Electrical Engineering Advising Guide

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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What is Electrical Engineering?

Electrical Engineering has ushered in huge advances in civilization, including electrical power, electronics, radios, control systems, and robots. Electrical Engineers deal with all aspects of electricity and electronics, ranging from nationwide power grids down to integrated circuits containing billions of transistors.


Career Opportunities in Electrical Engineering 

Electrical engineers are employed by large companies such as The Boeing Company, Airbus, Lockhead Martin Corporation, Google, Apple, General Electric, Shell Oil Company, Automobile companies, Southern Company, Alabama Power, and other power companies, shipbuilding companies, and mobile operators.

"Learn How to Become" Online, a career-tracking resource that follows current job trends, discusses the various roles electrical engineers can take on as they enter the field: 

With so many different types of work available to them, fledgling electrical engineers often choose to focus their knowledge by completing a concentration in their degree. These specializations, which typically account for 12 to 18 hours of coursework, offer concentrated studies to instill a level of expertise.

Some of the most frequently offered specializations include:

Computer Engineering
Power Systems
Signal Processing and Control Systems
Optics and Photonics
Electronic Engineering
Digital Systems
Telecommunications and Networks

The field of electrical engineering is expected to continue expanding in the coming years, thanks in part to the innovative nature of the field. Technologies will carry on emerging and moving forward, and electrical engineers in turn will use them to develop new products.1


Salary Trends in Electrical Engineering 

In 2010, electrical engineers earned $84,540 in median annual wages according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent highest earners received about $128,610 while the bottom 10 percent earners took home about $54,030. Among the highest paying electrical engineer jobs in industries employing the largest number of these professionals come from semiconductor and electronic manufacturing companies.

Employees in these firms usually earn about $92,070 on average. This was followed by scientific research and development firms that paid $90,970 in median annual wages.


High School Preparation

To best prepare for an Electrical Engineering program, take trigonometry and calculus classes in high school. If you have access to AP/IB classes or the opportunity to take classes at a community college, those too will give you a good idea of the expectation and preparation for the classes you will be expected to take in college. Also, any programming classes or circuit classes will be beneficial.


How to Major in Electrical Engineering 

To major in Electrical Engineering, students must take a total of 18 hours of general education classes (not including English Composition I and II). It is important that students make adequate progress in the Computer Engineering program.  Satisfactory completion of a set of fundamental courses is required before a student is allowed to take advanced courses.  Professional Component Standing (PCS) is awarded by the chair of the department when the student completes the College of Engineering PCS requirements and the ECE departmental PCS requirements.

College of Engineering PCS Courses  
Course Number Course Title Minimum Grade
EH 101 English Composition I C
EH 102 English Composition 2 C
CH 131 General Chemistry I with Lab C
MA 125 Calculus I C
MA 126 Calculus II C
PH 201/L Calculus-Based Physics I with Lab C


Electrical Engineering PCS Courses  
Course Number Course Title Minimum Grade
CIS 210 Intro to C++ Programming C
EE 220 Circuit Analysis I C
EE 263 Digital Logic Design C


Electrical engineering students are strongly recommended but not required to take the Electrical Engineering discipline specific Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination in Alabama or another state prior to graduation. All electives must be approved by the student's advisor. 

Satisfactory completion of the 130 hour program outlined in the Bulletin leads to a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Students must also comply with the College of Engineering Requirements for a Degree, which are covered in the Bulletin under the College of Engineering.


Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Students are encouraged to intern and/or co-op once they’ve completed their fundamental classes. Accepting a co-op could potentially extend graduation. Should a student apply and accept a co-op, with the knowledge of postponing graduation, they should register their co-op with Career Services so that the co-op will reflect on their official transcripts.

Study Abroad Opportunities 

The College of Engineering has agreements with six German Universities for exchange programs. Please contact the College of Engineering or Study Abroad Office for more information and details on the exchange program. More study abroad opportunities specific to engineering are being planned.


Academic Plan

Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. 

To see a sample academic plan for this major, please click here.  Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.


For More Information

For more information, please contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at (251) 460-6117 or Nani Perez Uribe at nperezuribe@southalabama.edu.

You can find us on campus at:

College of Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Shelby Hall, Room 4122
150 Student Services Drive
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
5991 USA Drive North

Website: http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/engineering/ece/

*The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other majors, please refer to the USA bulletin or contact the Department/College directly.