EE and CSE FAQ

Why should you consider majoring in Electrical Engineering, Computer and Systems Engineering, or both?  First, take a look at this short video where some of our successful alumni answer this question in their own words:

If you like math, physics, and programming  and want to apply these to real-world problems, you might enjoy majoring in Electrical Engineering (EE) and/or Computer and Systems Engineering (CSE).  You’ll learn about devices and algorithms across a wide range of scales: from tiny transistors inside a chip to your smartphone; from a wind turbine to the national power grid; from theoretical artificial intelligence algorithms to autonomous robots.  You can apply what you learn in ECSE to a wide range of fields: biology, medicine, law, and business; it’s not just about resistors and capacitors!

  • Where do EE and CSE overlap?

The two majors have many similarities.  In either one, you’ll get a solid foundation in applied math and physics, computer programming, circuit theory and electronics, engineering design, and professional development. You can take a look at our curriculum and templates for more details.

  • How is EE different than CSE?

EEs generally focus more on hardware and physics.  This is where you’ll learn about machines, devices, and systems that consume a lot of power, and how that power is managed.  This is also where you’ll build circuits and systems at a small scale, like designing and fabricating your own microchips and sensors.

  • How is CSE different than EE?

CSEs generally focus more on algorithms and systems.  Compared to an EE, you’ll do more computer programming and learn more mathematical theory related to areas like artificial intelligence.  This is where you can learn about the Internet of Things, computer vision, communication networks, and robotics.

  • Can I do both?

Yes!  Many students comfortably get an EE/CSE dual major where you’ll get a broad education in both areas.  You’ll have a lot of freedom to choose electives in your senior year that focus on what you want to learn more about. 

  • How is CSE different than Computer Science?

A simple answer is that Computer Science is more focused on what computers can do, and Computer Systems Engineering is more focused on how computers are built.  You can get a CS degree without taking your hands off the keyboard, but in CSE you will get them dirty with all sorts of sensors and devices!  You’ll learn a lot of ways of applying math to model the real world in the CSE major that you won’t see in a CS degree.

  • Can I do both?

Yes!  It’s extremely common for students to dual major in CSE and CS to get exposed to both ways of thinking.

  • Can I do EE or CSE and another major?

Yes!  Some popular dual majors, including EE and CSE, and CSE and CS, are EE and Mechanical Engineering, as well as EE and Applied Physics. We also have many students in both EE and CSE who dual major with MATH. You can also earn a minor in many fields such as Economics, Psychology, Electronic Arts and Sustainability Studies.

  • Where do EEs and CSEs get jobs?

The systems-level way of thinking you’ll get from an EE/CSE degree is extremely valuable to companies and generalizable across a wide range of disciplines.  Typical companies where our students get jobs after graduation include Intel, GE, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, IBM, Qualcomm, Apple, Microsoft, iRobot, and Tesla. Some of our students also being working in start-ups or start their own companies. Many alumni also work at national labs or head to grad school for further education.

For more information about the program, visit our Prospective Students page. For more information about our labs and classes, click here.