Frosh to Sr. Year Timeline & Advising

Each of the four years in the curriculum followed by a typical electrical engineering undergraduate student has a distinct flavor in terms of the types of courses taken, academic goals, and milestones achieved.

The following sections present an overall picture of these four years, provide a sense of the progress made toward graduation, and list specific things to do in order to stay on track. Included with graduation checks and guidelines are steps to take by students who would like to pursue graduate studies in the framework of the BS/MS program.


Image of student and Professor Umesh

Freshman Year

Coursework: Besides completing a number of units to fulfill parts of the general education requirements, an EE freshman prepares for foundation subjects in the major by taking mathematics, physics, computer science, chemistry, or ECE 6 and two introductory ECE lab courses. Students who already have AP or equivalent credits may take more advanced math courses.

Learn and Experience: Mathematics, basic science, programming, and writing courses provide tools that render specialized courses taken by students in later years both accessible and enjoyable.

Curriculum Reminders and To-Dos:

  • "Discover Engineering" College of Engineering Welcome Event & ECE Orientation Meeting: schedule during the week prior to the start of Fall quarter.
  • Advisor Assignments: announced by the ECE Student Affairs Office – early Fall quarter.


professor instructing in his lab

Sophomore Year

Coursework: The ECE circuits sequence courses and labs are the core of the EE sophomore experience. This is somewhat unique to UCSB in that it is a full-year hands-on introduction to circuit theory, electronic devices, and analog/digital circuits culminating in the design and construction of a functional infrared audio link. Exposure to mathematics and physics subjects, two quarters of signal analysis and processing, continues in this second year.

Learn and Experience: The foundations of students’ understanding of circuit theory, electronics, physics, and advanced engineering mathematics are completed in the sophomore year. By the end of this year, students will have a basic understanding of electrical engineering that should enable them to explore summer research and internship opportunities.

Curriculum Reminders and To-Dos:


students with their robot project

Junior Year

Coursework: Students will complete most of the required courses in logic design, digital system design, electromagnetics, and discrete math and probability. The junior year is also a pivotal point in the curriculum where students select senior sequence electives that provide specialization and depth in areas of interest to students.

Learn and Experience: Mastering theoretical and empirical topics, that form the common language of electrical engineering, is required for understanding other upper-division courses, but it also forms a foundation for many graduate-level courses. Given that EE students branch out into different specialty areas during the senior year, this common core knowledge is important for effective communication among colleagues in the workplace and in other teamwork contexts.

Curriculum Reminders and To-Dos:

  • Mandatory Junior Meeting: to discuss Senior Electives and BS/MS Program – early Fall quarter.
  • Senior Elective Sheet: deadline during Spring quarter.
  • ECE BS/MS Application: deadline last day Spring quarter.


photo of students with their project

Senior Year

Coursework: The focus of the senior year is on a set of electives in the student's chosen area of specialization or interest, the student design project, internship, and undergraduate research.

Learn and Experience: Students continue senior elective sequences and select other electives that allow exploration for additional areas of interest. The three-quarter EE Senior Capstone Project, viewed as an academic career highlight by most students, provides an opportunity to participate in and complete a team project. Final projects are then presented at a year-end event with each student group participating in a project presentation before a panel of experts from academia and industry that select award winners.

Curriculum Reminders and To-Dos:

  • BS/MS Students: see ECE Student Affairs Manager if advancing to MS status.
  • MS or MS/PhD ECE Graduate Application: due December 15th.
  • Progress Check on GOLD: student-initiated for timely degree completion.
  • Undergraduate Advisor Meeting: confirm that all graduation requirements are completed.


Three Tiers of EE Advising

Advisors in the following areas are available to EE students:

 CoE Undergrad Advisor

CoE & University Level
  • university policies and procedures
  • general education courses
  • progress and graduation checks
  • academic probation
  • academic petitions
  • changing majors
  • transferring credits from other institutions
  • education abroad, honors program, and other opportunities 

 EE Undergrad Advisor

Major Level
  • general "go to" advisor
  • major requirements
  • policies and procedures
  • yearly progress checks
  • course planning
  • scheduling
  • ECE course enrollment
  • prerequisite changes
  • selecting and approving senior electives

 EE Faculty Advisor

Content Level
  • assigned annually
  • content level course materials
  • recommendations
  • academic and grad school planning
  • research opportunities and career planning

Undergraduate Advisors

College of Engineering

CoE Office of Undergraduate Studies
(805) 893-2809 | HFH, Rm 1006

EE Undergraduate

ECE Student Affairs Undergraduate Advisor OR
Office LocationTrailer 380, Room 101, 105

EE Faculty

Contact the EE Advisor info above

Curriculum Questions?

  • MAJOR – degree requirements < OR>
  • GENERAL ED – CoE & UCSB <>

Not sure? Contact the EE & CE Undergraduate Advisor < OR>