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