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UW ECE Launches New BSECE Degree Program

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science

Starting autumn quarter 2022, the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) will begin a transition to offering a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (BSECE) rather than a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). In the interim, there will be two outstanding degree programs at UW ECE, which prepare students to solve problems, work productively within teams and communicate effectively in a professional workplace. Both degree programs provide students access to world-class faculty and interdisciplinary learning environments with opportunities for in-depth study in a large number of focus areas.

The transition from the existing BSEE to the new BSECE degree program will occur gradually over time, beginning with direct-to-college and transfer students entering the UW College of Engineering autumn quarter 2022. Beginning autumn quarter 2024, the BSECE will be the only degree available for undergraduate admission. The final BSEE degree is expected to be awarded in 2026.

FAQs

What is ECE?

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) is a broad, dynamic and rapidly evolving field that encompasses a wide spectrum of technical areas related to electrical engineering and computer science. ECE involves the design of devices and systems that can range greatly in scale — from multinational electrical power grids to nanoscale computer chips. The skills developed in an ECE program have a vast range of potential applications which stem from the prevalence of computers and electrical systems in everyday life.

Why UW ECE?

UW ECE is located in the heart of the University of Washington campus, and Seattle itself, right at the epicenter of technology development where our graduates are in high demand. UW ECE provides unparalleled internship and career opportunities for students because of our academic excellence, strong interdisciplinary partnerships and proximity to leading technology companies. Research by our faculty and students is world-class, sparking groundbreaking discoveries and innovative startup companies that have broad economic, societal and human impact.

How is the BSEE degree program different from the BSECE degree program?

  • The BSEE and BSECE degree programs both offer students access to world-class faculty and interdisciplinary learning environments with opportunities for in-depth study in a wide array of focus areas such as biosystems, computing and networking, data science, photonics and nanotechnology, power and energy systems, robotics and controls.
  • The BSECE degree program allows students to customize their degree, using suggested pathways as a guide, whereas the BSEE degree program offers a more structured approach to undergraduate curriculum.
  • The BSEE degree program has a stronger focus on hardware while the BSECE degree program leans more toward developing computing skills.

How is the BSECE degree program different from computer engineering and computer science degree programs?

Students pursuing a BSECE degree will focus more heavily on the physical side of computing, including hardware, circuits, signal processing and the physics underlying computation, while students enrolled in computer engineering (Comp E) and computer science (CS) degrees engage more deeply with the software, algorithms and data that drive various computing applications, as well as topics such as artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.

The differences between an ECE degree, a Comp E degree and a CS degree can be described as existing within a spectrum. There is much overlap and interdisciplinary collaboration between those in ECE, Comp E and CS, and there are many areas of specialization a student can pursue. However, ECE is focused chiefly on the physical side of computing, while CS is focused more on software, algorithms and data. Comp E tends to straddle the middle, between ECE and CS disciplines.

What research and internship opportunities are available for undergraduate students?

Our degree programs prepare undergraduate students to design and build hardware and software for a variety of devices that use electricity, electromagnetics, photonics and quantum phenomena — such as robots, smartphones, lasers, electrical generators, vehicles, medical devices and much more.

Outside of the classroom, students pursue internships, leadership opportunities and work on research with renowned faculty in one of 40 Department labs. This experience provides students with a solid foundation in high-tech problem solving and prepares graduates to work for companies such as Intel, IBM, Agilent, T-Mobile, Verizon, Motorola, Boeing, Qwest, National Instruments, Lockheed Martin and many others.

ABET Accreditation of the BSECE Degree

We are confident that the new degree will be accredited by ABET. The earliest we can apply for such accreditation will be in 2026, and the accreditation received at that time will be retroactive to degrees granted starting academic year 2023-2024.

For BSECE degrees granted prior to academic year 2023-2024, and students who may need accreditation for licensure as a Professional Engineer, the degree can be evaluated, for a fee, by NCEES Credentials Evaluations to facilitate the licensure process.

Please see full details at:

Admissions

Transfer / Non-DTC Student

Bachelor’s degrees in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are capacity constrained. Admitted students have an average cumulative GPA of 3.6. Applications are accepted from current UW students as well as freshman and transfer applicants. UW ECE enrolls students for the autumn quarter only.

Direct to College (DTC)

The primary path for undergraduates to earn a BSEE while spending all four years at UW is “Direct To College.” Students are admitted to the College of Engineering as Freshmen, and then can be placed into electrical and computer engineering during the summer between Freshman and Sophomore years.

Curriculum

Both UW ECE degrees prepare students for jobs in industry or for further graduate study. In the BSEE degree, students complete at least one concentration area to focus their studies. The BSECE degree allows students the option to either specialize in a specific area or pursue a breadth of experience in ECE. All curriculum paths in both programs culminate with a capstone design project.

Tuition, Fees and Funding

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates are established by the UW Regents at the end of spring quarter. You can find complete tuition and fee information at the Web site of the Office of Planning and Budgeting.

The total costs of full-time undergraduate tuition and fees are for one quarter.

Scholarships

Several types of scholarships available to all UW ECE undergraduate and graduate students. Below are current resources and links:

Financial Aid

The University of Washington participates in both federal and state financial aid programs. Information on grants, loans and other forms of financial assistance is available from the Student Financial Aid Office.

Information Sessions

Is Electrical and Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering the right major for you? UW ECE holds monthly information sessions where advisers provide information on admissions, curriculum, electrical and computer engineering as a profession and more.

When and Where

Contact Advising

Contact Advising

undergrad@ece.uw.edu

Current ECE students can schedule an appointment with an adviser or find drop-in hours online.

Prospective student drop-in hours