The Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering offers both professional degrees (BSEE, BSSSE) and non-professional degrees (BS in Applied Science).
Washington University has a policy of issuing diplomas without specifying majors. Hence, if you earn the BS in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering or Systems Science and Engineering), you will get a diploma (a piece of paper) stating that the university conferred you the “Bachelor of Science” without mentioning your major. In contrast, due to ABET requirements, if you earn the BS in Electrical Engineering or the BS in Systems Science and Engineering, you will get a diploma (a piece of paper) stating that the university conferred you the “Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering” or the “Bachelor of Science in Systems Science and Engineering”. In all cases, your transcripts will state your majors, second majors and minors.
The professional degrees are designed for those students who seek to enter the engineering profession. The B.S. in Electrical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The B.S. in Systems Science & Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. Engineers who eventually seek registration as a Professional Engineer (PE) must have an ABET-accredited degree in engineering. In most states, you must be a registered professional engineer to go into business as a consulting engineer, to be a founder of company with the word “engineer” in the title, or to be the head of a large engineering organization.
The non-professional degrees offer more flexibility, and are appropriate for students seeking a technical education but who do not necessarily wish to pursue a career as an engineer. There are fewer departmental requirements in the major and thus students are afforded more choices to take elective classes in mathematics, science or the humanities. Students in the non-professional degree programs may be interested in careers in medicine, law, business, government service and in some cases graduate school in other disciplines.