Electrical Engineering 120 — Signals and Systems (4 Units)

Course Overview


EE120 is a follows EE16B and finishes covering the main six transforms: DTFS, CTFS, DTFT, CTFT, Laplace, and Z. The course further covers Bode plots, sampling, amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, discrete-time processing of continuous-time signals (including non-idealized versions of A-to-D and D-to-A conversion), and introductions to some more advanced topics such as filter banks, OFDM, and feedback control.


  • EE16B
  • Math 53, 54

Topics Covered

  • Continuous and discrete-time transform analysis techniques
  • Linear and time-invariant systems
  • Transfer functions
  • Fourier series, Fourier transform, Laplace and Z-transforms
  • Sampling and reconstruction
  • Solution of differential equations and difference equations using transforms
  • Frequency response, Bode plots, stability analysis
  • Feedback control systems


Course Work (could vary by professor)

  • Weekly Homeworks
  • Python Labs (4 per semester)
  • 1 Midterm
  • 1 Final

Time Commitment

Problem sets could take longer than 5hrs per week to complete. Python labs differ in workload, but on average each is about the same as a standard problem set.

Choosing the Course

When to take

If you are interested in EE disciplines such as communications, controls, and signals, take this class as soon as possible because many upper division EE classes require this course. Also, take this class soon after EE16B because EE120 builds on the topics covered in EE16B.

What's next?

This class opens the door to many upper division EE classes, especially those in the 120's such as EE121, EE123 and EEC128. Also, this class leads to graduate level EE courses, including EE221A, EE225A, EE225B, EE224A, and EE224B.

Usefulness for Research or Internships

EE120 explains fundamental ideas about the frequency domain in detail, and can be very useful in a diverse range of research topics, including communications, controls, image processing, robotics, computer vision.

Additional Comments/Tips

EE16B approaches the mathematics of signal processing under the context of linear algebra and matrics operations, which makes a lot of sense when learning DFT. The transition to EE120 where most ideas are expressed in summations can take some time to adjust to for some. Also, if you feel like you're falling behind on the material, Signals and Systems by Oppenheim is a good textbook to read.

Last edited: Fall 2016