University of Utah
Electrical and  Computer Engineering
ECE Course Descriptions
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University of Utah

 General Catalog 2003-2004
December 2003

The undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

College of Engineering 

Department Office: 3280 Merrill Engineering Building, 581-6941 

Mailing Address: 50 S. Central Campus Dr, Rm. 3280, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9206 

Web Address:

Department Chair, M. Bodson, Ph.D.


Professors. M. Bodson, D. Christensen, O. Gandhi, R. Grow, J. Mathews, G. Stringfellow. 

Associate Professors. B. Farhang-Boroujeny, C. Furse, J. Hwu, C. Myers, A. Nahata, L. Sadwick. 

Assistant Professors. S. Blair, R. Chen, R. Harrison, P. Kalla, M. Miller, G. Shamir. F. Solzbacher.

Research Professors. J. Baird, B. Cox, M. Iskander. 

Research Associate Professors.  I. Harvey, C. Schlegel, L. Zeng. 

Research Assistant Professors. A. Abbaszadeh, N. Cotter, G. Kang, G. Lazzi. 

Adjunct Professor. L. Timothy. 

Adjunct Associate Professor. E. Brunvand.

Adjunct Assistant Professor.  B. Gale 

Emeritus Professors. C. Alley, K. Atwood, C. Durney, D. Gehmlich, L. Harris, R. Huber, C. Rushforth, R. Stephenson, T. Stockham, C. Westlund.

Engineering is a problem-solving profession that uses science, technology, computers, and common sense to design, simulate, construct, maintain, and distribute goods, services, and information systems. Electrical engineers work in researching, designing, developing, and operating many thousands of electrical systems and components that help run our world. The space program was only possible with guidance systems designed by electrical engineers in the communications field. In addition to computer chips, wireless communications, and signal processing, the undergraduate program at the University provides the intellectual tools and skills for specialization in control systems, microelectronics, lasers and optics, microwaves, and solid-state materials and devices. 

Undergraduate Program

Degrees. B.S. degree in electrical engineering and B.S. degree in computer engineering. The computer engineering degree is offered jointly by the department of Electrical Engineering and The School of Computing. See the information under Computer Engineering elsewhere in this section of the catalog. 

Major Status. In order to take sophomore- or higher-level classes in electrical engineering, students must attain major status (except as noted below). Students may apply for major status after completing, with a letter grade, the following classes: 

Classes (Hours)
ECE 1000 (4)
ECE 1020 (1)
MATH 1210 (4)
MATH 1220 (4)
CP SC 1010 (0.5)
CP SC 2010 (4)
PHYCS 2210 (4)  

Eligibility for admission is determined by the GPA on the classes listed above. If a student takes a class more than once, only the grade for the first repeat is counted. A withdrawal (W), an audit (V), or an incomplete (I) on the transcript counts as having taken the class. 

A student who does not have a passing grade on the first repeat of a required class cannot be admitted to major status. See requirements, following, for information about the C- minimum passing grade required in specified core courses. 

The following rule applies to all classes that are used in the evaluation for admission to full major status: a student may repeat, once each, up to four classes without penalty. The grade received in each of the four classes the second time it is taken (first repeat) is used in computing the GPA. For the fifth and any subsequent classes a student repeats, only 80 percent of the grade points received on the first repeat are used in the evaluation. 

Students are ranked by GPA, and the best students are admitted.  The admission GPA may fluctuate in accordance with the number of students the department is capable of training and the academic level of those students.  The admission GPA at this time is 3.0 but may be changed by faculty decision. 

Students who transfer from other accredited electrical-engineering programs are evaluated on the same basis as University of Utah students. Only grades in classes taken in an accredited electrical-engineering program count in the evaluation. Transfer students from nonaccredited1 programs ready to take electrical-engineering classes may be permitted to take classes on a probationary basis if their transfer GPA equals the entry-level GPA for that year. See the department web site for more information on probation and admission of transfer students from non-accredited programs. 

Contact the department office for the application deadlines.  The major admission application form is available from the ECE Department office or on the department web site.  Admission applications are evaluated at the end of each semester when grades for that semester are available. 

