ECE Student Handbook

Welcome to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering!

We are so glad you have elected to be a part of our program. We are here to assist you throughout your college career and look forward to the opportunity of working with you. This handbook provides you with information to help make your education fun and rewarding. Good luck to you in your time here at Miami and WELCOME to Miami University and to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering!

Majors offered by the department include:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Management with a concentration in Electronics and Computing

Minors offered by the department include:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering

For a list of Faculty and Staff along with their contact information, visit the ECE Faculty and Staff page.

Majors and Minors

Majors:

One important decision you need to make as you consider your career interests and goals is your major. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) offers majors in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Engineering Management with a Electronics and Computing Concentration leading to a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree.

These majors have some similarities but also distinguish themselves in important ways. Electrical engineers apply electronic and electromagnetic/optical principles to design, build, and test analog or digital devices, circuits, and systems for processing, communication, and storage of information; distribution, conversion, and storage of energy; and process automation or robotics. Application areas include communication, manufacturing, power and energy, health care, computing, security, entertainment, and many others.

Computer Engineers apply algorithmic and digital design principles to design, build, and test computer software or hardware components used for information processing, communication, and storage typically embedded in larger engineered systems and in distributed, networked environments. Application areas include communication, automation and robotics, power and energy, health care, business, security, entertainment, and many others.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department offers the Electronics and Computing Concentration of Engineering Management. This concentration provides a solid foundation in electrical and computer engineering while developing the skills necessary to manage the development of products, including computers and other electronics. Graduates can have an impact on the needs of a global society whose reliance on electronics and computing is ever-increasing.

Minors:

Electrical and computer engineering products are often integrated into systems used by other types of engineers, scientists, medical professionals, musicians, photographers, etc. As a result, even if you don't plan to major in electrical or computer engineering, you may benefit from a minor in electrical or computer engineering.

The electrical engineering minor provides an understanding of the fundamentals of electrical and electronic engineering. This includes a variety of applications involving electrical/electronic circuits and microprocessor systems. It combines a strong base in engineering science with project-based laboratory and design experiences.

Computer engineering is an exciting discipline that blends topics from electrical engineering (such as digital hardware) and computer science (such as computer programming fundamentals) to create digital systems that benefit society. The computer engineering minor includes a solid foundation of mathematics, science, and computer programming followed by computer engineering fundamentals such as digital system design and computer architecture.

Combined undergraduate (Computational Electrical and Computer Engineering) and graduate programs (Master of Science in Computational Electrical and Computer Engineering):

The Master of Science in Computational Electrical and Computer Engineering is offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Your course of study includes completion of computer programming, computer-based modeling, and electrical/computer engineering courses. You also conduct a research project with an electrical/computer engineering faculty member. This unique training prepares you for future engineering practice that requires engineers to master both electrical/computer engineering and computational methods. This master's program offers a research-based these option, and a course intensive, non-thesis option. We also offer a combined bachelor + master program. You can finish both degrees in as fast as 5 years

For the MS in Computational Electrical and Computer Engineering program, students are required to take programming courses taught by computer science faculty, ECE courses taught by ECE faculty members, and conduct a research project with an ECE faculty member. This unique training prepares our students for future engineering practice that requires engineers with skills in programming as it applies to electrical or computer engineering problems.

Students can be admitted on a provisional basis to the combined program anytime during their academic career at Miami, from the time they apply for undergraduate admission. Upon earning a minimum of 64 hours and having a GPA of 3.25 or greater, students may apply to a combined program by completing the Graduate School application and submitting materials as required by the program to which they are applying. Standard application and admission procedures shall be used. Both full- and part-time students may participate in the combined program at a department’s discretion. Regular time-limits for completing the master’s degree apply to students in a combined program.

Students may double-count up to nine hours of graduate course work toward their undergraduate degree. With permission of the appropriate advisor(s) and dean(s) or their designee(s), these students may count the graduate courses toward their major, minor, electives, and university requirements. A minimum of 150 hours is required for the combined program, of which 30 must be graduate course work.

students in a combined program will remain undergraduates until they apply for graduation or submit a request to the Graduate School to have their classification changed from undergraduate to graduate. Students must have completed a minimum of 128 hours to be classified as a graduate student. Students may receive their bachelor’s degree prior to completing their master’s degree. Upon receiving the bachelor’s degree, students will automatically be classified as graduate students. Students receiving the bachelor’s degree prior to completing the master’s degree can count up to nine hours of graduate course work toward their bachelor’s degree. Those hours can also count toward the completion of their master’s degree, as indicated above.

Students may withdraw from the combined program by completing a withdrawal form at the Graduate School. The student must note on the withdrawal form that he/she is withdrawing only from the combined program and wishes to retain their status in the undergraduate program. The student must also notify their department of their decision to withdraw from the combined program.

Department Mission, Objectives, and Outcomes

Mission Statement

The electrical and computer engineering programs are dedicated to providing a well-rounded undergraduate education in electrical and computer engineering. The programs prepare students for a wide range of careers. Our graduates exhibit a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior, and exercise socially responsible and reasoned judgment.

The faculty foster an academic environment conducive to strong faculty-student interaction in the classroom and laboratory. They also encourage student participation in research projects. The faculty conduct innovative applied and basic research that is appropriate for dissemination in nationally recognized journals and conference proceedings.

Electrical Engineering

Program educational objectives describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve.  The objectives of the electrical engineering program are:

  1. Demonstrate the application of modern tools and methodologies to electrical engineering problems and decision making.
  2. Develop solutions and make professional decisions with an understanding of the impact on societal, economic, global, and environmental issues.
  3. Demonstrate effective communication, leadership, and teamwork skills that contribute to the success of their organizations.
  4. Exhibit a commitment to professional and ethical practices, continuous improvement, and lifelong learning.
Computer Engineering

Program educational objectives describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve.  The objectives of the computer engineering program are:

  1. Demonstrate the application of modern tools and methodologies to computer engineering problems and decision making.
  2. Develop solutions and make professional decisions with an understanding of the impact on societal, economic, global, and environmental issues.
  3. Demonstrate effective communication, leadership, and teamwork skills that contribute to the success of their organizations.
  4. Exhibit a commitment to professional and ethical practices, continuous improvement, and lifelong learning.

Student Outcomes

Graduates of Miami University's electrical engineering and computer engineering programs will have:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • an ability to communicate effectively
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Program Specific Criteria

Electrical Engineering

The electrical engineering curriculum includes:

  • probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to electrical engineering
  • mathematics through differential and integral calculus
  • sciences (defined as biological, chemical, or physical sciences)
  • engineering topics (including computing science) necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware and software components
  • advanced mathematics, such as differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables, and discrete mathematics

Computer Engineering

The computer engineering curriculum includes:

  • probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to computer engineering
  • mathematics through differential and integral calculus
  • sciences (defined as biological, chemical, or physical sciences)
  • engineering topics (including computing science) necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware and software components
  • discrete mathematics

Academic Advising

As a student, you are ultimately responsible for insuring that you meet all the requirements for graduation. You must fulfill the requirements of the curriculum that was in place during the year that you started at Miami. For example, if your first semester was fall 2015, you would be under catalog year 2016 (CY16). If the curriculum requirements change after that and before you graduate, you may, in consultation with your advisor, switch to the new requirements.

If you are unsure of your ECE academic advisor, check the “Student” tab of your myMiami home page. If you are a first-year student, you may have multiple advisors listed - an ECE faculty advisor and your first-year advisor in your residence hall. If you have declared an ECE major but an ECE faculty advisor is not listed, please contact the ECE department office to determine your ECE advisor.

You should see your ECE academic advisor if you have questions about degree requirements, course selection, new or special topics courses, research opportunities, study abroad programs, graduate school, and career opportunities. If you have a question, please contact your academic advisor immediately. At a minimum, it is recommended that you meet with your academic advisor at least once per semester to plan your registration for the next semester.

In order to best assist you, your advisor may need to gather some information prior to your meeting, so please email your advisor in advance and give information about what you'd like to discuss. If you are deviating from the sample plan for your major and catalog year (see the degree requirements page) and you are meeting to discuss course selection or timeline for graduation, you should bring your Plan of Study (see below) to the meeting.

Degree Audit Report System (DARS)

The DARS is a report of your completed course work and current registration matched with the degree requirements of your declared major. It identifies deficiencies and lists courses that will satisfy specific requirements. DARS are available online through BannerWeb. You should print a copy to review with your academic advisor prior to registering for subsequent semesters. You may also request a copy at any time at the Registrar’s Service Center (102 Campus Avenue Building).

Independent Study

University regulation makes available independent study courses (numbered 177, 277, 377, and 477) to undergraduate students. The purpose of independent study is to allow a student to earn credit while conducting research in areas beyond or outside his or her required courses. A student may register for one to five hours of independent study each semester. No more than ten hours of independent study may be earned per year.

Independent study is not intended, nor should it be used, to meet departmental course requirements.

Petition Process

Students wishing to seek an exception to the requirements for their major course of study are required to prepare and submit a petition for review and possible approval. Exceptions include taking courses at other universities for the purpose of substitution for required ECE courses. Students are encouraged to obtain approval for substitution of transfer courses prior to enrolling in the course to be transferred.

