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UW ECE Launches New BSECE Degree Program

BSECE and BSEE FAQs

Bachelor of Science FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions about the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering’s Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (BSECE) and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) degree programs.

For further information, please contact UW ECE Advising. Current UW ECE students can also schedule an appointment with an adviser online or ask questions during drop-in hours.

General Student FAQs

Why a new BSECE degree?

Starting autumn quarter 2022, 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).

This evolution of the undergraduate curriculum and our degree offerings better reflect the studies and research of the Department in areas such as neural engineering, sustainable energy, quantum computing, data science, photonics and nanotechnology, and will allow the Department to respond more quickly to the rapid changes in the field such as the interconnection and ubiquity of computers.

How is the BSECE degree different from the BSEE degree?

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 offers students flexible, customizable pathways through which to gain their degree, 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.

Can I specialize in different aspects of ECE within the BSECE degree program?

Yes. While the BSECE degree program does not require students to complete the requirements for a concentration, they will still be able to specialize by choosing to take multiple advanced ECE electives in a given area. All students in the BSECE major will be able to choose any specialization and should be able to complete their degree requirements in four years.

While we will no longer require students to complete the requirements for a concentration, students will have the opportunity to specialize by selecting one or more pathways. Alternatively, students may take a breadth of courses rather than specializing in specific pathways. This will enable students to craft a degree that uniquely suits their interests.

What are the opportunities for undergraduate research?

Generally, any undergraduate student interested in research can find a place to pursue research at UW ECE. Our labs sometimes have limited capacity, so we recommend that students who are interested in pursuing research at UW ECE first consult with their adviser to find the best fit.

Current BSEE Student FAQs

What additional requirements must I fulfill to get a BSECE degree rather than a BSEE degree?

View the BSECE degree requirements.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I can’t do the BSECE degree?

No. The BSECE and BSEE 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 nanodevices, power and energy systems, robotics and controls.

Admission and Placement FAQs

Have the placement and enrollment requirements changed?

No. Our placement and enrollment requirements remain the same. Please visit our Bachelor of Science admissions page for this information.

How do the admission requirements differ between the BSECE and BSEE degree programs?

Visit our Bachelor of Science admissions page for this information.

How competitive is the application process?

We anticipate that our admission process will remain the same as it was when we were reviewing students for the BSEE degree only. On average, admitted applicants have a 3.6 GPA. In a typical year, an average of 45% of applicants are admitted to the department. We welcome all qualified applicants to apply.