Electrical EngineeringElectrical Engineering involves the development and application of electronic and optical technologies for generating, communicating, and processing information. Our EE curriculum includes courses in electronic circuits, solid-state electronics, electromagnetics, optics, lasers, controls, digital signal processing, communications and networks.

Individual engineers may work in one or more of a large number of functional capacities in support of a total engineering effort. For example, engineers may choose system design and specification, component design, research and development, university teaching and research, consulting, production and quality control, sales, cost analysis, or management.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Survey 2013 reports that the average starting salary for those graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering was $62,300 in 2012, up from $60,500 in 2011.

Students may specialize in any of a number of areas, including:

  • Circuits and Electronics
  • Solid State Engineering
  • Electromagnetics and Photonics
  • Systems including Digital Signal Processing, Communications and Control


The Electrical Engineering (EE) program involves the design and analysis of electronic devices and circuits, photonics, electromagnetics, and analog and digital systems, including control, communication, and information systems. It encompasses several broad areas and a core of fundamental knowledge, as well as many subfields of specialization.

The goal of the EE undergraduate program is to educate electrical engineers in the fundamentals and applications of electrical engineering via a curriculum that allows sufficient flexibility to encompass graduates directly entering the work force and graduates pursuing graduate education. Graduates of the program should have a solid foundation in the theory underlying the field as it’s practiced, and be able to communicate effectively both in oral and written forms. A distinguishing feature of our program is the fact that the EE department at Northwestern is relatively small, which allows small class sizes and close interaction between students and faculty.

Educational Objectives

The broad objectives we expect graduates to obtain from our program are:

  • Career preparation: Graduates will apply their electrical engineering skills to a variety of challenges in industry, academia or in the pursuit of other fields.
  • Professionalism and leadership: Graduates will attain careers in which they become leaders in their chosen fields, work in multi-disciplinary teams, make decisions that are socially responsible, and communicate effectively.
  • Intellectual curiosity: Graduates will continuously learn new concepts, identify new directions, and adapt in response to the needs of a rapidly changing world.

Student Outcomes

To prepare our graduates to achieve these objectives, we intend for students of the electrical engineering program to graduate with the following knowledge and skills:

  • Knowledge of continuous and discrete math
  • Knowledge of core Electrical Engineering topics
  • An ability to use modern engineering techniques for analysis and design
  • An ability to apply knowledge of math, science and engineering to the analysis of Electrical Engineering problems
  • Knowledge of probability and statistics
  • An ability to design and conduct scientific and engineering experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • An ability to design systems which include hardware and/or software components
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve novel Electrical Engineering problems
  • An ability to function in multidisciplinary teams
  • An understanding of ethical and professional responsibility
  • An ability to convey technical material through oral presentation and interaction with an audience
  • An ability to convey technical material through formal written papers and reports
  • A broad education and knowledge of contemporary issues
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning
  • The ability to get a good job or admission to a top graduate school.

The electrical engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Further details of the Electrical Engineering curriculum, the preferred schedule for computer engineering students, prerequisites, study plan, and information about conformance with ABET guidelines can be found in the Undergraduate Study Manual.

The EECS 399 Design Requirement Form is available at the EECS student forms page, as well as in the Undergraduate Study Manual (Section 2.8).