Students who do not attend the University during the academic year they are admitted to major status must reapply to attend in a later year.

Students in Other Majors.  ECE classes numbered below 2000 are open to all U of U students.  Anyone who meets University admission standards and has the prerequisites may take ECE 1000 and 1020, and CP SC 1010 and 2000 or 2010.  ECE 3900, 3910, 4900, and 4910 and ECE/CP SC 4710 are open only to Electrical or Computer Engineering students in major status and may not be taken by students in other majors.  ECE classes numbered 2000 or above may be taken by students in other majors only if all of the following requirements are met:  The student must have passing grades in all required prerequisites and a cumulative GPA on technical classes that equals the EE major GPA, the instructor must give permission, and space must be available in the class. 

1Nonaccredited refers to programs that do not have electrical engineering accreditation, even though they may have technology or other accreditation. 

Requirements. A handbook containing detailed information about the electrical engineering degree is available on the ECE web site:  Announcements regarding changes in requirements are also posted on department bulletin boards and web site. It is essential that students obtain up-to-date information on changes in requirements and curriculum. Students must keep informed and are responsible for completion of program requirements. 

The following classes are required for the B.S. degree in electrical engineering. Taking them in the order shown ensures that students have the necessary prerequisites. Students should plan their technical electives and general education classes to coordinate with these required classes. 

Requirements for the Major and Model Plan of Study for students working 20 hours or less.  Suggested five-year and six-year plans are available on the ECE web site. 

Core Classes (78.5 Semester Hours) 

First Year
Fall Semester
MATH 1210 Calculus I (4) 
CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I (4) 
CHEM 1230 General Chemistry Lab (1) 
CP SC 1010 Introduction to UNIX (0.5) 
CP SC 2010 Computer Science I (4) 
1WRTG 2010 Academic Writing and Research (3)
Total Hours: 16.5 

Spring Semester
2ECE 1000 Intro to Electrical & Computer Eng (4)
2ECE 1020 Electrical Engineering Problem Solving with Matlab (1)
MATH 1220 Calculus II (4) 
PHYCS 2210 Physics for Scientists & Engineers I (4) 
Total Hours: 13

Second Year
Fall Semester
ECE 2000 Fundamentals of Electric Circuits (4) 
PHYCS 2220 Physics for Scientists & Engineers II (4) 
MATH 2250 Ordinary Differential Equations & Linear Algebra (3) 
Total Hours: 11 

Spring Semester
ECE 2100 Fundamentals of Engineering Electronics (4) 
ECE 3700 Fundamentals of Digital Systems Design (4) 
MATH 2210 Calculus III (3) 
Total Hours: 11 

Third Year
Fall Semester
ECE 3300 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics & Transmission Lines (4) 
ECE 3500 Fundamentals of Signals & Systems (4) 
MATH 3150 Partial Differential Equations for Engineers (2) 
ECE 3900 Junior Seminar (0.5) 
Technical elective (4)

Total Hours: 14.5 

Spring Semester
PHYCS 3740 Introduction to Quantum Theory & Relativity (3)
ECE 3530 Engineering Probability & Statistics (3) 
3ME EN 2600 or CHFEN 2853 Thermodynamics I (2)
WRTG 3400 Professional Writing (3) 
ECE 3910 Pre-Thesis (0.5) 
Technical elective (4)

Total Hours: 15.5 

Fourth Year
Fall Semester
ECE 4900 Senior Thesis I (2) 
Technical Electives (10)
Total Hours: 12

Spring Semester
ECE 4910 Senior Thesis II (3) 
Technical Electives (9)
Total Hours: 12

Technical Electives (a minimum of 27 semester hours required; at least 21 hours must be ECE classes)

Breadth Requirement (11 or 12 hours):  Take one class in at least three of the four following areas:

Computer and Digital Design:  ECE 3810 (4) Computer Architecture

Electronics and Semiconductor Devices:  ECE 3110 (4) Engineering Electronics II

Microwaves and Optics:  Choose from ECE 5320 (4) Microwave Engineering I; ECE 5324 (3) Antenna Theory and Design; ECE 5330 (3) Introduction to Microwave Tubes and Electronic Devices; or ECE 5410 (3) Lasers and their Applications

