Why should I be in ECE at Northeastern?
A degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Northeastern sets you apart from the crowd. Your courses in ECE fundamentals provide depth of knowledge in some of the diverse subjects that comprise our discipline.Your electives, co-ops and international experiences expose you to the breadth of applications including communication, sensing, imaging, signal processing, energy, environment, business, medicine, and law.
What is ECE?
ECE isn't just about electricity and programming. Yes, we do those things, but they are only parts of our field. Our discipline has three technical foundations: physics (encompassing circuits, semiconductor devices, electromagnetic and optical systems), computers (including microprocessors and computing devices), and Math (dealing with information, networks, and systems). Electrical and computer engineers design solar-power systems, communication networks, radars, lasers, robots, medical devices, personal electronics, high-performance computers, machine-learning systems, quantum computers and more.
What can I learn in ECE?
You will learn to solve complex, open-ended problems methodically and efficiently. With a degree in ECE, you will develop the skills to break up challenges into solvable sub-problems and to formulate solutions that meet required constraints. Through research opportunities, cooperative learning, service learning, or study abroad, you will have the opportunity to apply what you've learned in classes taught by world-class faculty, putting the knowledge to practice in real life situations. A degree in ECE from Northeastern will provide you with the tools for success regardless of your career path after graduation. In your senior year, you will bring the whole experience together in a 2-semester Capstone Design course.
What can I do as a student?
As an ECE student, you will typically spend about 12 hours per week in the classroom. With reading, homework, and problem solving, you will certainly be busy. Nevertheless in a large engineering college such as NU, there are numerous opportunities for other activities. You can participate in research along with our faculty and graduate students. Students have developed medical devices for imaging skin cancers, designed ground-penetrating radars to locate buried radioactive waste, and programmed complicated algorithms on massively parallel computers. Undergraduate research is ideal preparation for graduate study, but is also valuable preparation for a career in industry.
You can also participate in the FIRST robotics team while working with greater-Boston high school students, help develop enabling technology for specific disabled clients, apply your skills for societal benefit in Engineers without Borders, or join one of the many professional societies (IEEE, BMES, SWE, BESS). You can participate in travel programs including Spring Break in Silicon Valley to learn about job opportunities, or international education to prepare you to work around the world. Boston, with a young population and a rich array of cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities, is an ideal place to spend your free time.
What kind of co-op jobs can I expect?
Co-op is an integral part of a Northeastern ECE education. We've known for over a century what other universities are starting to catch onto: the best way to study engineering is to learn it both inside and outside the classroom. Our co-op program places you in up to three 6-month positions of your choosing, both in technical area and in company profile. From large scale multinational engineering corporations to cutting-edge start-up companies in neighboring Cambridge, our co-op employers value the technical and leadership skills that Northeastern ECE students bring to their assignments. Ninety-two percent of our students participate in the co-op program, and nearly all of these students receive job offers from their co-op employers upon graduation.
Some recent co-op experiences have included Barrett Technology: assembled, tested, and diagnosed problems on robotic hands using Visual C++. Bose Corporation: performed in-car temperature sensitivity of Bose digital amplifiers. Cadence Design Systems: created physical circuit layouts for a random access memory chip, performed design verification using Verilog. EMC Corporation: developed programming interfaces and bring-up tests for prototype storage adapter boards. Harvard Medical School: investigated an ultrasound hyperthermia therapy for treating cancerous tumors. Mitre Corporation: designed and constructed a crisis management website to be used by U. S. Army National Guard first responders during crisis situations. Sun Microsystems: supported the board design team by breadboarding the Power Distribution Board circuitry to determine functionality and reliability. Sybase Inc: developed a plug-in for Ardent Datastage product using ODBC and Sybase Open Client/Open Serve.
What can I do when I graduate?
An ECE education prepares you for any technical career, a career in a related field, or graduate study. ECE is one of the highest-paid degrees. You will learn not only the current practice of your field, but also techniques for future learning that will enable you to have a lifelong career in our rapidly changing discipline. Here are some alumni testimonials that show what our graduates have been able to accomplish.
Over the course of a lifetime, technology and even your goals will likely change. With an ECE degree, you will be well prepared to not only adapt but thrive as technology and your ambitions evolve.
Here are some highlighted alumni that have found themselves in exciting positions including a chief technology officer (Bryan Long at Retroficiency), a vice president of a financial group (Alan Meckler of Cornerstone Financial Group), and a president of a small business (Amitava Mukherjee).
What if I'm not sure I want to be an engineer?
ECE is the most general purpose undergraduate degree in engineering you can earn, preparing you for careers options as diverse as medicine, law, business, graduate study in engineering, or even as an electrical or computer engineer.