What is Electrical Engineering?

Detailed Curriculum Plans

The electronics age has been with us for many years now, and many of the new products you continue to see as a result of this age are created by electrical engineers. Electrical engineers perform jobs such as developing new ways of making microchips, designing communications systems, using lasers and robots to solve problems, running our nation's electric power distribution and telecommunications infrastructure and designing products such as automobile control systems, cellular phones, and biomedical devices.

The electronics age has led us into the development of revolutionary information technologies, in which new and very capable information products are being created at a rapid rate. Electrical engineers create products such as control systems for cars and airplanes, communications satellites, PDAs and cellular telephones, microelectronic devices, the internet and wireless communication systems, electric power distribution systems and microprocessors for computers and programmable devices.

Electrical Engineering has as its educational objectives to produce graduates who:

  • Engineering problem definition and solution using engineering analysis, experimentation, and creativity based on sound mathematical and scientific principles.
  • Electrical/computer systems, components, processes design requiring knowledge of the discipline, teamwork, communication skills and an ability to work with a diverse set of constraints.
  • Productive engineering practice, research or management using technical, hands-on and professional knowledge, skills and initiatives required for success in the public, private or academic sectors.
  • Continuing education and learning on the job, experiential learning, leading and mentoring others and the ability to apply lessons learned to new situations.

What is the REES Concentration?

Starting in the 2009-2010 academic school year, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department will offer a new undergraduate concentration in Renewable Electric Energy Systems (REES) within the Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering degree program. The new concentration evolved to address the need to create a national power system capable of integrating geographically distributed renewable energy and advanced storage systems that will interface with the existing electric utility systems to serve the country's future electric energy demands.

Solar PanelsIn the fall semester of 2008, the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided funding for the establishment of an Engineering Research Center (ERC) and created the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at North Carolina State University. One of the center's key responsibilities is to educate a diverse group of adaptive, creative, globally connected and innovative graduates for the green energy industry through a continuum of educational programs that span from middle school through the doctoral level.

Currently efforts are underway for large-scale utilization of Distributed Renewable Energy Resources (DRER) to significantly increase the use of renewable sources (solar, wind, geo-thermal, hydro, and ocean tidal) to break the nations heavy dependence on carbon based fuel. The widespread use of DRER at the residential level is a major paradigm shift for the electric power industry, moving away from today's centralized power generation paradigm to one of distributed generation. It is widely recognized by both the electric utilities and the policy makers that for this to happen, the current power grid must be revised considerable to be more "smart".

The Renewable Electric Energy Systems concentration will be open for enrollment to both new and current undergraduate students majoring in the Electrical Engineering degree program. The new concentration enriches the current electrical engineering curriculum with coursework in electromechanical energy conversion, renewable electric power systems, power electronics, and power transmission and distribution systems.