To be an electrical and computer engineer, you must have a desire to learn continuously. In high school, you should be in the upper half of the college preparatory program. You should enjoy studying mathematics, physics, and science. Scientific curiosity and the desire to investigate how something works—and to try to improve its operation—are very important. To communicate ideas effectively, an engineer must have a good command of the English language, both in writing and speaking.
With over 600 undergraduate students (and over 300 graduate students), ECE is the College's largest department. It offers a solid education in the fundamentals of ECE, which permits students to be able to follow new innovations in this dynamic field after they graduate. There is also a large variety of optional courses on the diverse specializations of ECE.
To prepare for entry into ECE you should take four years of mathematics in high school, and a year of physics and chemistry. As a freshman at the UW-Madison you will take calculus, physics, and computer science. If you decide to start at another school you should follow an accredited program and then transfer to Madison. Either way, you can apply to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department after you have: 1) a minimum of 24 degree credits, 2) satisfied the College Education Communication Skills Part A requirement, 3) a minimum of 17 credits of calculus, statistics, chemistry, computer science, statics, and physics courses required for an engineering degree (these credits must include Math 222—second-semester calculus), 4) a grade point average of at least 2.50 for all calculus, statistics, chemistry, computer science, statics, and physics courses, and 5) a grade point average of at least 2.00 for all courses not included in requirement 4 above.
On completion of the mathematics and physics prerequisites, you must take 31 credits (of 126 total) of required electrical and computer engineering courses. After that there is a great deal of choice, and you can specialize in areas such as biomedical engineering, communications and signal processing, computer engineering, control systems, electromagnetic fields and wave propagating systems, electric machines and power electronics, electronic design and integrated circuits, electronic devices and microelectronics, photonics, plasmas and controlled fusion, power systems, or some combination of these areas.
The basic ECE curriculum leads to the bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. An option in computer engineering can be satisfied with some restrictions in elective freedom but with no extra courses or credits required. In addition, engineering students have the option for a second major in Letters and Science. A second major in Computer Sciences is a popular choice.
A Technical Communication Certificate Program is offered for students interested in enhancing their communication skills, and a cooperative education program is available to students who wish to spend some semesters in industry. Both are highly regarded by industrial representatives who recruit our graduates.