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Educational objectives

Our constituents include students, graduate schools, faculty, and the semiconductor industry. The educational objectives of the microelectronic engineering program are to produce graduates who have the following skills or characteristics:

  • A sound knowledge of the fundamental scientific principles involved in the operation, design, and fabrication of integrated circuits.
  • A comprehensive understanding of relevant technologies such as integrated circuit process integration and manufacturing. This includes microlithography and the application of engineering principles to the design and development of current and future semiconductor technologies.
  • A professional approach to problem solving, using analytical, academic, and communication skills effectively, with special emphasis on working in teams.
  • An enthusiasm for learning and the continuous improvement of skills throughout one’s career, exemplified by learning about emerging technologies and adapting to and accepting change within the field.
  • A desire to achieve leadership positions in industry or academia.
  • A breadth of knowledge, including the multidisciplinary nature of microelectronic engineering as well as the broad social, ethical, safety, and environmental issues within which engineering is practiced.

One of the great challenges in integrated circuit manufacturing is the need to draw on scientific principles and engineering developments from such an extraordinarily wide range of disciplines. The design of microelectronic circuits requires a sound knowledge of electronics and circuit analysis. Optical lithography tools, which print microscopic patterns on wafers, represent one of the most advanced applications of the principles of Fourier optics. Plasma etching involves some of the most complex chemistry used in manufacturing today. Ion implantation draws upon understanding from research in high-energy physics. Thin films on semiconductor surfaces exhibit complex mechanical and electrical behavior that stretches our understanding of basic materials properties.

Scientists and engineers who work in the semiconductor field need a broad understanding and the ability to seek out, integrate, and use ideas from many disciplines. The program provides the broad interdisciplinary background in electrical engineering, solid-state electronics, physics, chemistry, materials science, optics, and applied math and statistics necessary for success in the semiconductor industry.