Program Requirements

Undergraduate Program Requirements: Electrical Engineering

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree must successfully complete 126 credit hours as follows:
  • 44 hours of required electrical engineering courses
  • 34 hours of required math and science courses
  • 27 hours of technical electives
  • 21 hours of humanities and social sciences
Of the 27 credit hours of technical electives, at least 12 credit hours must be taken as electrical engineering (ELEC) courses, which are referred to as “EE Technical Electives.” Each EE undergraduate student must choose one of the 6 options listed in Table 1 for at least 6 of these credit hours of EE technical electives, including at least one of the courses shown in bold. In addition, at least one 3 credit hour course from a different EE option must be taken. The remaining 3 credits may be satisfied by any nonrequired 300 or 400 level electrical engineering course except ELEC 399.

The B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Table 1. Electrical Engineering Options
1. Communications & Signal Processing ELEC 410, 462, 463, 464, 465
2. Electromagnetic Fields and Optics ELEC 408, 467, 468, 480, 486
3. Electronics and Computer Engineering Elec 361, 469, 470, 475
4. Energy and Power Systems Elec 406, 428, 430, 438, 444
5. Materials and Devices Elec 417, 420, 421, 422
6. Bioengineering Elec 452, 460, 498E, 498S

The remaining 15 credit hours of technical electives, referred to as “Other Technical Electives,” may be taken from any 300 or 400 level course offering (with some exceptions) in the Department of Electrical Engineering or in any other engineering department within the College of Engineering at UNL or in the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, or Physics and Astronomy at UNL. In addition, a list of courses at the 100 and 200 levels will also be accepted as technical elective credits.

Up to 6 credit hours of the remaining 15 credit hours of technical electives may be taken as a “Research Option.” The purpose of the Research Option is to provide research experiences and offer opportunities for students to work with a faculty adviser on a specific research topic. A certificate of completion of thesis will be awarded to the students, and outstanding thesis awards will be presented at the end of semester functions.

In place of the Research Option, students may take up to 6 credit hours of the remaining 15 credit hours of technical electives as a “Business Option.” The purpose of the Business Option is to provide courses in management or engineering economy if the students’ interests suggest that these courses would be helpful for their later career goals—for example, in helping them to determine their level of interest in an MBA degree. In order for business courses to count as a Business Option, the courses cannot be taken as Pass/No Pass.

No more than a total of 3 credit hours may be taken in ELEC 399 or similar offerings from other departments.

Design Experience
The senior year includes two design laboratories that must be taken in two consecutive semesters. The first, ELEC 494, is 2 credit hours and is really one-half of the year-long capstone Senior Design sequence. The follow-on course, ELEC 495, is 3 credits. This is the students’ opportunity to work, in depth, on a single challenging project for an extended period of time. With the help of the design team, the students gain experience in breaking a large project down into manageable pieces, scheduling and budgeting activities, and executing a design plan during the course of the two semesters. The students must select a year-long (two semesters) project from a list provided early in the semester of ELEC 494 or the students may define a project of their own in coordination with faculty and industrial advisors. The chosen project must be of sufficient complexity to require knowledge of circuits, electronics, signals, programming, and software, and often involves communications, data acquisition, microprocessors, electric motors and actuators, power, and sensor integration.

Each design team is composed of the faculty/industrial advisor, a technical staff member, and 3-5 students. The design remains in place for the entire two-semester sequence. This is often accomplished by including computer engineering majors on each design team, though in previous years, business students from a senior marketing course have been added to the engineering teams to form larger and more comprehensive project teams.

In order to develop the graduates' ability to engage in life-long learning, the program has established outreach and interaction with the community outside of the university setting that is relevant to electrical engineering and related fields. As a minimum, within their senior design sequence, the students must meet requirements for sharing their knowledge with others (e.g., judging school science projects or presenting their projects to potential future students) for investigating real-world applications of programmatically relevant ideas (e.g., formal or informal tours of plants, facilities, or professional meetings) or some combination of the above as would be required for researching project requirements with outside sponsors. In addition, the very nature of senior design projects exposes students to problems that they do not know how to solve when they start the sequence. This experience of just-in-time learning forms a model for the subsequent work assignments and promotes the idea that learning does not end when the students leave the university.

Throughout the two-semester sequence of ELEC 494 and 495, the student teams are required to perform basic planning, scheduling, and budgeting. They must use some basic project management tools and incorporate that information into several oral and written reports given during the two courses. The designs must include realistic constraints and engineering standards including most of the following: economic costs, environmental impact, sustainability, manufacturability, ethical considerations, health and safety issues, and potential societal and political ramifications of their product/process design. The degree to which the teams have addressed these issues is incorporated into the overall project assessment (course grade).

At the end of the design sequence (end of ELEC 495), each project is publicly demonstrated. This is done each semester during an open house to which the public and industry representatives are invited to participate. The projects undergo external judging by engineering professionals as part of the event. The technical and communicative ability of each team is considered in the judging.