Frequently Asked Questions for prospective undergraduate students

You're expected to have questions – and we like questions here so ask away. To make it easier for you, we have created this FAQ section for students interested in our undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering. Feel free to browse through them, and if you don't find the answer to your question, contact us.

I am a senior in high school. Can you tell me about your electrical engineering program?

Electrical engineering is one of the broadest and largest engineering disciplines. Many electrical engineers work in the areas of design, analysis and application of electrical/electronic components, circuits and systems. Many electrical engineers work in areas focused on the analysis, design and application of information processing systems such as communication systems, medical imaging, military sensors, etc. The areas in which electrical engineers work span the spectrum from those focused on the atomic-level operation of micro-electronic devices to those focused on the design of integrated circuits using these micro-electronic devices, to those focused on the design of electronic circuits that use these integrated circuits, to those focused on the design of systems that use these electronic circuits, to process signals and information.

How is this different from computer engineering and that may be a fit to my interests?

Historically, the field of computer engineering encompassed primarily the design of computers, emerging as a bridge between electrical engineering and computer science. Driven by technological advancements that have made computing technology inexpensive and small enough to incorporate into a wide range of products and systems, computer engineering has become one of the core engineering disciplines. The scope of products and systems containing computer technology is ever-expanding, ranging from small embedded computers in consumer electronics, appliances and automobiles to complex computer-based systems controlling power generation, manufacturing and telecommunications systems. The role of the computer engineer includes the design, analysis and implementation of computing technology as well as its integration into devices and systems that use computers as components or tools. As a result, computer engineers work in many industries, including aerospace, automobile, computer, defense, electronics, information technology, networking and telecommunications. A computer engineer must draw from knowledge of electrical engineering, computer science and basic mathematics and sciences.

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What is unique about studying computer or electrical engineering in the Watson School?

Our curriculum builds upon the base of the one-year core provided by the Engineering Design Division of the Watson School. The one-year core, required of all engineering students in the school, provides students with a broad foundation in engineering fundamentals, natural sciences, mathematics, communication skills and laboratory experience. The second year of the program covers basic electrical and computer engineering topics. Depth in computer or electrical engineering is obtained by a series of required courses and technical electives in the final two years of the program.

In addition to the four-year bachelor's degree in EE or CE, two combined-degree programs are available for undergraduate students. Qualified students can earn a BS in computer or electrical engineering and a master's degree in five years: either a BS in computer or electrical engineering and a MBA or a BS and MS. At the graduate level, students can earn a master's or PhD degree in computer or electrical engineering within the Watson School.

What are the computer requirements for new students?

You should purchase a laptop that is within your budget. We are currently running Windows XP Professional in our student laboratories. As a student enrolled in a Watson School course, you will have access to the Watson School's Microsoft Academic Alliance website. There you will be able to download (for free) a number of Microsoft operating systems including Windows XP Professional. If the laptop your looking at is only available with Vista, it should not be a problem

We recommend a minimum of 2 GB of system memory, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 7200 RPM hard drive, graphic accelerator and wireless support for 802.11G. Pick a hard drive and screen size that you feel comfortable with.

The University has a webpage to vendors that provide student computing solutions. This can be found at:

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What kind of job can I get when I graduate?

Our graduates pursue their careers in various industries, including aerospace, automobile, computer, defense, electronics, information technology, networking and telecommunications. Please feel free to click here and read about the career choices undertaken by our recent graduates.

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What if I want to visit the Watson School?

You're encouraged to visit the campus if you are interested in attending the Watson School. You are welcome to join group information sessions and student-guided tours of the campus held on most weekdays and selected Saturdays during the academic year. These sessions cover general information about admissions, academic and campus life, housing and the surrounding community. We encourage you to phone 607-777-2171 at least one week in advance of to be sure that a session will be scheduled for the day that you choose to visit.

Each fall the Admissions Office and individual Binghamton University schools host an open house for all interested potential applicants and their families.  Each spring open houses are offered for all admitted freshmen and their families. These events provide general campus information as well as focused sessions on the Watson School, with the opportunity to meet faculty and staff representing your intended major. Check out the visiting campus section of the University's website for more information about visiting our campus.

Students interested in master's or doctoral studies at the Watson School should view our video on what makes a graduate education at Binghamton University so outstanding.

 What labs do electrical and computer engineering students work in?

For a list of the laboratories and their photo galleries, please visit our research facilities page.

How do I apply for undergraduate studies?

For everything that you ever wanted to know about undergraduate admission, visit our Undergraduate Admissions website.

How do I apply for graduate school?

For more information on how to apply for graduate studies, visit the Graduate School's website. Students interested in graduate studies in electrical and computer engineering are encouraged to check the special Graduate FAQ section of this website below.

Where will some of our 2011 graduates begin their careers?

Our 2011 graduates have accepted various positions in companies such as Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, SRC Syracuse, BAE, Lockheed Martin (VA), Fidessa Corp., and PwC. They have also been admitted to graduate schools such as Penn State University, SUNY Stonybrook, SUNY Binghamton, and Syracuse University.

Can I take a graduate course while I am an undergraduate student?

Undergraduate students who are within eight credits of graduation may register up to two graduate-level courses and receive graduate credit, provided the graduate courses are not used to meet the undergraduate degree requirements. When graduate courses are not taken with the intent of fulfilling undergraduate requirements, such graduate hours do not count toward full-time status for financial aid purposes.

To receive graduate credit for such courses, the undergraduate student must complete the Petition to Receive Graduate Credits as an Undergraduate form (available from the Registrar or the Graduate School). This form is then filed with the Registrar and the Student Accounts Office before registration.

While graduate courses taken by undergraduates (and not used to meet undergraduate degree requirements) will appear on the undergraduate transcript, these courses are not counted toward the undergraduate degree or used in the calculation of the final GPA. The credits may be counted toward the graduate degree.

An exception to these policies is made for undergraduate students admitted to combined bachelors/masters degree programs.

What is living on the Binghamton University campus like?

For information regarding the Binghamton University campus, please visit

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Last Updated: 1/18/16