Electrical Engineering is an exciting field involving the design, fabrication, and measurement of devices and systems for applications ranging from information sciences to healthcare. Careers in Electrical Engineering are diverse, including the design of devices and circuits, the automation and adaptive control of complex systems, and the manipulation and processing of images and signals for a variety of applications within information sciences, homeland defense, health-care and environmental monitoring systems. Areas of study and research opportunities are available in the areas of automatic controls, digital systems, VLSI circuit design, design automation, solid state devices, microsystems, microfabrication, nanotechnology, communications, network analysis and synthesis, microwave systems, computer engineering, signal processing, and reliable system design and analysis.
Required credits, degree requirements and course requirements
The Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers the Master of Engineering (ME), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in electrical engineering. The selection of a degree program depends upon the interest and background of each individual. The ME degree requires 30 credits of graded coursework, including 3-6 credits of a Master’s project and a graduate seminar course. The MS degree requires 24 credits of graded coursework, 6 credits of a Master’s thesis and a graduate seminar course. The Ph.D. degree requires 12 credits of graded coursework beyond a Master’s degree and 24 credits of Dissertation research credits towards the completion of a thesis. More details on the requirements are available within the Electrical Engineering Graduate Handbook at: www.ece.virginia.edu. Financial aid is available to qualified graduate students in the form of graduate research or teaching assistantships and fellowships. Additional degree programs in Computer Engineering are offered in conjunction with the Computer Science Department. The department also offers a part-time program in which an employed engineer is able to work toward a Master’s degree in electrical engineering with a minimum of absence from work. A minimum of two-thirds (and possibly all) of the master’s degree requirements can be completed through courses offered by the University of Virginia Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP). These courses are also available to those who wish to increase their knowledge of electrical engineering but do not wish to enroll in a formal degree program.
Computing Systems area focusses on embedded systems and information processing systems. For details on facilities and resources available, please consult the graduate record for the Computer Engineering program. Faculty includes: Professors Aylor, Blalock, Calhoun, Dugan, Johnson, Lach, Powell, Stan, Veeraraghavan, and Williams.
Communications and signal processing continues to provide exciting research opportunities. New developments in communications and signal processing science and engineering, as well as advances in device technologies continue to take place especially in the areas of wireless and optical communications and medical imaging. The faculty brings expertise spanning the full range of communication and signal processing theory and engineering to the next generation of communications challenges. Areas of expertise include digital modulation and error control coding; wireless communication, including smart antenna technology; statistical signal processing; optical communications, including fiber and wireless infrared systems; multi-user spread spectrum system analysis; detection and estimation; resource-efficient multiuser communication; and medical imaging. Faculty includes Professors Acton, Berger, Brandt-Pearce, Wilson.
Control systems include several areas in systems and control theory and their applications. The theoretical work spans the areas of adaptive control, nonlinear control, and robust control. Specific topics of interest include control design for systems with nonlinearities, such as backlash, deadzone, failures, hysteresis and saturation, stabilization of nonlinear systems, feedback linearization, sliding mode control, and multivariable adaptive control. Some of the applications of this theoretical work are artificial heart pumps, flight control systems, robotics, high speed rotors suspended on magnetic bearings, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV). Faculty includes Professors Lin and Tao.
Applied electrophysics involves the study of novel solid-state electronic materials, devices, and circuits for microelectronic, optoelectronic, and millimeter-wave applications. Much of the research in this area includes the development of novel devices and systems and is conducted in the Semiconductor Device Laboratories. These laboratories share major fabrication, test, and computing resources, including a 3,500 square foot clean room facility for microelectronic fabrication equipped with molecular beam epitaxy systems for epitaxial growth, lithography with nanometer capability, reactive ion etching, evaporation and sputter deposition of metals, insulators, and superconducting films. Equipment available for material and device evaluation includes a field emission scanning electron microscope with one nanometer resolution, a photoluminescence system, a semiconductor parameter analyzer, a surface profiler, and a variety of optical microscopes, curve tracers, and other equipment. Microwave equipment includes network analyzers, sweep oscillators, and a variety of waveguide components, sources, and detectors for millimeter- and submillimeter-wave applications. Faculty includes: Professors Barker, Bean, Beling, Campbell, Gelmont, Ghosh, Globus, Gupta, Harriott, Holmes, Lichtenberger, Reed, Swami, and Weikle.
The department and the University provide a wide range of computing facilities that support both research and education. The University offers wired and wireless network/internet access, email accounts, high performance computing cluster, among other services. ECE Department’s Linux servers provide access to engineering software packages, such as Mentor Graphics, Cadence, Synopsys, and many other CAD tools. Various software development tools and programming languages are also available.