How To

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California State University Los Angeles

Electrical and Computer Engineering programs will prepare you for the next step in your career development.

Register for Classes

If this is your first registration, you must first see an advisor.  Following advising, you obtain department approval to register.  If you are a new student born after December 31, 1956 you must visit the Health Center where you will be asked to present proof of measles and rubella immunizations and verification of negative tuberculin test or chest x-ray within the past year.  If you are 18 years of age or younger, you must provide proof of being immunized against the hepatitis B virus.  Information can be obtained at the Health Center. Provided you are not trying to take any restricted courses (see description below), you are ready to pay your fees and register.  Follow the schedule sent to you with the registration material. 

New students must attend the University orientation session for new students.  At that session, you will receive valuable information about the University and about registration.  The information you receive at the University orientation session supplements that given by our faculty advisors. 

Newly admitted students and continuing students can register using GET on the Internet or STAR by phone.  Instructions for using GET or STAR are found in the Schedule of Classes.  Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) should be sent to you.  The PIN is the password to access GET or STAR and should be kept separately from your Campus Identification Number (CIN).  You will not be allowed to register for classes if you have not completed the prerequisites.  If you took the prerequisite at another university (other than a California Community College), the computer may not know that this is equivalent. In such cases, see an adviser or come to the department office. We can put an authorization into the computer so you will be able to register.

Adding classes is done using GET or STAR.  To add during the first week, simply follow the instructions in the schedule of classes.  If there is room in the class and it is not restricted, you can add without any approvals during this first week period (CAUTION: you must attend the first class meeting or the instructor can drop you from the class).  If the class is full, or if you are adding during the second week of classes, you must obtain the instructor’s permission to ADD.  Once this permission is granted, the department clerical staff enters a code in the computer, which then permits you to add using GET or STAR.  These permissions expire in several days, so do not delay adding.

Study Load: Undergraduate students must carry a study load of 12 units for full-time enrollment certification by the University.  The recommended full-time study load for undergraduates is 16 units.  The maximum study load is 18 units. This can only be exceeded with written department permission.

See an advisor and setup a program

All full time faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering serve as advisors.  Advising hours are posted outside the department and faculty offices.  You may select your own advisor based on your area of specialization or schedule constraints.  While you are encouraged to select a permanent advisor, you can meet with any faculty advisor. 

When to see an advisor:

  1. Prior to your first quarter of attendance, there will be an orientation session you can attend where an advisor makes sure that you understand the rules. 
  2. You must then meet with an advisor during your first quarter of attendance. During this session you should put together a tentative year-by-year plan.
  3. If you are a transfer student, you should meet with an advisor to do a complete transfer credit evaluation once the university has evaluated your transcripts
  4. You should check with your advisor to periodically revise your year-by-year plan. 
  5. You must also see an advisor before choosing your upper-division specialization.
  6. You must see the Department Chair or designated advisor to do your graduation check as part of your application for graduation.  Refer to Section XIII for more details on applying for graduation.

During your first meeting with your advisor at the beginning of your program (a mandatory meeting), the faculty advisor fills out a "Major Department Evaluation" (MDE) form (at the end of this document), which lists all the major requirements, and a "General Education Advisement" (GEA) form (attached to MDE at the end of this document), which lists all GE requirements.  Upon completion, the faculty advisor and the Department chair both approve the MDE and GEA forms, and copies are mailed to you and filed in the ECE Department office.  During this meeting, you should also develop a tentative year-by-year plan.

If you have transferred to the University from another institution, a "Transfer Credit Evaluation" (TCE) form will be sent to you by the University, specifying which courses (if any) have been accepted toward the major. The information on the TCE form is available on GET.  In some occasions during the initial advising the TCE may not yet have been completed by the University. In these cases, the advising is based on a tentative evaluation by the advisor on the basis of an unofficial transcript, which will be formalized later once the University has completed its TCE.
After meeting with your faculty advisor during your first quarter of attendance, you are urged to see your advisor each quarter prior to registration.  The purpose of these pre-registration meetings is to review your progress, to double check that you are meeting the prerequisites, and to provide an opportunity for you to discuss any questions you may have.
You are required to see their advisor when you are ready to take upper-division technical electives.  During this advisement session, you will discuss with the advisor how to select an area of specialization and how to determine a suitable set of eight lecture courses and three laboratory courses.
In addition to advising students on class schedules and electrical and computer engineering careers, each full-time faculty or group of faculty is responsible for coordinating one of the department advisement services as shown in Table 3-1.  The outreach coordinator oversees the department’s outreach efforts to high schools and community colleges working closely with the College Outreach Coordinator.  The transfer evaluation coordinator oversees EE transfer credit evaluations and works with the Department Chair to develop and maintain articulation agreements with local community colleges.  The internship coordinator coordinates internship opportunities and student placements.  The graduation evaluators and Department Chair are responsible for conducting graduation evaluations in GET two quarters prior to a student’s anticipated graduation.  The career counseling coordinator coordinates resume and interview skills workshops and works closely with the University Career Center.   The graduate coordinator provides general advising related to the graduate program.