Students are responsible for initiating petitions. Petitions are often developed, however, in consultation with the academic advisor. Petition forms are available in the department office. They must be properly completed, have all supporting materials attached, and be signed by the student’s advisor. Petitions are submitted to the department administrative assistant. The administrative assistant logs the petition and then passes it on to the Petition Committee chair. The Petition Committee meets in a timely fashion and rules on each petition received. The student and faculty are notified of decisions in writing via email. Questions should be directed to the student’s advisor, the petition committee chair, or the department chair.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

It is very important that students taking ECE courses meet the required pre- and co-requisites. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has adopted the following policy:

  • Any student taking an ECE course is required to declare, at the beginning of that course, that he or she has met (or failed to meet) the course’s pre-requisites and/or co-requisites. This declaration will be documented in a checklist form. All such declarations are subject to verification against the student’s DARS report. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering views wrongful declarations very seriously. Any wrongful declaration will be reviewed by the department to determine whether it constitutes academic misconduct.
  • Students who have not satisfied the course’s pre-requisites and co-requisites may be dropped from the class. The department cannot offer assurance that dropping a student from class can be done early enough in a term to enable the student to enroll in another class.
  • Students who think about dropping a “co-requisite” course need to speak to both their advisor and the course instructor prior to doing so. Approval is needed from the department’s Petition Committee to remain in the class if the required co-requisite is dropped.

Course Registration

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their ECE advisor prior to registering for the subsequent term.

ECE Course Cancellation Policy and Procedure

This section describes the policy and procedure to be followed in the event that an ECE course which is required for ECE departmental majors is canceled and the cancellation might delay a students’ graduation date which was not otherwise caused by the student. Particularly in instances where students enrolled in a canceled course are within a year of graduation, it is important for the department to provide an alternative way to meet the degree requirement presented by the respective course.

The policy described here applies to students enrolled in courses which are subsequently canceled. This policy does not enable students to enroll in alternate courses during semesters when the required course is offered nor during semesters for which the course in question was never offered.

When the enrollment for a course staffed by ECE is sufficiently low, it may, by the decision of the ECE Department Chair, be canceled. The Department Chair or Administrative Assistant will communicate this decision promptly to the affected students. The first subsequent action by the student is to meet with his/her advisor to seek alternate plans for enrolling in courses while remaining on track for the planned graduation date. In cases where no such plan can be reasonably formulated, the student’s advisor promptly communicates this finding to the department chair.

While it is the responsibility of the department chair to offer an alternative in these instances, acceptable alternatives to courses can be sought and identified well in advance of any decision to cancel a course. The department chair may appoint a faculty committee to identify and propose alternates for specific departmental courses.

The ECE Petition Committee decides whether a candidate’s course is a suitable alternate. The committee applies a deliberation process similar to requests to enroll in courses at other institutions and count these toward ECE degree program curricular requirements. In reaching its decision, the committee considers the content, objectives, outcomes, and design activities in the canceled course and compares these with the proposed alternative. When the canceled course is a pre- or co-requisite to a required course, the committee should also verify that the alternate course will satisfy the appropriate requirements. While the committee may simply accept or reject the proposed alternate course, it may also reach a decision that requires students to perform work in addition to enrolling in and passing the alternate course.

Credit/No Credit Classes

All courses required for your major must be taken for a grade. Credit/no credit courses can NOT be counted towards your major requirements.

Scholastic Regulations

Academic Warning. An undergraduate student who earns a grade point average less than 2.00 during his/her first semester or term will be placed on academic warning at the end of the semester or term. Excluding a student’s first semester or term, in all subsequent semesters/terms an undergraduate student with fewer than 16 cumulative grade point average hours who earns a cumulative grade point average less than 2.00 is placed or continued on academic warning.

Removal of Academic Warning. If an undergraduate student has a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better, the student is removed from academic warning at the end of the semester or term.

Academic Probation. An undergraduate student with 16 or more cumulative Miami grade point average hours is placed on academic probation at the end of any semester or term in which his/her cumulative grade point average is less than 2.00.

Removal of Academic Probation. If an undergraduate student has a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better, the student shall be removed from academic probation at the end of the semester or term.

Continuation on Academic Probation. An undergraduate student with 16-29 Miami grade point average hours who is on academic probation and who has a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.00 is continued on academic probation. An undergraduate student with 30 or more Miami grade point average hours who is on academic probation and who has a grade point average for a semester or term of 2.00 or better, but has a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.00, is continued on academic probation.

