Electrical Engineering -- Electives

Technical Electives (15 credits)

The term “Technical Elective” is synonymous with “Engineering or Science” or “Engineering, Science or Math” elective.

The general rule is that a course offered for credit by the school of engineering, that is not a required course (within your track) counts as a “technical elective”. That includes engineering, science, math and computer courses as well as courses on other topics such as finance and management, with any of the following designations:

ChE, CE, ECE, ME, EID, ESC, Bio, Ch, CS, Ma, Ph, VIP.

EE courses that are required in a track OTHER than the one you are taking count as technical electives.

Note there are some exceptions to this rule, that are specified in the following section on free electives. Specifically, some courses offered in the school of engineering do NOT count as technical electives.

There are some rules you need to be aware of regarding minors. In general, any 400 level elective used for the minor cannot also be used towards the master degree. In addition, at most 3 credits can be used for more than one minor (e.g., MA352 Discrete Math can be used for both a math and computer science minor, but the total of such courses cannot exceed 3 credits).

Math minor: Students should consult with the math department chair for specific information regarding the requirements for the math minor. The discussion here is limited to the relation to technical electives. The math minor requires 15 math credits at the 300 level or above, distributed as follows: MA350 and MA351 (Advanced Calculus I & II), MA326 Linear Algebra, MA347 Abstract Algebra, and a 3 credit math elective course at or above the 300 level. Depending on the chosen track, MA326 may be required for the EE degree. In this case, MA326 counts towards the 15 credits required for the math minor (i.e., an additional 12 credits, only, are needed for the minor). The courses used for the math minor (except MA326 if it is required in the track) count as technical electives.

Computer science minor: Electrical engineering students in each track take several required courses that can be used towards the computer science minor. However, there is a cap on the number of required credits that can be applied to the minor. The following is a summary guide for the technical elective choices electrical engineering students need to make to receive the computer science minor:

Computer engineering track: Students take ECE264, ECE365 Data Structures & Algorithms I and II, total 4 credits. Among ECE303 Communication Networks, ECE357 Computer Operating Systems, ECE366 Software Engineering, MA352 Discrete Math (3 credits each), exactly one of these can be used for the computer science minor. Thus, students in this track need an additional 9 credits of appropriate 300 or 400 level courses.

Signals and electronics track: Students take ECE303 Communication Networks, and ECE311 Hardware Design, which can be used as 6 credits towards the computer science minor. To receive the computer science minor, students in this track must also take ECE264 Data Structures and Algorithms I (2 credits), either ECE365 Data Structures & Algorithms II (2 credits) or a suitable substitution, and 9 additional credits of appropriate 300 or 400 level courses.

Technical electives and the Master of Engineering degree: Students are eligible to take electives at the graduate level as long as the prerequisite requirements are met. These courses can be used to fulfill the requirements of the Bachelor of Engineering degree. In addition, the concept of the “Integrated Master Program” is that credits taken in excess of the requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering degree can be used to fulfill the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering. Some caution must be taken because of specific rules:

  • A graduate level (4xx numbered) course used to substitute for a required course (according to the “12 credit rule”), or used to fulfill the requirements of any minor, cannot be used to satisfy the requirements of the Master of Engineering degree. Such courses are “locked in” with the Bachelor of Engineering degree.
  • Credits used to satisfy elective requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering degree cannot be used for the Master of Engineering degree. However, credits for graduate level courses taken while you are an undergraduate that are in excess of the Bachelor of Engineering degree requirements may be used towards the Master of Engineering degree.
  • The set of courses used to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Engineering degree must be approved by your eventual graduate advisor. For example, the number of credits for courses that do not have an “ECE” designation that can be used may be limited. Undergraduate students should consult with their current faculty advisor if they have concerns in this regard.
  • On occasion, exceptional students may be admitted into the Master program while still undergraduates, and complete the requirements for the Bachelor and Master of Engineering degrees simultaneously. Students considering this must contact the electrical engineering department chair no later than the spring of their junior year.

Independent Study Courses

EE students cannot register for an independent study course offered through the School of Engineering with an instructor that is not a member of the full-time faculty of the School of Engineering without the approval of the EE department chair.

Humanities & Social Science Electives (6 credits)

In addition to the 12 credit core sequence HSS1,2,3,4, all electrical engineering students must take an additional 6 credits of Humanities & Social Science electives, specifically, courses with Hum, SS or HTA designation.

Free Electives (6 credits)

In addition to the electives already described, all electrical engineering students must take 6 free elective credits. In general, a free elective can be any course offered by the Schools of Art, Architecture, Engineeirng or Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, with exceptions as noted here. Note that any course that would count as a technical elective can also count as a free elective. It is also possible to “split” such a course. For example, for a 3 credit course that counts as a technical elective, it is possible to declare say 2 credits as technical electives, and 1 credit as a free elective. This may be necessary in certain cases to achieve the requisite total number of elective credits for the degree.

Courses Offered by the Cooper Union Schools of Art and Architecture

Courses in math, science, engineering or related fields, intended primarily for art or architecture students, including Arch103 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, Arch106 Concepts of Physics, and courses with an RS designation, cannot be used as free electives.

Courses on web development that emphasize artistic aspects, such as TE305 Techniques in HTML and Programming, can count as a free elective.

Students must contact the respective schools to determine which courses are open to engineering students, to determine prerequisites and other course information.

Courses Offered by the Cooper Union School of Engineering

Some courses offered in the school of engineering count do not count as technical electives, but do count as free electives. Some do not count as either.

Courses Offered by the School of Engineering that count as Free Electives but NOT Technical Electives

CS 278 -- Ethics for Computer Science

EID 103 -- Principles of Design

EID 105 -- Drawing & Sketching for Engineers

EID 210 -- Engineering Design Graphics

MA 151.1 -- Math in Art

ME/EID 313 -- Industrial Design

ME/EID 314 -- Cloud Based Design and Manufacturing

ME/EID 413 -- Advanced Product Design

ME/EID 416 -- Materials in a Circular Economy

Several courses offered in the school of engineering cover substantially similar material to courses required in the electrical engineering program and, as such, cannot be used to fulfill the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering:

Courses that cannot be used as technical or free electives:

CS102** Introduction to Computer Science
PH165/166 Concepts of Physics
ESC220 Principles of Electrical Engineering
ESC221 Basic Principles of Electrical Engineering
ME251 Systems Engineering
ME371 Data-Driven Problems in Mechanical Engineering

**Students who transfer into electrical engineering from another major and have taken CS102 (Fall 2018 or later) have two options. If they take ECE160 Programming for Electrical Engineers, then CS102 cannot be used towards the degree. This option is recommended for students who do not have a solid foundation in programming beyond CS102. If they chose not to take ECE160, they would need a total of 16 technical elective credits. One of these elective credits, plus CS102, would then be approved as an appropriate substitute for ECE160.

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