Advisement service coordinators

Advisement Service



Dr. Beyon

Major Transfer Credit Evaluation

Dr. Killinger and Dr. Abledu


Dr. Tabrizi

Graduation Evaluation

Dr. Dong and Dr. Liu

Career Counseling

Dr. Karimlou and Dr. Ryaciotaki-Boussalis

Graduate Program Advising

Dr. Warter-Perez

Placement Exams

In addition to placement tests that are required to enter the first course in Math, there are THREE EXAMS that almost all EE students will have to take.  Failure to take these exams as described below is extremely serious, and can result in denial of permission to register.  READ THIS CAREFULLY.

ENTRY-LEVEL MATHEMATICS (ELM): You must take the Entry-Level Math (ELM) examination very early in your stay at Cal State L.A.  You will not be able to register for any Math classes until you satisfy this requirement.  The exam tests your knowledge of Algebra and Geometry.  Details and exam schedules appear in the Schedule of Classes.  Review the material before taking this exam.

You are exempted from this requirement if either of the following applies to you:

  1. You enter Cal State L.A. with certified transfer credit for a course that satisfies the General Education-Breadth or Intersegmental General Education Transfer.  Such transfer credit must be listed on your credit summary issued by the University upon admission.
  2. You have obtained these minimum scores or higher on one of the following:
  3. 3 or higher on the AP Mathematics (Calculus AB or BC) or Statistics test or...
  4. 550 or higher on the Mathematics section of the SAT I Reasoning Test or on the College Board SAT II Mathematics Tests Level I, IC (Calculator), II, or IIC (Calculator) or…
  5. 23 or higher on the Math section of the ACT or…
  6. 550 or higher on Level I, IC, II, or IIC of the College Board Math Achievement test or SAT II: Mathematics Test or …
  7. A score of “Exempt” on the augmented mathematics CST, i.e., the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP), taken in grade 11.

ENGLISH PLACEMENT TEST (EPT): You must take this examination in order to see if you are ready to register for any English course.  Depending upon your performance on the English Placement Test, it may be necessary for you to take one or more English classes prior to registering for ENGL101.  See the Schedule of Classes for details and rules regarding this exam and when it must be taken.  It should normally be taken immediately after you are admitted to Cal State L.A.  You are exempted from this requirement if you satisfy one of the following requirements.

1.  You have complete and transfer  a course that satisfies the General Education-Breadth or Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) written communication requirement, provided such course was completed with a grade of C or better, or

2. You have obtained these minimum scores or higher on one of the following:

  1. 3, 4, or 5 on either the Language and Composition or the Literature and Composition exam of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program or….
  2. A score of “Exempt” on the augmented English CST, i.e. the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken in grade 11 or …
  3. 550 or higher on the verbal part of the SAT I: Reasoning Test (taken April 1995 or after) or...
  4. 24 or higher on the enhanced ACT English (October 1989 or after) or...

680 or higher on the re-centered and adjusted College Board SAT II: Writing Test (taken May 1998 or after)

Taking the WPE

Prior to completion of 135 quarter units, you must take the upper division writing proficiency exam (WPE).  This is extremely important since the university will block you from registering beyond 135 units until you pass this exam!! If you transferred in with more than 135 transfer units, you are required to take the exam during your very first quarter here.  Details are given in the Schedule of Classes.  Don’t be caught by surprise!  You will not receive any special notice as you near the 135 unit level.  It is your responsibility to take the exam at the proper time.  You register for the exams as UNIV400, which is listed in the schedule of classes along with the other “UNIV.” courses.

