Computer engineering (CE) is the application of engineering knowledge and skills to computer science problems. Compared to software engineers, the greater emphasis may be on computer machinery and hardware, but computer engineers are also heavily involved in the software side of the equation. These in-demand professionals straddle the worlds of computers and engineering. They are able to seek employment in numerous industries while benefiting from a relatively rosy career outlook.
Computer engineers study the theory and design of myriad hardware and software applications and methods of information processing. They are educated in digital and information architecture, massive data, and computational analysis. A computer engineer may be involved in designing tiny computer chips, managing global systems of distribution, prototyping new algorithms for search engines, or designing toaster ovens.
The wide-ranging skill set of a computer engineer necessitates a broad-based approach to education. It is recommended that computer engineers have at least a bachelor's degree, either in computer engineering or a related discipline like computer science or electrical engineering. At all postsecondary levels, the top computer engineering schools are accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
An undergraduate education is considered the entry-level qualification for most computer engineers. Over two-thirds of computer engineers have a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The opportunity-rich field of computer engineering holds many career choices in software and hardware development for bachelor degree-holders. The best computer engineering schools provide students research participation opportunities that give a taste of things to come in grad school.
At the undergraduate level, students establish a twin foundation in computer science and engineering. They learn the basics of each dimension of computer engineering, including systems, networking, software, hardware, and usability. CE studies also overlap a great deal with electrical engineering.
Students that intend to go on to graduate school need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in the final semester of their senior undergraduate year.
Bachelor-level classes in Computer Engineering typically include:
What can you do with a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering?
A master's degree in computer engineering extends one's expertise into a major CE specialization. This can serve a terminal function for fresh undergraduates, help working professionals up-skill, or act as a preparatory springboard towards later doctoral study. For the latter group, master's study provides the research experience on which many competitive doctoral programs place a premium.
Though most computer engineers have only a bachelor's, more than one-quarter have a terminal master's in the field, says the U.S. BLS. One advantage of having a master's in computer engineering is the qualification can net one higher pay or substitute for industry experience requirements on job applications. Additionally, the master's degree can contribute to promotional and leadership opportunities for experienced engineers.
Graduate school applicants will need a strong background in applied mathematics and engineering before they can take advanced engineering courses. Many bachelors pursue a core engineering degree like mechanical or electrical engineering to prepare for a dedicated 2-year master's degree in computer engineering.
Requirements for graduation from a computer engineering master's program may include a thesis, design project, or other final master's report. These elements are most directly useful for students enrolling in doctoral studies after attaining a master's credential.
Master-level CE coursework might include:
What jobs are available to master degree-holders?
Very few computer engineers hold a doctorate, according to federal government data. The degree is largely reserved for those who plan to work in higher education or enterprise research and development.
Major employers of CE Ph.D.s are found in government, industry, and academia. Faculty positions in academic settings, for instance, invariably want job prospects to demonstrate their competency for original research by earning a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering.
Prerequisites for doctoral work in computer engineering may include preliminary or qualifying examinations. Some programs want applicants to have either a master's degree or to be eligible for one to qualify for Ph.D. candidacy. Ph.D.s take approximately 3 to 5 years to complete, including coursework and a written research dissertation. Financial support is available for many doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in the form of scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships. Aid varies by institution.
Doctoral students work in research laboratories studying the ways computer technology can help solve key human problems. Major research areas in Computer Engineering include:
A Ph.D. in Computer Engineering can lead to a career in:
We found 166 schools offering "Computer Engineering" degree programs in the U.S.
|Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus||Tempe||AZ||44126|
|Auburn University Main Campus||Auburn University||AL||21860|
|California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo||San Luis Obispo||CA||16877|
|California State University - Chico||Chico||CA||15912|
|California State University - Fresno||Fresno||CA||19056|
|California State University - Sacramento||Sacramento||CA||25714|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||OH||9304|
|Catholic University of America||Washington||DC||5493|
|Christopher Newport University||Newport News||VA||5314|
|Cogswell Polytechnical College||Sunnyvale||CA||426|
|Colorado Technical University||Greenwood Village||CO||383|
|Colorado Technical University||Colorado Springs||CO||1851|
|Eastern Nazarene College||Quincy||MA||1381|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||Tallahassee||FL||12126|
|Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton||FL||21046|
|Florida Institute of Technology - Melbourne||Melbourne||FL||4248|
|Florida International University||Miami||FL||31945|
|George Mason University||Fairfax||VA||23408|
|George Washington University||Washington||DC||20527|
|Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus||Atlanta||GA||14805|
|Graceland University - Lamoni||Lamoni||IA||3211|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||Chicago||IL||6003|
|Iowa State University||Ames||IA||26845|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore||MD||17774|
|Johnson C Smith University||Charlotte||NC||1576|
|Kansas State University||Manhattan||KS||21929|
|Kilian Community College||Sioux Falls||SD||212|
|Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College||Baton Rouge||LA||31527|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing||MI||43366|
|Michigan Technological University||Houghton||MI||6336|
|Milwaukee School of Engineering||Milwaukee||WI||2620|
|Mississippi State University||Mississippi State||MS||16561|
|Moraine Park Technical College||Fond Du Lac||WI||6921|
|New Jersey Institute of Technology||Newark||NJ||8820|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Raleigh||NC||28619|
|Northern New Mexico College||Espanola||NM||681|
|Northwestern Polytechnic University||Fremont||CA||No Data|
|Oakland University||Rochester Hills||MI||15235|
|Ohio Northern University||Ada||OH||3227|
|Old Dominion University||Norfolk||VA||18969|
|Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Tech||Beaverton||OR||580|
|Oregon State University||Corvallis||OR||16758|
|Pacific Lutheran University||Tacoma||WA||3515|
|Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||University Park||PA||40571|
|Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Erie - Behrend College||Erie||PA||3791|
|Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Great Valley||Malvern||PA||1613|
|Portland State University||Portland||OR||18889|
|Purdue University - Main Campus||West Lafayette||IN||39667|
|Rensselaer Hartford Graduate Center Inc||Hartford||CT||1807|
|Robert Morris University||Moon Township||PA||4620|
|Rose - Hulman Institute of Technology||Terre Haute||IN||1725|
|Saint Louis University - Main Campus||Saint Louis||MO||13847|
|Salt Lake Community College||Salt Lake City||UT||21596|
|San Diego State University||San Diego||CA||31609|
|San Jose State University||San Jose||CA||26698|
|Santa Clara University||Santa Clara||CA||7356|
|South Dakota School of Mines and Technology||Rapid City||SD||2307|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale||IL||22552|
|Southern Illinois University Edwardsville||Edwardsville||IL||12193|
|Southern Methodist University||Dallas||TX||10064|
|St Marys University||San Antonio||TX||4137|
|Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken||NJ||4121|
|Stony Brook University||Stony Brook||NY||19924|
|Suny at Buffalo||Buffalo||NY||24830|
|Tennessee Technological University||Cookeville||TN||8410|
|Texas A & M University||College Station||TX||44026|
|Texas Tech University||Lubbock||TX||24558|
|The University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington||TX||20424|
|The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson||TX||10945|
|The University of Texas at El Paso||El Paso||TX||15224|
|Tulane University of Louisiana||New Orleans||LA||11652|
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||Huntsville||AL||6563|
|University of Arizona||Tucson||AZ||34488|
|University of Arkansas Main Campus||Fayetteville||AR||15346|
|University of Bridgeport||Bridgeport||CT||2973|
|University of California - Davis||Davis||CA||26094|
|University of California - Irvine||Irvine||CA||20211|
|University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||36890|