What is ECE?

Engineers make the world a better place; they take a fuzzy idea and turn it into something real. They use math and science to solve problems and create new products and services. As an electrical and computer engineer you will work at the heart of the most rapidly developing technology humankind has ever seen. You’ll employ nanoelectronics, computers and new photonic crystals to create biomedical instruments that save lives and new robotic systems that can search disaster sites or remotely explore other planets. You will make devices and systems that harvest the energy of the sun, wind and sea and channel it into the energy grid that supports modern civilization.

The Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) program prepares you for a wide range of engineering study and career options, including business, biomedical engineering, computer hardware, the aerospace industry, computer software, nanoelectronic chips, photonics, nanoengineering, robotics and solar energy harvesting and distribution.

What do Electrical Engineers do?

Almost everything we use and rely on in our everyday lives has an electrical component – from the microwave that heats up our food to the computer games we play to the cell phone we use to keep in touch. Using electricity and light (photons), electrical engineers apply specialized engineering skills to the design, manufacture, application, installation and operation of electrical products and systems. Electrical technology can be combined with other fields of engineering, such as mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, to designing diagnostic equipment and artificial limbs. Electrical engineering offers a broad range of research in areas as diverse as communications, systems control, biomedical engineering, electromagnetics, photonics, electronics and energy systems.

What do Computer Engineers do?

One of the newer engineering disciplines, computer engineers work in every sector of society and industry. They design the control systems for automated production lines, create software for digital telephone switching systems, plan and supervise the installation of a Local Area Network (LAN), and develop new operation systems for clients with specific needs.

There are three options within computer engineering to choose from: communication networks, software engineering or hardware engineering. Some students prefer to include all of these areas in their program of study. The choice is up to you.

Electrical and computer engineers work in a variety of fields including biomedical engineering, the aerospace industry, and intellectual property law. Many can be found in the business world where their technology and their problem-solving, time-management, communication and team-building skills are highly valued. Both are found in the banking and finance sectors, communications industry, power sector and IT businesses.

Computer Engineering or Computer Science

Computer science is offered by the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. It is primarily concerned with the programming side of computers as well as computational theory, numerical analysis, etc. Computer engineering is offered by the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at U of T, which means you will be an engineer when you graduate. Computer engineering students learn the hardware and software of computers. They study computer architecture and how computers can be used in industry, medicine and other systems, like communications or transit systems. They can choose from many areas of study including electronics, photonics, energy systems, electromagnetics, communication networks, nano engineering, biomedical engineering, to name just a few.

The computer engineering program at U of T allows students to focus their studies in the area of computers that most interests them. The ECE Department is within the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. As such, students get to know each other very well — they attend the same classes, work together in labs and create design projects with their fellow engineering students.