Curriculum FAQ


Q: I need to change my major, declare a double major, or add/remove a minor.  What should I do?

Download the required paperwork from the Office of Student Records.  Fill it out, and bring it by the ECE office (Barrows 101).

Note that if you’re declaring a double-major or double-degree, you should be careful to specify which is your “primary” degree.  Within ECE, your primary degree determines which senior project sequence you’ll be enrolling in (and the prerequisites required to start your senior project).

Q: What are “General Education” or “Human Values and Social Context” (HV&SC) requirements?

The University establishes “General Education” requirements which must be met for any academic major. The required courses in ECE ensure that all General Education requirements are met, with the exception of the HV&SC requirements and the Ethics requirement.  Most of the HV&SC course requirements are left as electives to be selected by the student.

Each program must include 18 credits of HV&SC courses, selected from a lists of approved courses to satisfy each of five sub-categories:

  • Western cultural tradition
  • Social context and institutions
  • Cultural diversity and international perspectives
  • Population and the environment
  • Artistic and creative expression

In ECE, all students are required to take CMJ103, which satisfies the Social context and institutions category.  The remaining 15 credits of HV&SC courses are left as electives to be selected by the student.  It’s up to the student and their advisor to select these courses in a way that satisfies each of the above sub-categories at least once.  Students can use the “degree progress” feature in  MaineStreet to find out which HV&SC requirements have already been satisfied.

Students completing the Honors Program along with CMJ103 have satisfied all HV&SC requirements.

Q: What is the “Ethics” requirements?

The University’s “General Education” requirements specify that all students must complete at least one approved course placing a substantial emphasis on ethical issues. The vast majority of ECE students satisfy this requirement by taking an HV&SC elective which also satisfies the Ethics requirements.  As an alternative, other electives in the program may be used, provided they’ve been approved as an “Ethics” course.  Again, students should consult the lists of approved courses to identify candidate courses.

Q: What is the Math/Science requirement for Computer Engineering students? How can I satisfy it?

To satisfy accreditation requirements, at least one-fourth of the credits taken for any Engineering degree must be Mathematics or Science courses.  To satisfy this requirements, Computer Engineering majors (for classes entering 2013/14 or after) must include at least one credit-hour of Math/Science beyond their required courses.  Students could take an additional Math/Science course, but there are alternatives that do not require additional coursework:

  1. Many students completing a minor will already have the additional credit.  
  2. Double majors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering will already have the additional credit (since they will complete CHY131 as part of the Electrical Engineering degree).
  3. An appropriate Mathematics or Science course could be selected as one of the “Generic Technical Electives” allowed by the program.
  4. There are some Science courses which can be taken as part of the HV&SC electives.  Some possible courses are listed on the curriculum check-sheets.  Other courses should be cleared by the ECE office prior to enrollment.

Q: The ECE graduation requirements have changed while I was a student.  What requirements apply to me?

Curriculum changes happen all the time, and will almost certainly happen while you’re a student at UMaine.  Here are the rules governing what graduation requirements will apply to you:

  1. Students always have the right to use the graduation requirements which were published in the Undergraduate Catalog in the year in which they entered the ECE program.  (If a student leaves the program, and is then readmitted at a later date, the graduation requirements become those of the readmission date.)
  2. If graduation requirements change while a student is active in the program, students may choose (at their option) to use the updated requirements.
  3. Students may not choose to use graduation requirements from dates prior to their entry into the ECE program.
  4. Students must use one set of published requirements.  Piecemeal mixing requirements published in different years is not allowed.

It is important that students communicate with their advisor to make sure that their file reflects the graduation requirements that they are using.  A current copy of the graduation check-list for the appropriate year should be kept in the file.

 Q: I’d like to use the graduation requirements approved for the class entering in 2013/14—but I’ve already taken ECE210 and ECE211. Is the new curriculum an option for me?

