The mission of the Electrical Engineering department is threefold:
- To provide to our students an undergraduate education of the highest quality.
- To educate graduate students in research, scholarship, and the intellectual life.
- To contribute to the vitality of the Catholic intellectual community which constitutes the core of the University.
Electronic technologies have had a profound impact on our society and culture. Electrical Engineering employs mathematics and the physical sciences to advance these technologies. Its practitioners must be accomplished in the relevant fields of pure science and mathematics. Engineering is an application of human creativity to practical problems. As such, while its standards and modes of inquiry are basically those of the physical sciences, it is also linked to human affairs and the requirements of practical wisdom.
The undergraduate program is marked by rigor and a breadth of preparation sufficient to prepare a practicing engineer for a lifetime of creative work and ongoing technical learning. Substantial time is devoted to acquiring a basic knowledge of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The latter half of the curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of electrical engineering, the various subfields within electrical engineering, and the challenges of engineering design. At every stage we seek to stress understanding and insight over simple application of technique; we want to produce graduates who are critical, original, and independent thinkers. Throughout, the undergraduate experience is enriched in important ways by courses in the humanities and social sciences. The liberal arts tradition at Notre Dame plays an important role in the education of engineering students. Our goal is to produce young men and women who are technically proficient, articulate, reflective, and conversant with the fundamental questions faced by humankind.
Graduate education in electrical engineering at Notre Dame is aimed at producing researchers who can make original scholarly contributions to our field. The graduate program emphasizes the doctoral degree. The doctorate is a research degree for which the central educational experience is that of collaborative research done with the thesis advisor. The relationship of graduate student to advisor is an intense mentoring relationship, aimed at forming a young scholar in the intellectual craft of original research. While this process is focused primarily on the technical aspects of research, the student is also invited into the broader intellectual life of the University. Though all graduate students will presumably go on to research positions, we hope that a significant number will be attracted to a life of teaching and research in a university context.
Each faculty member contributes to the department as a teacher, researcher, and colleague. As teachers, we are dedicated to providing a high-quality educational experience for our undergraduate students, an experience which challenges them intellectually and develops in them the habits of mind necessary for a life of learning. Our teaching of graduate students involves committing large amounts of time and energy to the one-on-one mentoring of young researchers. We view the fact that their apprenticeship is carried out in the environment of a vibrant Catholic intellectual community as one of the distinct advantages which our department has to offer. We seek to establish high standards for research and scholarship and believe that the substance of our research makes a contribution to the advancement of culture and the growth of human understanding. Furthermore, we do not pursue our roles as teachers and researchers in isolation from the rest of the University. We share with our colleagues in other departments the desire to build a great Catholic university in which the life of the mind and the life of faith can coexist and enrich each other.