Electrical Engineering Program

Program SummaryProgram CurriculumElective ListsSwitching ProgramsBiomedical Option

If you call a friend, flip a light switch, play a video game or drive a car, you are touching the work of an electrical engineer. Electrical engineers impact almost every aspect of our lives. They make essential medical equipment, design wireless communications networks, predict earthquakes, and invent new ways to generate and conserve energy. Electrical engineers are leaders in meeting global challenges in energy, health, communication, safety, and so on.

Electrical Engineering Program Summary

As a student in UBC’s Electrical Engineering program, you will learn essential skills in electronics, circuit analysis and electromagnetics, and can choose to focus on anything from the electronic properties of microscopic devices and newly discovered materials to the generation and distribution of power in international electric power grids.

If you are interested in the generation, transmission, distribution, and processing of electrical energy, including renewable and sustainable energy sources you can focus your studies in energy systems. Particular applications include control, protection and reliable operation of the grid, electromechanical actuators; electrical power systems of vehicles, aircraft and ships; industrial and manufacturing processes requiring electric energy, and more.

ECE also offers courses in nanotechnology and microsystems to expose electrical engineers to important scientific and technological concepts that are changing the natures of electronics, computing and sensing. If you are interested in nanotechnology and microsystems you will focus your studies on quantum mechanics, sensor theory, thermodynamics and mechanics. These concepts are applied to the understanding of devices and systems. You can also take courses on chip design, optical devices, microelectromechanical systems, transistors and biological nanotechnology.

There is a some overlap between Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering and this overlap is typically related to the design of digital circuits and systems. Electrical Engineering is more broadly concerned with electronic devices, electrical motors and machines, generation and transmission of electricity, communications, signal processing, and control of such systems.

Students who are interested in the Biomedical Option of the Electrical Engineering program can explore this option here.

The Electrical Engineering Program begins in the second year of undergraduate studies after completing the required first year engineering courses. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering.

Electrical Engineering Program Curriculum

Second Year
First TermSecond Term
CPEN 211 (5)ELEC 202 (4)
CPSC 259 (4)ELEC 211 (2)
ELEC 201 (4)ELEC 221 (4)
MATH 253 (3)ELEC 281 (3)
MATH 256 (3)ELEC 291 (6)
MATH 264 (1)

Total Credits = 39

Third Year
First TermSecond Term
ELEC 301 (4)ELEC 311 (4)
ELEC 315 (4)ELEC 341 (4)*
ELEC 342 (4)*ELEC 391 (6)
One of MATH 302, STAT 302, MATH 318*
Electives (4) – To be chosen from the list of department-approved electrical engineering electives*
Complementary Studies Electives (6)*

Total Credits = 39

*Make sure to check the ELEC Program Checklist below for tracking your elective requirements.

Fourth Year
ELEC 491 (10)
ELEC 481 (3)
APSC 450 (2)*
Electives (18) to be chosen from the list of department-approved electrical engineering electives*
Science Elective (3)*

Total Credits = 36

*Make sure to check the ELEC Program Checklist below for tracking your elective requirements.

ELEC students who begin their second year in September 2023 can use the following checklist to track their progress in the program: ELEC Program Checklist

Resources that can help you plan your studies:

  • For up to date program checklists, elective updates, and frequently asked questions by other students, please visit our Piazza ECE Advising platform (join using access code ‘ask-us-at-ece’)
  • For official course descriptions for each of the courses listed above, please visit our ECE Course Listing
  • For assistance with course registration, check out our Undergraduate Registration Guidelines

Electrical Engineering Elective Lists

ELEC students can refer to the lists below of department-approved electives when planning their coursework:

Breadth Electives
CPEN 311, CPEN 333
ELEC 331, ELEC 352
Advanced Electives
ELEC 400*, 401, 402, 403, 404, 411, 412, 413, 415, 416, 421*, 422*, 431, 432, 433, 434, 441, 442, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 471, 472, 473, 474, 499*
CPEN 355, CPEN 400*, CPEN 411, CPEN 412, CPEN 455
Please note the following for the starred courses above:
– Students can only claim credit for one of ELEC 421, ELEC 422
– Only 3 credits of ELEC 499 (Undergraduate Thesis) can be used to satisfy the Advanced Elective requirement
– Typically, courses offered under the umbrella of ELEC 400 will count as advanced electives and only some courses under the umbrella of CPEN 400 may count
– ELEC 400M will count as an advanced elective, as well as CPEN 400D
Math Electives
MATH 220, 300, 301, 302, 303, 305, 307, 320, 321, 322, 323, 340, 341, 342, 344, 400, 401, 404, 405, 406, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 425, 426, 427, 437, 440, 441, 442, 443
STAT 302, 305, 306, 344, 404, 406, 443, 460, 461
Science Electives

ELEC students should complete 3 credits of the following Science Electives.

Please note: The below allowed science electives were chosen in such a way as to provide an introduction to the practice of the scientific method. If you plan to ask for permission to replace one of the allowed science electives with another course, you need to prepare a one-page (500 word) explanation detailing why the course you propose will serve as an adequate introduction to the scientific method for future scientists. Please also provide a detailed definition of what a scientific method entails.

ASTR 102, 200
ATSC 113
BIOL 111, 112, 121, 230, 345; typically any University-level Biology course can be used as a Science elective
CHEM 201, 250, 251, 260
EOSC 110, 112, 114, 210
FNH 200
GEOG 102, 103
PHYS 200, 250, 330, 333, 404
Complementary Studies Electives

ELEC Students should complete 6 credits of Complementary Studies – Humanities and Social Studies, and 3 credits of Complementary Studies – Impact of Technology on Society. Typically, students complete 3 credits from the Humanities and Social Studies credits in their first year before selecting 2nd Year ELEC.

For all information on what courses are eligible for your “Humanities and Social Studies” and “Impact of Technology on Society” credits, please see the EAS Course Planning Page
Free Electives

Free electives are intended to allow students to explore a breadth of coursework that can extend beyond engineering or science coursework. Other courses cannot be applied to more than one ECE requirement, but free elective coursework can be applied towards ECE requirements and towards requirements of Minors (e.g., Mathematics Minor, Commerce Minor).

ELEC students can complete 3 credits of Free Electives and should note the following:

Co-op courses cannot be used towards the free electives requirement
Free Elective credits must be completed at the university level (no transfer credit for AP coursework or for other courses completed in high school)
Students may count up to 3 transfer credits from another university to cover this requirement

For any questions about electives or counting a course for credit, students can email u-advising@ece.ubc.ca

For students who entered 2nd Year ELEC prior to 2021, please see the following course checklists:

Switching Between Computer and Electrical Engineering

Students that wish to switch between the Computer Engineering Program and the Electrical Engineering Program must complete the online application form.