Technology Electives

Students complete at least six (6) courses from a selection of technology course options, either pursuing a specialized cluster, or gaining perspectives across multiple technology areas.

Current technology areas include:

Biopharm & Biotechnology

Business and Biotechnology

This course covers key issues faced by emerging biotechnology companies — from business models and intellectual property management, to fundraising and grant writing, to regulatory approval for different types of biotechnology products. It also looks at disease-specific strategies, including issues related to third world diseases, biosecurity and vaccines. Examples and case studies are drawn from public and private companies that highlight recent partnering deals and business strategies. (Students are expected to be familiar with basic cell and molecular biology.)

Drug Discovery

Introduces concepts and tools from robotics, genomics, biophysics, and statistics that are currently used to accelerate the discovery of key compounds. The course begins by introducing basic molecular biology concepts, and then covers the basic software and statistical tools used to analyze the human genome. It explores automated systems for detecting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs or "snips") that are believed to hold clues about disease progression and drug targets, "molecular diversity space" as it relates to the synthesis and screening of combinatorial libraries; robotic techniques for screening these libraries; assay biophysics; and the impact of biochips and DNA arraying techniques on modern drug discovery.

Introduction to Biotechnology and BioNanotechnology

Introduces the basic concepts of biotechnology and bionanotechnology, and identifies emerging business models. The course covers the molecular building blocks of biological systems and explains the basic functioning of biological cells and cell surface receptors. It then introduces the area of bionanotechnology — building particles and devices that can monitor, manipulate and alter cell behavior — with special attention to what can be learned from viruses. The course also discusses basic tools used to understand bionanotechnology, and the business models that several startup companies have employed to commercialize bionanotechnology.

Medical Devices

This course will provide a basic understanding of some of the scientific principles at the foundation of medical devices. In addition, some of the unique business aspects of medical device companies will be highlighted and discussed such as FDA regulation, bioterrorism, safety of medical devices, and medical ethics.  The course also highlights leaders in the field of biotechnology. Readings and case studies address issues such as how to position a company in the life science industry, the impact of public pressure on company strategy, and how to mitigate, manage and exploit uncertainties in the field of medicine and biotechnology.


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Energy, Sustainability, and the Environment

Energy Commerce and Policy

Webster's Dictionary describes commerce as "the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place" or the "interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments." Commerce in the energy industry is certainly worthy of both definitions. Policy is "prudence or wisdom in the management of affairs,.management or procedure based primarily on material interest,.a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions, a high-level overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures especially of a governmental body." Prudence and wisdom about energy is much needed. EMTM 681 examines two primary aspects of modern energy systems: how existing energy systems work, and how they are governed. U.S. energy systems will be a principal focus. Where does energy come from? How is it transformed? How is it delivered? How is it bought and sold? The well established policy framework each energy system operates within will be discussed, with particular focus on emerging environmental demands, such as "cap & trade" and Copenhagen. By term's end, successful students will have developed an intellectual framework to better understand the challenges facing modern energy systems.
This introductory course does not meet degree requirements as a Technology Elective.

Sustainable Energy Options

The ideas behind renewable resources and sustainable energy are becoming more prominent in today’s ever-changing and constantly developing world.  The current standard of a fossil fuels based system presents environmental concerns, limited resources concerns, and concerns for future generations.  This course will discuss and compare (from a mass and energy balances perspective) the existing hierarchy (coal, oil, and natural gas) to rising alternatives (wind, hydroelectric, solar, biomass, nuclear, etc.).  This course will include current events and industry speakers to provide up to the minute developments in this area.

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IT & Telecommunications

Data Mining

Examines current data-mining methods — how they work and when to use them — and industry trends in both data mining and business intelligence. Techniques covered include decision trees, regression, neural nets, clustering, network analysis, and feature selection. Other topics include evaluation of business-intelligence systems, data warehousing, privacy issues, strategic use of information, and emerging data-mining methods such as text and web mining. Course prerequisite: Statistics.

Enterprise Software Development

The Web has a leveling effect on the playing field for businesses, by making small companies appear larger and large companies appear nimbler. To take advantage of new opportunities while avoiding the excesses of the late 1990s, IT solutions must take into account the enterprise as a whole. The focus of this course is on technologies for the development of enterprise applications following this principle. Concern is given to reusability, integration, scalability, coping with change, security, and speed-to-market. Two technology frameworks lead in this domain. The course concentrates on the platform-independent J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), with one lecture dedicated to the language-independent .NET framework from Microsoft. Prerequisites: EMTM601 Software Engineering and some experience with software development, in particular the ability to read object-oriented code documentation.

4th Generation Wireless Networks

This course explores the evolution of 4th Generation wireless networks and technologies and the implications for future users. Topics include: a review of fundamental 4G technologies such as Broadband Wireless Networks, Software-defined Radios, Advanced Antennas, and Mobile Ad-hoc Networking; 4G applications such as distributed monitoring, content distribution, and seamless mobility; and potential scenarios for technology and business models. Students get to apply knowledge from the course towards potential business applications for 4G networks.

