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ECE Major

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CDMA (Code Division and Multiple Access) technology for cell phones was developed in 1989 by alum Irwin Jacobs , co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm. This innovation greatly increased the number of calls cell phone towers could handle simultaneously and became the world’s fastest-growing and most advanced voice and data wireless communications technology.

ECE Mission Statement

The undergraduate educational mission of Cornell’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering is to provide its students with a broad and exceptional education in electrical and computer engineering built upon a substantial foundation in science, mathematics, computing, and technology and to instill an appreciation of the need for lifelong learning to support whatever career path they choose. The School strives to prepare its students to lead responsively, creatively, and ethically in the discovery and application of new knowledge, technologies, and inventions leading to the solution of pressing global problems.

ECE Program Educational Objectives

The School of ECE strives to prepare graduates who:

  1. Make new discoveries in the field of ECE using analytical reasoning and state-of-the-art approaches derived from the engineering sciences and engineering practice;
  2. Create useful systems, components, or processes through agile, skillful, and innovative analysis and design, while respecting economic, environmental, cultural, and ethical standards or constraints;  
  3. Complete advanced graduate and/or professional programs of study, continually learn, and adapt to technological and cultural change;  
  4. Acquire technical and managerial leadership positions in their chosen fields; 
  5. Are valued in their careers for their professionalism, judgment, and experience;  
  6. Engage with their communities, profession, and the world.
ECE Student Outcomes

A.  An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
B.  An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
C.  An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
D.  An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams;
E.  An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
F.  An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
G.  An ability to communicate effectively;
H.  The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;
I.  A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
J.  A knowledge of contemporary issues;
K.  An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice;
L.  Knowledge of probability and statistics, including applications to electrical and computer engineering;
M.  Knowledge of advanced mathematics, including differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables, and discrete mathematics;
N.  Major design experience;
O.  An ability to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices; software; and systems containing hardware and software components.


This undergraduate handbook has been designed as a reference guide for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students at Cornell University. The College of Engineering Undergraduate Handbook is available here.

The curriculum of an electrical engineer has two components:

  • The Common Curriculum
  • The ECE Major Program

In these pages we answer some common questions regarding these requirements. You may want to look particularly at the Graduation Checklist for an overview of all the requirements before you begin reading the other sections of this handbook.

General information such as Academic Standing, Dean's List requirements, Advanced Placement, Transfer Credit, Adding/Dropping courses, and Leaves of Absence can be found in the Courses of Study publication. These are also described online in the Engineering Advising and Student Records Resource Guide.

If you have any questions regarding graduation requirements or the ECE Major Program that are not answered in this handbook, feel free to contact one of our ECE Major Consultants or their assistants: