Master Course Description

No: EE 215


Credits: 4

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: M.P. Anantram, Professor of Electrical Engineering

Goals: To develop the fundamental tools of linear circuit analysis which will be useful to all engineers.  To learn the "alphabet" of circuits, including wires, resistors, capacitors, inductors, independent and dependent voltage and current sources, and operational amplifiers.  To prepare students for more advanced courses in circuit analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify linear systems and represent those systems in schematic form
  2. Explain precisely what the fundamental circuit variables mean and why the fundamental laws governing them are true.
  3. Apply Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws, Ohm's law, and the terminal relations describing inductive and capacitive energy-storage elements to circuit problems.
  4. Simplify circuits using series and parallel equivalents and using Thevenin and Norton equivalents
  5. Perform node and loop analyses and set these up in standard matrix format
  6. Explain the physical underpinnings of capacitance and inductance.
  7. Identify and model first and second order electric systems involving capacitors and inductors
  8. Predict the transient behavior of first and second order circuits

Textbook: Nilsson and Riedel, Electric Circuits, 8th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2008

Reference Texts: none

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Fundamental physics (PHYS 122), including concepts of power, energy, force, electric current, and electric fields
  2. Fundamental mathematics (MATH 126), trigonometric and (complex) exponential functions, introductory differential and integral calculus, first and second order linear differential equations


  1. Fundamental electric circuit quantities (charge, current, voltage, energy, power) [0.5 week]
  2. The "alphabet" of circuit schematics (resistors, wires, sources, etc.) [0.5 week]
  3. Analysis, graph theory concepts:  loops, nodes, supernodes [0.5 week]
  4. Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws [0.5 week]
  5. Ohm's law [0.5 week]
  6. Series and parallel resistor combinations, voltage and current division [1 week]
  7. Thevenin and Norton equivalents; linearity and superposition solution methods [1 week]
  8. Linear algebraic techniques (node analysis; loop/mesh analysis) [2 weeks]
  9. Op amp circuits [1 week]
  10. Capacitors and inductors [0.5 week]
  11. First and second order circuits in the time domain [2 weeks]

Course Structure: The class meets for three 50-minute lectures and one 110- minute recitation section per week. The latter is administered by teaching assistants. Homework is assigned weekly. Two exams are given nominally at the ends of the 4th and 8th weeks, and a comprehensive final exam is given at the end of the quarter.

Computer Resources: None required. (Spice is introduced in EE 233.)

Laboratory Resources: Students perform basic circuit laboratories using personal multimeters and parts kits sold by the department. No departmental laboratory facilities are used.

Grading: Suggested: Homework (20%), Exam-1 (25%), Exam-2 (25%), Final Exam (30%).  A component from the recitation section may also be used in determining the final grades for students.  A component from laboratory grades may also be used in determining the final grades. The grading scheme in any particular offering is the prerequisite of the instructor.

Outcome Coverage:

(a) An ability to apply knowledge of math, science and engineering. The homework and exams require direct application of mathematical, scientific, and engineering knowledge. This requires performing various types of linear circuit analysis in a formal manner, while supplying supporting calculations and intuitive explanations. (H)

(b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. Students conduct simple circuit experiments using personal multimeters, a breadboard and a parts kit, including some design of experiments that will provide linear models of nonlinear elements. The experiments require students to account for differences between measured data and predictions. (M)

(c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability. This outcome is a minor component of the course, but nevertheless present. A minority of the problems assigned require students to calculate circuit-parameter values (synthesis) rather than analyze circuit behavior. The op amp topic deals with design problems involving circuit type selection and parameter calculation. Designs must be checked against realistic operating constraints imposed by saturation and power limits. (L)

(d) An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams. Laboratory work, lab reports, and recitation problems are carried out in teams of typically three students. The teams are explicitly constructed so as to mix students from the broad array of engineering disciplines who populate this class. Thus, the ability to function well on multidisciplinary teams is critical. (H)

(e) An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. The course is primarily oriented toward electronic circuit-analysis. However, some assignments require students to identify an engineering problem (the modeling of a linearized element, for example, or the construction of an analog adder), formulate a solution, and demonstrate that it works. (L)

(l) Knowledge of probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to electrical engineering. The student will use knowledge of statistics to a data set of electrical circuit elements and calculate mean, median and standard deviation. They will fit the data set to known distribution functions. The data set will be generated by the student in the laboratory. Reasons for device-to-device fluctuations in circuit elements will be discussed in the lab as they are important to account for in circuit design. (L)

Prepared By: M.P. Anantram

Last Revised: January 19, 2010