Studying Electrical and Information Engineering
Electrical and electronic engineers and information engineers develop devices that can be used to store and transport energy or information.
An article by Meike Fries in collaboration with Oliver Burgard
Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering
That is what it’s about
They develop the memory chips that we use to make phone calls, take pictures or listen to music. They make it possible for us to send messages around the globe in a split second and cover ever greater distances with electric cars. "The subject is very innovative; many new technologies originated here," says Ullrich Pfeiffer, professor at the Uni Wuppertal and chair of the faculty conference for Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Information Engineering. In the past students usually only studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering, but today it is often combined with Information Engineering. In Electrical and Electronic Engineering, students learn how to generate, regulate, control, measure and use electricity. In Information Engineering, the focus is signal and message transmission; increasingly it also focuses on encryption technologies, data bases, mobile applications and networks. The curriculum has a lot of mathematics and physics in the first few semesters. There are also lectures on electromagnetic fields, electric waves and circuits, analogue and digital engineering, measurement technology and signal display. From the third or fourth semester – sometimes even sooner – students put their knowledge to use in workshops, called laboratories. They typically work on practical tasks in groups and learn how to build circuits and deal with test and measurement equipment, for example. Students at universities of applied sciences often spend a whole practical semester in industry; at universities practical projects usually take place in parallel to the lectures and exercises. Students then develop, for example, a small solar power plant or build a weather station or synthesiser – in teams as they will later on in their professional lives. Students choose specialisations in later semesters. Common specialisations are automation engineering, energy engineering, microelectronics, automotive as well as communications, media and medical technology. About two-thirds of students at universities of applied sciences write their Bachelor's thesis in cooperation with companies.
suitability, obstacles, misconceptions
"Anyone who likes to open up a device and find out how it works has the right attitude," says Harald Jacques, professor at the Hochschule Düsseldorf and chair of the faulty conference for Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Information Engineering. In some cases, a work placement is required before the academic studies. "But, even if not, it is advisable to do one," says Jacques. This is where students learn about the equipment they will need later on in the university laboratory. Students also need to be able to imagine abstract concepts such as current waveforms. Mathematics, physics and computer science are challenging and take considerable effort. "Some new students think that they will program apps as early as the first semester and are disappointed because they have to read up on mathematics and physics instead," says Ulrich Pfeiffer from the Uni Wuppertal. The vast majority of degree courses in this subject area have no course entrance restrictions.