ECSE Admitted Undergraduates Virtual Visit

A Letter from the ECSE Department Head

Dear Class 2024 Admitted Students:

Congratulations on your admission to Rensselaer!  On behalf of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I want to send our greetings and provide you with some information about our department.

If you have already chosen to join the Rensselaer family, we look forward to having you!  If you are in the process of making a decision, I’d like to share my own experience.   I went through four universities – undergraduate at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, and graduate studies at University of Toronto, University of Illinois, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  I learned that finding an institution and department culture compatible with your own values is the most important factor.  For myself, I resonate the most with a smaller school having a culture of collaboration, support, and intellectual rigor.   In this regard, RPI was the best fit – and I’ve been here happily for more than 30 years!

The Electrical Engineering program in RPI was established over 100 years ago, one of the first in the country.   Our graduates include inventors, entrepreneurs, and university presidents.  We pride ourselves on the rigorous and relevant curriculum – with room for creativity.   There are four key components to our curriculum:
- Broad Base: Basic math and science courses as well as humanities and social science electives.
- ECSE Foundation: Foundational courses for all ECSE students with balanced theory and hands-on lab coverages.
- ECSE Electives: More specialized courses grouped by concentrations such as AI and Learning, Robotics, Control and Automation, Communications and Networking, Microelectronics, Power Systems, and others.
- Design Courses:  Integrating skills gained in courses to apply to multidisciplinary team-based projects.

Many ECSE students choose the dual-major program, such as the popular combinations of Computer Systems Engineering – Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering – Applied Physics.   ECSE students also actively participate in the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) to gain research experience through ECSE faculty research projects, earning pay or credits.

There are many other opportunities to enrich and expand your experience beyond the classroom, including clubs, sports, Greeks, and many others.  Beyond the classroom, ECSE students participate in Eta-Kappa-Nu (HKN, the Electrical Engineering Honor Society) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, the Electrical Engineering professional society).  There are also international exchange programs with many universities around the world.

Like other education institutions around the country (and world), we are currently delivering our courses online.  We anticipate that once we are back to our normal operations (either this summer or fall), there will be a wealth of online materials to enhance our students’ learning experience. 

I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the department and our programs.   There are links to ECSE labs, research, and students.  Please feel free to contact me or our undergraduate student coordinator, Dr. Rama Hamarneh, if you have any questions.

Stay safe and healthy - I hope to meet you on campus in fall!


John Wen, Ph.D.

Head, Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering

Russell Sage Professor 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute



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