A two-semester capstone design experience requires electrical engineering and computer engineering students to conduct their own design projects in a simulated industrial environment. They are encouraged to work on team projects, which are often multidisciplinary. This foundation provides students with a broad base of understanding that allows them to apply their knowledge of scientific and engineering principles to the practical and innovative solutions of existing and future problems. Students are required to develop a high level of written and oral communication skills and to work well as a member of a team. They must develop a social and ethical awareness so they understand their responsibility to protect both the occupational and public health and safety and to implement these factors in their professional activities. Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of professional societies, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Eta Kappa Nu, to enhance their educational and social life while on campus and to gain professional contacts for their careers. Students have opportunities to participate in cooperative education and summer intern programs whereby they elect to seek employment, in order to experience engineering work before they complete their degree requirements. Students gain insight into future opportunities and are often hired by their intern companies after graduation.
Integration of Design Concepts
One of the key elements of the undergraduate electrical and computer engineering education experience is to integrate design throughout the curriculum. Students experience various design concepts in a variety of settings:
- Hands-on laboratory projects (including team projects)
- Effective integration of computer applications
- Senior elective courses
- Senior capstone experience
- Participation in competitive team projects such as the Robotics Team, the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Team, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team,
Lunar Regolith Mining, and the Formula SAE Mini-Indy Team
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering houses well-equipped laboratories designed to give students easy access to experimental support for their theoretical studies. Junior and senior laboratory projects are conducted on an open laboratory basis that allows students to schedule experimental work at their own convenience. Laboratory facilities are open to students and are supervised until 10 pm on most weeknights. Four general-purpose laboratories are fully equipped to provide facilities for experiments in such diverse areas as communication systems, control systems, electromechanics, energy conversion, digital circuits, and electronics. These laboratories can also be used to provide practical experience under the direct supervision of electrical and computer engineering faculty. In addition, there are special-purpose laboratories serving the fields of power systems, computer vision, autonomous systems, antennas, microwave engineering, analog and digital systems, mechatronics, real-time embedded systems, computer instrumentation, microprocessor development, reconfigurable logic, and parallel processing and cluster computing (in conjunction with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science). Seniors and graduate students have access to facilities to work on senior design and graduate thesis projects. The work area allows students a convenient place in which to work for the duration of their project.
Graduate School Opportunities
The undergraduate curriculum is broadly based to give graduates flexibility in their career paths. Qualified students may study areas of interest in more depth and specialize further by pursuing a graduate program at the School of Mines.