Electrical Engineering Program

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2015-16 UG Electrical Engineering Major Program

  • Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education: Robert Dutton, 333X Allen, rdutton@stanford.edu *
  • Student Services: Amy Duncan, 177 Packard, aduncan@stanford.edu
  • Dept Chair: Abbas El Gamal, abbas@ee.stanford.edu
  • Student Advisor: 110 Packard, undergradta@ee.stanford.edu, 725-3799

The program as described below is an update to the depth area and elective options as listed in the 2015-16 Stanford Bulletin and the printed version of the UGHB. -- October 2015

The mission of the Department of Electrical Engineering is to augment the liberal education expected of all Stanford undergraduates, to impart a basic understanding of electrical engineering built on a foundation of physical science, mathematics, computing, and technology, and to provide majors in the department with knowledge of electrical engineering principles along with the required supporting knowledge of mathematics, science, computing, and engineering fundamentals. The program develops students’ skills in performing and designing experimental projects and communicating their findings to the scientific community effectively. Students in the major are required to select one disciplinary area for specialization. Choices include (I) Hardware and Software Systems, (II) Information Systems and Science, and (III) Physical Technology and Science. The program prepares students for careers in government agencies, the corporate sector, or for future study in graduate or professional schools.

The major in Electrical Engineering builds on foundations in math and physics. It prepares students for a broad set of career opportunities in information systems and physical electronic technology and applied science. Electrical Engineering is where the physical world and the virtual world connect. This is a world created from sensors, computing, communications and information. Innovations in Electrical Engineering have fundamentally transformed all aspects of our lives. Some of these are: electrical power generation and transmission, wired and wireless communications, integrated electronics, digital computers, healthcare technology (MRI, ultrasound, implantable devices), cellular phones, and the internet. All of these technologies and innovations have solid roots in the sciences and engineering that are integral to the study of Electrical Engineering.

The Departmental requirements for a BS degree in Electrical Engineering include a core set of courses required of every major and a set of disciplinary areas from which one sequence must be chosen. Each program of study is also expected to include physics as part of science, and calculus, linear algebra, and ordinary differential equations as part of mathematics. The math requirement also includes a course in basic probability and statistics (minimum 40 units required of math and science combined). Specific math and science requirements for EEs are listed below. Other program requirements detailed below include Technology in Society (one course) and one and one half years of Engineering Topics (minimum 60 units required), which includes Engineering Fundamentals, Core EE courses, Disciplinary Area, and Electives. Each Disciplinary Area requires 4 courses, specifically: 1 WIM/Design course, 1 Required course, and 2 disciplinary area elective courses. To be considered electrical engineering courses, courses must either be listed in the Stanford Bulletin as EE courses or as EE Related courses (courses considered by the Department of EE to be programmatically equivalent to EE courses).The design course is intended to culminate the substantial design experience distributed throughout the curriculum. Students are required to pass a writing-intensive course (WIM) within their major (those who double-major will have to take two WIM courses).

Students are required to have a program planning sheet approved by their advisor and the department prior to the end of the quarter following the quarter they declare their major and at least one year prior to graduation. Programs may be changed at any time (except during the final quarter before graduation) by submitting a new approved program sheet. Program sheets for the general EE requirements and for each of the EE disciplinary areas may be found on the Program Sheets page of this site.

To place the requirements in context, sample programs of study are given which satisfy all requirements for the BS degree in EE on the 4-Year Plans page of this site. Students with advanced placement will have greater freedom in course selection than is shown in the program examples. Those considering studying at one of the foreign centers should consult the Bing Overseas Studies Program office as soon as possible, for this will add constraints in program planning. All students are expected to consult their faculty advisor, are encouraged to consult the Electrical Engineering Student Advisor in Packard 110; phone: (650) 725-3799, email: undergradta@ee.stanford.edu, and may find it useful to consult other students when designing their program.
For updated information, visit the EE website at: http://ee.stanford.edu/

Degree Requirements

Math and Science Requirements:

