University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Course Syllabus


ECE 137A

Circuits and Electronics


4 units


Catalog Description:

(Description applies to the sequence 137ab). Analysis of single stage and multistage transistor circuits, including biasing, gain, and impedances. High-frequency and low-frequency analysis of active and passive networks and their resulting transient response (LaPlace methods). Analysis and design of feedback circuits. Bode and Nyquist stability
criteria. (W)


ECE 2A-B, 130A, and 132 with a minimum grade of C- in all;


Text, References, and Software:

Text: One of several recommended, not required: 

Razavi: Fundamentals of Microelectronics

Jaeger and Blalock: Microelectronic Circuit Design

or Gray/Hurst/Lewis/Meyer: Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits (4th edition)


References: Class reader, lab instructions, etc, downloadable from class web page.


Course Goals:


1.  The first goal is training in transistor circuits. The goals are to develop a broad understanding of both mid-band transistor circuit analysis and design, and high-frequency circuit analysis and design. The course serves as a core introduction to analog and digital circuits for the entire ECE class, being the only in-depth coverage for those choosing a senior specialty other than IC design, and being the base material upon which the senior IC design sequence will draw upon.


2.  The second goal, of great importance, is training the students in independent problem-solving with a sequence of 4 major design problems in the 2-quarter sequence. The design content is inserted into a circuits course simply because it is easier to introduce significant design content there, as compared to e.g. a microwaves or semiconductor course, where the required experimental equipment is more complex.  The design projects are deliberately quite unstructured, with the students given, 2-3 weeks before the due date, a list of specifications to meet but no specific form of proposed solution. A preliminary design review document is due 1 week before the project due date, so as to encourage design by analysis, as opposed to design by speculative cycles of build-and-test. Circuits must be soldered and tested, and discrepancies between design and measurement explained.


3.  The third goal is to unify the engineering mathematics (Fourier, LaPlace) methods of the 130ABC sequence with engineering hardware design courses. There is in the course extensive coverage of transient and frequency analysis within the context of analysis and design of transistor circuits.  This is to emphasize the relevance of transform methods as tools central to electrical engineering.


The 137ab 2-quarter sequence has 2 components. We spend about 75% of our time in a design-oriented coverage of transistor analog electronics. The remaining time is spent covering transient and frequency- response of RLC networks. This material is then applied to gain-frequency and pulse response analysis of open-loop and closed-loop transistor electronics. We also try to cover lots of feedback, filter, and linear systems theory so as to complement ECE130ABC.


A detailed list of the topics covered:

+  Transistor Electronics at Mid-Band: 8 Weeks

-  BJT and FET characteristics:

-  Single-Stage Amplifiers:
-  Multistage Amplifiers, Analog ICs:

+  Transient and Frequency Analysis: 2 Weeks

-  Time-domain response of 1st-order Circuits

-  Time-domain response of 2nd-order circuits

-  LaPlace (frequency-domain) analysis

-  circuit impulse and frequency responses

Class/Laboratory Hours:

3 hrs of lecture a week. The lab is *nominally* 3 hr per week, simply to keep the registrar happy that there is indeed a lab room and time assignment for the class.  In reality, the class has 1 small and 2 substantial circuit design projects each term, each of which demands approximately 20 hrs of student time.


Contribution to Program Outcomes:


Course Goals





in-depth senior electives












social sciences
























Professional Component:

The "Transistor Electronics at Mid-Band", 8 weeks of the course, is basic knowledge upon which are built both the senior analog circuits, and the digital IC and VLSI design courses must build. The "Transient and Frequency Analysis" material is certainly basic knowledge. Both sets of material are covered extensively in lab projects, which are design projects, and which require teamwork (groups of 2), and written reports and preliminary design documents. 

Prepared by: Mark Rodwell

Date: March 31, 2013