Electrical and Computer Engineering

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B.S. in Electrical Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Banner

Title:  Department ChairTitle:  Undergraduate Coordinator
Chair:  Dr. George LawName:  Dr. Sharlene Katz
Office:  JD 4509Office:   Jacaranda Hall 3301
Phone:  (818) 677-2190  Phone:   (818) 677-5693
Email:  glaw@csun.edu
Email:  skatz@csun.edu

1. Accreditation

The Electrical Engineering undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

2. Mission Statement

"Our mission is to prepare students for rewarding careers and higher education. Our graduates will be able to solve complex technical problems and address the needs of modern society, and will pursue lifelong learning."

3. The Major

"Nowadays the world is lit by lightning," the playwright Tennessee Williams wrote. But electrical and computer engineers prove him wrong every day. From city lights to satellites, from semiconductors to telephone switching systems to audio equipment, the work depends on electricity and the engineers who design and develop ways to harness its power.

Electrical Engineering majors at Cal State Northridge 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 options: biomedical engineering, communications, digital systems design, control systems, electronics, microwave and antenna engineering, or power systems.

 The Computer Engineering (CompE) program bridges the curriculum gap between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Computer Engineers deal with the hardware and software aspects of computer system design and development. The CompE curriculum contains components of both the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering programs.

Computer Engineering majors receive a broad knowledge in the basic curriculum. Among the many topics are: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electrical circuits, engineering economy, algorithms, programming, and computer organization. Computer Engineering students will take coursework in a number of areas (i.e. computer architecture, digital design) from both the software and hardware points of view, allowing them to get a broader, more complete exposure to the subject. Additionally, these curricula will be unified in the one year senior design project course bringing together the existing Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science programs.

The ECE department has 16 labs associated with its ECE classes. In the labs, students work alongside professors who may be designing medical instrumentation for health care, 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, 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 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, control system for satellite tracking antenna, television tuner, fabrication of hybrid circuit, etc.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science offers an Honors Cooperative Internship Program that allows juniors and seniors to complete their studies while holding down jobs as engineers.

A student chapter of the national professional society, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, meets on campus. Other active organizations include: 

  • Tau Beta Pi (the engineering honors society)
  • Eta Kappa Nu (the electrical engineering honors society)
  • the Society for Women Engineers (SWE)
  • the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE)
  • the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

4. Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes

The electrical engineering program at California State University, Northridge prepares a diverse group of graduates for lifelong careers in the 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:

The electrical engineering program strives to prepare graduates that will:

  1. Have professional careers in electrical engineering or related technical fields, or continue their studies at the graduate level; and
  2. Continue their professional development throughout their careers.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering program at California State University, Northridge will have:

      a. An ability to apply knowledge of math, science, and engineering to the analysis of electrical engineering problems.

      b. An ability to design and conduct scientific and engineering experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.

           Performance Criteria:

           b-1. An ability to design experiments to test hypotheses and to verify designs.

           b-2. An ability to conduct experiments, as demonstrated by efficient use of lab equipment and use of appropriate lab procedures in laboratory courses.

           b-3.An ability to analyze and interpret experimental data, demonstrated by the use of appropriate mathematics, graphics, and/or numerical methods.

      c. An ability to design systems which include hardware and/or software components within realistic constraints such as cost, manufacturability, safety and environmental concerns.

      d. An ability to function in multidisciplinary teams.

      e. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve electrical engineering problems.

      f. An understanding of ethical and professional responsibility.

      g. An ability to communicate effectively through written reports and oral presentations.

           Performance Criteria:

           g-1:  An ability to communicate effectively through written reports, as demonstrated by writing lab reports evaluated at the appropriate level using the department's lab report rubric. 

           g-2:  An ability to communicate effectively through oral presentations, as demonstrated by giving classroom oral presentations evaluated at the appropriate level using the department's oral presentation rubric.

      h. An understanding of the impact of engineering in a social context.

      i. A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning.

      j. A broad education and knowledge of contemporary issues.

      k. An ability to use modern engineering techniques for analysis and design.

