Skip to main content

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science

Starting autumn quarter 2022, the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) began a transition to offering a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (BSECE) rather than a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). In the interim, there has been two outstanding degree programs at UW ECE, which prepare students to solve problems, work productively within teams and communicate effectively in a professional workplace. Both degree programs provide students access to world-class faculty and interdisciplinary learning environments with opportunities for in-depth study in a large number of focus areas.

The transition from the existing BSEE to the new BSECE degree program has occurred gradually over time, beginning with direct-to-college and transfer students entering the UW College of Engineering autumn quarter 2022.

Autumn quarter 2023 was the final admission cycle for the BSEE degree. Beginning autumn quarter 2024, the BSECE will be the only degree available for undergraduate admission. The final BSEE degree is expected to be awarded in 2026.

FAQs

What is ECE?

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) is a broad, dynamic and rapidly evolving field that encompasses a wide spectrum of technical areas related to electrical engineering and computer science. ECE involves the design of devices and systems that can range greatly in scale — from multinational electrical power grids to nanoscale computer chips. The skills developed in an ECE program have a vast range of potential applications which stem from the prevalence of computers and electrical systems in everyday life.

Why UW ECE?

UW ECE is located in the heart of the University of Washington campus, and Seattle itself, right at the epicenter of technology development where our graduates are in high demand. UW ECE provides unparalleled internship and career opportunities for students because of our academic excellence, strong interdisciplinary partnerships and proximity to leading technology companies. Research by our faculty and students is world-class, sparking groundbreaking discoveries and innovative startup companies that have broad economic, societal and human impact.

ABET Accreditation of the BSECE Degree

The University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering undergraduate BSEE degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The department is seeking ABET accreditation for the new BSECE degree during the 2025-2026 ABET review period, with an application to provide retroactive accreditation for BSECE degrees awarded beginning October 1, 2023 (academic year 2023-2024). We are confident that the new degree will be accredited by ABET.

Any BSECE degree awarded prior to autumn 2023 will not be eligible for ABET accreditation. Graduating with an unaccredited degree can have negative ramifications. For this reason, the department is strongly discouraging BSECE students from graduating prior to the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Instances where graduating with an ABET-accredited degree is essential include:

  • Students must graduate with an accredited degree to pursue licensure as a Professional Engineer. *
    • This is particularly relevant for work in the power industry. Utilities and consulting companies in this area expect their employees to become professional engineers.
  • Some registration and certifications require graduation from an accredited program as a minimum qualification.
  • Some job applications may require applicants to have graduated with an accredited degree.

Read more about why ABET accreditation matters.

*For BSECE degrees granted prior to the 2023-2024 academic year, and students who may need accreditation for licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE), the degree can be evaluated, for a fee, by NCEES Credentials Evaluations to facilitate the licensure process. In this and similar cases, NCEES evaluation will enable PE licensure with a non-ABET accredited degree.

Please see full details at:

Get Your Professional Engineer License by Exam or Comity

NCEES Credentials Evaluations

How is the BSECE degree program different from computer engineering and computer science degree programs?

Students pursuing a BSECE degree will focus more heavily on the physical side of computing, including hardware, circuits, signal processing and the physics underlying computation, while students enrolled in computer engineering (Comp E) and computer science (CS) degrees engage more deeply with the software, algorithms and data that drive various computing applications, as well as topics such as artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.

The differences between an ECE degree, a Comp E degree and a CS degree can be described as existing within a spectrum. There is much overlap and interdisciplinary collaboration between those in ECE, Comp E and CS, and there are many areas of specialization a student can pursue. However, ECE is focused chiefly on the physical side of computing, while CS is focused more on software, algorithms and data. Comp E tends to straddle the middle, between ECE and CS disciplines.

What research and internship opportunities are available for undergraduate students?

Our degree programs prepare undergraduate students to design and build hardware and software for a variety of devices that use electricity, electromagnetics, photonics and quantum phenomena — such as robots, smartphones, lasers, electrical generators, vehicles, medical devices and much more.

Outside of the classroom, students pursue internships, leadership opportunities and work on research with renowned faculty in one of 40 Department labs. This experience provides students with a solid foundation in high-tech problem solving and prepares graduates to work for companies such as Intel, IBM, Agilent, T-Mobile, Verizon, Motorola, Boeing, Qwest, National Instruments, Lockheed Martin and many others.

Do you have online or distance learning?

Because of the intense nature of the program which includes a great deal of lab participation, it is not possible to do this program without being here in person.

 

Admissions

Transfer / Non-DTC Student

Bachelor’s degrees in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are capacity constrained. Admitted students have an average cumulative GPA of 3.6. Applications are accepted from current UW students as well as freshman and transfer applicants. UW ECE enrolls students for the autumn quarter only.

Direct to College (DTC)

The primary path for undergraduates to earn a BSECE while spending all four years at UW is “Direct To College.” Students are admitted to the College of Engineering as Freshmen, and then can be placed into Electrical and Computer Engineering during the summer between Freshman and Sophomore years.

Curriculum

Both UW ECE degrees prepare students for jobs in industry or for further graduate study. In the BSEE degree, students complete at least one concentration area to focus their studies. The BSECE degree allows students the option to either specialize in a specific area or pursue a breadth of experience in ECE. All curriculum paths in both programs culminate with a capstone design project.

Tuition, Fees and Funding

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates are established by the UW Regents at the end of spring quarter. You can find complete tuition and fee information at the Web site of the Office of Planning and Budgeting.

The total costs of full-time undergraduate tuition and fees are for one quarter.

Scholarships

Several types of scholarships available to all UW ECE undergraduate and graduate students. Below are current resources and links:

Financial Aid

The University of Washington participates in both federal and state financial aid programs. Information on grants, loans and other forms of financial assistance is available from the Student Financial Aid Office.

Information Sessions

Is Electrical and Computer Engineering the right major for you? UW ECE holds monthly information sessions where advisers provide information on admissions, curriculum, electrical and computer engineering as a profession and more.

When and Where

Contact Advising

Contact Advising

undergradece@uw.edu

Current ECE students can schedule an appointment with an adviser or find drop-in hours online.