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Upper-level ECE Electives

Every ECE major must complete at least seven ECE courses at the 3000-level or above. These courses include breadth and depth courses and Culminating Design Experience (CDE) courses. Every CDE includes a significant and open-ended engineering design assignment with realistic constraints. The principal goal of a CDE course is to help students develop the ability to design a component, system, or process to meet desired needs taking into account some or all of the following: economics, the environment, sustainability, manufacturability, ethics, health and safety, society, and politics.

In May 2014 the ECE faculty voted to revise the upper-level ECE elective requirements. The new rules  apply to students who matriculate at Cornell in Fall 2014 or after, but students enrolled as of May 2014 may choose to graduate under the new requirements if they wish. Important features of the new requirements include

  • an expanded list of CDE courses.
  • relaxation of pre-requisite rules governing CDEs. In particular,
    • a student will no longer have to complete ECE 3400 before taking a course the student wishes to count as a CDE. (Note: ECE 3400 remains a required course.)
    • a student may count a course as a CDE while taking its Foundation pre-requisite(s) concurrently, with instructor permission.
  • changes in pre-requisites for some courses. In particular, ECE 3250 will no longer be a pre-requisite for ECE 4370 or ECE 4530 and ECE 3150 will no longer be a pre-requisite for ECE 4760.
  • a change in the requirements for the 4000-plus ECE electives. Specifically, the new rules call for two CDEs and two breadth/depth courses instead of one CDE and three breadth/depth courses.

A student enrolled as of May 2014 who wishes to graduate under the new requirements may choose his or her two CDE classes from among ECE 4250,  ECE 4370, ECE 4530, ECE 4740, ECE 4750, and ECE 4760.

A student enrolled as of May 2014 who wishes to graduate under the old requirements will still need to complete one of the three CDEs ECE 4530, ECE 4370, or ECE 4760 along with

  • ECE 3400, ECE 3150, and ECE 3250 before ECE 4530 if he or she wishes to count ECE 4530 as CDE
  • ECE 3400, ECE 3030, and ECE 3250 before ECE 4370 if he or she wishes to count ECE 4370 as CDE
  • ECE 3400, ECE 3140, and ECE 3150 before ECE 4760 if he or she wishes to count ECE 4760 as CDE.

Rules applying to ECE majors who matriculated before Fall 2014:
Students must take at least seven ECE courses at the 3000-level or above (in addition to ECE 3400 and the three courses used to satisfy the ECE Foundation Course requirement). All of these seven courses must be technical ECE lecture courses. Cross-listed courses with ECE course numbers are okay. Courses that don't work include independent projects such as ECE 4999; non-technical courses such as ECE 3600 and ECE 5830; and seminar courses such as ECE 5870 and 5880. (Note: ECE 5830 counts as an Outside-ECE Technical Elective.) The seven courses must include

I. At least one Culminating Design Experience course. Be aware that a student must complete ECE 3400 and all Foundation pre-requisites prior to taking any course that the student wishes to count as satisfying the CDE requirement.

II. Three breadth and depth courses. Breadth and depth courses are ECE technical courses at the 4000-level or above that build on material students have been exposed to in multiple foundation courses. Each of these courses must have as a pre-requisite at least one Foundation Course that a student completes prior to or, with instructor permission, concurrently with the breadth/depth course it feeds. The list of completed pre-requisites for all three courses taken together must include at least three distinct Foundation Courses.   Students who matriculated at Cornell before Fall 2011 (nominally Class of 2014 or earlier) who include ECE 3250 among these three distinct Foundation Courses must also include at least one of ECE 3030 and ECE 3150.  Students who matriculate at Cornell during Fall 2011 or after (nominally Class of 2015 or later) must include among these three distinct Foundation Courses at least one of ECE 3100 and ECE 3250 and at least one of ECE 3030 and ECE 3150.



Rules applying to ECE majors who matriculate Fall 2014 or after:
Students must take at least seven ECE courses at the 3000-level or above (in addition to ECE 3400 and the three courses used to satisfy the ECE Foundation Course requirement). All of these seven courses must be technical ECE lecture courses. Cross-listed courses with ECE course numbers are okay. Courses that don't work include independent projects such as ECE 4999; non-technical courses such as ECE 3600 and ECE 5830; and seminar courses such as ECE 5870 and 5880. (Note: ECE 5830 counts as an Outside-ECE Technical Elective.) The seven courses must include

I. At least two Culminating Design Experience course. These two courses taken together must have as pre-requisites at least two distinct Foundation courses each of which a student completes prior to or, with instructor permission, concurrently with the CDE it feeds.

