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Technical Cores/Components

ECE students choose an area of focus at the end of their sophomore year to create a more specialized academic concentration within their degree plan. Please click on the link below for further detailed information on our tech core and tech components.

ECE students on the 2014-2016 and 2016-2018 catalogs choose a primary and secondary area of focus and have the choice of academic enrichment/free electives or a secondary technical core. Students who started at UT Austin on the 2018-2020 and later catalogs only choose one technical core.

If you are ready to declare your tech core/component, please click the corresponding link for your catalog below:

Technical Core/Component Resources

Tech Core Packet
Tech Elective Offering Schedule
Faculty Mentors
ABET Advising Worksheet

Electrical Engineering Technical Components

Communication, Signal Processing, Networks and Systems

Broadly encompasses the principles underlying the design and implementation of systems for information transmission. The field considers how information is represented, compressed, and transmitted on wired and wireless links and how communication networks can be, and are, designed and operated. A student who chooses this technical component should recognize that communications and networking is a broad application domain where many engineering tools come into play, from circuit design for wireless phones to embedded network processors to system and application software for networked systems.

Electronics and Integrated Circuits

Involves the design and analysis of the circuits that provide the functionality of a system. The types of circuits that students encounter include analog and digital integrated circuits, radio frequency circuits, mixed signal (combination of analog and digital) circuits, power electronics, and biomedical electronics. The design and implementation of integrated circuits and systems using analog and digital building blocks are included in this component. A student should choose this technical component if they are interested in designing chips for applications, such as computing, telecommunications, and signal processing.

Energy Systems and Renewable Energy

Provides the foundation for a career in electric power systems, generation, grid operation, motors and drives, and renewable energy sources. This component involves the study and design of reliable and economic electric power systems, including both traditional and renewable resources. Energy conversion involves conversion to and from electrical energy, including the study and design of electrical machines.

Fields, Waves and Electromagnetic Systems

Studies different aspects of applied electromagnetics, including antennas, radio wave propagation, microwave and radio frequency circuits and transmission structures, optical components and lasers, and engineering acoustics. A student should choose this component if they are interested in engineering that involves the physical layer in modern communication and radar systems. Graduates are well positioned for jobs in antenna design and testing, propagation channel characterization, microwave and radio frequency circuit design, electromagnetic emission testing from electronic devices and systems, radar system design and development, optical telecommunication, optical information and signal processing systems, and component design and development.

Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology

Teaches about the materials and devices used in modern electronic and optoelectronic systems. With a heavy emphasis on semiconductors, courses in this component include the fundamentals of charge transport and interactions with light. Devices studied begin with p-n junctions and transistors, the building blocks of integrated circuits. Later courses concentrate on semiconductor lasers, detectors used in optoelectronics, and practical skills in nanopatterning and nanofabrication. Courses can be taken that focus on pushing the bounds of computing in new directions, such as atomically-small computing building blocks, quantum computing, hardware-aware neural networks and deep learning, energy-efficient artificial intelligence, neuromorphic computing, photonics, and spintronics. Students will learn about the wide-range use of nanotechnology to impact areas such as power, energy, health, and the environment. With exposure to these topics, students are well positioned to work in a wide variety of areas that rely on nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, such as computers, telecommunications, the automotive industry, AI, and consumer electronics.

Computer Engineering Technical Components

Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems

The computer architecture component of this component involves understanding the operation and design of computers on many different levels, including the instruction set, microarchitecture, and logic design. Embedded systems represent the combination of software and hardware that are designed to perform specific functions. These systems may be stand-alone items or an integral part of a larger system. Within this technical component, students are exposed to logic design, programming, computer architecture, systems design, and digital signal processing. The student studying computer architecture will be well positioned to join the microprocessor design industry as a logic designer or a circuit designer or, with experience, the chief architect of a new design. Jobs in embedded systems involve defining, designing, and fabricating application-specific processors and computers in areas such as automotive electronics, consumer devices, and telecommunications.

Data Science and Information Processing

Trains students in information and signal processing, data mining as well as decision and control algorithms. Applications include data analytics, machine learning, sound and image processing as well as knowledge extraction and actuation.

Software Engineering and Design

Covers the engineering life cycle of software systems, including requirement analysis and specification, design, construction/programming, testing, deployment, maintenance, and evolution. Component courses are intended to teach students theory, practical methods, and tools for designing, building, delivering, maintaining, and evolving software to meet stakeholder requirements. Every software engineer must understand how software systems operate and how they can be used to solve engineering problems and deliver solutions. The courses in this area are designed to educate students about a diverse and relevant set of technologies and about the ways that technology can be used to design and build software systems.