5. Careers

The department's practical approach to engineering offers hand's on design experience as well as theoretical knowledge. That's an advantage on the job because graduates actually have experience in constructing projects as well as designing them. Students who enjoy using math and science creatively to solve real-world problems will find rewarding careers as electrical and computer engineers.

Careers in Electrical Engineering:

Graduates in Electrical Engineering design and build communications systems, information processing, entertainment devices, medical diagnosis equipment, robotics control, navigation, and traffic control systems. Graduates can find work in virtually every industry. Among the major employers are electronic manufacturing firms, communications companies, the entertainment industry, public utilities, oil companies, laboratories, transportation companies, and chemical plants. Some graduates pursue professions as patent attorneys, technical writers, consultants, teachers, or technical sales representatives. This program not only prepares students to enter the work force, but also to enter graduate school to pursue an area of specialization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2008 to 2018 the number of jobs for electrical engineers is predicted to increase by 2%. The 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the BLS, U.S. Department of Labor, states that computer hardware engineering held about 74,700 jobs in 2008; this is projected to grow by four percent (77,500) by 2018. According to Employment Development Department (2010), the number of computer hardware engineers in California grew faster than the average growth rate for all occupations and it is expected to further increase by 12.6 percent (2,220 jobs) by 2018.

6. High School Preparation

It must be emphasized that this program is based upon an expectation of adequate high school preparation in science, mathematics, and English. High school courses should include algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, chemistry, or physics (both desirable), and four years of English.

Students who have not had an adequate background of pre-engineering work in high school may be required to take some additional course work in their first year and may not be able to complete an engineering program in eight semesters. Entering beginning engineering students must take or be exempt from the Entry Level Mathematics Test and the Mathematics, Chemistry, and English Placement Tests before registration in basic courses will be permitted.

7. Preregistration Testing Requirements

The campus requires most beginning students to take the Entry Level Mathematics Exam (ELM) and the English Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling in their courses. Refer to the section of this catalog entitled "Appendices-Admission" for further details on these exams. In addition to these general university requirements, students in any of the engineering programs may also need the following exams:

  • Mathematics Placements Test (MPT) is required prior to enrollment in MATH 150A. Students who have passed or are exempt from the ELM should take this exam prior to enrolling in their classes so they may be placed in the appropriate mathematics course. Students with scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC are exempt from the MPT.

  • Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) is required with a score of 40 or higher prior to enrolling in CHEM 101. Students who do not receive this score must receive a grade of C or better in CHEM 100 before taking CHEM 101.

  • Visit the testing center for information regarding the MPT and CPT.

8. Transfer Requirements

All degree programs in engineering accommodate students beginning as freshmen or as transfer students. Transfer students should have completed lower division writing, mathematics, physics, and chemistry courses. Courses that are transferred into the major are reviewed to ensure that they satisfy the same requirements as courses at Northridge. Courses transferred into the engineering major must have been completed with a grade of C or better.

Procedure for Transfer:

  • Transfer of courses are automatically processed and will appear on your Degree progress Report (DPR), if there is an Articulation Agreement between CSUN and the institution where the course was completed.

    For the Articulation Agreement, please refer to the follwoing website:  http://www.assist.org/web-assist/welcome.html

  • If there is no Articulation Agreement, a Course Substitution must be completed by the student and submitted to the Department.

    The following requirements must be met:

    1. Download and complete the Course Substitution Form. See ECE Department Office (JD4509).

    2. The course(s) must already appear on your DPR.

    3. Provide a catalog course description.

    4. Provide a catalog description of any prerequisite(s) required for the course.

9. Special Grade Requirements

No grade lower than a "C" will be accepted for transfer classes from another institution to the Electrical and Computer Engineering major requirements.

No CSUN grade lower than a "C-" will be accepted as satisfactory for courses required for the major.

No grade lower that a "D" will be accepted for General Education courses.

* More stringent prerequisite requirements may apply to some courses.

10. Academic Advisement

For the first two semesters, freshmen are required to seek advisement by the College Student Services and/or the department undergraduate advisor prior to enrolling in any class. Based on the results of their placement tests, they will be placed in the appropriate courses and supplied with all advisement materials.

