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Typical College Curriculum to Prepare for Your Career

Engineering Bachelor's Degree Programs

Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Courses                                   %  time

Math                                         14
Physics & Chem.                              13
Intro. Computing                              5
Mechanics & Thermodynamics                    5
Electromagnetic Fields                        2
Logic Circuits & Lab                          3
Computer Architecture & Switching             5
Circuits & Electronics & Labs                13
Energy Conversion                             2
Linear Systems                                2
Oral/Written Communications                   5
Social Science/Humanities                    13
Other electives*                             18

*Electives may include additional technical courses in Semiconductor Device Construction, Advanced Topics in Computer Languages, Computer Architecture, Computer Construction, Communications, Microwaves, etc., depending on the interests and the size of the faculty. Topics in business and arts and sciences may also be included.

Computer Engineering

Courses                                 %  time

Math                                         14
Physics or Chem.                             13
Intro. Computing                              5
Computer Hardware & Microcomputers            7
Software Engineering                          7
Lab & Design Work                             9
Electrical engineering electives              9
Other technical electives                     9
Oral/Written Communications                   5
Social Science/Humanities                    13
Other electives*                              9

Engineering Technology Programs

Bachelor's Degree Program

Courses                                 %  time

Math                                         13
Physics & Labs                                6
Digital Systems & Microcomputers              6
Intro. Programming                            2
Advanced Programming                          3
Circuits & Electronics & Labs                22
Computer Systems & Applications               5
Linear Systems                                2
Communications                                3
Control Systems                               3
Oral/Written Communication                    7
Social Science/Humanities                    12
Technical electives                          16

Associate's Degree Program

Courses                         		        %  time

Math                                       		6-19
Physics & Labs                                		6
Computer Programming                          		2
Digital Electronics & Microprocessors/
   Microcomputers                           		3-6
Circuits, Networks, Electronic Devices    		12-23
Linear Circuits & Systems                  		6-19
Machines, Control Systems, Robotics         		2-7
Drawing/CAD/Fabrication Skills                		2
Oral/Written Communications                   		5
Social Science/Humanities                     		5

Engineering courses require a high degree of analytical skill and the ability to handle abstract models of physical phenomena. In general, the more abstract or theoretical the course, the more condensed is the information, and the more broadly it can be applied when accompanied by fundamental concepts and common sense. Learning the theory of engineering allows you to create designs and to build models of systems. It also allows you to analyze the potential failure of systems that have already been constructed.

An electrical engineering program will usually include more mathematics and science than will technology and technician programs. The program may include electives in electronic design, communications, control and signal processing theory, solid state devices, integrated circuit design, radio wave and optical communications systems, and power generation and distribution. Mathematics courses will typically include calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics.

The basic courses of computer engineering are almost identical to those for electrical and electronics engineering. The differences occur toward the end of the college program where the technical concentration is on computer architecture, switching theory, and computer design. You will probably find more electives in numerical methods, database design, operating systems, artificial intelligence, data communications, and voice communications.

Engineering technology programs emphasize both technical and practical proficiency. They are more likely to specialize in a particular discipline starting with the first year. They also include a laboratory experience with almost every technical course, and they usually include courses in computer-aided drafting (CAD), fabrication, software development, data acquisition, and report writing.

An electronics program may emphasize solid-state circuitry and communications, while an electrical program would offer more instruction in electrical machines, control systems, power systems, robotics, and automated manufacturing. Computer technology programs provide students with a stronger background in computer software and hardware, but still include basic circuits and electronics courses.

If you compare courses in engineering with similar courses in engineering technology, you'll find that engineering technology programs tend to be oriented to contemporary devices and systems and current technology. There is less emphasis on the underlying science and more on the here and now.
Work experience can help make educational activities more meaningful, and it often provides insight into the kind of work you will be doing after graduation. A number of universities offer co-op programs, which involve alternating education and work experience. These programs may take longer than the standard four years to complete, but many employers compensate for this with higher starting salaries. Summer jobs or internships in engineering offer alternatives to practical co-op experience and provide some of the same benefits.

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