Last year, at Seoul National University, computer engineering was ranked as the number one most wanted major among undergraduate students. In spring 2021, the University of Utah’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) responded by expanding to the U Asia Campus in South Korea.

The U Asia Campus now provides bachelor programs in electrical engineering and computer engineering with the same comprehensive and rigorous courses as their Utah counterparts, including Circuit Design, Digital System Design, the Fundamentals of Signals and Systems and more. Students in the ECE program study at the Incheon Global Campus for two to three years before finishing their degree at the Salt Lake City campus in the U.S.  

“We have chosen to establish an ECE major at the U Asia campus because of the great experience we have had connecting with Korea and their research institutes over the years and the excellence that our Korean students who have studied in our department have demonstrated,” ECE Chair Florian Sozbacher said.

Salt Lake City students can also apply to spend a semester abroad at the U Asia Campus while maintaining their in-state tuition for up to two semesters. Financial aid through FAFSA can also be used when studying there. For international students, a flat tuition rate of $10,000 per semester will apply.

The ECE department is ABET certificated and one of the only in the U.S. to have 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 last year alone. 

U Asia Campus students Donggi Lee, Eojin Jeong, Donghun Jeon, Seok Min Kang, and Younghwan Shin at Arches National Park.

Over the summer, ECE invited five U Asia Campus students to Salt Lake City to expose them to undergraduate research opportunities and encourage their participation in a research area of interest. The two-week trip was sponsored in collaboration with the U Asia Campus undergraduate research program and required that each student submit an essay detailing their experience and develop an undergraduate research plan. During their time here, the students met with 16 faculty members, toured 13 research labs and spent three days in southern Utah exploring Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Goblin Valley State Park. To find out more about their visit and see photos, click here

This fall, ECE assistant professor Fatemeh Mahalian gave a special lecture to first-year students at Songdo High School, a prestigious high school in Incheon, South Korea. The presentation was put together in partnership with the Yeonsu-gu Office of Lifelong Education and Songdo High School to cultivate local talent. Mahalian introduced the students to the programs offered in the ECE department and discussed the exciting possibilities that a career in engineering can offer.

“I was able to see how electrical engineering and computer engineering can be applied to my life,” said Kim Myung-jin, a Songdo High School freshman. “I am happy to be able to set a specific direction for my future career after graduation.”

Mahalian received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Utah before beginning her career at the U Asia Campus in Spring 2021. Her research interests focus on spiking neural networks and machine learning. Apart from her background in teaching and engineering, Mahalian has experience in business, multinational collaborations, and entrepreneurship. 

In addition to teaching, Mahalian has played an integral role in recruiting, advertising, and expanding the ECE program at the U Asia Campus through lecturing, networking, attending media interviews, and presenting at recruiting events. She developed and taught a condensed, 16 hour ECE program for high school students called ECE Basic Practice and Design. In the program sponsored by the Incheon City’s Office of Education, students received hands-on experience learning about the fundamentals of ECE. In the end, top students received $4000 scholarships. Mahalian is planning to offer the program again in future semesters. 

“I am thankful to the UAC committee in our department for their continued support and hard work helping our department in Korea. Last summer they created a program that allowed five UAC ECE students to visit Salt Lake City to expose them to the campus and research opportunities. We now plan to continue that program in coming summers,” Mahalian said. “I am also very thankful for UAC leadership and staff for all their help in making our newly launched program a reality.”

Find out more about the ECE programs at the U Asia Campus here.