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MS and PhD programs in Computer Engineering (CPE)

The MS and PhD programs in Computer Engineering (CPE) are offered in the College of Engineering jointly by the departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

The field of computer engineering integrates expertise from both electrical engineering and computer science, emphasizing an understanding of computer architecture, hardware/software interface, and the integration of computers into products and systems at a larger scale. It involves developing technical skills in traditional areas of electrical engineering, such as analog and digital circuit design and communications systems, as well as in areas related to computer science, such as software development and operating systems.  As might be expected in such a broad field, there are a great many specialty areas as well, which change regularly to match the needs of the job market.

The programs support the College of Engineering’s mission “to provide education, research, and service in a scholarly environment in a way that prepares our students for successful professional careers, addresses the changing needs of our other constituents, and responds to the technological challenges facing the Commonwealth and the Nation.”

Degrees offered

  • Master of Science in Computer Engineering
    • Plan A: 30 credits, including 6 credits of thesis research, plus a Master’s thesis
    • Plan B: 30 credits, plus a Master’s project
  • Doctor of Computer Engineering
    • 36 credits (pre-Qualifying exam), the Qualifying Exam, plus a doctoral thesis

Application Requirements - Master of Science in Computer Engineering

  • CV (Optional)
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript showing a Bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in an ABET or CSAB accredited undergraduate program in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, or Electrical Engineering.
  • Background in discrete math, programming, data structures, circuits, digital logic, and computer architecture.
  • Assistantship Application (Optional)
  • Official GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Fall: July 15 (domestic applicants), March 15 (international applicants)
    • Spring: November 30 (domestic applicants), August 15 (international applicants)

Application Requirements - Doctor of Computer Engineering

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript showing a Bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in an ABET or CSAB accredited undergraduate program in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, or Electrical Engineering.
  • Background in discrete math, programming, data structures, circuits, digital logic, and computer architecture.
  • Assistantship Application (Optional)
  • Official GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Fall: July 15 (domestic applicants), March 15 (international applicants)
    • Spring: November 30 (domestic applicants), August 15 (international applicants)

Curriculum

Both the MS and the PhD program require students to take the core curriculum, composed of

  • CS570 Operating Systems
  • EE685 Digital Computer Structure
  • CS541 Compiler Design
  • EE580 Embedded Systems

Students can focus their curriculum in a variety of areas, including cybersecurity, VLSI, computer architecture, quantum computing, advanced compiler techniques, and distributed operating systems. Any course in the CS and ECE departments may be used to complete the credit-hour requirements, and courses outside these departments may also apply, subject to DGS approval.

Students must maintain a 3.0 or better GPA across all CS and ECE courses, and they must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better to complete the  MS degree.

Incoming students are informed of the graduate-school and program-specific academic policies at the orientation held before classes begin each fall. A handbook is also on the CS and ECE websites.