Minimum 40 units combined; 9 courses

It is a School of Engineering requirement that all courses counting toward the major must be taken for a letter grade if the instructor offers that option. Students with multiple degrees should be aware that math, science, and fundamentals courses can be used to fulfill breadth requirements for more than one degree program, but a depth course can be counted toward only one major or minor program; any course can be double-counted in a secondary major.
Math (minimum 26-27 units, 6 courses)

  • MATH 41, 42 or 10 units AP Calculus; 10 units are required
  • Select one 2-course sequence from CME 100 & 102 or MATH 52 & 53. The MATH courses are more theoretical, while the CME courses are applied and build on programming and use of tools like MATLAB.
  • Select an additional 100-level Math course: EE 102B (if not used in EE disciplinary area) or EE 103 or EE 142 or CME 104 or MATH 113 or CS 103
  • Statistics/Probability: Select one: Choosing a statistics options depends upon your interest and preferences. The EE option has a theoretical perspective; the CS option is more application-oriented): EE 178 OR CS 109. Note: CME 106 or Stats 116 can also fulfill this requirement, but are not preferred.

Science (minimum 12-13 units, 3 courses)

  • Choose one of the following two-course sequences: PHYSICS 41 and 43^, 8 units are required^^  or PHYSICS 61 and 63, 8 units are required^^ 
  • Approved science elective; see Approved Courses page

^The EE introductory class ENGR 40 or 40M may be taken concurrently with PHYSICS 43; PHYSICS 43 is NOT a prerequisite for ENGR 40 or 40M. Many students find the material complimentary in terms of fundamental and applied perspectives on electronics.
^^Score of 4-5 on AP Physics C test for Mechanics and/or Electricity and Magnetism also acceptable

Technology in Society (1 course, minimum 3-5 units)
See the Approved Courses page for courses that fulfill the Technology in Society requirement. To fulfill the requirement, the TiS course must be on the Approved Courses list the year it is taken.

Engineering Topics

-- Minimum 60 units comprised of:

  • Engineering Fundamentals (minimum 13-15 units),
  • Core EE Courses (minimum 16-18 units)
  • Disciplinary Area (minimum 14 units)
  • Electives (minimum 12 units, restrictions apply)

Engineering Fundamentals (3 courses required; minimum 13-15 units)

  • CS 106B or X (same as ENGR 70B or X). Programming Abstractions (or Accelerated version); required, 5 units
  • At least two additional Fundamentals from Approved List; Recommended: ENGR 40 or 40M (recommended before taking EE 101A); taking CS 106A or a second E40-series course not allowed for the Fundamentals elective.

Core EE Courses

  • EE 100. The Electrical Engineering Profession
  • EE 101A. Circuits I
  • EE 102A. Signal Processing and Linear Systems I
  • EE 108. Digital Systems Design
  • Physics of Electrical Engineering: Take one of

--EE 41/40P. Physics in Electrical Engineering^ (not offered 2015-16) or 
--EE 65 Modern Physics for Engineers (preferred) or
--EE 142. Engineering Electromagnetics^^
^Note: EE 41(same as ENGR 40P) can meet the Physics in EE core requirement only if it is not used to fulfill the Engineering Fundamentals requirement.

^^Note: EE 142 cannot be doublecounted. It may be used for only one of Math, Physics of EE, or as an elective.

Disciplinary Area (minimum 14 units, 4 courses: 1 WIM/Design, 1 Required, and 2 disciplinary area electives)

I. Hardware and Software: The evolution of computers continue with ever-growing needs for lower-power, smaller and faster devices. Consumer demands for portability with full-function graphics and high-speed pose daunting challenges. Moreover, “big data” and “cloud computing” pose major hardware challenges. This area in Electrical Engineering offers the opportunity to have the best of both worlds—EE and CS. The courses that can be taken include virtually the complete spectrum of those offered in CS.

