Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) offers two undergraduate degrees. A Bachelor of Arts is a more flexible degree for students looking to pursue areas of interest outside of engineering. The Bachelor of Science is an accredited program that prepares students for the professional practice of engineering or a career in academia.

O-Week FAQs

Why should I study Electrical & Computer Engineering?

Electrical & Computer Engineering is at the forefront of modern technology and is fundamental to essentially all engineered products. With a major in ECE, you can develop cutting-edge products in almost any field.

What do students do when they graduate with a BSEE?

Industry (photonics, ICs, data science, hardware, software, biomedical, neuro-engineering,…), MEE, PhD programs, other grad programs.

If I am considering this major, what classes do I have to take this year?

PHYS 101/102 (*); CHEM 121 (*); MATH 101/102 (*); COMP 140 (+); ELEC 220 (+)

* or honors versions, or you can skip these if you have AP/transfer credit
+ strongly recommended but technically not required in first year

If I have AP credit, should I use it or are there classes I should consider retaking anyway?

There is no single right answer. Talk to your divisional advisor.

How should I decide whether or not to use my AP credit?

Talk to your divisional advisor.

Can I study abroad? If so, when is the best time?

Study abroad usually happens in spring of junior year. It requires some planning but anyone can do it if they make it a priority.

What kind of research opportunities are available to your students?

See the ECE Research Guide for a list of faculty and their research interests. Some faculty members manage Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) that are designed to accommodate a large number of undergraduates. If the faculty member agrees to take you, then register for ELEC 490 (research) or ELEC 491 (VIP research).

What extracurricular activities or projects do students in your program normally participate in?

Engineering extracurricular groups include IEEE, SWE, ShELECs, SHPE, HACER, & NSBE. ELECs participate in every type of extracurricular activity available at Rice. In student government, ECE has more than its share of College presidents.

What do classes in ECE normally look like?

Most ELEC courses are centered on lectures + homework + exams. Many of these courses include team projects, lab components, or communication deliverables. Some classes (1-2 per year) are fully devoted to labs.

Is the curriculum flexible enough for students to pursue other interests? i.e. Can I complete a minor, take classes outside the major or specialize further within the major?

Yes. Probably 20% of our students obtain minors or a second major, the most common being COMP, MATH, STAT, BUSI, DSCI, & PHYS.

Are there any other things I should know about ECE?

We have an amazing sense of camaraderie. Don’t take our word for it, go ask upper-level students in ECE or any other Engineering major.