Program: B.S., Electrical Engineering
“Nowadays the world is lit by lightning,” playwright Tennessee Williams wrote. But electrical and computer engineers prove him wrong every day.
From city lights to satellites, semiconductors, telephone switching systems and audio equipment, their work depends on electricity and the engineers who design and develop ways to harness its power.
Electrical Engineering majors at CSUN receive a solid, broad-based education. Among the many topic areas in the basic curriculum are mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer programming, engineering materials, electrical circuits, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, engineering economy and numerical analysis. At the senior level, students are required to take an approved concentration in one of the Electrical and Computer Engineering areas: Biomedical Engineering, Communications, Digital Systems Design, Control Systems, Electronics, Microwave and Antenna Engineering, or Power Systems.
The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department has 17 labs associated with its ECE classes. In the labs, students work alongside professors who may be designing medical instrumentation for healthcare, designing microcontroller-based applications, developing pager and satellite communications systems, or working on innovations in electrical power systems.
All students in the EE or CompE programs take part in the department’s senior design program, modeled on industry work groups that students will encounter on the job. Like professional engineers, students design and develop a project from conception through manufacture. In the process, they gain valuable experience in working as a team and dealing with personalities, as well as technical areas.
Senior design projects have included national intercollegiate competitions. Students compete in designing a micromouse and training it to run through a 10-square-foot maze. Students also work on interdisciplinary teams to design, build, program and test an unmanned autonomous helicopter. Other projects include developing a sophisticated stereo system, a control system for a satellite tracking antenna, a television tuner, fabrication of a hybrid circuit, software-defined radio, etc.
The Electrical Engineering program is based on an expectation of adequate high school preparation in science, mathematics and English. High school courses should include algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, chemistry or physics (all desirable), and four years of English.
CSUN provides the opportunity for students who have not had a complete background of pre-engineering work in high school to take courses to prepare for the major. These additional courses will not count toward the major and may increase the time to graduate. CSUN provides testing as outlined below to ensure that students start their engineering coursework at an appropriate level.
Placement Exam Requirements
- The Mathematics Placements Test (MPT) is required prior to enrollment in MATH 150A. Students should take this exam before enrolling in their classes so they may be placed in the appropriate mathematics course. Students with scores of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC tests are exempt from the MPT.
- The Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) is required with a score of 40 or higher prior to enrolling in CHEM 101. Students who have had high school chemistry and expect to enroll in CHEM 101 must take this test regardless of their score on the AP Chemistry exam. Students who do not receive this CPT score must receive a grade of “C” or better in CHEM 100 before taking CHEM 101.
Special Grade Requirements
- All students must complete the lower division writing requirement before enrolling in 300-level engineering courses.
- All students must attempt the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam before enrolling in 400-level engineering courses.
- A grade of “C-” or better is required in all courses in the major. A grade of “C” or better is required in all undergraduate transfer courses.
- Senior-level courses cannot be taken unless the student previously completed or is concurrently completing all freshman-, sophomore- and junior-level core requirements.
- A grade of “C” or higher is necessary in MATH 150B to meet the prerequisite requirements for the next-level math courses.
The B.S. in Electrical Engineering program requires a minimum of 126 units total, including General Education of 27 units, an Electrical Engineering core of 81 units and a minimum of 18 units of approved electives. Electrical Engineering majors must complete a minimum of 39 semester units of upper division engineering courses in residency, including Senior Design Project I and II.
Additional information about this program and its facilities, faculty and students can be found on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website.
1. Lower Division Required Courses (44 units)
CHEM 101 General Chemistry (4)
CHEM 101L General Chemistry Lab (1)
ECE 101/L Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Lab (1/1)
ECE 206/L Computing for Electrical Engineering and Lab (2/1)
MATH 150A Calculus I (5)
MATH 150B Calculus II (5)
PHYS 220A Mechanics (3)
PHYS 220AL Mechanics Lab (1)
2. Upper Division Required Courses (37 units)
Note: All students must complete the lower division writing requirement before enrolling in any 300-level engineering courses, and they must attempt the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam before the completion of 75 units or enrolling in any 400-level engineering courses. If students fail to do so, a hold is placed on their subsequent class registration and this may delay their graduation.
ECE 309 Numerical Methods in Electrical Engineering (2)
ECE 320/L Theory of Digital Systems and Lab (3/1)
ECE 340/L Electronics I and Lab (3/1)
ECE 350 Linear Systems I (3)
ECE 351 Linear Systems II (3)
ECE 455 Mathematical Models in Electrical Engineering (3)
MSE 304 Engineering Economy (3)
Select one of the following 3 unit courses:
The senior core consists of a set of courses considered essential for all students seeking a career in electrical engineering.
ECE 370 Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I (3)
ECE 450 Probabilistic Systems in Electrical Engineering (3)
ECE 480 Fundamentals of Control Systems (3)
ECE 492 Senior Design Project—Electrical I (2)
ECE 493 Senior Design Project—Electrical II (1)
3. Upper Division Electives (18 units)
The senior elective packages must contain at least 18 units of 400-/500-level department courses and labs that are well balanced in both design and analysis. One of the electives must be either ECE 440/L (3/1) or ECE 442/L (3/1). Students will be required to take the corresponding labs for every elective chosen that offers a lab. For each lab taken, the corresponding lecture course is a corequisite. The student’s total engineering program should contain at least 18 units of engineering design.
All senior electives must be completed with a faculty advisor and approved by the department chair or designee. A number of examples of suggested senior elective packages in the Electrical Engineering degree are available in the department office. Other programs also are possible and may be developed with an advisor.
4. General Education (48 units)
21 units are satisfied by coursework in the major. Completion of the Electrical Engineering major satisfies A3 Critical Thinking. 6 units of Physical Science may be used to satisfy sections B1-3. MATH 150A satisfies Basic Skills B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning; ECE 340 satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; MSE 304 satisfies 3 units of upper division D1 Social Sciences; and ECE 206/L satisfies E Lifelong Learning.
Total Units in the Major: 99
General Education Units: 27
Total Units Required for the Degree: 126
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Chair: Xiaojun Geng
Jacaranda Hall (JD) 4509
Student Learning Outcomes
The Electrical Engineering program at California State University, Northridge, prepares a diverse group of graduates for lifelong careers in a field that will allow them to make productive contributions to society and to find personal satisfaction in their work. To accomplish this, graduates of the electrical engineering programs will meet the following educational objectives:
- Have professional careers in electrical engineering or related technical fields, or continue their studies at the graduate level.
- Continue their professional development throughout their careers.
Graduates will have an ability to:
- Identify, formulate and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of knowledge of engineering, science and mathematics.
- Apply the engineering design process to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration for public health and safety, and global, cultural, social, environmental, economic and other factors as appropriate to the discipline.
- Develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
- Communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
- Recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and societal contexts.
- Recognize the ongoing need to acquire new knowledge, to choose appropriate learning strategies, and to apply this knowledge.
- Function effectively as a member or leader of a team that establishes goals, plan tasks, meets deadlines, and creates a collaborative and inclusive environment.