The undergraduate advisor also advises new transfer students and places them into the proper classes for their first semester. All continuing undergraduate students in good standing are encouraged to seek advisement each semester.

Students who are under Probation or are Disqualified are required to make an appointment with the Department Chair.

11. Requirements for the Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering

The B.S. in Electrical Engineering program requires a minimum of 126 units total, including:

  1. General Education and Title 5 requirements of 27 units,
  2. An Electrical Engineering core of 81,
  3. A minimum of 18 units of approved electives.
  4. Electrical Engineering majors must complete a minimum of 37 semester units of upper-division engineering courses, in residency, including Senior Design Project I and II. 

1)  Lower Division Required Courses  (44 units)

NOTE:  All students must pass the English Placement Test with a score of 151 or above before enrolling in any 200-level engineering courses.

Freshman Year


CHEM 101/L

General Chemistry and Lab


ECE 206/L

Computing in Engineering and Science and Lab



Calculus I



Calculus II


ECE 101/L

Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Lab



Mechanics and Lab


Sophomore Year


CE 240

Engineering Statics


ECE 240/L

Electrical Engineering Fundamentals and Lab


MATH 250

Calculus III


ECE 280 or MATH 280

Applied Differential Equations


MSE 227

Engineering Materials



Electricity and Magnetism and Lab



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 must attempt the Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Examination before enrolling in any 400-level engineering courses.


Junior Year


MSE 304

Engineering Economy


ECE 309 or ME 309

Numerical Methods in Electrical Engineering, or Numerical Analysis of Engineering Systems


ECE 320/L

Theory of Digital Systems and Lab


ECE 340/L

Electronics I and Lab


ECE 350

Linear Systems I


ECE 351

Linear Systems II


ECE 455

Mathematical Models in EE


Select one of the following 3 units courses:


ME 370



ME 375

Heat Transfer I



The senior core consists of a set of courses considered essential for all students who are seeking a career in Electrical Engineering.

Senior Year


ECE 370

Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I


ECE 450

Probabilistic Systems in Electrical Engineering


ECE 480

Fundamentals of Control Systems


ECE 492

Senior Design Project - Electrical I


ECE 493

Senior Design Project - Electrical II


3)  Upper Division Electives  (18 units)

The senior elective packages must contain at least eighteen 400/500-level department courses and labs which 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 one semester of engineering design.

Note: Students can take ECE 370L and/or ECE 480L as part of their senior electives.

All senior electives must be completed with a faculty advisor and approved by Department Chair, or a designee. A number of examples of suggested senior elective packages in the Electrical Engineering degree are available in the department office. Other programs are also possible and may be developed with an advisor.


The total number of units in the major is 99.


4)  General Education  (27 Units)

Electrical Engineering majors have to follow a modified general education program depending upon the year and enrollment status as a college student. Returning and transfer students should consult an advisor before planning their general education programs.

Electrical Engineering students are required to take courses in the following GE sections: Analytical Reading and Expository Writing (3 units), Oral Communication (3 units), Social Sciences (3 units), Arts and Humanities (6 units), Comparative Cultures (6 units), U.S. History and Local Government (6 units). All other GE requirements are met through completion of courses in the major. Nine of the GE units must be at the upper division level and two courses must meet the Information Competency requirement.


Total Units Required for the Degree: 126

12. 4-Year Plan

Freshman Four Year Plan Chart

13. 5-Year Plan

Electrical Engineering Five Year Plan A

Electrical Engineering Five Year Plan Chart B

14. EE Flowchart

15. Major Evaluation Sheet (Senior Electives)

16. Suggested Senior Elective Package

Electrical Engineering Suggested Senior Elective Chart

Electrical Engineering Senior Elective Package Page 2

17. Senior Elective Design Units

Electrical Engineering Senior Elective Design Chart

Electrical Engineering Senior Design Chart B

18. Instructions for Filing a Senior Program

All undergraduate Electrical Engineering students are required to file a senior program and pass the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) before enrolling in any 400 level Electrical Engineering courses.  To file a senior program, all lower division core courses (100 and 200 levels) should be completed.  At the time the senior program is to be filed, students should be taking and planning to complete the 300 level required engineering courses as indicated in the ECE Department plan.

