Electrical and Computer Engineering
Electrical engineers find innovative ways to use electricity, electronic materials and electrical phenomena to improve people’s lives. Computer engineers design computer systems, both hardware and software, to create new technology and meet new societal needs.
The field of electrical engineering encompasses a very broad spectrum of technical areas, including computers and digital systems, electronics and integrated circuits, communications, systems and control, electromagnetics and electro-optics, energy conversion and power distribution, robotics, signal processing, solid state electronics, and photonics.
The field of computer engineering covers a wide range of topics including computer architecture, operating systems, communications, computer networks, robotics, artificial intelligence, supercomputers, computer-aided design and neural nets.
Electrical engineers and computer engineers work at the frontier of high technology and are involved in research, the creation of new ideas, and the design and development of new products, manufacturing, and marketing activities.
Students interested in computing careers may pursue either electrical and computer engineering or computer science and engineering (CSE). These programs are not interchangeable—students should examine the curricular requirements for each major to determine which one meets their interests.
Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33, and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.
Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see exploration.osu.edu).
All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.
In addition to the college core, engineering students also take select core courses, major courses and general education courses.
Electrical and computer engineering major courses provide students hands-on experience in photonics, electrical energy conversion, high voltage engineering, integrated circuit fabrication, microcontrollers, microprocessors, signal processing and many more topics.
Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learning, semester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program.
Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe.
Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.
The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.
Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:
- Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building.
- Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems.
At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.
Electrical and computer engineering research labs:
- Information Processing System Laboratory
- Control Research Laboratory
- Solid State Electronics and Photonics Laboratory
- High Voltage Laboratory
- High Performance Computing and Networking Laboratory
Electrical and computer engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including Eta Kappa Nu, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Underwater Robotics Team, and Buckeye Aerial Robotics Team.
Electrical and computer engineers create innovative, practical solutions and work with other smart, inspiring people to invent, design and build technologies and products that matter. ECEs design high-profile technologies and products, including medical devices, tablet computers, smart phones, video games, wireless networks, 3D television and high-fidelity audio.
ECE graduates are heavily recruited by employers, including computer, aerospace and automotive companies, telephone and electric utilities, electronics manufacturers, and government agencies. Electrical and computer engineers have also become entrepreneurs, applying their training to new areas of service.
Some employers of electrical and computer engineering graduates include American Electric Power, ArcelorMittal, Capital One, Eaton, FirstEnergy Corp., General Motors, Honda, IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin, NBCUniversal, United Launch Alliance, U.S. Army, Verizon and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Interested in a career in the STEM fields?
Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, environment and math.