Last year, at Seoul National University computer engineering was ranked as the number one most wanted major among undergraduate students. Now, the University of Utah’s department of electrical and computer engineering is expanding to South Korea.

The University of Utah Asia Campus (CAO Gregory Hill, Incheon Songdo International City Incheon Global Campus) will establish electrical and computer engineering majors this spring semester. The ECE department at the University of Utah, is ABET certificated, is the only one in the U.S. that has an NSF Powder Program, a 5G test research platform, and NetWeek. The department recorded 10 million U.S. dollars (about 11.2 billion KRW) in research funding.

Florian Solzbacher, the chair of the ECE department sat down to discuss UAC ECE, which will allow students to get the same bachelor degree as they would in the U.S.

Professor Solzbacher is an expert in the development of basic software and systems for neuroscience. 

The following are questions and answers.

Why open the major in Korea?

“It is simple. Because of the great experience of connecting with Korea and research institutes (network) for many years and the excellence of Korean students who have studied in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Utah. Some of them have become excellent professors in Korea. Korea has solid technology and an industrial base based on electrical engineering demand. The proportion of ECE related to the fourth industry continues to grow worldwide. Utah Asia Campus’s new major [in electrical and computer engineering] combines hardware and software, will greatly contribute to fostering global talent in Korea.”

More about the ECE program

“The University of Utah Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has 37 scholars, including the U.S. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Fellows (IEEE fellows are at the top 0.1% among IEEE members), National Institute of Engineering, and AIMBE Fellows. Some of them will be sent to UAC for research. We hope to develop existing research networks in Korea and abroad with resident (UAC) professors and establish new research networks in Korea. Based on this, joint cooperation research projects can be carried out and research infrastructure can be achieved. UAC ECE plans to give opportunities to participate in research and industrial projects at the Salt Lake City Campus. We strongly encourage UAC students to participate in research and industrial projects so that they can link the knowledge and theories they have learned in their laboratories at the University of Utah to real-world projects and systems engineering experiences.”

What are the prospects of Korean students majoring in ECE at the UAC?

“ECE provides [graduates] with the highest employment rate and high annual salary. It is easier than expected to find jobs in the United States and Europe as demand for future industries is increasing worldwide. Students at UAC can receive a master’s and doctorate degree when entering a graduate program at the University of Utah and provide up to 29 months of Optical Practical Training (OPT) before applying for an H1 employment visa. We will support them to enter the world and improve their skills. To further expand research exchanges and opportunities(globally), we will build a ‘Global Pipeline’ that students’ skills and experiences can contribute to Korea’s development.”

The University of Utah’s ECE major consists of seven cores:

– Communication, Image Processing, Signal Processing 

– Computer Engineering and VLSI System Design 

– Electronic 

– Electronic Circuit and System 

– Optoelectronics 

– Power and Control 

– Solid-State Memory

Students at UAC will study at Incheon Global Campus for three years and at the Salt Lake City Campus in the U.S. for one year.

“It is not just because we (ECE) give high paid and good jobs, but I hope students choose their major in ECE by experiencing the possibility and vision of developing society and having a positive impact, helping each other and improving the world,” said Solzbacher.

See this story in Korean here.