If a student has taken all or some of the lower division core courses at some other school and has transferred them to CSUN, he or she still needs to complete the "Recommendation for Course Substitution or Waiver of Major or Minor Requirements for Bachelor's Degree" form (commonly referred to as the substitution form) that can be obtained from the ECE Department office or on the "students forms" section of the CSUN Admissions and Records website. This needs to be done before filing the senior program.  Exceptional cases should be reviewed by and discussed with your advisor.  If you do not have an advisor, go to the ECE Department Office.

Units/Design Units requirements:

All students receiving the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree must have a minimum of 39 Upper Division Engineering Units taken in residency, a minimum of 18 Engineering Design units taken in residency, and a minimum of 12 ECE Senior Elective Units taken in residency.  Senior Elective courses should be selected with these requirements in mind.


  1. Make an appointment to see the undergraduate advisor by contacting the ECE Department office. At this meeting, the undergraduate advisor will review your DPR with you and make sure you are aware of all remaining course requirements. The undergraduate advisor will recommend a Professor in your field of interest to be your career advisor and complete the senior program with you.

  2. Make an appointment to see your advisor by contacting him or her during their office hours and indicate that you need to plan your senior program.  Allow 1-2 days notice for the advisor so that he or she can obtain your file.

  3. Before meeting with your advisor, review the attached senior electives packages and make a tentative list of ECE senior courses you would like to take.  Do this on a worksheet with total units no less than 18.  Note that 4 out of these 18 units are already included on the senior program form (ECE 440/L or ECE 442/L).  Hence at least 14 more 400/500 level units from the suggested senior elective packages need to be added.

    Also note that the "Packages for Senior Program" attached are only suggested and you can discuss any selection of courses that interest you with your advisor. Undergraduate ECE students are required to take both the lecture and the lab for all elective electrical engineering courses that have labs. (The labs for ECE 470 and ECE 480 are not required but may be taken and included as elective units.) Your TOTAL program must have at least 18 design units. 
    See #17 above for information on Senior Design Units.

  4. Bring the attached forms with your worksheet to the meeting with your advisor. The advisor will forward the forms to the ECE Department office for the Chair's approval (please allow 1 week to process).

  5. After the senior program has been signed by the student, advisor, and ECE Department Chair, the student can request a graduation check.  A graduation check is to be requested from the ECE Department office (JD4509) approximately one year before graduation.

NOTE: Should a student want to change his or her graduate program after the graduation check is completed, the student can do so by completing the following forms:

  • Recommendation for Course Substitution or Waiver of Major or Minor Requirements for Bachelor's Degree form (commonly referred to as the substitution form)
  • Request for Course Substitution Questionnaire

These two forms can be obtained from the ECE Department office. After completion of these forms, they are to be turned in to ECE Department for the Department Chair's approval.

19. Procedure for Graduation Evaluation (Grad Check)

Electrical Engineering Graduation Check Page

20. Faculty Areas of Specialization

Electrical Engineering Faculty Specializations Page

21. Minor in Electrical Engineering

Out of the 21 units, 17 units must be Upper-Division courses. The student may have to complete prerequisite courses such as Math and Physics. Any required non-Electrical Engineering prerequisite courses will not count toward the required 21 units.

This program is not available for student with a major in Computer Engineering.


Lower Division for E.E. Minor


ECE 240/LElectrical Engineering Fundamentals and Lab3/1

Upper Division for E.E. Minor


ECE 340/LElectronics I and Lab3/1
ECE 350Linear Systems I3
ECE 320/LTheory of Digital Systems and Lab3/1

Select an additional two 400/500 level ECE courses. Students will be required to take the corresponding labs for every elective chosen that offers a lab. All senior electives must be approved by a faculty advisor and the Department Chair, or a designee.


Download the Electrical Engineering Minor Form (.doc).