Electrical Engineering Major Guide for 2012-2013

What is Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering deals with the application of the physical laws governing charged particles.  From miniature integrated circuits that contain millions of microelectronic devices, to high-speed fiber-optic communication systems that span international boundaries, electrical engineering impacts every aspect of modern-day living.  Electrical engineering is unique among the engineering disciplines because of its wide range of applications.  Subject areas within electrical engineering are so diverse that it is not always apparent that here is an underlying connection.  The range of subjects is not only broad but is also expanding.
The program educational objectives of the electrical engineering program include:

  • Will apply the knowledge of the fundamentals of engineering, science and mathematics in the practice of electrical/computer engineering or in advanced professional studies; will identify, formulate and solve electrical/computer engineering problems.
  • Will analyze and design complex devices and systems containing hardware and software components with consideration of economic, ethical, safety, environmental, and social issues; will be able to use modern engineering techniques skills and tools.
  • Will communicate effectively, function on multi-disciplinary teams, and engage in lifelong learning.The university’s engineering programs are fully accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Program.

Career Opportunities in Electrical Engineering

The growth trends for employment of electrical engineering graduates are expected to increase through 2010.  Projected job growth stems largely from increased demand for electrical and electronic goods, including advanced communications equipment, computer communications, biomedical instrumentation, defense-related electronic equipment, and consumer electronics products.  The need for electronics manufacturers to invest heavily in research and development to remain competitive and gain a scientific edge will provide openings for graduates who have learned the latest technologies.  A good resource is the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm

High School Preparation

The College of Engineering has established admissions criteria for incoming freshmen based on several performance criteria, including completion of core academic subjects, GPA scores on these subjects and standardized test (SAT or ACT) scores. A Success Prediction Indicator (SPI) number of 60 and a math ACT of 25 or a math SAT of 620 are minimum standards used for admission to the College of Engineering. The admitted class may also be limited by space available in the College. The SPI is calculated by adding an individual’s ACT mathematics score to 10 times their core high school GPA (based on a 4.0 scale). For information on what constitutes core high school courses, please consult admission website http://admissions.utk.edu/undergraduate/apply/requirements.shtml.

SPI EXAMPLE: A student with a high school core GPA of 3.5 and an ACT mathematics score of 28 would have an SPI of 63 using the formula (3.5 X 10) + 28 = 63. SAT scores are converted to an equivalent ACT score to perform this calculation.

Students who wish to pursue a degree in the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but do not meet the college admission criterion may enroll as University Undecided students and complete appropriate mathematics, science, and other courses before applying again for admission to the College of Engineering.

How to Major in Electrical Engineering

The electrical engineering degree program is administered by the UT Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).  Students applying to the university should specify electrical engineering as their chosen major when completing the admission form.  Students transferring from other departments within UT or from other education institutions should contact the department for more information regarding the appropriate entry level and any additional required courses.

Requirements for Electrical Engineering

The EECS department currently does not have any special requirements for admission to the electrical or computer engineering program, other than the general admission requirements for the university and the college.  College of Engineering students at the sophomore level and above are required to own laptop computers for class work.  For more information, please visit http://www.engr.utk.edu/futurestudents/computers.html.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

All UT freshman engineering students are automatically enrolled in the innovative Engage Engineering Fundamentals Program, designed to help students learn basic engineering concepts and teamwork skills through a series of hands-on projects and activities: www.engr.utk.edu/efd

The College of Engineering’s Office of Professional Practice (EPP) provides income-generating opportunities for engineering students to experience real-world engineering challenges through cooperative education (co-op) and internship programs.  Both programs offer structured learning environments where students develop increasing responsibilities by holding full-time paid positions in a professional environment related to their academic and career goals:  www.coop.utk.edu.

In addition to financial and scholarship programs available to all students, the college also provides special scholarships and support programs to minority students, including:

The College of Engineering also participates in the University Honors Program, which is designed to give academically outstanding students a unique undergraduate experience consisting of special courses, seminars, mentoring and research projects: http://www.utk.edu/honors/.  All majors in the College of Engineering offer Honors concentrations http://www.engr.utk.edu/academics/honors.html

Highlights of Electrical Engineering

The EECS department is currently constructing a new 150,000 square foot facility, projected for completion in 2011, which will provide students and faculty with state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and research facilities.  The department also recently received a $5 million gift, which will be used to match additional donations to generate a $10 million endowment that will fund scholarships, named professorships and fellowships.  Dr. Min Kao, Chairman and CEO of Garmin International Inc. and an alumnus of the UT-ECE program, provided this transformational gift, and both the new building and the department will bear Dr. Kao, name in honor of his generosity. EECS students also have valuable opportunities to participate in student chapters of many engineering professional societies, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) student branch; the electrical and computer engineering honor society Eta Kappa Nu; and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.  These groups afford members the opportunity to gain valuable experience in time management, public speaking and team work.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