Pass rate statistics for the WPE indicate that students are more likely to pass the exam soon after they complete ENGL101 and ENGL102.  Don’t delay out of fear of the exam.  If you fail the first time, you must meet with a consultant in the university Writing Center.  Based on recommendations from the consultant, you may retake the exam or enroll in UNIV401, the upper-division writing proficiency course.  Check the schedule of classes for details.  Help is also available to correct deficiencies in your writing. You must be able to write effectively in order to succeed in the profession.

Signing up for Senior Design

During the senior year EE students are required to successfully complete the three course design sequence (EE496A, EE496B and EE496C). The first quarter in the sequence (EE496A) is an instructor-guided design experience.  The primary objective is to teach students how to conduct a design project of significant scope and complexity from its inception to its final completion. Prior to completion of EE496A, students are required to select a project for the next two quarters, and prepare a proposal in consultation with a faculty advisor, or an industry sponsor, who will supervise the student's progress and provide technical assistance. It is mandatory that all students receive approval of their project proposal from both the instructor of EE 496A and their senior design advisor before proceeding to EE496 B &C. In addition, students enrolled in EE496A are required to submit their work samples including a sample lab report, a resume, and essays regarding life-long learning and contemporary issues, and extended abstract of their senior design project to create webfolios.

Upon successful completion of EE496A, the students can sign up for EE496B and EE496C with their selected faculty advisor to implement their design. During EE496B&C, the students should work closely with their faculty advisor on their proposed project. It is required that every students should demonstrate the working project to their advisor, submit a final report to document their design process and implementation results, and make a formal oral presentation on their design. The faculty advisor is responsible for guiding the students to prepare the presentation materials. A rehearsal with their advisor is required before the capstone design presentations.

Applying for Graduation

Well, you look like you are going to make it.  You have followed the instructions in this handbook, and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.  You appear to be close to graduation.  But graduation does not happen automatically--YOU MUST APPLY for it.  Application forms are available in the department office.  You fill out the application form, take it to the cashier and pay the fees, and then return to the department to meet with the Department Chair (or a designated advisor).  The deadlines are given in the instructions accompanying the form and in the Schedule of Classes.  Generally, you must apply about 6 months before you expect to graduate.  In your meeting with the Department Chair or designated advisor, you discuss your program and projected schedule.  Do not wait until the last minute!  After discussing requirements with the Department Chair, your graduation application is sent to the University Graduation Office for approval.  Several months later, the Graduation Office sends an official “Graduation Check” form which shows remaining requirements.  This form also indicates whether you are meeting the specified grade point averages needed for graduation.

Before approving your application, the Graduation Office checks to see if you have completed all requirements and have earned a C average (2.0) or better in the following categories:

  1. All university- and college-level work (including transferred courses).
  2. All work taken at Cal State LA.
  3. All courses taken to satisfy requirements in the major.

It is important that you be aware of the last category. Students who have an overall GPA at Cal State LA of even slightly above 2.0 are considered (by the University) to be doing acceptable work in their courses. So, even if their work in the major is below 2.0, they will not be placed on probation or disqualified. Therefore, unless you keep track of your performance in the major, you may be in for a shock when you are told at grad-check time that a grade-point deficiency exists and graduation will be delayed. So, if you think you might be in trouble in the major, see your advisor right away for a preliminary "check-up"--don't set yourself up for an unwanted surprise.

Taking Independent Study Course:

Sometimes the students at either the undergraduate or graduate level may be interested in a special topic and a subject matter that may not be fully covered in a course in the curriculum, or may be spread in a multitude of courses across the curriculum. In such cases, the student may approach the faculty whose area of specialization is close to the topic of interest and request to sign up for an independent study course. The designated course number for an independent study (or more accurately, an undergraduate directed study) course is EE499 which may be taken for up to 4 units of credit. The analogous course at the graduate level is EE598, graduate directed study which may be taken for up to 4 units of credit.

Dropping Courses

Students withdraw from courses by filing a completed program change form at Admission 146.  Early in the quarter (usually the first week), students may withdraw with no indication on their permanent academic record.  After the “no-record drop” deadline, students may withdraw with a “W” grade from any course but only for serious and compelling reasons.  These requests are granted only with the approval of the instructor and the department chair on program-change forms available at Administration 146.  Complete information about withdrawals, as well as a sample program-change form and withdrawal deadlines for each academic quarter, appears in the Schedule of Classes.

