Professional Certification in Power Electronics

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Colorado Power Electronics Center


Power electronics is a key enabling technology in essentially all electronic systems ranging from wireless communication devices, portable and desktop computers, to telecommunication infrastructure systems and industrial systems. It is increasingly important in the grid interface of renewable energy sources and in efficient electrical loads. The necessity for power electronics technology in these rapidly expanding areas creates a rising need for design engineers equipped with knowledge and skills to follow sound engineering principles and actively participate in multidisciplinary teams. The power electronics field has evolved rapidly with the advances in technology and introduction of many new application areas. As a result, it is likely that the required knowledge and skills were not in the curricula when many of today's professionals were in colleges. This creates a strong ongoing demand for continuing education of the workforce in the area of power electronics. The intention of the certificate program is to address the onging demand for skilled power electronics design engineers.

Switching power supplies, dc-dc converters, inverters, power factor correction converters, and electronic ballasts are examples of power electronic circuits that employ high-frequency switching circuits to convert and condition electrical power. Power electronics is an integral part of most electronic systems, yet most engineers have little of the background required to understand and design these circuits, including their control systems and their magnetics. This certificate program provides a knowledge of fundamentals of the power electronics field, including: basic operation of pulse-width modulated converter circuits, modeling and design of their feedback systems, current-mode control, simulation, input EMI filter design, modeling and design of high-frequency power magnetic elements, low-harmonic rectifiers, resonant converters and soft switching. Design-oriented analysis is also emphasized. The program enables a working electrical engineer to gain the foundation needed for the practice of power electronics.

The certification program was initiated by the Colorado Power Electronics Center (CoPEC), and is operated through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and through CAETE.

Intended audience

This program offers an opportunity for electrical engineers to obtain the specialized knowledge required to practice power electronics. It is intended for students and engineers having a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering or equivalent.


The program faculty are

  • Dr. Robert Erickson, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-Director of the Colorado Power Electronics Center.
  • Dr. Dragan Maksimovic, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-Director of the Colorado Power Electronics Center.
  • Dr. Regan Zane, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Faculty of the Colorado Power Electronics Center.

Professors Erickson and Maksimovic are authors of the textbook Fundamentals of Power Electronics.

Course Delivery

Courses are delivered through CAETE, the Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education. CAETE provides a convenient and flexible video education alternative for working professionals.

Courses can be delivered via web-based streaming video, or alternatively by DVD. The course web sites provide a fast and convenient way to obtain supplementary materials and assignments.

It is also possible to enroll in these courses, or to review them without earning credit, through the CAETE course library program. Companies can buy the entire program or individual courses on DVD, for noncredit internal viewing.


To qualify for admission to this certificate program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in electrical engineering or a related field
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0, or satisfactory GRE scores, or two years of work experience in circuit design
  • Satisfy the prerequisites for ECEN 5797


Students must complete the following sequence of three courses, with a grade of B- or higher in each course:

  1. Introduction to Power Electronics ECEN 5797: an introduction to switched-mode converters. Steady-state converter modeling and analysis, switch realization, discontinuous conduction mode, transformer-isolated converters. Ac modeling of converters using averaged methods, small-signal transfer functions, feedback loop design. Basic magnetics, the skin and proximity effects, inductor design, transformer design. Prerequisite: completion of basic undergraduate courses in circuits and electronics. Offered every fall.
  2. Modeling and Control of Power Electronics Systems ECEN 5807: Advanced modeling and control topics in power electronics, and power factor corrected supplies. Averaged switch modeling of converters, computer simulation, ac modeling of the discontinuous conduction mode, the current programmed mode, null double injection techniques in linear circuits, input filter design, harmonics in power systems, and low-harmonic rectifiers. Prerequisite: ECEN 5797. ECEN 5807 is offered in alternate springs, including Spring 2001.
  3. Resonant and Soft Switching Techniques in Power Electronics ECEN 5817: Resonant converters and inverters, and soft switching. Sinusoidal approximations in analysis of series, parallel, LCC, and other resonant dc-dc and dc-ac converters. State-plane analysis of resonant circuits. Switching transitions in hard-switched and soft-switched PWM converters. Zero-voltage switching techniques, including resonant, quasi-resonant, zero-voltage transition, and auxiliary-switch circuits. Prerequisite: ECEN 5797. Note that ECEN5807 is not prerequisite for this course. ECEN5817 is offered in alternate springs, beginning Spring 2000.

Each semester-long course requires completion of 10 to 12 homework assignments, a midterm exam, and a final exam. The graduates of this program will have successfully demonstrated their abilities in the subjects of all three courses listed above, to the satisfaction of the faculty of the Colorado Power Electronics Center.

Please note that transfer credit is not accepted in lieu of the above requirements.

For further information about this certificate program

Contact the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department directly about certificate requirements:

    Adam Sadoff, Graduate programs advisor
    Electrical and Computer Engineering
    University of Colorado
    Campus Box 425
    Boulder, CO 80309-0425
    Telephone: (303) 492-7327 or Fax: (303) 492-2758
    Department web site:

Students may sign up for the courses as (1) regular on-campus degree students, or (2) CAETE students.

Upon completion of the three required graduate courses, students may obtain the certificate by submitting a request to Adam Sadoff, at the address listed above.

This program has been formally approved by the Graduate School of the University of Colorado.

Update 8/11/10 rwe