What can I study in ECE?
Electrical and computer engineering is a broad field encompassing many areas of study. It offers the widest range of career possibilities. ECE sits at the core of most technical advances made today—fields include information technology, biomedical, alternative energy and much more. ECE is truly the engine that powers the technology of the 21st century.
As a student in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Toronto, you can choose your own path. The first two years of study will cover the foundation required for the choices you can make in your third and fourth years. In the upper two years of your four-year Bachelor’s degree, you must choose four areas of interest, and two areas to focus in depth. ECE offers depth in a wide range of courses that will open doors to almost any career you can imagine. Create your own mix of qualifications by choosing to go deep in two of these areas:
Biomedical Engineering involves the integration of engineering and the physical biomedical engineering is a broad field, and one area is the application of ECE technology to the field of medicine. This includes equipment like medical imaging, heart pacemakers, artificial limbs, ultrasound, CAT scans as well as areas like neural engineering (the study of the human brain and cognitive devices for sensing and making decisions in the brain). There are a variety of career options, most requiring graduate studies. More about Biomedical Engineering
Mechatronics & Systems Control
Mechatronics is related to the systems control area, and includes knowledge of robotics and electronics. It involves the creation of embedded systems. Mechatronics evolved out of the Japanese automotive industry in the 1970s but has come to include many consumer goods that incorporate embedded systems. Embedded systems are found in many of the products used widely, and a good example would be a “smart” seat in a car. This seat would have its own sensors and ability to remember your setting and automatically adjust itself to your specifications. More about Mechatronics & Systems Control
Software & Hardware Engineering
Students who focus on computer software learn the basics of operating system structures, memory management, compilers and middleware. Computers today are designed in conjunction with compiler technology and almost all make use of an operating system—this includes laptops, cell phones and PDAs. Students will also examine the basics of data structures, programming languages, databases, security and software engineering. More about Software & Hardware Engineering
There are three areas of focus within the energy systems field: high-power energy systems, low-power energy systems and control and energy systems. In these areas students will learn how to create energy systems and also how to design power supplies for systems with a wide variety of demands. Students focusing on high-power courses learn how energy is generated and transmitted efficiently to the homes, businesses and industries connected to energy grids. Low-power energy systems involve power supplies to a wide range of systems, from laptops and cell phones to hybrid vehicles. The control and energy systems area targets the emerging demand for systems engineers working in the area of highly distributed power systems. These courses study energy at a systems level.
Digital & Analog Electronics
Students who gain depth in digital electronics explore how networks of semiconductor devices such as transistors perform signal processing tasks. Examples of such tasks include generating and amplifying speech or music, TV broadcasting and displaying, cell phone and satellite communications. Students learn how to design sophisticated electronic microchips to perform these tasks in a variety of electronic systems. More about Electronics
Electromagnetics & RF Microwave
Depth courses in electromagnetics are designed to provide the student with a strong foundation in the theory and application of electromagnetic waves. Students will learn how electromagnetic waves can be used in electronic circuits, optical communication systems, medical imaging systems and wireless communication systems. With the addition of a course on partial differential equations, this focus will give students an excellent foundation for further graduate studies in the area of electromagnetics. More about Electromagnetics
Photonics is the study of how to generate, detect, and manipulate light. One of the most important applications of photonics today is fibre-optic communications. The incredibly large data capacity of optical fibres and the very high-speed optoelectronic components form the backbone to our long-distance telecommunications networks. Without optical fiber networks, we would not have the Internet or emails, and long-distance phone calls would be slow and expensive. Engineers with a photonics background can find careers in optical communications and other emerging technologies. More about Photonics
There are three areas of focus within this field: communications, networking and signal processing. The communications engineer is concerned with the efficient and reliable transmission of information over noisy channels. Such channels arise in many applications, e.g., cellular radio systems, satellite broadcasting systems, magnetic or optical recording systems (discs and DVDs), fibre-optic or coaxial cable systems. More about Communications