Leaves of Absence

Students may petition for a leave of absence for such reasons as professional or academic opportunities, like travel or study abroad; employment related to educational goals and major fields of study or participation in field study or research projects; medical reasons, including pregnancy, major surgery, and other health-related circumstances; and financial reasons, such as the necessity to work for a specified period to resume study with adequate resources. Petition forms are available at Administration 146.
Evaluation of petitions for leaves of absence takes into account the student’s stated plans and the extent to which a leave would contribute to educational objectives. Students are expected to plan their time of return and their activities during the leave. They must also state why it is critical to remain in continuous residence. In the case of medical or financial leaves, they must state how they plan to remain current with or advance in their academic field.
Undergraduate students may request a leave for no fewer than 3 and no more than 8 quarters. Graduate students are granted a maximum of 4 quarters, subject to renewal. Continuing students’ allowed absence of 2 quarters is included in these maximums.
Petitions must be filed at Administration 146 after action by the department/division/school chair or director (also the college graduate dean in the case of graduate students) no later than 3 weeks before the end of the quarter before the proposed leave. Approval entitles students to continuing status for registration purposes if they return no later than the quarter specified in their petition. Continuing students who return from a leave are entitled to priority registration privileges and are not required to file an application for readmission.
Undergraduate students retain current catalog requirements for graduation; classified postbaccalaureate and graduate students retain classified standing. Unclassified postbaccalaureate and conditionally classified graduate students who have an approved program on file in their college graduate studies office are subject to the conditions of those programs. All others are subject to the requirements in effect when they return.


Petitions are a formal way the students may interact with the University to make special requests such as obtaining credit for a course taken elsewhere and not considered fully equivalent to CSLA courses, requesting extension of time to finish an incomplete, and in general for any requests regarding the University (not department)  requirements.

G.E. Petition

Students who believe they have completed a course comparable to one of CSLA’s G.E. courses but who have not been given credit for it on their Credit Summary should submit a formal University Petition. Anything is petitionable. On the other hand, there is little point in submitting a petition for dissimilar courses just because the student doesn’t want to take a particular course. This is an exercise in lots of paper work for nothing. When a student believes he/she has already completed a similar course, a petition should be prepared with the help of the faculty adviser. Appropriate documentation is required. If explanation of the request or justification is required, it should be clearly written, preferably typed, using correct grammar and spelling. The request/justification should be succinctly expressed. If the sequence of events is a factor, the justification statement should reflect accurate chronological order, including dates, where appropriate. It is helpful to remember that those acting on the petition will not have the student present to explain discrepancies or gaps in the justification statement. (See Instructions for Completing Petition Forms in Appendices.)
Depending on the student’s major department/division protocol, the petition will be acted on by the faculty adviser or by the Principal Undergraduate Adviser. If it involves a course substitution, it is then forwarded to the appropriate department/division. After it has been acted on by the department/division, or if a course substitution is not involved, the petition is forwarded to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for executive action or for forwarding to the appropriate committee or subcommittee for action. After action at the University level, a copy will be mailed back to the student and copies will be forwarded to the Records or Graduation Office and the student’s major department/division.
A good way to begin the petition process is to review both catalog course descriptions for similanty. The dates of the catalogs used should be appropriate. For example, if the student took the course four years ago, the current catalog description may not be the same. A photocopy of the course description from the catalog with the same date as the year the student took the course is to be forwarded with the petition. (See directions on the petition form requesting a photocopy of courses not taken at CSLA, a copy of the student’s transcript showing the course and the grade for the course being petitioned, and a copy of the student’s Credit Summary.) Catalogs from many institutions are available at CSLA in some department/division offices, the Career Center, the Library and the Academic Advisement and Information Center (Admin. 127).
A student who cannot find the appropriate catalog in question at CSLA and has no personal copy of the catalog will need to contact the college or university where the W course was taken for a photocopy of the course description. This can be done in writing or by phone to the appropriate department/division. The latter is cheaper than repeating the course and may be a lot more expedient.

