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McMaster University

Common Curriculum

Level I

All engineering programs at McMaster University have a common first year. For general Level 1 inquiries, please email McMaster Engineering I or visit their website.

Level II

In second year, you start to think like a real electrical, computer or biomedical engineer. Here is a summary of what you learn:

How do electrical circuits work? How can they be built to achieve a useful purpose?

The latest techniques in computer programming. Computer programming is essential to control computers and to simulate how the systems we design will behave.

The basics of digital logic, such as AND, OR and NOT gates. This is an important area since digital logic is the foundation of all computer hardware. 

Microprocessors are small computers that are present in any cell phone, iPod, or automobile. They are the heart behind many modern instrumentation systems, such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), telecommunication equipment, power apparatus, manufacturing systems, robotics, etc. 

Electromagnetics:  What is an electric or a magnetic field?  How do they behave?   How can they be applied to useful purposes?  Understanding electromagnetic fields is the key to understanding how antennas can radiate electromagnetic energy.

Electronics:  This is the art of using transistors and other devices to build useful devices such as amplifiers and other devices used in radios and TVs. Every mp3 player has an amplifier to bring the sound level up to audible levels.

Level III

In the third year, your knowledge becomes more sophisticated and you start to
become more specialized.  Here are the major common level III courses:

Controls Systems:   How does cruise control on a car work?   The car automatically maintains the same speed regardless of whether it is going up or down a hill.  How do we apply the side-thrusters on a rocket to keep it on a straight trajectory and keep it from falling down?  

Probability:  This is a branch of mathematics that enables us to model random events and systems.  It enables us to model the behaviour of electronic systems in the presence of random interferences, called noise.  This is of fundamental importance in the communications course.

Communications:  How do radios and TV work?   How do the bits get from a remote computer site to your computer when you download a file? How do we encode and transmit data reliably on wired and wireless networks? 

Electronics:  Engineers take a second level electronics course that enables a deeper understanding of how electronic devices behave and how to use them effectively.

Level IV

The fourth year courses are specific to the sub-discipline and allow for specialization in a chosen area.

For more details, please visit the Electrical, Computer, or Biomedical pages. For more details, program layouts, and calendar information, please visit our Prospective Students page.

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