Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Overview

What is the difference between Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering?

Electrical engineering is the older and more established of the two programs, which covers such topics as electronics, electromagnetics, microfabrication, communications, signal processing and power engineering. Since the advent of the computer and the microprocessor, the field of digital electronics and computers has grown to become a major component of electrical engineering. The newer computer engineering major allows students to specialize more in digital systems and computer design, than was possible if they were to adhere to the traditional electrical engineering curriculum requirements.

More information about Electrical Engineering @ USNA

More information about Computer Engineering @ USNA

Interviews with recent graduates


There seem to be several different majors that all involve computers... what is the difference between them?

Take a look at the Computing Major Comparison Chart to see a detailed comparison between these various majors. Excerpts from the Summary blocks of that chart are shown below, starting with the Electrical Engineering (EEE) major and progressing toward the Computer Science (SCS) major.  One way to think of this progression is as a spectrum from more low-level, hardware-oriented topics, to more high-level, software-oriented topics.

Electrical Engineering (EEE) focus: the fundamentals of electrical engineering including digital systems, circuit design, power, electronic materials, communications  and signal processing

Computer Engineering (ECE) focus: both how to design and how to use a computer.  It includes everything from the underlying circuitry of logic gates through to computer architecture and programming languages.

Weapons and Systems Engineering (WSE) focus: automation and control, mechatronics, robotics, and autonomous systems in addition to cyber-physical systems and engineering management.

Cyber Operations (SCY) focus: secure computing in the presence of an adversary, based on a strong technical foundation, along with an understanding of relevant law, ethics, policy and social engineering.

Information Technology (SIT) focus: applications of computing including web and internet programming, databases, and computer network security.

Computer Science (SCS) focus: scientific foundations of computing, including design and implementation of programming languages, program efficiency, and limits of computation.

go to Top