What is Electrical and Computer Engineering?

Electrical Engineering

The work of electrical engineers can be seen in a huge variety of areas, from power generation and distribution to hand-held electronics such as GPS receivers and smartphones, and almost everything in between. If it involves electrical energy or information transfer, it involves electrical engineering.

  • Learn to design electrical devices, circuits and systems to solve problems and improve lives.
  • Study analog and digital circuits, electrical power and machines, electronics, microprocessors, instrumentation and controls, and telecommunications.
  • Specializations: communications, power and energy, remote sensing, instrumentation and control systems and robotics, autonomous vehicles, alternative energies.
  • Emerging areas: sustainable energy systems, wireless and optical communications.

What’s your dream career?

  • Design Engineer: Analog and digital circuits, communications systems, electrical systems, power generation and distribution systems, fibre-optics, microwave and satellite communications.
  • Engineering Management: project managers, systems architects.
  • Consultant
  • Engineering Educator: researcher, professor, instructor.


Computer Engineering

The work of computer engineers underlies nearly every aspect of our modern technological society, from the hardware and software of laptops, video game consoles, and smartphones to image processing in biomedical applications and the control systems in cars and airplanes. Computer engineering combines aspects of computer science and electrical engineering with a focus on the processing (hardware, software, and signal processing) and transmission (communications and networking) of information.

  • Learn to design digital systems and software applications.
  • Study software development, analog and digital circuits, microprocessors, signal processing, telecommunications, and instrumentation and controls.
  • Specializations: software development, digital hardware design, communications.
  • Emerging areas: embedded systems, biomedical systems, image processing, autonomous robotics.

What’s your dream career?

  • Design Engineer: Software, digital hardware, communications systems, embedded systems.
  • Engineering Management: project managers, systems architects.
  • Consultant
  • Engineering Educator: researcher, professor, instructor.

Computer Engineering or Computer Science?

Engineers are fundamentally problem solvers - they seek to find solutions to practical problems, whereas scientists seek to find answers about how the world works. So, at their basis, Computer Engineering and Computer Science have different foci: Computer Engineering is more focused on applying knowledge to solving problems, whereas Computer Science is about finding knowledge. In practice, however graduates from both programs will often find themselves in similar careers with one significant difference: in Canada, and in many other countries, Engineering is a regulated profession and you need to be a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) to practice engineering, or to claim to be an Engineer. An Engineering degree is normally required in order to be registered as a Professional Engineer and some careers will require P.Eng. registration.

From the point of view of a student in an undergraduate program, many of the courses will be similar, or even the same, between Computer Science and Computer Engineering, and, in fact, many Computer Science courses are acceptable as technical electives in the Computer Engineering program. Two significant differences between the programs are:

  1. The Computer Engineering program is more structured than Computer Science, and requires more breadth (e.g., physics, chemistry, circuits), including more emphasis on computer hardware. A graduate will obtain a broad understanding of computers system design, including hardware and software, and how they can be applied to solve practical problems.
  2. The Bachelor of Engineering (Computer) program, like all B.Eng. programs at Memorial, is a mandatory full co-op program. This means that all students will complete between four and six work terms of four months each. For more information about the co-op program, see Engineering Co-op.

We can’t wait for you to start

We believe by choosing electrical engineering or computer engineering at Memorial, you are choosing one of the best places in which to work, learn and grow. Let us convince you further. Read about our events and recruitment, how to apply, student success stories and more.