II. Two breadth and depth courses. Breadth and depth courses are ECE technical courses at the 4000-level or above that build on material students have been exposed to in multiple foundation courses. Each of these courses must have as a pre-requisite at least one Foundation Course that a student completes prior to or, with instructor permission, concurrently with the breadth/depth course it feeds.  The list of completed pre-requisites for the two breadth/depth courses taken together must include at least two distinct Foundation courses.

The list of completed pre-requisites for the CDE and breadth/depth courses taken together must include at least three distinct Foundation Courses. Students must include among these three distinct Foundation courses at least one of ECE 3100 and ECE 3250 and at least one of ECE 3030 and ECE 3150.


Additional Option (applies to all ECE majors)

A student may use (CS4120 & 4121) and/or (CS4410 & 4411) as 4000-level ECE electives. A student doing this must complete both the course and the associated practicum.


To help students choose courses to satisfy the breadth and depth requirement we have listed here for each ECE Foundation Course all ECE courses at the 4000-level or above that list the Foundation Course as a pre-requisite, either directly or through an intermediate course for which it's a direct pre-requisite. The table that follows lists all ECE courses at the 4000-level or above that have Foundation Courses as direct or indirect pre-requisites. Although ECE 3400 is a pre-requisite for all CDE courses, the table does not mention ECE 3400 because it is not an ECE Foundation Course. 


ECE 3030 feeds: 4150, 4300, 4330, 4370, 4570, 5040, 5320, 5340, 5350, 5360, 5370, 5790, 5810, 5820, 5840

ECE 3100 feeds: 4110, 4271, 4450, 4520, 4670, 4758, 5040, 5253, 5620, 5630, 5640, 5650, 5660, 5670, 5680, 5800

ECE 3140 feeds: 4450, 4750, 4760, 5470, 5715, 5720, 5730, 5740, 5745, 5750, 5760, 5770

ECE 3150 feeds: 4060, 4320, 4330, 4360, 4530, 4570, 4740, 5030, 5040, 5340, 5350, 5360, 5370, 5540, 5710, 5740, 5760, 5790

ECE 3250 feeds: 4210, 4250,  4510, 4670, 4730, 4800, 5030, 5040, 5210, 5253, 5610, 5650

Note: Before AY 2014-15, 3250 fed 4370 and 4530; 3100 fed 4250; and 3150 fed 4760. A student may still satisfy B/D requirements using one or more of these pairs (e.g. 3100 feeding 4250) provided he or she took the 4000-level class and its Foundation pre-requisite before or during AY 2014-15.



4000+ course Foundation pre-requisite(s)
4060 3150
4110 3100
4150 3030
4210 3250
4250 3250
4271 3100
4300 3030
4320 3150
4330 3030, 3150
4360 3150
4370 3030
4450 3100, 3140
4510 3250
4520 3100
4530 3150
4570 3150, 3030
4670 3100, 3250
4730 3250
4740 3150
4750 3140
4758 3100
4760 3140
4800 3250
5030 3150; 3250 via 4250
5040 3100 via 4110, 4250; 3250 via 4250; 3150 via 4530; 3150, 3030 via 4570
5210 3250
5253 3250 via 4250, 5210; 3100 via 4250
5320 3030
5340 3150, 3030 via 4570
5350 3150, 3030 via 4570
5360 3150 and 3030 via 4570
5370 3150, 3030 via 4570
5470 3140
5540 3150 via 4530
5610 3250 via 5210
5620 3100 via 4110
5630 3100 via 4110
5640 3100
5650 3100, 3250
5660 3100
5670 3100
5680 3100 via 4100
5710 3150 via 4740
5715 3140 via 4750
5720 3140 via 4750
5730 3140 via 4750
5740 3140, 3150 via 4740
5745 3140 via 4750
5750 3140 via 4750
5760 3140 via 4760
5770 3140 via 4750
5790 3030 and 3150 via 4330
5800 3100 via 4110, 4450
5810 3030
5820 3030 via 5810