Signals and Systems:  ECE 3510 (4) Introduction to Feedback systems

Additional Advanced ECE Classes (at least 9 or 10 hours):  ECE elective classes (including the breadth classes) must total 21 or more credit hours. Classes are listed below in areas as suggestions for students who want to specialize:

Computer and Digital Design:  ECE 3710, 3720, 5710, 5720, 5740, 5750, 5810, 5830, 6770, 6820

Microelectronics:  ECE 5221, 5222, 5201 and 5211, 5202 and 5212, 5720, 6261, 6262, 6263, 6264, 6265, 6266

Microwaves and Optics:  ECE 5320, 5321, 5324, 5330, 5410, 5411, 5470, 6310, 6320, 6330, 6331, 6340, 6420, 6430, 6440, 6450, 6451

Signal Processing, Communications, and Control Systems:  ECE 5510, 5520, 5530, 5550, 5551, 5570, 5580, 6510, 6520, 652l, 6540, 6550, 6560, 6570, 6640, 6450, 6641

Bioelectronics:  ECE 5221, 5222, 5410, 5470, 5530, 5710, 5720, 6440, 7310, 7320

Additional Electives: 6 semester hours 

To complete the requirement for 27 technical elective hours, students may take additional advanced ECE classes, or students interested in taking classes from other departments may select non-ECE classes from a list available on the ECE web site.

*General Education + American Institutions (a minimum of 21 semester hours) 

All students must take two classes from each of three Intellectual Exploration areas:  Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Science.  A class in ethics is required, which also fills a humanities requirement.  Students must fill the American Institutions requirement either by passing an examination or by taking one of four classes specified by the University.  Students must also take a diversity class.  Some diversity classes may be double counted in one of the Intellectual Exploration areas. 

Total Hours: 129 

1Non-native speakers must take ESL classes. 

2Students must take Electrical Engineering 1000 and 1020 in the same semester. 

3Students getting a physics minor may substitute PHYCS 3760. 

Prerequisites. Students should follow a science-oriented curriculum in high school, including mathematics, computer programming, physics and chemistry. 

Note the following regarding prerequisites: 

  1. Students should complete their writing or English requirement in the Freshman Year. 
  2. Students should complete their mathematics requirements as early as possible, taking a mathematics class each semester. Students who are behind in mathematics should consider taking a mathematics class in the summer between the Freshman and Sophomore Years. 
  3. Electrical Engineering 1000, 1020, 2000, and 2100 are prerequisites to most other electrical-engineering courses. Electrical Engineering 1000 and 1020 must be taken in the same semester.. 
  4. The Mathematics 1210 series and the Physics 2210 series are prerequisites to most of the electrical engineering courses. 

If the student's program is irregular and the suggested curriculum is not followed, the student must plan carefully to be sure all classes are taken in proper sequence and that course prerequisites are observed. Most electrical-engineering classes are taught only once a year. 

Computer Engineering Major. A description of the Computer Engineering program is found under the Computer Engineering heading in this catalog. 

Scholarships. Contact the department office for information about undergraduate scholarships. 

Transfer Students. Students planning to transfer to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department from other colleges and universities should read the section on transfer students in the ECE undergraduate handbook found on the ECE web site.

After being admitted to the University of Utah, transfer students must petition the ECE department for acceptance of transfer classes that the student expects to count toward the electrical engineering degree. Petition forms are available on the ECE web site. Transfer students must complete the petition and have it evaluated by the department's Undergraduate Committee before applying for admission to major status. A petition for acceptance of transfer credit is not an application for major admission. 

To qualify for departmental major admission, transfer students must have the equivalent of the classes listed under Major Status above. Grades received in classes taken at schools without accredited electrical engineering programs are not used in computing the GPA for major admission, even though the classes may fulfill graduation requirements. 

Leave of Absence. Students who have attained major status who do not register during any semester of any academic year (excluding summer), must make a written request in advance for a leave of absence from the department or risk losing their electrical engineering status. Contact the department office for complete information on this policy.   

