Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) Degree

The program leading to the BSEE degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Program Learning Outcomes (Student Outcomes) for the BSEE Degree

Upon completing the BSEE degree, students will demonstrate:

  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  4. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  7. An ability to communicate effectively.
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Program Educational Objectives for the BSEE Degree

The Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering's (BSEE) degree program strives to provide a high quality degree that emphasizes fundamental principles, responds to the changing demands and opportunities of technology, challenges the exceptional abilities of Rice students, and prepares these students for roles of leadership in their chosen careers.

In support of this goal, the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering's (BSEE) degree program educational objectives are to produce graduates who:

  1. Practice electrical and computer engineering, and related fields, and/or obtain an advanced degree in electrical and computer engineering, and related fields.
  2. Use mathematical modeling and problem solving skills in electrical and computer engineering and other technical applications.
  3. Analyze, incorporate, and adapt to new technical and scientific developments.
  4. Assume increasing professional responsibility and enhance communication and teamwork abilities.

Requirements for the BSEE Degree 

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BSEE degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 29-31 courses (85 credit hours) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 134 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 13 courses (39 credit hours) taken at the 300-level or above. 
  • The requirements for one Area of Specialization (see list below). The Electrical Engineering major offers five Areas of Specialization described below.

Planning sheets and degree plan forms can be found on the Electrical and Computer Engineering website.

Electrical and Computer Engineering undergraduate degrees are organized around a core of required courses and a selection of elective courses from five areas of specialization:

  • Computer Engineering: provides a broad background in computer systems engineering, including computer architecture, digital hardware engineering, software engineering, and computer systems performance analysis.  
  • Data Science: integrates the foundations, tools and techniques involving data acquisition, data analytics, data storage and computing infrastructure in order to enable meaningful extraction of actionable information from diverse and potentially massive data sources.  
  • Neuroengineering: exploits engineering techniques to understand, repair, manipulate, or treat the diseases of human neural systems and networks.  
  • Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices: encompasses studies of electronic materials, including nanomaterials, semiconductor and optoelectronic devices, lasers and their applications. 
  • Systems -  Control, Communication, and Signal Processing: focuses on wireless communication systems, digital signal processing, image processing, and networking.  

The specialization electives provide the flexibility to create a focus that crosses traditional areas. Ultimately each student’s program must contain a course sequence that provides depth in one area and courses from at least two areas to provide breadth. Because of the number of options, students should consult early with departmental advisors to plan a program that meets their needs.

The BSEE degree is the usual degree taken by those students planning a career in engineering practice. The BSEE requires more hours and greater depth than the BA degree; however, it still provides considerable flexibility and can reduce the time required to become a licensed professional engineer. In the final year, BSEE students undertake a capstone design project. 

Students considering a major offered by Electrical and Computer Engineering should take physics (PHYS 101, PHYS 102) and calculus (MATH 101, MATH 102) in their freshman year, along with CHEM 121 and COMP 140. The first core courses in the department, ELEC 220, ELEC 241 (lecture) with ELEC 240 (lab), and ELEC 261 are usually taken during the sophomore year, along with more math and science. A course can satisfy only one program requirement. Students entering with advanced placement may have more scheduling options and may take some of these core courses in freshman year. Students who place out of required courses without transcript credit must substitute other approved courses in the same area. Students should consult with one of the department's undergraduate advisors in these situations.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Electrical Engineering85
Total Credit Hours Required for the BSEE Degree 134

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Mathematics and Science Courses
CHEM 121
CHEM 123
GENERAL CHEMISTRY I
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY I
4
ELEC 261ELECTRONIC MATERIALS AND QUANTUM DEVICES3
ELEC 303RANDOM SIGNALS IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING SYSTEMS3
MATH 101SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS I3
MATH 102SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS II3
MATH 212MULTIVARIABLE CALCULUS3
or MATH 221 HONORS CALCULUS III
MATH 355LINEAR ALGEBRA3
or CAAM 335 MATRIX ANALYSIS
Select 1 from the following:4
MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
and MECHANICS DISCUSSION
HONORS MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
Select 1 from the following:4
ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
and ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM DISCUSSION
HONORS ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
Approved Electives in Mathematics and Science
Select 1 from the following typically approved courses:3-4
INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY
DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH AND OPTIMIZATION
GENERAL CHEMISTRY II
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY II
ORDINARY DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS AND LINEAR ALGEBRA
HONORS CALCULUS IV
Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Core Courses:
ELEC 220FUNDAMENTALS OF COMPUTER ENGINEERING4
ELEC 241
ELEC 240
FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING I
and FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING I LABORATORY
4
ELEC 242
ELEC 244
FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING II
and FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING II LABORATORY
4
ELEC 301SIGNALS, SYSTEMS, AND LEARNING3
ELEC 305INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL ELECTRONICS3
ELEC 326 / COMP 326DIGITAL LOGIC DESIGN3
Computation Course
COMP 140COMPUTATIONAL THINKING4
or COMP 130 ELEMENTS OF ALGORITHMS AND COMPUTATION
Design Requirements 1
Design Laboratory 23
IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL SYSTEMS (for Computer Engineering, Data Science, or Neuroengineering specializations)
ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE (for Data Science, Neuroengineering or Systems specializations)
PHOTONICS MEASUREMENTS: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE (for Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices specializations)
Design 3
ELEC 494SENIOR DESIGN (first semester)3
ELEC 494SENIOR DESIGN (second semester)3
Areas of Specialization
Select 1 from the following Areas of Specialization (see below for Areas of Specialization requirements):18
Computer Engineering
Data Science
Neuroengineering
Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-Devices
Systems - Communications, Control, Networks, and Signal Processing
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Electrical Engineering85-86
University Graduation Requirements *49
Total Credit Hours134

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete a total of 6 courses (minimum of 18 credit hours) from at least two areas of specialization offered within the BSEE degree program, including at least 3 courses from one area of specialization. Also, ELEC graduate courses in the 500-level series may be used to satisfy specialization area requirements with permission. Consult departmental advisors and the Electrical and Computer Engineering website for the latest information. 

