A computer engineering bachelor’s degree integrates elements of electrical engineering and computer science to prepare students to design computer hardware and software.
Graduates with computer engineering degrees qualify for jobs in virtually all industry sectors, including technology, sustainable energy, and automotive.
Graduates can leverage their technical skills to pursue computer engineering careers in some of the nation’s fastest-advancing industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment opportunities for computer network architects and computer systems managers to increase by 5% and 10%, respectively, from 2019-2029.
Our ranked list of the best computer engineering programs offers a great place for aspiring computer engineering professionals to start. We provide insight into why prospective students may want to get a computer engineering bachelor’s, what to expect from bachelor’s in computer engineering programs, and available jobs for bachelor’s in computer engineering graduates.
What Is Computer Engineering?
The history of computer engineering traces back to 1947 when three Bell Labs scientists invented the transistor, thus paving the way for the invention of the first computer. In the following years, computer engineering emerged as an independent field in the United States, later expanding to include computer hardware design.
In today’s golden era of tech-driven change, technological advances continue to increase the demand for computer technology professionals. BLS projections indicate an 11% growth in the computer field from 2019-2029, far outpacing the national average for all jobs.
The computer engineering profession appeals to problem-solvers interested in designing and building computer hardware or software. Computer engineering candidates typically possess computer savvy, having completed advanced high school courses in mathematics, physics, and computer programming.
A bachelor’s in computer engineering qualifies graduates for careers in consumer electronics, bioengineering, and gaming hardware development. New computer engineering concentrations also enable students to enter cutting-edge subfields, such as virtual reality architecture, quantum computing, and robotics.
Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
Why Get a Computer Engineering Bachelor’s?
Some aspiring computer professionals pursue coding bootcamps rather than four-year college degrees. While bootcamps train attendees in writing code within a few months at a manageable cost, these camps do not provide the comprehensive skill set needed to enter higher-level positions in the computing field.
Computer science, computer engineering, and IT bachelor’s programs provide a more comprehensive education, but these degrees come with their own unique focus. IT majors learn to solve problems using existing systems and networks, while computer science majors gain skills in designing algorithms and software. Finally, computer engineer students acquire expertise in building computers from the ground up.
Some of the benefits of earning a computer engineering degree include:
Higher Earning Potential
A computer engineering degree opens the door to some of the highest-paying jobs in the computer technology profession. With a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, graduates can make six figures in entry-level positions. As of 2019, computer hardware engineers earned a median annual wage of $117,220.
Graduates qualify for a master’s or Ph.D. in computer engineering, which can give them an edge in the competition for the highest positions in the field. A computer engineering degree can also serve as a stepping stone for computer managerial positions in large corporations.
A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering can lead to a spot on some of the world’s most innovative tech teams — teams working on creating next-generation computer technology, such as deep-learning software, graphene microprocessors, and distributed supercomputing.
2021’s Top Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Degrees
These comprehensive rankings, newly updated for 2021, cover the best computer engineering programs in the United States. We generated this list by analyzing a complete cross-section of critical qualitative and quantitative factors. Learn more about our methodology by following the link below.
Based in the state capital of Columbus, Ohio State University's main campus ranks among the largest in the United States. Despite its size, the school has a solid institution-wide student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1, and almost 80% of first-year classes have 50 or fewer students.
Offered through the College of Engineering, this acclaimed program maintains a primary focus on computer software. Its applied approach centers on topics with strong current and future commercial potential, including artificial intelligence, algorithms, and data structures. About 75% of students participate in co-op jobs and internships, which are available nationally and internationally.
The curriculum makes a particularly strong match for learners planning to pursue advanced degrees in computer science. Students contribute to research projects operated by senior faculty members within the College of Engineering and other university departments. These experiences look great on CVs, strengthening graduate school and employment applications.