Combined Bachelor/Master Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Initial admission to the program occurs near the end of the Junior year.  Minimum standards for admission to this program are a cumulative GPA of 3.3, enrollment in or completion of EE 3910, Junior Seminar, and prior consultation with the Program Director.  Students on the MS track must have a recommendation letter from their intended research advisor.  Admission decisions will be made by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee.  Only students currently enrolled full-time in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department will be considered for admission.  Transfer students must complete 24 credit hours as degree-seeking students at the University of Utah before applying for the combined degree.  Undergraduate status is maintained until the mid-program review, at which time students with satisfactory progress will be admitted to graduate status to pursue either the Master of Engineering or Master of Science degree. 

The mid-program review will be conducted by the Program Director after the students have completed 122 credit hours and the senior project (as determined by the senior project administrator).  Students progressing to graduate status must have maintained a 3.3 cumulative GPA, maintained full-time status, and submitted an acceptable program of study for the Master's degree and plan to complete any remaining requirements for the Bachelor's degree within one year of obtaining graduate status.  Upon recommendation by the Director, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee will make a formal recommendation for admission to the Graduate School.  Formal Graduate School admission deadlines will be followed.  Students not progressing to graduate status will complete the Bachelor's degree.

After admission to graduate status, students may change their Master's degree program from ME to MS or from MS to ME under the existing guidelines set forth by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Committee and the Graduate School.  Upon successful completion of the combined degree program, the department will submit the necessary paperwork to the registrar and the Graduate School so that both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees will be awarded simultaneously.  Students must satisfy all the departmental and University requirements for each degree.  Course work may not be applied towards more than one degree.  Enrollment into a Ph.D. program may not occur until completion of the combined degrees.

Please call Professor Steve Blair at (801) 585-6157 if you have questions regarding this program.  

Graduate Program

Degrees. M.S., M.E., E.E., M.Phil., Ph.D. 

Director of Graduate Studies, Om P. Gandhi, Sc.D. 

For additional information, see the Graduate Information section of this catalog. Complete and updated descriptions of the degrees are on the Web at Booklets can also be obtained in the department office. 

Areas of Specialization. Electromagnetics, optics, microelectronic devices, communications, digital-signal processing, microwave devices, computer engineering, control systems, and semiconductor devices. 

Admission. Applications for admission received by February 15 will receive full consideration for financial aid for the following Fall Semester. Applications received after February 15 will be considered for financial aid and admission if space is available. Students already at the University of Utah may be admitted for Spring Semester on a space-available basis. Entrance in the Fall Semester is encouraged. 

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), general test only, and provide three letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with their academic ability. Contact the department office for more details. 

International students are required to take the TOEFL before they can be accepted for graduate study. After beginning their studies, they are required to take the SPEAK test. Students who do not score high enough on the SPEAK test are directed to take English courses. 

Supervisory Committee. As early as possible, but not later than the completion of 12 semester hours, students must file a Request for Supervisory Committee form with the department office. Generally, the committee consists of three members for the M.S. degree, one member (chair only) for the M.E. degree, three members for the degree of Electrical Engineer, or five members for the Ph.D. degree. 

Program of Study. Not later than at the completion of 12 semester hours, the student must submit to the department office, on the appropriate form, a program of study approved by the student's supervisory committee. The form may be obtained from the department office. 

Modifications to the program are made by filing an Amendment to Planned Program of Study form with the supervisory committee and obtaining required approval. The amendment must be approved before the new course is taken. 

Proficiency Requirement. All students seeking graduate degrees in electrical and computer engineering must demonstrate proficiency in three basic areas: circuits, electronics, and either fields or systems. 

Proficiency must be demonstrated within one year after enrollment in the program in several ways: 

By holding a B.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering school, or by any combination of the following: 

  1. By enrolling in a class covering the topic and receiving a grade of B or better. Currently the classes which satisfy each area are: circuits, ECE 2000; electronics ECE 2100 or 3110; fields, ECE 3300; and systems, ECE 3500 or 3510. No graduate credit is given for these undergraduate classes. 
  2. By passing all of the examinations in the classes listed above under item 1. 
  3. By completing an advanced course in the area and receiving a grade of B or better. Advanced courses that qualify in each area are: circuits ECE 5710 or 5720; electronics ECE 5710, 5720, 5201, or 5202; fields ECE 5320, 5324 or 6310; and systems ECE 5510, 5520, or 5540.

Research Comprehensive Examination. Candidates seeking research degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) must pass a Research Comprehensive Examination administered by their supervisory committee not later than at the completion of 18 credit hours. The Ph.D. Research Comprehensive Examination will ordinarily include the defense of a written formal research dissertation proposal. The comprehensive examination and thesis defense may not be taken during the same semester. 

Thesis Final Examination. The thesis final examination (oral thesis defense) is conducted by the supervisory committee. 

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. All Ph.D.-degree aspirants must pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination in accordance with graduate school and departmental regulations. This examination is administered by the student's supervisory committee and must be taken during the second semester after they are admitted to study for the Ph.D.  Upon successfully passing the examination, the student is recommended to The Graduate School for admission to candidacy. 

Credit Limitations. Students may not count more than 8 semester hours of nonmatriculated graduate work toward any graduate degree. Candidates for graduate degrees are required to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA with no grade below C- accepted for credit toward degrees. 

For more detailed information, see the Graduate Information section of this catalog. 

Course Requirements

M.S. Degree. A candidate's program must consist of not less than 12 semester hours of course work in electrical and computer engineering, excluding thesis and graduate seminar. In addition, 8 to 12 hours of course work are elected in electrical and computer engineering or allied fields. The electrical and computer engineering courses must include at least nine hours at the 6000 or 7000 level. One year of graduate seminar (ECE 6900 and 6910) is required, as is a thesis of 6 to 10 hours. The total number of hours required for the degree is 30. Check with the department office for changes in these requirements. 

All course work must be approved by the student's supervisory committee and the thesis completed under the supervision of the committee chairperson. 

M.E. Degree. Students are subject to the same requirements as for the M.S. degree, except that they must complete 18 credit hours in electrical and computer engineering course work, with 15 of those hours in 6000- or 7000-level classes. Course work is substituted for a thesis. 

The total number of hours is 30. Changing between M.S. and M.E. programs is not permitted unless the program of study has been approved by the Graduate Committee. At least 12 hours of course work must be included on the planned program of study after the request to change is approved. Check with the department office for changes in these requirements. 

Degree of Electrical Engineer. This non-thesis professional degree requires at least 58 semester hours of coursework in electrical and computer engineering or allied fields beyond the B.S. degree. At least two semesters must be spent in residence at the University of Utah. The courses in electrical and computer engineering must be numbered 5000 or above.  Four years of graduate seminar (ECE 6900, 6910, 7900 and 7910) are required. Students with M.S. degrees may count up to one year (two semesters) of graduate seminar towards the graduate seminar requirement.  Students may replace up to 10 hours of coursework with either a special project or a previously completed M.S. thesis in electrical engineering, but not both. 

All course work must be completed within five consecutive calendar years and must be approved by the student's supervisory committee, the department graduate committee, and the College of Engineering dean's office. The project, if chosen, is completed under the supervision of the supervisory committee chair. 

Ph.D. Degree. The student must complete at least 42 semester hours of coursework beyond the B.S. degree.  Additionally, four years of graduate seminar (ECE 6900, 6910, 7900 and 7910) is required.  Students with M.S. degrees may count up to 6 semester hours of thesis credit towards the Ph.D. coursework requirement and up to one year (two semesters) of graduate seminar towards the graduate seminar requirement.

Also required is at least 36 hours of thesis research (ECE 6970 and/or 7970).  Students may also count any additional hours of thesis credit (beyond the six hours) toward the 36 hours of thesis hours requirement of the Ph.D. degree.

The student's program is planned by the student and the supervisory committee, and the dissertation is completed under the supervision of the committee.  At least one year (two semesters) of the doctoral program must be spent in full time academic work at the University of Utah.

Financial Assistance. A number of research and teaching assistantships are available. Students interested in financial aid should contact the department. 

ECE Course Descriptions

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