Academic Suspension. An undergraduate student with 30 or more Miami grade point average hours who is on academic probation will be suspended if his/her grade point average for a semester or term is less than 2.00. The period of suspension is two consecutive semesters or terms. Winter term is excluded as a term on which suspension can be applied or satisfied. (See Re-enrollment after Academic Suspension or Dismissal).

Academic Dismissal. Failure to meet academic standards after academic suspension results in academic dismissal. The period of academic dismissal is usually considered a permanent action, but a student may petition for readmission after a two-year absence. Winter term is excluded as a term on which dismissal can be applied or satisfied.

National Information

ABET's four accreditation commissions perform the accreditation function and determine accreditation actions. The Engineering Accreditation Commission is responsible for engineering programs, the Technology Accreditation Commission is responsible for engineering technology programs, the Computing Accreditation Commission is responsible for computer science programs, and the Applied Science Accreditation Commission for applied science programs. All commission members who chair the on-site visit teams are qualified evaluators and are thoroughly knowledgeable of accreditation procedures, policies, and criteria. Programs are identified as accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (EAC/ABET), Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET (TAC/ABET), Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC/ABET), or Applied Science Commission of ABET (ASAC/ABET).

About Accreditation

In the United States, accreditation is used to assure quality in educational institutions and programs. Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review. It requires an educational institution or program to meet certain, defined standards or criteria. Accreditation is sometimes confused with certification. In general, institutions and programs are accredited, and individuals are certified.

There are two types of accreditation -- institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditors, such as those referred to as “regional” accreditors, examine the college or university as a whole educational institution. Specialized accreditors evaluate specific educational programs. Professional accreditors, such as those for medicine, law, architecture and engineering, fall into this category. ABET is a professional accrediting organization that accredits programs, not institutions. More information on ABET and accreditation can be found on the ABET website at http://www.abet.org.

Accreditation serves to notify: Parents and prospective students that a program has met minimum standards; faculty, deans and administrators of a program’s strengths and weaknesses and of ways to improve the program; employers that graduates are prepared to begin professional practice; taxpayers that their funds are spent well; and the public that graduates are aware of public health and safety considerations.

State licensing boards and certification programs may require graduation from an ABET- accredited program as the first step in the registration or certification process for professional practice. In some instances, ABET accreditation may permit students to receive federal funds in the form of scholarships, loans and grants.

On the ABET website you can find answers to the following frequently asked questions:

  • Why are schools in the United States so different from each other?
  • If I am a parent or prospective student, what should I consider when selecting a college or university?
  • How do I know if an accrediting organization is legitimate?
  • How do I find out which engineering programs are accredited?
  • What is the process for accrediting an educational program?
  • Does ABET accredit programs outside the United States?
  • Can ABET assess the educational quality of an engineering or computer science degree earned outside the United States?
  • Will I receive credit for educational courses or programs taken outside the United States?

Student Organizations

Engineering Honor Society (Tau Beta Pi):

The Ohio Xi Chapter of Tau Beta Pi serves "to mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their alma mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as undergraduates in the field of engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in the engineering colleges." Students in the majors of Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Paper Science & Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Chemical Engineering are eligible for election into Tau Beta Pi. Eligibility is based on academic performance based GPAs placing one in the top 1/8 of juniors and top 1/5 of seniors. Election of candidates is based on commitment to leadership and service to the profession and community.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

"IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities." (Source: IEEE website). Miami's IEEE Chapter is a student organization that helps facilitate students' education by providing opportunities to explore and learn outside of the classroom in a hands-on environment. It is in your best interest to join IEEE early in your career and begin taking advantage of the many opportunities it provides. For more details, please visit the IEEE website and Miami's IEEE Student Chapter website.

ECE Student Advisory Council (ECESAC):

ECESAC is a departmental, student-run group that provides a voice for the students of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. The members of the SAC are active in the development and cultivation of department projects, programs, curriculum, and other changes. It's a great opportunity to have an impact on the department now and into the future. If you're interested in learning more and possibly becoming a member, ask your academic advisor for more information.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE):

Founded in 1950, SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in their aspirations and be recognized for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders. The student section at Miami University seeks to encourage girls (K-12) to consider engineering or computing as a career choice as well as support the current engineering and computer students during their academic career. They hold regular monthly meetings as well as outreach events, social events, and professional development workshops. Please visit the Society of Women Engineers website for more information.

IEEE - Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN):

IEEE-HKN is a unique membership organization dedicated to encouraging and recognizing excellence in the IEEE-designated fields of interest. These include: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, Law and Policy. Members consist of students, alumni, and other professionals who have demonstrated exceptional academic and professional accomplishments. Please visit the IEEE-HKN website for more information.

*The department makes every effort to ensure that our handbook is up-to-date with the most current information. Please remember to check your DARS as it is the official record of your progress and degree requirements.