Academics > ABET

Example Master Course Description (non-Capstone)

Master Course Description

No: EE 215


Credits: 4

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Richard Christie, Associate 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. Apply Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws and Ohm's law to circuit problems
  3. Simplify circuits using series and parallel equivalents and using Thevenin and Norton equivalents
  4. Perform node and loop analyses and set these up in standard matrix format
  5. Identify and model first and second order electric systems involving capacitors and inductors
  6. Predict the transient behavior of first and second order circuits

Textbook: Nilsson and Riedel, Electric Circuits, 6th Edition. Prentice Hall, 1999

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 one hour (actually 50 minute) lectures a week, and one two hour (110 minute) recitation section. The latter is usually 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. Instructors may, at their option, replace the quiz section with a fourth weekly hour of lecture.

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

Laboratory Resources: Students perform several laboratories with personal multimeters using parts kits sold by the department. The laboratories can be performed on any convenient table at any time convenient to the student. 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 math, science and engineering knowledge.  The homework and exams require direct application of mathematical, scientific, and engineering knowledge to successfully complete the course.  This requires performing various linear circuit analysis methods in a formal manner and many supporting and follow-up calculations. 

(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. The experiments require students to explain the difference between measured data and interpreted data. 

(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. A few of the problems are multi-solution. Designs must be checked against real world operating limits such as saturation and power limits. 

(e) Identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. The course is primarily oriented toward electrical circuit analysis but also includes examples of where linear circuit theory can be applied to other physical domains to model the system, such as in mechanics and thermal problems. Students must be able to identify the system, formulate a circuit model, and solve the circuit model to determine circuit variables, primarily with electrical circuits.  

(h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.    Students taking the course will realize the broad applicability of linear circuit analysis methods to electrical and other physical domains. "Topics in EE" lectures provide a broad introduction to concepts, definitions and impact of different areas of electrical engineering, including economic and social consequences of EE innovations. Concept and definition questions are a small part of exams.

Prepared By: Rich Christie

Last Revised: June 1, 2005

EE logo