University of South Carolina

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Electrical Engineering: What to Expect

Electrical Engineering majors at the University of South Carolina will benefit from challenging coursework, outstanding professors, and a wide-range of hands-on opportunities in both classrooms and laboratories. As an Electrical Engineering student, you will be encouraged to collaborate with faculty and graduate students on research projects. Small classes and dedicated faculty lead to the feel of a small college within a large research university. You will develop the ability to design electrical systems, work as members of teams, make oral presentations, and write technical documents. Through your coursework, you will learn about electronic devices and systems, power and energy, and wireless communication. You will participate in a capstone design that begins with a concept and ends with a working prototype of a system. As an Electrical Engineering major, you may choose to concentrate in Electric Energy Systems, Microelectronics and Photonics, or Communication and Signal Integrity.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Electrical Engineering:

  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Electrical Science
  • Introductory Electrical Engineering Laboratory
  • Circuits
  • Signals and Systems
  • Electronics Laboratory
  • Control Systems Laboratory
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Control Systems
  • Computer Modeling of Electrical Systems
  • Electromagnetics I
  • Introduction to Microelectronics
  • Electronics
  • Capstone Design Project I and II

There is a 20 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Electrical Engineering majors can participate in study abroad all over the world.  While abroad, you will gain an understanding of the global nature of both business and academia, as well as a greater understanding of cultural and political differences. Both of these are important for good engineering design to meet human needs. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As an Electrical Engineering major, you can get involved with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Engineers without Borders, and the National Society of Black Engineers. You will benefit from opportunities to interact with engineering professionals, hear speakers on topics of current interest, keep up with new developments in electrical engineering, and participate in service and fellowship.  You can also get involved in annual competitions such as “Top Gun,” a vehicle design competition of small cars racing on a magnetic track. There is also a design competition for seniors, solar and electric boating competitions, and the Future Energy Challenge. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Graduates may pursue advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering focusing on three major research areas including power and energy systems, microelectronics and photonics, and communications. Power and energy includes clean power sources, automatic controls, and power electronics. Microelectronics and photonics includes solar photovoltaics, semiconductor fabrication, and nanotechnology applications. Communications include RF electronics, wireless communication systems, and signal integrity on computer circuit boards. Other graduates may pursue graduate studies in medicine and law.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Several Electrical Engineering faculty members have received USC’s Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award including Dr. Grigory Simin, Dr. Antonello Monti, and Dr. T.S. Sudarshan. Dr. Charles Brice won the Samuel Litman award for teaching and Dr. Roger Dougal was a Thomas Gregory Professor.  The department has two Carolina Distinguished Professors: Dr. T.S. Sudarshan and Dr. Asif Khan. Dr. Sudarshan was also awarded the Carolina Trustee Professorship, the Russell Research Award, and the USC International Advocate Award.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Scholarships that incoming freshman are eligible for include the Cassidy Fae Pendley Memorial Scholarship in Engineering; Engineering Faculty, Student, and Alumni Scholarship; Harold S. Wrenn Bicentennial Scholarship; and the Michelin North America, Inc., Endowed Scholarship. The College of Engineering and Computing offers more than 60 additional scholarships each year.
Associated Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience. These communities provide you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. First-year students in the College of Engineering and Computing may choose to live in the Engineering and Computing Community. Students will benefit from increased interaction with faculty and go on excursions to places such as Bose and BMW’s plants in South Carolina.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The USC Career Center operates a satellite office in the College of Engineering and Computing providing convenient access for students to obtain career guidance, as well as to participate in employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Electrical Engineering majors at the University of South Carolina have interned with SCE&G, Santee-Cooper, Nucor Steel, Eaton, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), General Electric, and Disney. Student research opportunities are available in all our research areas, including semiconductor fabrication, power electronics, and wireless communication.

Career Opportunities

Electrical Engineering majors often pursue careers in electrical design in various areas, including industrial electronics, power systems, manufacturing industries, and government labs. Graduates may also choose to enter professions such as medicine, law, or business. Some Electrical Engineering majors at the University have even started their own companies. On average, Electrical Engineering majors will earn $60,000 to $80,000 within the first five years after graduation.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

Alumni Spotlight

Electrical Engineering graduate, Rick Chowdhury, did not have to travel far to put his degree to use and give back to his alma mater. After graduation, Rick landed a career with Eaton Corporation in their Leadership Development Program. He now works as an Electrical Design Engineer for Belka Engineering Associates, Inc. in Columbia. Rick performs a variety of tasks each day including designing power distribution, lighting, fire alarm, and communication systems for new construction and major renovation projects. “I do this mainly using AutoCAD drafting software and the work involves a lot of coordination with architects and engineers from other firms who work collaboratively towards the common goal of bringing a project together and to completion,” he said. Rick has had the opportunity to do several projects for the University of South Carolina. “The most exciting part of my job is seeing a project on which you have worked come to completion and know you had a hand in it,” he said. His firm played a role in the Patterson Hall renovation on the Columbia campus. “Our firm was contracted by the architect to handle the electrical design scope of the work,” he said. “I am excited to have had a hand in designing something that will forever remain on my alma mater’s campus.” The Engineering program at Carolina provided Rick with a strong foundation for his career. “What it did give me was a solid base in the fundamental theories and the skills necessary to solve any problem that I might face.” Rick also sought out opportunities while at the University of South Carolina to help prepare him for his career. During his junior and senior year at Carolina, he served as Vice Chair for the student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Rick encourages current students to seek out internship opportunities while at Carolina. “In a competitive job market, it is always good to stand out and have that real world experience that makes you the practical choice for hiring later on” he said. “It may also increase your initial salary when you start getting your offices as you interview closer to graduation

About the College of Engineering and Computing

The College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina is composed of five departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.  The College offers nine undergraduate degree programs.  The College of Engineering and Computing has been undergoing an unprecedented growth in research and scholarship and its faculty excel in a variety of areas including Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, and Atomic Level Engineering.  The College also offers several options for graduate studies including a Certificate of Graduate Studies, Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering.

Points of Pride

  • A national report issued on September 28, 2010 shows that USC and the College of Engineering and Computing are home to some of the South’s best doctoral programs including Chemical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South), Electrical Engineering (ranked 7th nationally and first in the South), and Mechanical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South).

Additional Resources
Electrical Engineering Website
College of Engineering and Computing Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin