Senior Year in Electrical Engineering
The fourth year of the EE program consists of several advanced undergraduate courses plus the capstone project course.
The Capstone Project Course
Every EE graduate is required to complete a year-long project involving the specification, design, and prototype fabrication of a small technical system. This is done in an engineering team environment under the tutelage of one of the department's faculty members and is designed to approximate what one finds in industrial practice.
Graduates tell us that the senior design project is one of the most useful courses they take as it integrates some of the basic science and engineering course work in a real hands-on project. Included are reporting, management, financial analysis, technical specification, critical design reviews, and prototype fabrication.
Milestones are established throughout the year, simulations run, presentations made, documents prepared, testing of hardware and software accomplished. The presentations are made to small faculty groups playing the role of corporate management and projects are subjected to the sort of technical scrutiny one finds in industry. Whether the student is heading for immediate industrial employment or graduate school, this experiments is a vital part of the undergraduate experience.
Technical Courses and Laboratories
The fourth year is also when students may take some advanced technical courses that build on previous years' preparatory courses, including extensive laboratory experiences. Modern results in systems-oriented courses are brought into the class room by the faculty, small projects, papers, and lab exercises are a regular part of these senior courses.
This is also the year when not only graduate requirements are on the student's mind but plans for industrial work or graduate school are firmed up. The faculty are available to advise on various postgraduate opportunities, letters of recommendation are prepared, job interviews, and graduate school campus visits are undertaken. Senior students are leaders of department clubs as well as national professional society chapters on campus. There is organized help with career planning and job searching. On campus job fairs are always part of the important events in the life of a Senior.