Electrical and Computer Engineering General Education Program

Catalog Term: Fall 2013 and later

While a comprehensive understanding of science and mathematics is central and foundational to effective engineering practice, real-world engineering problems are both complex and situated within dynamic social, political, and cultural contexts. Therefore, well-rounded engineering curricula must also include courses that encompass the breadth of human experience and culture, both past and present. Such courses may include, but are not limited to, those that explore individual behavior, social and political structures, aesthetic values, modes and dynamics of communication, philosophical and ethical thought, and cognitive processes. These types of courses provide engineering students with a framework for rational inquiry, critical evaluation, and judgment when dealing with issues that are non-quantifiable, ambiguous, and/or controversial. In addition, they offer engineering students the opportunity to develop interests and insights that will deepen their appreciation for the diversity of the world in which they live and work.

Based on these premises, the goals of the ECE General Education Program are to

  • Provide the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  • Support and complement the technical content of the engineering curricula through coursework that emphasizes such skills as written communication, oral communication, information literacy, cultural awareness, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, and managing change.

These goals are consistent with the objectives of the College of Engineering’s Engineer of 2020 initiative (Engineering Faculty Document 15-06), as well as the objectives of Purdue University’s Undergraduate Outcomes-Based Curriculum (University Senate Document 11-7).

To these ends, all B.S. students in Electrical and Computer Engineering are required to complete the ECE General Education Program described below. This program is consistent with the College of Engineering General Education Program (Engineering Faculty Documents 43-13 and 39-14).

ECE General Education Program Requirements

The ECE General Education Program requires a minimum of 24 credit hours selected from the approved lists of courses. Students are strongly encouraged to develop a coherent general education plan, and distribute their general education credits throughout their academic program. The collection of courses used to fulfill this requirement must meet the following conditions.

  1. Students must select from the list of courses approved by the University Core Council to satisfy each of the following six Foundational Learning Outcomes listed below. Some courses may have been approved to meet more than one of the Foundational Learning Outcomes, so fewer than six courses can be used to fulfill this condition. There is no minimum number of credit hours needed to satisfy this component of the College of Engineering General Education Program. If a course taken to fulfill some other EE/CmpE degree requirement has also been approved as satisfying one or more of these Engineering Foundational Learning Outcomes, then those Engineering Foundational Learning Outcomes need not be satisfied again within the ECE General Education Program. The pertinent Foundational Learning Outcomes are defined as follows:
  • Written Communication

The clear expression of ideas in writing includes grammar, organization, and structure. Varying levels and types of writing skills are required for different jobs. The ability to convey ideas coherently and concisely is important.

  • Oral Communication

This is defined as the activity of conveying meaningful information verbally. Communication by word of mouth typically relies on words, visual aids and non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of the meaning. Oral communication is intended to increase knowledge, foster understanding, and/or promote change in the listener’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.

  • Information Literacy

The ability to recognize the extent and nature of information needs, then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information. It involves designing, evaluating and implementing a strategy to answer questions or achieve a desired goal.

  • Human Cultures: Humanities

The ability to recognize one’s own cultural traditions and to understand and appreciate other cultural traditions and languages. The Humanities includes content in classics, history, languages, the law, literature, the performing arts, philosophy (including ethics), religion, and visual arts.

  • Human Cultures: Behavior/Social Science

The ability to recognize one’s own cultural traditions and to understand and appreciate other cultural traditions and languages. Behavior/Social Science includes content in anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, organization theory, sociology, economics, history, counseling, and political science.

  • Science, Technology, and Society

The ability to understand and reflect upon the complex issues raised by technological and scientific change and its effects on society and the global world. This involves making sense of, evaluating, and responding to present and future changes that shape individuals’ work, public, and personal lives.

These courses must be selected from the following list:

 UCC List of Approved Foundational Learning Outcomes Courses (Quantitative Reasoning and Science Foundational Outcomes are satisfied by CHM 11500, PHYS 17200, and MA 16500/16100 or their equivalents)

Students must earn a grade of C- or better in courses used to satisfy this component of the ECE General Education Program.

Special Case

  • If needed, ENGR 13100/14100 can be used to satisfy the Information Literacy Foundational Learning outcome, but the credit hours do not apply towards the 24 credit hour minimum requirement since they are applied to the "Introduction to Engineering" requirement in both the BSEE and BSCmpE degrees.
  1. Students must take additional approved courses to reach the minimum requirement of 24 credit hours. These courses must be drawn from those offered by the departments of Agricultural Economics, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Child Development and Family Studies, Communication, Economics, English, Entrepreneurship, Foreign Languages and Literatures, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Management, Philosophy, Political Sciences, Psychological Sciences, Sociology and Anthropology, Visual and Performing Arts. Any course offered by these departments is allowable, provided that it is open to students in the offering department and is not focused primarily on professional training, natural science or mathematics. Other courses, as approved by the ECE Curriculum Committee, may also be selected. The list of approved courses is available at:

ECE Approved General Education Courses

  1.  At least 6 credit hours must come from courses at the 30000-level or above, or from courses with a required prerequisite in the same department.
  2. At least 12 credit hours must be taken from the College of Liberal Arts, the Krannert School of Management, and/or the Honors College – provided such courses are not focused primarily on engineering, technology, the natural sciences, or mathematics.