45 42
Units Per Term
Fourth Year (for project) 1st 2nd 3rd
HSS Electives1 9 9 9
EE 91 ab2 Experimental Projects in Electronic Circuits 12 - -
EE Electives 9 9 9
Electives 9 18 18
39 36 36
 
Fourth Year (for thesis) 1st 2nd 3rd
HSS Electives1 9 9 9
EE 91 ab2 Experimental Projects in Electronic Circuits 12 - -
EE 80 Senior Thesis 9 9 9
EE Electives 9 9 9
Electives 3 9 9
42 36 36

1 See Institute requirements for specific rules regarding humanities and social sciences.
2 See option requirements 6 and 7.

Suggested Electives

Suggested elective courses for the second, third, and fourth year for various specializations within electrical engineering are given below. Students interested in other areas of specialization or interdisciplinary areas are encouraged to develop their own elective program in consultation with their faculty adviser.

Bioengineering

Second Year: Bi 9, Bi 10, APh 17 abc.
Third and Fourth Year: Bi/Ch 110, EE/MedE 114, BE 141, EE/BE/MedE 185, CNS/Bi/EE/CS/NB 186, BE/EE/MedE 189 ab.

Communications and Signal Processing

Second Year: Selected from APh 17 abc, APh 23, APh 24, EE/CS 53.
Third and Fourth Year: EE 112, EE/Ma/CS 126 ab, EE/Ma/CS/IDS 127 ab, EE 128 ab, 164, EE/CS/IDS 160, 167, EE/CS 161, EE/APh 131, APh/EE 130, 132, Ma 112 a.

Control

Second Year: APh 17 abc.
Third and Fourth Year: CDS 110, and selections from EE 112, EE 128 ab, EE 164.

Electronic Circuits

Second Year: EE 113, CDS 101, APh/EE 183.
Third and Fourth Year: EE/MedE 114 ab, 124, EE 110abc, 153, EE/CS 119 ab, EE/CS/MedE 125, and selections from EE 112, CS 185 abc, EE/APh 180, EE/CS 119, EE/CS/IDS 160, EE 128 ab.

Microwave and Radio Engineering

Second Year: APh 23, APh 24, APh 17 abc.
Third and Fourth Year: EE 153, EE/Ae 157 ab, EE/MedE 114 ab, EE/APh 131, APh/EE 130, 132, APh/EE 183.

Optoelectronics

Second Year: APh 23, APh 24, APh 17 abc.
Third and Fourth Year: APh/EE 130, 132, APh 105 abc, APh 114 abc, APh/EE 183, APh 190 abc, EE/APh 131, EE 153.

Solid-State Electronics and Devices

Second Year: APh 17 abc.
Third and Fourth Year: APh/EE 183, and selections from APh 105 abc, APh 114 ab, EE 153, EE/BE/MedE 185, EE/MedE 187.

ABET accreditation

The Electrical Engineering program has received ABET accreditation.

ABET is responsible for assuring educational quality. It is a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review designed to determine if certain, defined standards and criteria are being met. Accreditation verifies that an institution or program has met the criteria.

ABET accreditation tells students, their parents, and employers that the program has met minimum standards and it has been judged by professionals to provide an adequate preparation for the engineering graduate. It also establishes standards, procedures, and an environment that will encourage the highest quality for engineering technology and that the graduates are aware of public health and safety considerations.

Many state registration and certification boards consider ABET-accredited programs for state licensure and certification. It is also a consideration for admission to many graduate programs.

ABET's new set of criteria for engineering accreditation is termed EC2000. Under this new approach, schools must demonstrate program outcomes and assessments that include the following for a well educated engineer:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs;
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams;
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
  • an ability to communicate effectively;
  • a broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context;
  • a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues;
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Graduation from an accredited program is an important step to becoming a Registered Professional Engineer.

Academic Year SO JR SR Total
2013-14 30 28 22 80
2012-13 29 25 40 94
2011-12 21 37 35 93
2010-11 34 34 29 97
2009-10 35 30 19 84