Electrical Engineering

Professor of Electrical Engineering Holger Schmidt (center) in his optical lab with graduate students.


The electrical engineering curriculum provides a balance of engineering science and design and allows students to specialize in both the traditional topics and the latest subjects in electrical engineering. Students may concentrate their electives in the areas of electronics and optics or communications, signals, systems, and controls. The major is designed to attract motivated students who, upon graduation, will be sought by employers in the high-tech industry. The electrical engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.
  • M.S.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.S., M.S., Ph.D., undergraduate minor.
  • Two concentrations: electronics/optics and communications, signals, systems, and controls.
  • Partnerships with NASA Ames Research.

The mission of the Electrical Engineering Department is to build and sustain a teaching and research program to provide undergraduate and graduate students with inspiration and quality education in the theory and practice of hardware and information processing-oriented electrical engineering, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary activities, complementing the computer science and computer engineering programs, serving industry, science, and government. Undergraduates can participate in research activities and must complete a senior design capstone course, choosing either a corporate sponsored project or their own.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

Please see the current UC Santa Cruz General Catalog for a full description of the BSOE admissions policy.

Freshman Applicants: It is recommended that high school students applying to the BSOE have completed four years of mathematics and three years of science in high school, if possible one year each of chemistry, physics, and biology. Comparable college mathematics and science courses completed at other institutions may be accepted in place of high school preparation.

Students are expected to have the mathematical background for Math 19A, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics and Physics 5A, Introduction to Physics I, during their first quarter.

Information for Transfers

Transfer Applicants: Admission into the major is based on the student’s academic college record.  Transfer students seeking to major in electrical engineering must complete the following foundation courses prior to transfer:

  • Mathematics 19A-B, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (two quarters)
  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics 10, Mathematical Methods for Engineers I
  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics 20, Mathematical Methods for Engineers II
  • Physics 5A/L, Introduction to Physics, Physics 5B/M, Waves & Optics, and Physics 5C/M, Electricity and Magnetism

For a complete list of lower-division courses visit ua.soe.ucsc.edu/sites/default/files/EE_15-16.pdf. Additional articulated lower-division courses can be found at: www.assist.org.


  • Analog electronics
  • Antenna design
  • Biomedical electronics
  • Biophotonics
  • Communications
  • Control systems
  • Digital electronics
  • Electronics packaging
  • Fiber optics
  • Information theory
  • Microwave circuits
  • Nanotechnology
  • Opto-electronics
  • Radar systems
  • Remote sensing
  • Semiconductor device physics
  • Signal/image/video processing
  • Wireless communications
  • VLSI design

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.

Many students find internships and fieldwork to be a valuable part of their academic experience. They work closely with faculty and career advisers in the BSOE and in the UC Santa Cruz Career Center to identify existing opportunities and often to create their own internships with local companies or in nearby Silicon Valley. For more information about internships, visit intern.ucsc.edu or talk to your faculty adviser.


BSOE students may wish to develop their cross-cultural competency, typically via the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Interested students must work very closely with the faculty and academic advisers in their major very early during the freshman or sophomore year to create a plan for transferability of coursework towards graduation. For more EAP information, visit eap.ucop.edu/ourprograms/pages/default.aspx.

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Electrical Engineering Professor Holger Schmidt has been awarded two grants from the National Science Foundation: one to study, and one to develop, new technologies that could eventually lead to ultrafast, highly reliable, energy-efficient computers, sensors, and other devices.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

Undergraduate Advising Office
Jack Baskin School of Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-5840