Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Electrical Engineering Design Requirement

This requirement, which involves design and implementation of a solution to a real problem, provides students with a significant and complete design experience, including problem definition, investigation of the state of the art, prototype design, implementation, and evaluation. Projects require synthesis of a hardware or software structure to solve a problem, specification of how the structure can be realized, and construction of the solution.

The projects allow students to apply the analysis and synthesis skills they have developed during their undergraduate course work and appreciate how different areas of the curriculum are related to each other. The students also gain practical experience in problem definition, laboratory skills, teamwork and inter-group communication, prototyping techniques, project scheduling, and other aspects of engineering practice that are not encountered in course work. Both written and oral reports are presented.

Typically, the project requires:

  • A proposal: Description of the problem and design approach.
  • A schedule: Specific tasks to be accomplished with milestones identified.
  • A final report: Description and evaluation of the final design.
  • A poster presentation and an oral presentation at a Senior Design Expo, held at the end of the fall and spring terms. (Only an oral presentation is required for projects completed in the summer term. However, students are encouraged to present a poster at a subsequent Expo, if possible.)

Projects can involve two terms of credit-for example, using a design course to initiate the project and an independent study to complete it.

Several mechanisms are used to assign credit for the project, including the ECE design course ( ECE 1896  SENIOR DESIGN COURSE), a specialty area design course (such as  ECE 1193  VLSI DESIGN or  ECE 2391  PROJECTS IN COMPUTER VISION), or a school-wide design course (such as  ENGR 1050  PRODUCT REALIZATION). Design topics may be suggested as part of a course, but students usually select their own projects. In most cases, students work on a team of three to five students.

 For specific EE concentrations, the design course may be a requirement within that concentration. The specialty area design courses include:


ECE 1161: Embedded Computer System Design 2



Term(s) Offered: Fall:  No  Spring:  Yes  Summer:  No 

This course is designed as a full term project carried out by student design groups. A complex embedded system will be designed, implemented, and tested using Altera and other CAD tools. Proper design process is emphasized. 


  • ECE 1160/2160



Term(s) Offered: Fall:  No  Spring:  Yes  Summer:  No 

This course is organized as a full semester project in conjunction with a small amount of lecture material on advanced CMOS digital design techniques, as well as the group design process itself. Students form groups of 3 to 5 per group that design and implement different VLSI projects which are then fabricated by MOSIS and returned for testing. Focus is on teamwork with frequent oral/written reports. 


  • ECE 1192

Additional Link:  



Term(s) Offered: Fall:  No  Spring:  No  Summer:  No 

A set of full-term projects attacking problems in image processing and computer vision. Projects will typically involve the development of problem solutions on computer vision workstations in the C programming language. 


  • ECE 1390
  • ECE 2395

Other Important Information:  
Special Topics: Image Processing/Computer Vision 

These courses have a limited enrollment.