Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Students working in undergraduate teaching laboratory

Curriculum

The first year of the Electrical Engineering program begins with the foundational mathematics and science requirements for all engineering school students: five mathematics courses (differential calculus, integral calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and an upper-level math elective); two physics courses (mechanics, electricity and magnetism); one chemistry course (typically material chemistry); and one course on computer programming. Additionally, students must satisfy the University writing requirement (typically in the first year) and the University’s humanities and social science distribution requirement. To be adequately prepared for the first-year engineering program at Princeton, you should take high-school mathematics through calculus (if possible), as well as high-school physics and chemistry. Many students enter Princeton with advanced placement in one or more of these subjects, but this is not a requirement for admission or for success in the program. After entering the Department as majors, students embark on a rigorous plan of study to acquire mastery of core knowledge in electrical engineering. The program begins with a set of unifying foundation courses (information, circuits, devices and digital logic). The intent of these courses is to provide essential knowledge for upper-level elective courses and to expose majors to the breadth of the discipline. Students build upon this foundation with two core preparatory and design courses, followed by a set of department electives in a concentration area of the student’s choice. Areas of possible concentration range from theoretical topics (such as information theory, signal/image processing and solid state physics) to more experimental and design topics (such as advanced biomedical circuits, computer architecture and opto-electronics). Students tailor their areas of concentration in consultation with their faculty advisors. In addition to the concentration, students are required to participate in at least one semester of independent research, normally in the senior year. However, many students enroll in additional independent research beyond this minimum requirement. Beginning with the Class of 2016 a Senior Thesis will be required. Thirty-six courses are required for completion of the B.S.E. degree in a 4-year program. (Students granted advanced standing participate in a 3-year program, and must complete 28 courses for the B.S.E. degree.) The program’s flexibility allows students to create a tailored program to suit their interests. For example, ELE majors may combine their program with studies in biology, computer science, economics, energy, materials science, management, neuroscience, public policy, physics, or several other fields. Many majors combine their study of electrical engineering with one of the many interdisciplinary certificate programs offered at Princeton.

Example Programs of Study

Two example programs of study are given below. "Departmental Elective" and "Technical Elective" are technical courses, normally either Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, other engineering courses, or courses that form part of a coherent pattern of study for students completing special programs in areas such as engineering and management systems, engineering physics, or engineering biology. Courses labeled "Elective" are free-choice elective courses selected from departmental or other technical courses, entrepreneurship courses, or humanities/social science courses.


Curriculum Examples

Example Program 1: No Advanced Placement in Math/Physics/Chemistry
Freshman Year
Math 103: Calculus
Physics 103: Mechanics
Chem 207: Materials Chemistry
Elective: writing requirement
Math 104: Calculus
Physics 104: Elect. & Magnetism
COS 126: Computer Science
Elective: humanities/social science
Elective: humanities/social science
Sophomore Year
Math 203: Multivariable Calculus
ELE 203: Electronic Circuit Analysis
ELE 206: Contemporary Logic Design
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Math 204: Linear Algebra
ELE 201: Information and Systems
ELE 208: Contemporary Electronic and Photonic Devices
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Junior Year
ELE 301: Designing Real Systems
Departmental Elective
Upper Level Math Elective
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
ELE 302: Building Real Systems
Departmental Elective
Technical Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Senior Year
Departmental Elective
Departmental Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Elective: Independent Research
Departmental Elective
Departmental Elective
Elective
Elective


Example Program 2: One Course Advanced Placement in Math
Freshman Year
Math 104: Calculus
Physics 103: Mechanics
Chem 207: Materials Chemistry
Elective: writing requirement
Math 203: Multivariable Calculus
Physics 104: Elect. & Magnetism
COS 126: Computer Science
Elective: humanities/social science
Elective: humanities/social science
Sophomore Year
Math 204: Linear Algebra
ELE 203: Electronic Circuit Analysis
ELE 206: Contemporary Logic Design
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
ELE 201: Information and Systems
ELE 208: Contemporary Electronic and Photonic Devices
Upper Level Math Elective
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Junior Year
ELE 301: Designing Real Systems
Departmental Elective
Technical Elective
Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
ELE 302: Building Real Systems
Departmental Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Elective: humanities/social science
Senior Year
Departmental Elective
Departmental Elective
Elective: humanities/social science
Elective: Independent Research
Departmental Elective
Departmental Elective
Elective
Elective