Dissimilar Courses

Students may wish to petition for course credit for a course taken at a previous school, specifically for G.E. purposes, e.g., a Humanities-I course. There is no comparable course at CSLA. In addition to the course description, it is a good idea to photocopy the G.E. program from the previous school’s catalog showing the course and its relationship to the other G.E. requirements, and to attach this to the CSLA petition. When preparing credit summaries, evaluators in the Admissions Office, are allowed to grant G.E. credit for courses with similar names and descriptions. If the course title or description is quite different, they are prohibited from granting G.E. credit. In some instances, an evaluator will advise the student to submit a petition. More typically, it is the student who needs to take the initiative to do this, because he/she is the one who should have the greatest familiarity with the course content.

G.E. Unit Requirements

G.E. course and block unit requirements may be petitioned when appropriate. If a student takes three courses in Humanities, with one course from each of the appropriate areas, but the courses total only 11.5 units, (i.e., Art 3 q.u., Literature 4.5 q.u. taken at the previous institution, and Language 4.0 q.u. at CSLA), he/she may petition to have the 1/2 unit of Humanities and the 1 unit of C2 - Arts waived. These petitions are generally approved, because the student has definitely met the intent of the G.E. requirements.

Petitioning Catalog Date

Students eligible to elect a different catalog date than the one assigned them on their Credit Summary may petition to do so. An eligible student may file petitions to change only the catalog date for G.E. requirements, only the date for major requirements, or both dates. (See the previous discussion and the 1991-93 General Catalog, page 67, Catalog Requirements Under Which An Undergraduate Student Graduates). For example, a student admitted with a catalog date of 198 1-82 wishes to graduate under the 1982-83 and later G.E. requirements. It is important that the student, in consultation with a faculty adviser, carefully consider the pros and cons of such changes. Each of the new requirements should be considered. In addition, raising the following questions with students may be helpful:

  • How many more classes will the student need to take under the new requirements?
  • Will this require additional time in school?
  • How many classes under the old requirements will no longer be counted?
  • Can these courses/units be used for something else?
  • Are the required classes under the old requirements no longer available and the recommended course substitutions inappropriate for the student’s goals?
  • Are the 1982-83 and later G.E. requirement’s upper division themes more in tune with the student’s interests?

Students can also petition to have their catalog date for major requirements changed. This is most often done because of changes in curriculum. In addition to consultation with the student’s faculty adviser, and in accordance with department/division protocol, students wishing to petition to change their catalog date for their degree requirements should probably contact the Principal Undergraduate Adviser for their department or division.

Helpful Comments

Students who transfer to CSLA, especially from a private school or from outside the state or country, tend to get discouraged over the apparently overwhelming number of units they frequently have to either repeat or to petition. Evaluators cannot possibly be familiar with the content of every course in every school in the state, country, and world. The petition process ensures that the student gets credit for the equivalent course(s) he/she has completed. In addition, helping a student actually prepare the petition is much appreciated! Not only have most faculty advisers seen and used the petition form, they should be aware of which petitionable requests are reasonable and likely to be granted.
It is also helpful if the faculty adviser gives the student an honest opinion of the merit of the petition. For example, courses are not equivalent if: the CSLA description involves both a lecture and a lab, or an activity and a lecture, and the course from the student’s previous school involves only a lecture or only an activity; one is a survey course (i.e., looking at representative works of various periods and cultures) and the other has a specific focus such as 20th century English literature; and the prerequisites for the courses are quite dissimilar. A course that has multiple prerequisites is probably not taught as a G.E. course. In addition, petitions requesting G.E. credit for courses CSLA students can’t use for G.E. (e.g., ethics) will not be approved.
Some petitions are more complex and are not as clear cut. In these instances, students should make an appointment to see a faculty member who teaches the course and/or the chairperson of the department or division involved. It is helpful for students to take their course syllabi/outline/notes with their petitions. The signature of an adviser in the major department or division is required on all petitions. The signature of the adviser on the petition forms should indicate that he/she has reviewed the petition, understands the request, and is recommending that the request be. granted or denied. The faculty recommendation is very important for, among other reasons, the effect it has on the student’s expectations and the “statement” it makes about the University’s standards and expectations.
Denied Petitions

Both students and faculty should be aware that approval or disapproval of petitions on one level (i.e., faculty adviser, department/division chairperson or Petitions Committee) does not guarantee the same action on the next level. For example, a petition recommended by a faculty adviser, but denied by a department/division chair may be approved by the University Petitions Committee.