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McMaster University

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The ECE disciplines (Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering) are all associated in some way with harnessing electricity for useful purposes. Electricity is such a useful phenomenon because at high intensities it can be used to convey power that is used for lighting, motion, heating, cooling, etc. At lower intensities, it can be used to convey information in the form of signals. For example, the acoustic vibrations of a voice or music signal can be easily converted into an electrical signal by a microphone. It can then be amplified, stored and replayed on various types of media or broadcast over the airways. Electrical signaling is the foundation of computers and computer hardware.
  • So, to be an engineer and to be able to perform these remarkable feats, one must have the required education and background.
  • Biomeds deal at the interface between electrical engineering and medicine.  As such, they need a stronger background in the life sciences, namely biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology.  Biomeds take all core electrical and computer engineering courses, as well as related medical courses.  As a result, the biomedical program is heavier than either the computer or electrical engineering programs. 
  • It may be said that computer engineers are electrical engineers with a specialization in computer systems.  The computer engineering discipline may also be considered to lie between computer science and electrical engineering.  Computer engineers design both computer software and hardware and consider their interface.  Ccomputer science and software engineering deal with the development of software, whereas computer engineers deal both hardware and software. 
  • Electrical is a broad classical discipline; both computer engineering and biomedical engineering grew out of electrical engineering.  Electrical engineering is focused more heavily on the physical design of electronics, electromagnetic and communication systems.  In addition, power systems, sustainable energy, and computer hardware/software are integrated into the program.  There are significant opportunities for specialization in the EE program.
  • Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical all have a final year project course.
  • You as part of a team will undertake a year long engineering design course where you will complete an open-ended project under the supervision of a faculty member. 
  • This course is the culmination of your undergraduate experience at McMaster.
  • You will use all your engineering skills to the utmost to investigate an area of electrical engineering that is appealing to you. 
  • In the past these projects have even spawned successful start-ups!
  • For more details, check out recent projects
  • The entrance cutoffs change yearly.
  • For more information, please click here.
  • Admittance is approximately:
    • Electrical ≈95
    • Computer ≈65
    • Biomedical ≈40
  • All of the programs in ECE give students the opportunity to enrol into co-op work terms.
  • Of 335 engineering co-op students starting in January/May (2010):
    • 75 were from Electrical Engineering
    • 15 were from Biomedical Engineering
    • 21 were from Computer Engineering
    • Approximately 33% of all students enrolled in co-op are from ECE
  • Of 645 engineering co-op students (2008):
    • 130 were from Electrical Engineering
    • 24 were from Biomedical Engineering
    • 24 were from Computer Engineering
    • Approximately 28% of all students enrolled in co-op are from ECE
  • With respect to positions posted on McMaster's online system (OSCAR) from March 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009:
    • 585 out of the 958 co-op positions posted indicated that Electrical and/or Computer Engineering were suitable disciplines. Over 61% of co-op positions involve ECE disciplines.
    • 376 out of the 519 full-time positions posted indicated that Electrical and/or Computer Engineering were suitable disciplines. Over 72% of full-time positions involve ECE disciplines.
  • The best opportunity to work for a professor over the summer is to apply for NSERC-USRA. See the Scholarships page for more details on requirements and deadlines.
  • Some professors do hire students, depending on funding. Please inquire with the professor you are interested in working with for more details.

More Info:


Elec & Comp Eng FAQs

Elec & BioMed program FAQs (additional to FAQs above)

Final Year Project info

Check out other FAQ's for the Faculty of Engineering here.

Visit the UG Admissions page for calendar information.

Return to Go 2 ECE.