  • Required: CS107E (or CS107) prerequisite for EE 180, EE180
  • WIM/Design: EE109 or EE155, EE264, or CS194W
  • Disciplinary area electives: EE107, EE118, EE 213, EE271, EE273, EE282, EE 283B , CS108, CS110, CS140, CS143, CS144, CS145, CS148, CS155, CS223A, CS225A, CS231A, CS241

II. Information Systems and Science: This area embraces a very broad and diverse set of topics with an equally broad set of potential application areas. Image processing, for example, can be applied for environmental monitoring of satellite images as well as in medical diagnostics from MRI, CT or other medical imaging modalities. Power and control systems is having a renaissance, leveraged both by new technologies and broad systems needs, including robotics-based systems.

  • Required: EE102B
  • WIM/Design: EE133, EE168, EE 262 (Design only), EE 264 (Design only - must be taken for 4 units and complete the laboratory project)
  • Disciplinary area electives: EE107, EE118, EE124, EE169, EE261, EE263, EE278, EE279, ENGR105, ENGR205

III. Physical Technology and Science: The fields of electronic systems and supporting device technologies continue to drive ubiquitous abundance of both hardware and software. Physical Technology and Science includes new technologies (including “nano” and electro-mechanical) and sensor-based analog circuits. This area also has a broad technical base in physics, ranging from electro-magnetics to quantum mechanics, with an extremely diverse set of application areas.

  • Required: EE101B
  • WIM/Design: EE133, EE134, EE153, EE155
  • Disciplinary area electives: EE114, EE116, EE118, EE122A, EE136, EE142, EE212, EE213, EE214B, EE216, EE222, EE223, EE228, EE236A, EE236B, EE242, EE247, EE271

WIM (Writing in the Major)/Design
Choose from the following courses: EE109, EE133, EE134, EE152, EE153, EE155, EE168, EE264, CS194W, EE191W (Department approval required; EE191W may satisfy WIM only if taken as a follow-up to an REU, independent study project or as part of an Honors thesis project where a faculty agrees to provide supervision of writing a technical paper and with suitable support from the Writing Center.)

  • The recommended Design courses for each disciplinary area are given within that areas course list; however, this is not a strict requirement. Note: EE262 and EE264 satisfy Design requirement only, not WIM requirement.

Electives (minimum 12 units) Students may select electives from the above disciplinary areas (I, II, III); or from the multidisciplinary elective areas below; or any combination of disciplinary and multidisciplinary areas.

Electives may include up to two additional Engineering Fundamentals, any CS 193 course and any letter-graded EE or EE Related courses (minus any previously noted restrictions). Note: Freshman and Sophomore seminars, EE 191 and CS 106A do not count toward the 60 units. The list of EE related courses, is found in the EE Graduate Handbook, under the table heading “EE Related Courses”. This handbook may be downloaded at http://ee.stanford.edu/gradhandbook.

Bio-EE (Bio-electronics and Bio-imaging):  This area crosses boundaries and disciplines; it is the cross-roads of bio- sciences, medicine and engineering. The need for improved diagnostics and health care delivery systems couldn’t be more important to the economy and society.

  • Courses: EE101B, EE 102B, EE 122B, EE 124, EE 134, EE 168, EE 169, EE 202, EE 225, MED 275B

Green-EE (Energy and Environment): This area represents the confluence of new and emerging technologies for clean energy, systems engineering at several levels (the grid, smart buildings, efficient appliances) and innovations in making smarter electronics. It leverages all three of EE's Disciplinary Areas, as well as bottom-up technology and top-down systems.

  • Courses: EE 101B, EE 116, EE 180, EE 134, EE 151, EE 153, EE 155, EE 168, EE 263, EE 293A, EE 293B, CEE 107A, CEE 155, CEE 176A, CEE 176B, ENGR 105, ENGR 205, MATSCI 156, ME 185

Music-EE (Signal Processing; Transducers): This area offers students the opportunity to combine their creative passion with expanding their technical expertise in signal processing as well as hardware and systems that push the envelope in music and the performing arts; new interfaces and transducers are the forte of EE.

