Mar 04, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Computer Engineering, PhD

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.” 


Admission Requirements 

  • 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) 


Degree Requirements  

36 credits (pre-Qualifying exam), the Qualifying Exam, plus a doctoral dissertation 

Both the MS and the PhD program require students to take nine credits of core coursework, to include 3 of the following courses:  

Students can focus their curriculum on 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. 

Of the 36 course credits, at least 24 credits must be courses in CS, EE, or CPE.  The remaining courses must be approved by the DGS.  At least 18 credits of the total coursework, including 12 credits of the CS/EE/CPE coursework, must be taken at the 600 or 700 level.  Students entering the doctoral program with an MS degree in a relevant discipline (typically CS, EE, or CPE, or other technical discipline relevant to their area of study as determined by the Director of Graduate Studies) must complete at least 18 credit hours of additional course work beyond their MS. Of these 18 course credits, at least 12 must be courses in CS, EE, or CPE.  At least 9 credits of the total coursework, including 6 credits of the CS/EE/CPE course work, must be taken at the 600 or 700 level. 

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.