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Electrical and Computer
An Open Letter To Rose-Hulman's
Congratulations! And welcome to Rose-Hulman,
even though I am probably about the 53rd person
to tell you that. You have joined a group of
people-students, staff, and faculty-who work
very hard, who thrive on challenge, and who
enjoy stretching their minds.
I'm writing because I am biased: I happen to
think that Electrical and Computer Engineering
is the best possible place for students to study.
Some may disagree with me! I know that some
of you have already decided to major either
in electrical engineering or in computer engineering.
Some have decided on another area. Some are
still undecided. So in the spirit of being helpful,
I'll tell you a little about the majors in our
What is electrical engineering? It's engineering
built around electricity in some way (which
is sort of obvious, but I get paid to say such
things). Consider, though, what electricity
does. We use it for two distinct purposes. One
is to move energy from one place to another;
the other is to move information from one place
to another. Our curriculum in electrical engineering
takes enough of a look at both of those to equip
you to enter the job market in either. You can
specialize a little during your four years,
but specialization is unwise this early in your
What is computer engineering? It's engineering
built around the computer in some way. (See?
The obvious!) There is a body of knowledge that
is common to computer engineering and computer
science, including computer architecture, operating
systems, algorithms and programming, and organization
of data. The two fields differ at the edges.
Computer science leans toward the theoretical
areas such as discrete mathematics, language
concepts, and compilation. Computer engineering
reaches toward the hardware of the computer,
including logic design, electronics, and embedded
In either program, you will progress through
three major "layers" of engineering study. Engineering
is under girded by the sciences and mathematics
(freshman year). We build on this with the basics
of engineering: electrical systems, thermodynamics
and fluids, and mechanical systems (sophomore
year). The "meat" of each curriculum comes in
the junior year, where you study the fundamentals
of your chosen area. Finally, your whole education
is brought together by advanced courses and
by the senior project, a year-long effort by
teams working on projects provided by industry.
Undecided still? You mean I haven't convinced
you? Well, don't be too concerned yet, because
you have your freshman year to really make up
your mind. In the meantime, get busy! I don't
mean just with classes-that's a foregone conclusion.
I mean, get active on campus and start taking
advantage of what Rose-Hulman has to offer.
Participate in activities. Meet fellow students.
Seek out some faculty members and talk to them.
(Yes, really, it's OK to talk with professors!)
Visit the Placement Office in the Union fairly
soon to look into summer jobs and internships
and to become aware of other opportunities.
Feel free to come to visit in Electrical and
Computer Engineering, too. We're on the top
floor of Moench in the C and D areas (come across
the bridge from the main hallway). Now go get
Dr. Fred Berry,
Professor Electrical & Computer Engineering,
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology,
5500 Wabash Avenue,
Terre Haute, IN 47803