  • Courses: EE 102B, MUSIC 320B, EE 109, EE 122A, EE 264, MUSIC 256A, MUSIC 256B, MUSIC 320A, MUSIC 420A, MUSIC 421A, MUSIC 422, MUSIC 424

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford University invites undergraduates majoring in EE to participate in its REU Summer Program from June to August. The program is designed to give undergraduates an opportunity to work with members of the EE Faculty and their research groups on advanced research topics.

Program Structure
The program is designed to give both an in-depth research experience on a particular topic, as well as a broad hands-on exposure to various areas within EE.
Bi-weekly seminars are offered to cover a wide range of topics. The seminar series lecturers are comprised of EE faculty and guests. Discussions will include topics such as graduate education, internships and career opportunities.

The last week of the summer program will be devoted to writing a final report and creating a poster on the research project. The students will present their projects at a poster fair, to which the EE community will be invited.

Each student receives a summer stipend. Students are required to reside in undergraduate housing with the Summer Research College. A meal plan is also provided.

Application Procedure
For information about our application process, please go to ee.stanford.edu/academics/reu.
1. The application has two steps. You can re-submit both steps at any point up to the deadline. The deadline for students to apply is in early February, with exact date to be announced.
2. If you have any questions about the application, email gradta@stanford.edu
If you have any questions about the logistics of the REU program, email reumentor@ee.stanford.edu.

REU Requirements
Students must declare EE as their undergraduate major. With the exception of co-terms, in order to be eligible students may not be seniors when they apply. In the event the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, preference is given to first time participants. If you have any questions regarding this information, please email reumentor@ee.stanford.edu.


Stanford’s Overseas Studies Program is a great opportunity for students to build their language and cultural skills abroad. Some of the most popular programs with Electrical Engineering students are in China, Japan and Germany. In many cases there are summer job opportunities as well. Each program has different and specific language requirement that may require early and careful planning. For example, the core classes may be offered during quarters that conflict with the study abroad. For more information, see the “Overseas Studies” section of this handbook.


1. Technical Knowledge: Provide a basic knowledge of electrical engineering principles along with the required supporting knowledge of mathematics, science, computing, and engineering fundamentals. The program must include depth in at least one specialty area, currently including Bio-electronics and Bio-imaging; Circuits and Devices; Computer Hardware; Computer Software; Energy and Environment; Music; Photonics, Solid State, and Electromagnetics; and Signal Processing, Communications and Control.
2. Laboratory and Design Skills: Develop the basic skills needed to perform and design experimental projects. Develop the ability to formulate problems and projects and to plan a process for solutions taking advantage of diverse technical knowledge and skills.
3. Communications Skills: Develop the ability to organize and present information, and to write and speak effective English.
4. Preparation for Further Study: Provide sufficient breadth and depth for successful subsequent graduate study, post-graduate study, or lifelong learning programs.
5. Preparation for the Profession: Provide an appreciation for the broad spectrum of issues arising in professional practice, including teamwork, leadership, safety, ethics, service, economics, and professional organizations. Outcomes:
(a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
(b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
(c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
(d) An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
(e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
(f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
(g) An ability to communicate effectively
(h) The broad education necessary to understand he impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
(i) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning
(j) A knowledge of contemporary issues
(k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
(l) Background for admission to engineering or other professional graduate programs

Declaring EE as a Major

1. Declare a major in EE on Axess. Do not choose the Honors option on Axess unless you have submitted an Honors application to the department along with the thesis proposal.
2. Complete a copy of the Major Declaration Form. The "Area of Interest" is particularly important to assist in the choice of a faculty advisor. It can always be changed.
3. Meet with the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education: Please send an email to rdutton@stanford.edu to make an appointment. Make sure to bring your Major Declaration Form, unofficial transcript, and academic file (if available from your previous advisor) to the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to go over the basics of getting a BS in EE, and to assign an EE faculty advisor.
4. After the meeting, bring your Major Declaration Form to the EE Degree Progress Officer in Packard 177, who will approve your major declaration and enter your advisor's name in Axess. We will also add your email to the EE undergraduate email list (also part of the department-wide student email list). These lists are used for announcements about academic requirements, seminars, research opportunities, and other events.

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