Electrical engineering is the discipline of manipulating power and information in the form of electricity. It is a discipline of great breadth that includes topics as diverse as wireless communications, renewable energy, electric transportation systems, instrumentation, signal processing and computational systems (i.e. computers). It provides a thorough technical background that applies to all branches of naval service as well as to civilian life. Electrical engineering majors are required to take courses in electrical engineering fundamentals including circuit analysis, digital logic systems, semiconductor device electronics, power systems and rotating machinery, communications, electromagnetism, and the design of microprocessor-based systems. Electives are offered in a variety of topics including semiconductor physics, machines and generators, wireless communications, networking, digital signal processing, biometric signal processing, fiber optics, computer architecture, instrumentation, and microcomputer interfacing. Design is emphasized throughout the program. Special facilities at USNA that support the electrical engineering major include the biometrics laboratory, the microfabrication laboratory, the communications laboratory and the fiber optics laboratory.
The electrical engineering capstone senior design project is the culmination of the electrical engineering major. This project integrates the many skills acquired in preparatory courses so that students can design, implement, test, and demonstrate a functioning system that meets performance specifications. Recent capstone projects have included aerial drones that home on targets using facial recognition, the design and implementation of an electric car, the identification of individuals through brainwave activity, the design of secure wireless networks and the modeling of turbine power systems.
A number of summer internships with organizations such as the National Security Agency and the Naval Research Laboratory provide the opportunity to work with scientists on improving the design, implementation and use of critical defense-related applications. We typically have a number of Trident and Bowman scholars, and many of our graduates go on to graduate study at first tier research institutions. We also have a number of students each year who successfully complete language minors, and we work with our majors to facilitate foreign and service academy exchanges. An electrical engineering degree also opens doors in civilian life. Having this degree is widely regarded as evidence of problem-solving skills and tenacity, and Academy electrical engineering graduates have achieved success in a wide variety of post-service careers including business, law, and consulting.
Electrical engineering is a technically demanding and highly rewarding major. It involves a significant amount of time solving problem sets, doing programming and performing laboratory work. It is a good major for someone who enjoys solving challenging yet important problems, who did well in science and math courses in high school, and who is interested in technology. It is a rich, rewarding discipline that opens up a world of opportunity.