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, https://www.abet.org.

Program Learning Outcomes (Student Outcomes) for the BSEE Degree

Upon completing the BSEE degree, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. an ability to 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.
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

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 below for areas of specialization). The BSEE degree program offers four 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, or
    • Data Science/Systems: 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. Applications include wireless communication systems, digital signal processing, image processing, and networking, or  
    • Neuroengineering: exploits engineering techniques to understand, repair, manipulate, or treat the diseases of human neural systems and networks, or  
    • Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices: encompasses studies of electronic materials, including nanomaterials, semiconductor and optoelectronic devices, lasers and their applications

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

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 the Electrical and Computer Engineering department should take physics (PHYS 101, PHYS 102) and calculus (MATH 101 or MATH 105, MATH 102 or MATH 106) 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 where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's 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
or MATH 105 AP/OTH CREDIT IN CALCULUS I
MATH 102SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS II3
or MATH 106 AP/OTH CREDIT CALCULUS II
MATH 212MULTIVARIABLE CALCULUS3
or MATH 221 HONORS CALCULUS III
Select 1 from the following:3
MATRIX ANALYSIS
HONORS LINEAR ALGEBRA
LINEAR ALGEBRA
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
ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE
PHOTONICS MEASUREMENTS: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE
Design 3
ELEC 494SENIOR DESIGN (2 semesters required, 1st semester)3
ELEC 494SENIOR DESIGN (2 semesters required, 2nd semester)3
Area of Specialization
Select 1 from the following Areas of Specialization (see Areas of Specialization below):18
Computer Engineering
Data Science / Systems
Neuroengineering
Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices
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 the requirements as listed for one of the following areas of specialization as offered by the BSEE degree program.  A total of 6 courses (minimum of 18 credit hours) must be taken from at least two areas of specialization, including a minimum of 3 courses from one area of specialization, 1 course from an area of specialization outside of the student's chosen specialization, and 2 courses from any area of specialization. In addition, ELEC graduate coursework at the 500-level 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

To fulfill the remaining BSEE degree requirements, students pursuing the Computer Engineering area of specialization must complete:

  • a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the Computer Engineering area of specialization
  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from any area of specialization outside Computer Engineering (from Data Science/Systems, Neuroengineering, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from any area of specialization (including Computer Engineering)
Select a minimum of 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
DIGITAL INTEGRATED CIRCUITS
MOBILE AND EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGN AND APPLICATION
COMPUTER SYSTEMS ARCHITECTURE
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER NETWORKS
MOBILE DEVICE APPLICATIONS PROJECT
Select 1 course from any Area of Specialization outside Computer Engineering (from Data Science/Systems, Neuroengineering, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)3
Select 2 courses from any Area of Specialization (including Computer Engineering)6
Total Credit Hours18
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Data Science/Systems

To fulfill the remaining BSEE degree requirements, students pursuing the Data Science/Systems area of specialization must complete:

  • a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the Data Science/Systems area of specialization
  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from any area of specialization outside Data Science/Systems (from Computer Engineering, Neuroengineering, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from any area of specialization (including Data Science/Systems)
Select a minimum of 3 from the following:9
TOOLS AND MODELS FOR DATA SCIENCE
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
LEARNING FROM SENSOR DATA
INTRODUCTION TO MACHINE LEARNING
INTRODUCTION TO ROBOTICS
DESIGN OF MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS
INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL MACHINE LEARNING
Select 1 course from any Area of Specialization outside Data Science/Systems (from Computer Engineering, Neuroengineering, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)3
Select 2 courses from any Area of Specialization (including Data Science/Systems)6
Total Credit Hours18

Area of Specialization: Neuroengineering

To fulfill the remaining BSEE degree requirements, students pursuing the Neuroengineering area of specialization must complete:

  • a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the Neuroengineering area of specialization
  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from any area of specialization outside Neuroengineering (from Computer Engineering, Data Science/Systems, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from any area of specialization (including Neuroengineering)
Select a minimum of 3 from the following:9
INTRODUCTION TO NEUROENGINEERING: MEASURING AND MANIPULATING NEURAL ACTIVITY
FUNDAMENTALS OF NERVE AND MUSCLE ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE
COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE AND NEURAL ENGINEERING
PHYSIOLOGICAL CONTROL SYSTEMS
MACHINE LEARNING AND SIGNAL PROCESSING FOR NEURO ENGINEERING
FUNDAMENTALS OF MEDICAL IMAGING I
FUNDAMENTALS OF MEDICAL IMAGING II
THEORETICAL NEUROSCIENCE: FROM CELLS TO LEARNING SYSTEMS
NEURAL COMPUTATION
Select 1 course from any Area of Specialization outside Neuroengineering (from Computer Engineering, Data Science/Systems, or Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)3
Select 2 courses from any Area of Specialization (including Neuroengineering)6
Total Credit Hours18

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

To fulfill the remaining BSEE degree requirements, students pursuing the Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices area of specialization must complete:

  • a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices area of specialization
  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from any area of specialization outside Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices (from Computer Engineering, Data Science/Systems, or Neuroengineering)
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from any area of specialization (including Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)
Select a minimum of 3 from the following:9
INTRODUCTION TO WAVES AND PHOTONICS
APPLIED ELECTROMAGNETICS
INTERMEDIATE ELECTRODYNAMICS
QUANTUM MECHANICS FOR ENGINEERS
INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM PHYSICS I
NANOMATERIALS FOR ENERGY
PHYSICS OF SENSOR MATERIALS AND NANOSENSOR TECHNOLOGY
SOLID STATE PHYSICS
SOLID STATE PHYSICS
OPTOELECTRONIC DEVICES
COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS
Select 1 course from any Area of Specialization outside Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices (from Computer Engineering, Data Science/Systems, or Neuroengineering)3
Select 2 courses from any Area of Specialization (including Photonics, Electronics, and Nano-devices)6
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: https://www.ece.rice.edu/undergraduate-study/academics/bsee-degree-requirements.

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: https://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. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Electrical and Computer Engineering website: https://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 through the ELEC 491 course and individual independent research with a faculty member through the ELEC 490 course. For information on taking an undergraduate summer research course tuition free, see: https://summer.rice.edu/academics/ugresearch. 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.  For more information, see the ECE Department web page at: https://www.ece.rice.edu/undergraduate-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.  Additional information is on the ECE Department website at: https://www.ece.rice.edu/undergraduate-study/resources/study-abroad 

Additional Information 

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