In recent years engineering students have studied abroad through the Global Engineering Education Exchange (GE3), participated in short-term programs led by UTK engineering faculty, and completed summer research internships in Germany. For more information about opportunities for majors in the College of Engineering, please see the section of the Engineering Outreach Office website which highlights study abroad programs for engineering students.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Sample Curriculum


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English 101* or 118*, 102* 6
Mathematics 141* or 147*, 142* or 148* 8
Engineering Fundamentals 151 or 157, 152 or 158 8
COSC 102, 160 8
Milestones: Math 130 or higher; EF 151/157 or Physics 135/137 or higher
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Mathematics 231, 241 or 247, 251 or 257 10
Chemistry 120 or 128* 4
Physics 231*, 232* 7
ECE 201, 202, 255, 313 12
Milestones: EF 152/158 or Physics 136/138 or higher; ME 202 or CS 102 or MSE 201 or CBE 201
Junior Year Credit Hours
ECE 315, 325, 335, 341, 395 13
ECE 316, 336, 342 9
Social Sciences Electives* (see footnote 2) 6
Arts and Humanities Elective* (see footnote 2) 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
ECE 400 (OC/WC)* 5
Electrical Engineering Senior Electives (see footnote 3) 12
Technical Electives (see footnote 4) 6
Arts and Humanities Elective* (see footnote 2) 3
Cultures and Civilizations Electives * (see footnote 2) 6
Engineering Fundamentals 402 1
*Meets University General Education Requirement .

2 Can be taken at any time.
3 Acceptable senior electrical and computer engineering sequences are ECE 415 –ECE 416 , ECE 421 –ECE 422 , ECE 431 –ECE 432 , ECE 431 –ECE 433 , ECE 441 –ECE 442 , ECE 443 –ECE 446 , ECE 451 –ECE 453 , ECE 451 –ECE 454 , ECE 451 –ECE 455 , ECE 453 –ECE 454 , ECE 471 –ECE 472 , ECE 481 –ECE 482 .
4 CHEM 130 ; IE 405 ; MSE 201 , MSE 410 ; ME 231 , ME 321 , ME 331 , ME 344 ; NE 342 .


Five-Year BS/MS Program

The department offers a 5 year BS-MS program for qualified students. The primary component of the program is that qualified students may take up to 6 hours of approved graduate courses for their senior undergraduate electives and have them count toward both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tennessee. This program is designed for students attending the University of Tennessee for their Master of Science degree because other universities may not accept these courses for graduate credit since they were used to satisfy requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. Significant components of the program are:

  • Students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.4 to be admitted to the program. Conditional admission may be granted after completing 64 hours of required course work while full admission is granted after completing 96 hours of required course work with a minimum overall GPA of 3.4.
  • Students must at least have conditional admission before taking graduate courses for both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. All courses taken for graduate credit must be approved by the departmental chair of the program. Students admitted to the program must request permission from the Graduate School to take approved courses for graduate credit.
  • Students admitted to the program must also follow the normal procedure for admission to the Graduate School. Admission of students into this program must be approved by the department and the Graduate School. Students will not be eligible for graduate assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate-level students in the Graduate School.

Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering Honors Concentrations

Students who wish to pursue the honors electrical engineering concentration, honors computer engineering concentration, and honors computer science concentration will normally be part of the Chancellor’s Honors Program.

Candidates for the honors electrical engineering concentration and honors computer engineering concentration must complete the first year courses for honors concentration in the engineering majors. Candidates for the honors computer science concentration must meet the first year requirements for the Chancellor’s Honors Program.

In addition to satisfying the requirements described above, candidates for these three honors concentrations must also satisfy the following requirements.

  • Two upper-division honors courses in computer science or electrical and computer engineering via Honors-by-Contract or Honors Independent study, or equivalent. If participating in only the Chancellor’s Honors Program, the Honors-by-Contract paperwork goes to the Chancellor’s Honors Office on campus during the first 10 days of the semester. If participating in Engineering Honors and not Chancellor’s Honors, the Honors-by-Contract paperwork is submitted the first 10 days of the semester to the engineering major department. If participating in both Chancellor’s and Engineering Honors, the Honors-by-Contract paperwork is submitted to both areas.
  • Complete a 3-credit hour senior project course. This can normally be completed as part of the capstone design course, ECE 400  for computer engineering and electrical engineering majors or COSC 400  for computer science majors.


For More Information

Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
414 Ferris Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-2100
Phone: (865)974-3461
Fax: (865)974-5483
Email: info@eecs.utk.edu
Web: www.eecs.utk.edu