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The Department of Electronic Engineering was established in 1970 by Prof. Charles Kao, former Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a 2009 Nobel Laureate who pioneered the use of optical fibres in communications. This programme features a dynamic and adaptive curriculum that covers a wide range of topics, including integrated circuits and electronic devices, opto-electronics and optical communication, microprocessors and computer architecture, telecommunication and wireless systems, medical instruments and telemedicine, multimedia and signal processing, electronic materials, and nanotechnology.

The courses on offer are designed to convey both theoretical and practical knowledge and provide balanced training in both hardware and software skills.

The work-study scheme in the Electronic Engineering programme allows students to spend one year working full-time in select electronics or IT companies. Under the Personal Tutor scheme, professors meet regularly with students to provide advice on their academic and personal development. Due to the generous support and patronage of professional societies, local industry and distinguished alumni, the Department is able to offer a large number of scholarships to our undergraduates. Programme graduates pursue successful careers in a wide range of hi-tech industry and business sectors including telecommunications, information technology, e-commerce, technology services, industrial manufacturing, and product design and development. Some of the graduates also choose to pursue postgraduate studies in local or overseas institutions.

The Art of Blending Hard and Soft

Electronic engineering (EE) drives innovation in a broad range of fields from electronic devices and optics to communication networks, signal processing and intelligent systems. This unique and interdisciplinary field fascinates young people including John Li whose goal is ‘making something that would benefit the public’.

When applying for university several years ago, John was attracted by CUHK’s EE programme which aims at educating students to become global leaders in the engineering discipline and instilling in them the desire to pursue knowledge, to advance the state-of-the-art in EE and to apply the new technologies for the betterment of mankind.

Looking back now, John said, ‘It was absolutely a perfect choice for me. The programme provides a wide variety and experiential learning opportunities.’

‘The specially designed curriculum not only nurtures students with solid knowledge in foundation areas in mathematics, science and engineering, but also offers focused training in one or more advanced EE subject areas such as wireless communications, multimedia and signal processing, biomedical systems, etc. There’s a wide coverage on the latest technological developments in fields such as the Internet of Things, smart city, biotechnology and Big Data. Balanced training in both hardware and software skills is provided,’ explained Prof. Max Meng, Chairman of the Department of Electronic Engineering.

Students can choose to minor in other engineering programmes, e.g., biomedical engineering, computer science, or to apply for the Electronic Engineering-Business Administration Double Degree Programme to enhance their competitive edge in career development or studies and obtain two bachelor’s degrees in five years.

Various elementary lab courses are offered to help students to get practical experiences. They will have strong hands-on skills in circuit analysis and design, programming, and development of electronic components, systems, and networks, which will prepare them to advance the state-of-the-art technologies and break new grounds.

Students can join the Work-Study programme and spend one year working in the industry to enrich their practical experiences. There are also overseas exchange programmes with top universities with strong engineering disciplines, to name a few, University of California, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Waterloo, Imperial College, Technical University of Denmark, and Royal Institute of Technology.

John added, ‘We also receive strong support to enter local, regional and international competitions including the Professor Charles K. Kao Student Creativity Awards, HKEIA Project Competition, the International Genetic Engineering Machines Competition (iGEM), the National Challenge Cup Competitions. Thanks to the comprehensive curriculum, my horizon has been widely broaden.’

No wonder the department, established in 1970, has rapidly grown into one of the best EE departments in the world. In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise of the Hong Kong SAR government, CUHK’s EE Department was recognized to have the largest percentage of professors whose research achievements were regarded as internationally leading, among all EE departments in Hong Kong. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subjects in 2016, the department ranked 20th in the world and top in Hong Kong.

The programme also takes care of the students’ mental well-being. Each student is assigned a full-time faculty member as Level 1 advisor. The advisors generally meet their advisees twice a year to provide guidance on study plan, course selection, time management, adaptation to the University, other learning experience, and career prospect. A private tutor scheme has been launched to help students with special learning difficulties. The EE Society, a student organization, organizes social events for the new students to know more about the programme, the senior students and the EE professors.

Being one of the beneficiaries, John said, ‘The professors are super helpful, always available and willing to give suggestions whenever needed. I really learned a lot from them, from academic knowledge to career plan, life decisions, and how to be a good collaborator.’

He concluded, ‘In the past, I thought EE was a discipline about circuit design. Learning at CUHK has made me realize the cutting-edge research and innovative aspects of it. It also helps to build a clear goal for my career—a maker and researcher in the field of biomedical and environmental sciences.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018