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Difference between EE/CE/CSE

egyptianmatt91egyptianmatt91 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
edited August 2009 in Engineering Majors
I've been trying to decide what specialization of engineering to major in and I've been confused about electrical, computer, and computer science and engineering. I'm confused as to what the difference between all three majors is.

For example, in designing something such as a cell phone, iPod, or computer, what part of that would be EE and what would be the CE component?

And is CSE just a mix of both or what?

I was talking to an engineer and he said he thinks it's best to be knowledgeable in both programming and things such as analog circuits. I assumed this would be a mix of EE and CE which would be CSE? Or is it just EE with an emphasis on programming?

Idk I'm confused haha someone plz help. Right now I'm undeclared in the school of engineering and I don't know if I should just stay as undeclared until I figure out which specialization I want or if I should just declare now and switch if needed later.

Post edited by egyptianmatt91 on

Replies to: Difference between EE/CE/CSE

  • AuburnMathTutorAuburnMathTutor Registered User Posts: 1,770 Senior Member
    "Computer science and engineering" sounds to me to be a fancy way of saying "Computer science" offered by an engineering department. That's the assumption I'm going with, especially since there is another major called "computer engineering" and no major called "computer science".

    Electrical engineering would be very, very low-level design of computers. In my mind, it would deal more with the physical functioning of individual components of a computer. It would deal with the electrical phenomena underlying modern digital electronic computers. Analog and digital signals and systems. Electricity and magnetism. Things like that.

    Computer science would be very, very high-level study of computation. It would be math, logic, all of it informed by hardware considerations but not relying on them. Electricity, the physics of circuits, and the like wouldn't factor in.

    Computer engineering would be the middle ground, focusing on how the computer is put together from hardware to solve computational problems. As such, it would not descend as far into hardware considerations as EE, and would linger on the formal idea of computation as much.

    Hopefully this has been of some help.
  • jjsoa1jjsoa1 Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    AuburnMathTutor pretty much got it right. There are exceptions however. At my school a computer science major can graduate with the same coursework as a computer engineer with only 4-5 classes difference, but a CS major can also choose to take few if any courses pertaining to hardware. Of course this difference varies by university.
  • membermember - Posts: 612 Junior Member
    CSE is Computer Science and Engineering. Simply a name of a department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

    No different they saying

    Jill and Dave Taylor

    instead of

    Jill Taylor and Dave Taylor.
  • AuburnMathTutorAuburnMathTutor Registered User Posts: 1,770 Senior Member
    Thanks for the constructive post, member, but everything I said still stands... what CSE literally stands for is of no importance whatsoever. Given the CSE/CE/EE trio, it's pretty clear what role CSE is filling.


    Pretty straightforward. Rebuttal?
  • membermember - Posts: 612 Junior Member
    The only concern I have is you claiming that EE deals with computers, when in fact it is possible that it does not have to. It is more then possible to get a EE degree in Power systems and only touch the one class of c++ needed. EE students take integrated circuit classes, while CEN makes take either the ic classes and another class about the computer implementation, or a integrated class of both topics.

    CSE as you said is just a joint department of CS and CEN. No discipline is better than another and the department has one chair and one assistant chair which serve both disciplines. Some schools even merge all 3 disciplines into one department.
  • AuburnMathTutorAuburnMathTutor Registered User Posts: 1,770 Senior Member
    My reference to EE was clearly in comparison to the other to. Sort of a "if the three must be compared" sort of thing.
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Registered User Posts: 7,309 Senior Member
    CSE at my school was "Computer and Systems Engineering". It is distinct from both EE and CS.

    EE's make the parts.
    CSE's put the parts together.
    CS's write the software to make then work.

    At some schools the Computer Science department is in the engineering school, in others it is in the science school. It's an interesting philosophical divide.
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