Human Computer Interaction

Targets how to create effective, efficient and enjoyable human computer interactions using both standard and emerging techniques. The course explores psychological foundations, fundamental concepts, task analysis, requirements analysis and techniques for design and implementation — as well as how anthropological and ethnographic techniques are emerging as important methodologies in computer system development. This is truly an interactive course in all ways, with demonstrations and examples drawn from real and virtual worlds. At the end of the course you should have a heightened appreciation of interfaces to the real and virtual worlds and an understanding of how to make them better for yourself and others.

Information Technology Strategy

In this course, “IT” or “Information Technology” refers to the technologies and processes associated with business information, computing and telecommunications. IT continues to evolve rapidly with challenging implications for competitive effectiveness and efficiency at the individual, group and corporate levels. This course investigates the concepts of the strategic use of IT in business at two levels. The first focused on how executives from separate management disciplines (in technology and general business for example) need to collaborate to address and govern IT during business strategy, planning and execution. The second level focused on how to apply strategy planning and analysis techniques to developing IT strategies. The course is recommended for students involved in strategic planning and analysis of business and technology issues, technology executives and managers
with an interest in either technology sector companies or business enterprise IT groups, and vendors of information technology products or services.

IT Security and Privacy

Increasingly, corporations are appointing Chief Security and Chief Privacy Officers to oversee security and privacy programs and policies in their organizations. This course covers basic concepts, technologies and issues of security and privacy in the Information Technology arena. It provides managers with background understanding and with pointers to further explore security and privacy topics as needed. Classes will include several guest lectures from both academic and corporate security and privacy experts.

Software Engineering

Introduces software engineering, a systematic, disciplined and quantifiable approach to producing and maintaining reliable software products within budget and on time. The course covers software engineering topics from an individual to a corporate perspective. Topics covered include software process models, requirements elicitation and specification, risk management, software architecture and design, agile development, software testing, human computer interaction and Open Source.

Telecommunications — Introduction to Networking

Explains the principles and protocols of modern data networks and of the Internet. It does not assume prior experience or knowledge of data networks. After an overview of basic networking concepts, we explore local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (the Internet). Key concepts of TCP/IP, the protocol suite for the Internet, are examined. The course also explores application protocols, and ends with a survey of security measures.

Telecommunications — Advanced Networking

Explores emerging trends in communications and information technology and provides in-depth technical and business perspectives on each technology area. Topics include backbone networks, last-mile access, wireless networks, internet/IP-based applications, application requirements/quality-of-service (QoS), and advanced security. Students get to apply knowledge from course towards future application scenarios for live businesses, including technology trade-offs and recommended architectures. Course prerequisite: Introduction to Networking or a strong basic knowledge of telecommunications systems.

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Nanotechnology & Materials Science

Advanced Materials

Provides engineering managers with an understanding of the properties, technology, advantages, limitations, and future development of advanced materials, enabling them to critique and evaluate proposed applications and markets. Analyzes the properties of the four classes of advanced materials—metallic alloys and compounds, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Focuses on the major factors that determine the unique properties and applications of these classes in current and future technologies.

Dynamics of the Semiconductor Industry

Provides a basic understanding of modern microelectronic devices and technology and the microelectronics industry, including an appreciation of the competitive status of this industry in the global economy. Begins by focusing on semiconductor-based electronics (diodes, transistors) and its products (memories, microprocessors, ASIC's and analog devices), including the latest products and market trends. Ends by focusing on the manufacturing aspects of microelectronics and the various processing steps and equipment needs involved in the realization of an integrated circuit.


Nanotechnology is heralded as a revolution that will change the landscape of technology in all economic sectors. This course introduces those fundamental concepts necessary to understand why very small systems exhibit new behavior. Techniques for imaging and manipulating nanostructures are illustrated, and both top-down and bottom-up approaches to nanofabrication are described. Applications in computation, information storage, biomedical diagnostics and nanometrology are explored in the context of case studies.

Other Technology Electives


Photonics is becoming increasingly important as limitations of speed, size, bandwidth, power and reliability affect many electronic devices and systems.  Here the interactions of optical waves with structures and materials are combined with the application of these effects to lasers, other optical and electro-optical devices, and a variety of optical systems -- many of which are used for optical communications.  The course specifically covers optical wave propagation, reflection and refraction; fiber and integrated optics transmission media with applications to optical communications; selected medical  and industrial applications; lasers, their operation and applications; terahertz and free-space optical communications.  Technical, scientific and business considerations are integrated throughout the course.  A final group project in optics will look at both technical and business considerations of this growing field.

Robotics & Automation

This course provides an overview of the technology that is loosely called robotics and its applications to automation and manufacturing. Other topics include computer integrated manufacturing, rapid prototyping and material handling. The course also includes an introduction to the basic theoretical
ideas in robotics and control theory which will be complemented by laboratory demonstrations.