New Electrical Engineering Curriculum
A new undergraduate program was phased in for the class of 2006. Sample schedules and course requirements of the
program are reflected in the current
details regarding the technical elective requirement can be found in the current
ELEN curriculum checklist (PDF).
The new curriculum has three main components:
- Core Component
This consists of specific basic courses which
- Provide the student with fundamental skills;
- Expose the student to the breadth of EE;
- Serve as a springboard for more advanced work or for work in areas not covered by the core.
- Depth Component
There are currently four available depth areas (see below). To complete the depth requirement, students must take at least two courses in one of these areas. To achieve real depth it is desirable (but not required) that these courses constitute a sequence or be part of a sequence of courses that comprises a course in the core. Sequential courses can be identified by their prerequisites. Some depth area courses and their dependencies can be found within our graduate course flowcharts; please note, however, that these course charts do not define depth areas. The charts include courses that are not in the following lists of approved depth area courses, as well as 6000-level courses that are not generally available to undergraduate students. Project courses (e.g., ELEN E3998/498) cannot normally count as part of the depth requirement.
- Photonics, Solid-State Devices, and Electromagnetics: ELEN E4301, ELEN E4401, ELEN E4405, ELEN E4411, ELEN E4420, ELEN E4501, ELEN E4503, ELEN E4944, E4488.
- Circuits and Electronics [Additional Course Advice]: ELEN E4215, ELEN E4312, ELEN E4314, ELEN E4321, EECS E4340 (if not used as a capstone lab), and ELEN E4350 (if not used as a capstone lab).
- Signals and Systems: ELEN E4810, ELEN E4815, ELEN E4830, ELEN E4896, EEME E3601, EEME E4601.
- Communications and Networking: ELEN E3701 (if not used for the core), CSEE W4119 (if not used for the core), ELEN E4702, ELEN E4703, COMS W4180.
- Breadth Component
The breadth component ensures that the student does not over-specialize in only one area of study. Breadth is particularly important today because
- Innovation requires an increasingly interdisciplinary approach;
- Exposure to other fields improves one's creativity in his/her own main field;
- Such exposure reduces the chance of obsolescence as technology changes.
- At least two technical electives outside the depth area, in addition to those in the core
- One or both of these electives can be from other departments
Starting EarlyThe ELEN curriculum is designed to allow students who are at Columbia University for four years to start their study of Electrical Engineering in their first year.
- This motivates students to start early.
- It allows them to spread nontechnical requirements more evenly.
- It makes evident the need for advanced math and physics concepts, and motivates the study of such concepts.
- It allows more time for students to take classes in a chosen depth area and them explore different courses before choosing a depth area.