Frequently Asked Questions
1.What kind of degrees does the ECE Department at Drexel offer?
At the undergraduate level, we offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Computer Engineering.
At the graduate level, we offer Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering and Software Engineering.
In addition the University offers Doctor of Philosophy degrees for studies in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering.
2. What are the advantages of a co-op program?
Most of our undergraduate students (about two thirds) select the 5-year three co-op cycle option. The rest are on the 4-year plan with a single co-op cycle. Each cycle is six (6) months long.
To locate co-op opportunities, most students respond to job postings from industrial firms. These positions are advertised by the university. Other students identify their prospective employer through an independent search. During a process of interviews and job offers, students are matched with jobs that fit employer needs as well as student interests and qualifications.
The co-op experience provides students with an opportunity to go through real life professional challenges in an industrial environment. These challenges often require that students apply what they have studied in school so far, and in addition learn new skills and methods “on the job.”
The co-op experience gives Drexel students a competitive edge in two areas: (1) the practical experience guides our students in their course and specialty selection; students often use their industrial experience to select courses and course sequences; (2) Drexel graduates are considered by many prospective employers as more experienced than students from programs that do not offer co-op. Also, in many cases our students are able to gain join a former co-op employer for a permanent position after graduation.
3.What is the difference between Computer Engineering and Computer Science?
Note: the answer made use of sources [1-2].
The overlap between the computer engineering and computer science is significant. Both fields study the use of the digital computer as a tool that makes much of modern technology possible. Both disciplines study the inner workings of computers and both study hardware as well as software aspects of computer systems. Students in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical and computer engineering will all study programming and basic computer operation. In many programs students will also be exposed to large scale computing, and to modern topics in design and operation of clusters and cohorts of computers and computing devices
The differences are those of emphasis. Computer science is traditionally more concerned with the theoretical underpinnings of computation and of programming; thus one typically finds in computer science curricula courses in programming, algorithms, numerical analysis (how do you guarantee a number produced by a computer program is accurate), and the theory of computation (what can and cannot in principle be computed). Many computer science departments at U.S. universities were 1970s offshoots from departments of mathematics, and as a result the emphasis on providing a rigorous mathematical foundation for the computing disciplines is still evident in many curricula.
Computer engineering programs largely developed in electrical engineering departments. As a result many computer engineering programs focus on the more practical aspects of development and use of computers, and offer courses in digital logic design and processor interfacing which build on an engineering student's knowledge of electronics and circuits. Most computer engineering programs also have ties to solid state physics and devices programs, with interests in the manufacturing of integrated circuits. At the intersection between computer engineering and computer science are courses in computer architecture (the basic construction and low-level programming of computers) and operating systems. These are often found in both programs.
Computer engineers are more likely than computer science graduates to build hardware. However, computer scientists are educated to know enough about hardware so that they can analyze computer system operations and interact with hardware engineers. Computer scientists often know more about underlying theory of computation, programming languages, and operating systems.
4.What is the difference between Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering?
Note: the answer was developed on the basis of sources [1,3].
Electrical engineering deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century in the wake of commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical power supply. The field now covers a wide range of sub-disciplines including power, electronics, control systems, electro-optics, signal processing, and telecommunications. Most recently, electrical engineering had expanded to include fields like nanotechnology and mechatronics, and there is significant activity at the interface of electrical engineering and the life sciences.
Computer engineering has emerged in the late 1970s from electrical engineering, and is still considered by some to be a sub-discipline of electrical engineering. It deals with the study and application of computers, computing, and computer-based systems. The field covers a range of sub-disciplines such as computer hardware, computer architecture, hardware/software integration, computer systems engineering, and embedded systems. Computer engineering shares areas of interest with electrical engineering, software engineering, and computer science.
5. What is the difference between an electrical and an electronics engineer relating to the type of job these engineers may get?
In many institutions and countries, the terms "electrical engineer" and "electronics engineer" are used interchangeably and there is really no difference between them.
In institutions and geographical regions where the terms are differentiated, the term "electrical engineer" is often broader. The term "electronics engineer" is used to describe individuals who are working at the component, device, and circuit level – such as engineers who concentrate on design of integrated circuits, or on development of control and signal shaping hardware for monitoring devices and sensors. The term "electrical engineer" refers in those instances to individuals who are engaged in activities that are not focused on devices but on larger systems and general techniques. Examples include techniques for image processing; integration of multiple subsystems into a robot; and calculation of stability margins of a large power generation system.
Both device-level and system-level engineering practitioners in the electronics and electrical disciplines appear to be in demand. Electrical and electronics engineers continue to occupy positions in many industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, computer hardware design, telecommunication, power delivery, and aerospace. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts at present that both electrical engineers and electronics engineers (and also what the Bureau calls "computer hardware engineers") will see an increase of 9 to 17% in available jobs between 2004 and 2014.
 Computer Engineering Frequently Asked Questions, University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, on-line: http://www.egr.uh.edu/ece/undergrad/?e=faq_ce, accessed March 2008.
 Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering, Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, on-line: http://www.pratt.duke.edu/highschool/cs_vs_ce.php, accessed March 2008.
 “Electrical Engineering” in Wikipeida, the free encyclopedia, on-line: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_engineering, accessed march 2008.