The objective of the undergraduate program in Electrical Engineering at Caltech is to produce graduates who will attain careers and higher education that ultimately lead to leadership roles in academia, industry, and government in areas of rapidly advancing interdisciplinary technology related to telecommunications, solid-state, robotics, information, computer and electrical systems.
The program prepares its students for either graduate study, entrepreneurial careers, or research and development work in government or industrial laboratories. It inspires them to undertake careers and professional practices that provide an opportunity to address the pressing technological needs of society. It accomplishes this by building on the core curriculum to provide a broad and rigorous exposure to the fundamentals (e.g., math, science, and principles of engineering) of electrical engineering. EE's other program objectives are multiple. The program strives to maintain a balance between classroom lectures and laboratory and design experience, and it emphasizes the problem formulation, system-design, and solving skills that are essential to any engineering discipline. The program is also intended to develop in each student self-reliance, creativity, teamwork ability, professional ethics, communication skills, and an appreciation of the importance of contemporary issues and lifelong intellectual growth. For interested students, there are opportunities to conduct research with a faculty member.
Students electing this option normally choose to take the introductory seminar EE 2 as a freshman-year elective. The formal study of electrical engineering begins in the sophomore year with courses such as, circuits and systems, EE 44; Introduction to Digital Logic and Embedded Systems EE/CS 10ab; semiconductor sensors and actuators, EE 40; the theory and laboratory practice of analog circuits, EE 45; and then a course on feedback control systems, EE 113 or CDS 110. The junior year features the fundamentals of signals and systems and digital signal processing, EE 111; random variables and stochastic processes, ACM/EE/IDS 116; electromagnetic engineering, EE 151; and an analog electronics laboratory, EE 90. In the senior year, the student will be asked to demonstrate his or her ability to formulate and carry out a design project through independent research or either a senior thesis, EE 80 abc, or two courses selected from the senior project design laboratory, EE 91 ab, EE/CS 53, and CS/EE/ME 75 c. In addition, the student throughout his/her studies and especially in the senior year, will have a significant opportunity to take elective courses that will allow him/her to explore earlier topics in depth, or to investigate topics that have not been covered previously.
A student whose interests lie in the electrical sciences but who wishes to pursue a broader course of studies than that allowed by the requirements of the electrical engineering option may elect the engineering and applied science option.
Attention is called to the fact that any student who has a grade-point average less than 1.9 at the end of the academic year in the subjects listed under electrical engineering may be refused permission to continue work in this option.