Area of Specialization: Computer Engineering

Select 3 from the following: 19
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SYSTEMS
REASONING ABOUT ALGORITHMS
INTRODUCTION TO DATABASE SYSTEMS
PRINCIPLES OF PARALLEL PROGRAMMING
ANALOG ELECTRONIC CIRCUITS
OPERATING SYSTEMS AND CONCURRENT PROGRAMMING
VLSI SYSTEMS DESIGN
MOBILE AND EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGN AND APPLICATION
COMPUTER SYSTEMS ARCHITECTURE
ADVANCED DIGITAL HARDWARE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND OPTIMIZATION
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER NETWORKS
MOBILE DEVICE APPLICATIONS PROJECT
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER VISION
Select an additional 3 courses from the other areas of specialization.9
Total Credit Hours18
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Data Science

Select 3 from the following:9
TOOLS AND MODELS FOR DATA SCIENCE
INTRODUCTION TO NEUROENGINEERING: MEASURING AND MANIPULATING NEURAL ACTIVITY
MOBILE AND EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGN AND APPLICATION
COMPUTER SYSTEMS ARCHITECTURE
ADVANCED DIGITAL HARDWARE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, AND OPTIMIZATION
DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
MOBILE BIO-BEHAVIORAL SENSING
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER VISION
LEARNING FROM SENSOR DATA
THEORETICAL NEUROSCIENCE: FROM CELLS TO LEARNING SYSTEMS
NEURAL COMPUTATION
INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL MACHINE LEARNING
Select an additional 3 courses from the other areas of specialization.9
Total Credit Hours18

Area of Specialization: Neuroengineering

Select 3 from the following:9
ANALOG ELECTRONIC CIRCUITS
INTRODUCTION TO NEUROENGINEERING: MEASURING AND MANIPULATING NEURAL ACTIVITY
FUNDAMENTALS OF NERVE AND MUSCLE ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE
DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER VISION
COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE AND NEURAL ENGINEERING
PHYSIOLOGICAL CONTROL SYSTEMS
FUNDAMENTALS OF MEDICAL IMAGING I
FUNDAMENTALS OF MEDICAL IMAGING II
THEORETICAL NEUROSCIENCE: FROM CELLS TO LEARNING SYSTEMS
NEURAL COMPUTATION
Select an additional 3 courses from the other areas of specialization.9
Total Credit Hours18

Area of Specialization: Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-Devices

Select 3 from the following:9
INTRODUCTION TO WAVES AND PHOTONICS
APPLIED ELECTROMAGNETICS
INTERMEDIATE ELECTRODYNAMICS
ANALOG ELECTRONIC CIRCUITS
QUANTUM MECHANICS FOR ENGINEERS
INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM PHYSICS I
NANOMATERIALS FOR ENERGY
SOLID STATE PHYSICS
SOLID STATE PHYSICS
OPTOELECTRONIC DEVICES
COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS
Select an additional 3 courses from the other areas of specialization.9
Total Credit Hours18

Area of Specialization: Systems - Communications, Control, Networks, and Signal Processing

Select 3 from the following:9
INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMS
APPLIED ELECTROMAGNETICS
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
MOBILE BIO-BEHAVIORAL SENSING
ARCHITECTURE FOR WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS
INTRODUCTION TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT MECHATRONICS
FUNDAMENTALS OF CONTROL SYSTEMS
INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
WIRELESS NETWORKING FOR UNDER-RESOURCED URBAN COMMUNITIES
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER VISION
INTRODUCTION TO ROBOTICS
DESIGN OF MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS
Select an additional 3 courses from the other areas of specialization.9
Total Credit Hours18

Policies for the BSEE Degree 

Advising

Rice University provides multiple avenues for undergraduate advising through the Office of Academic Advising, the Rice Residential College system, and academic departments. Although students may consult with their Divisional Advisors in their College during the freshman and sophomore years, they are welcome and encouraged to meet with a major advisor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. In particular, ECE students are required to meet with a major advisor in ECE at least during their junior and senior years to discuss their ECE Specialization Area course selection and Design Courses. The ECE Undergraduate Committee currently has seven faculty members who serve as major advisors. More information on sample degree plans and on the process for declaring ECE as a major is available on the ECE web site at: http://www.ece.rice.edu/academics/undergrad/ugadvisors.aspx.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: http://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the BSEE degree should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis. 

For additional information, please see the Electrical and Computer Engineering website: 
http://www.ece.rice.edu/.

Opportunities for the BSEE Degree 

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Independent Research

The ECE Department encourages our undergraduates to pursue research projects with the faculty. The ECE Department has several opportunities including the multi-year, team-oriented Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program and individual independent research with a faculty member through the ELEC 490 course. Also, there are often summer research opportunities through the NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, through individual ECE faculty grants, or through the Smalley-Curl Institute REU Sites program. 

Study Abroad

A semester of study abroad is a valuable experience to enhance an individual's perspective on engineering and technology. The ECE Department encourages students to explore this option particularly for the spring semester of the sophomore or junior year. The ECE Department and the University Study Abroad office coordinate to review programs and courses appropriate for Rice engineering students. 

For additional information, please see the Electrical and Computer Engineering website: 
http://www.ece.rice.edu/.