If you have not yet taken your “Basic Science” elective, the new curriculum may save you a few credit hours required to graduate.  In this case, you should definitively consider switching to the new requirements. Students already in the ECE program who wish to use the new curriculum will be dealt with as follows:

  • Any student who has completed the 3-credit version of ECE210 must complete ECE211.  Students with only the 3-credit version of ECE210 will not be allowed to enroll in ECE314.
  • Students who have completed the (3-credit) ECE210 and ECE211 will be allowed to take ECE314 and continue with the new curriculum.  Essentially the combination of the 3-credit ECE210 with ECE211 is treated as equivalent to having completed the new 4-credit ECE210.

Q: I’m a Computer Engineer who entered the program before 2013, and am not required to take ECE314.  However, the prerequisites for ECE414 and ECE486 (which are required) have been changed to include ECE314.  How can I take those classes?

If you’ve already completed the 3-credit version of ECE210 and ECE211, we’ll waive the prerequisite to allow you to take ECE414 or ECE486.  Otherwise, you’ll need to complete the new 4-credit version of ECE210 with ECE314.  (In this later case, you’re essentially following the requirements for students entering in 2013/14.)

Q: I entered the program in the Honors College, but no longer plan to complete all the requirements for Honors.  What Human Values and Social Context requirements have I already met?

Students who partially complete the Honors Program  should consult the Honors College Website to learn which HV&SC requirements have been met.

Q:  I would like to take a class which meets at 2:10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but this conflicts with the Senior Project course (ECE 40x) which is scheduled from 1:10 to 3:00. What should I do?

Formal class meetings for the ECE Senior project courses are generally scheduled during the first hour of the scheduled class time.  In addition, students who are enrolled in the senior project sequence will be expected to attend all senior project presentations.    These presentations often occur in the 2:10-3:00 time block, especially in the second half of the spring semester (when many students are completing their capstone sequence).  As with any other time conflict, to schedule a second course in the 2:10-3:00 time slot you’ll need to obtain permission from the instructor of the second course.  That instructor should understand that you’ll have a commitment to attend all capstone project presentations, and as a result will miss some of the class meetings for that course.  The ECE senior project instructors should be able to provide a fairly accurate estimate of how many class meetings you’re likely to have to miss.

Q:  What extra classes must an ECE student take to get a Math minor?

There are several ways to accomplish a math minor. The math minor requires a student to take MAT 126, MAT 127, MAT 228, and four elective courses totaling 12 hours from a list of particular math courses listed in the Undergraduate Catalog. ECE students already take MAT 126, MAT 127 and MAT 228, as well as MAT 258 and either MAT332 or CHB350 or ECE316. Note that the list of math elective courses includes MAT 258, MAT 259, MAT 262, and MAT 434 but that if MAT 258 is taken, neither MAT 259 nor MAT 262 can be used because of overlapping material. If MAT 259 and MAT 262 are taken instead of MAT 258, this is acceptable for meeting ECE degree requirements. Also, MAT 332 or CHB 350 or ECE 316 is acceptable instead of MAT 434. The bottom line is that a student has the following two options for the math minor:

  1. Take MAT 126, 127, 228, 259, 262, 332 or CHB350 or ECE316, and one other course from the Math Department minor list or,
  2. Take MAT 126, 127, 228, 258, 332 or CHB350 or ECE316, and two other courses from the Math Department minor list (excluding MAT 259 and MAT 262).

Note that minors are not given automatically; you must declare a minor.

Q: I want to receive a minor in Business. Can I substitute any business courses for technical electives in the ECE program?

You can use two upper division Business electives to apply toward the “Generic Technical Electives”. BUA325- Principles of Management and Organization, BUA350 – Business Finance, and BUA 370 – Marketing are three such courses listed by the Business college in their specification of minor degree requirements.

Q: Do I need to complete the COS prerequisites in order to sign up for COS431?

ECE students who have completed ECE177 have been given permission to take COS431.