UCSB Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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UCSB Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is an American ECE department; one of the five departments within the UCSB College of Engineering. It was founded in 1962 as the first engineering department,[1] initially not belonging to the yet non-existent College of Engineering, but the newly established College of Letters and Science. This expansion came in accordance to the higher education boom of the 60's and 70's, with both student and faculty numbers doubling between 1960 and 1970.[2] In 1964, the department was granted $100,000 to create an experimental computer communications laboratory, and received its first large computer, an IBM Model 65, the following year. The next year, the department unveiled its first doctoral program named 'Electrical Engineering and Computer Studies'.[2]

The department is considered one of the top programs in the world as of 2011, with the National Research Council naming the department 8th in research and 4th overall in the United States,[3] while Times Higher Education ranked it 16th worldwide.[4] It has also risen to national and worldwide prominence in the past few years, as evidenced in the Times Higher Education rankings of 2005, where UCSB was named 25th best university in technology,[5] as opposed to its 16th place ranking in 2011. The average GPA of students admitted to the college was 3.93[6] compared with a 4.19 average at UC Berkeley.[7]

The department places heavy emphasis on research, with a total of $22.2 million devoted to research for the 2010-2011 academic year. It also houses two Nobel Prize laureates, one National Medal of Technology recipient, and includes 26 IEEE fellows among many other faculty members with distinctions.[8]


The ECE department covers both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering majors. In addition, the computer engineering program is in joint operation with the undergraduate Department of Computer Science,[6] allowing computer engineering majors and computer science majors to take classes from both departments as part of their major requirements.[9] Essentially, all three majors take classes offered from the two departments interchangeably, but EE students stay within the ECE department for their upper division courses.




As of Fall 2010, there were a total of 361 undergraduates enrolled in the department, with an estimated thirty percent of the 223 undergraduate degrees issued coming from ECE. The department offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Electrical Engineering, and a BS in Computer Engineering.[10]


Although named Electrical and Computer Engineering, the department offers a graduate degree in neither Electrical Engineering nor Computer Engineering. It does however, offer a Master of Science (MS) and a Doctorate (PhD) in Electrical and Computer Engineering.[10]

ECE students looking to pursue a graduate degree at UCSB can also choose to enroll under the Department of Materials, which is not available to undergraduates. It offers both an MS and a PhD.[10]

The College offers a 5-year program, in which accepted students are granted the opportunity to complete classes at an accelerated pace and earn both a BS and an MS in 5 years. ECE students in the program earn a BS in their respective majors and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering.[11] Acceptance into the 5-year program involves a strenuous application process, while still having to take the GRE, an engineering-based standardized test that is required by many graduate schools.[12]


The department offers a joint collection of courses; with courses labeled under ECE being offered by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and courses labeled ENGR being offered by the Engineering Sciences division. The department, on par with the university, does not follow the conventional 101 system; instead, it offers courses in series, with the number between 1-49 indicating lower division courses, 50-99 indicating middle division courses, and 100+ indicating upper division courses.

Courses labeled ENGR serve as a focal point for the 5 engineering departments, offering interdisciplinary courses that serve as either a basis or a supplement to higher division courses. These courses include basic computer programming, ethics, and drafting. The majority of classes labeled ECE are exclusive to the students within the department. However, introductory level classes are open to everyone, but priority registration is given to ECE students and students with that specific major requirement.[9]



ECE has been recognized by the NRC as one of the departments which have cited or published the most papers.[3] Its current focus centers around Communication and Signal Processing; researching new ways of communication like fiber optics, Computer Engineering; mainly nanotechnology and new computing technology, Control Systems; which emphasizes sensors and robot locomotion manipulation, and Electronics and Photonics; which involves semiconductors, light emission/transmission, as well as high speed electronic devices.[13]


The department has affiliations with multiple renowned research laboratories, which are available to graduate students and undergraduates with the proper clearances.[14]


  1. ^ "Facts". Facts Brochure. UCSB. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Kelley, Robert (1981). Transformations. The Regents of the University of California. pp. 22, 23. 
  3. ^ a b "National Ranking Overview". Electrical And Computer Engineering Ranking. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "THE Rankings 2011-2012". Top 50 Engineering and Technology Universities 2011-2012. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "THE Rankings 2005". Top 100 Technology Universities. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Undergraduate Facts". Stats and Facts. UCSB. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Facts at a Glance". Berkeley Admission Statistics. UC Berkeley. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Department of ECE". About the ECE Department. UCSB. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "UCSB GEAR". UCSB General Engineering Academic Requirements. UCSB. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Facts". UCSB COE Facts. UCSB. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Graduate Division Admissions". 5 Year Program. UCSB. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "GRE". About the GRE. ETS. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Research". ECE Research. UCSB. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "UCSB Labs". UCSB lab affiliations. UCSB. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "CNSI". About CNSI. CNSI. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 

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