Applying to Ohio State
Applicants must meet entry requirements for both the university and the computer science and engineering major. To qualify for the latter, degree-seekers must complete foundational survey courses in mathematics, computer science and engineering, physics, and English.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC, ABET Tuition: $11,518/year (in state), $33,502/year (out of state) Required Credits: 126 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
An affordable college that offers excellent returns on student investment, UC Davis features 102 undergraduate majors and 101 graduate degrees and programs. The school's scenic campus lies within a two-hour drive of major destinations like San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Lake Tahoe.
Divided into lower and upper divisions, this innovative program develops mathematics, physics, and engineering proficiencies before applying them to an advanced set of computer science courses. In upper-division courses, students complete required units in hardware, software, and electronics before selecting a set of technical and design electives that enhance targeted skill sets.
Course content builds a versatile and transferable knowledge base capable of quickly integrating new advancements in this dynamic, rapidly evolving field. Qualified learners can also work toward dual degrees in computer and electrical engineering for access to a broader set of career paths.
Applying to UC Davis
Candidates must meet general admission requirements for UC Davis, then maintain a GPA of at least 3.2 across a set of foundational courses in chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and physics.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: WSCUC, ABET Tuition: $14,597/year (in state), $44,352/year (out of state) Required Credits: 138-147 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
BYU's program emphasizes a rigorous set of core requirements covering 21 computer science courses. Students proceed into specialized electives in their upper years, supplementing their foundational knowledge in targeted areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, algorithms, software design and engineering, and hardware design.
Learners emerge with extensive problem-solving and design proficiencies, and the program also develops important soft skills including collaboration, communication, and ethics. The BYU approach to pedagogy also builds in lifelong learning, helping graduates quickly adapt to the technological advancements that occur as they move through their careers.
Applying to BYU
BYU's application process requests that applicants submit all relevant academic transcripts along with ACT/SAT scores and English proficiency test scores, if necessary. Learners must also agree to abide by the school's LDS-inspired honor code.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: NWCCU, ABET Tuition: $2,985/semester (full time, LDS), $5,970/semester (full time, non-LDS); $315/credit (part time, LDS), $630/credit (part time, non-LDS) Required Credits: 120 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus or hybrid
Famed home of the Fighting Irish and rooted in its founding Catholic traditions, the University of Notre Dame boasts an impressive list of alumni including such luminaries as Regis Philbin, Condoleezza Rice, Joe Theismann, and Joe Montana.
Open to applicants with no previous programming experience, ND offers bachelor's degrees in both computer science and computer engineering. The latter specialization maintains a stronger emphasis on hardware design and architecture, and students apply gained proficiencies in hands-on laboratory settings.
Notably, computer engineering students qualify for ND's biannual career expos, held in the fall and spring semesters. Learners can also participate in the school's Silicon Valley Program, which matches computer engineering students with emerging startups in Northern California's tech hub. These features mark a major reason why ND's computer science and engineering graduates enjoy placement rates at or close to 100%.
Applying to ND
Admissions officials evaluate each candidate's application on an individual basis. Priority criteria include academic performance, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. The school has a test-optional policy until at least 2023.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: HLC, ABET Tuition: $58,843/year Required Credits: 132 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Based in the scenic Central Coast city of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly consistently ranks among California's leading technical education institutions. The school's storied history dates to 1901, with a statue of Albert Einstein traditionally granting good luck to students who rub his head before taking an exam.
This intensive, rigorous program offers a dynamic, hands-on combination of theory and practice. Degree-seekers enjoy access to seven cutting-edge labs, including the Cisco Advanced Networks Lab and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. These facilities advance the school's pedagogical philosophy to "learn by doing," and the institution's proximity to Silicon Valley creates a valuable job pipeline.
Learners can apply their 12 required technical elective units to a specialization, with current options covering computer architecture, computer controls, networking, very-large-scale integration, embedded systems, graphics and multimedia, robotics, and software. The curriculum also transfers to several blended programs, which combine the BS with MS degrees in biomedical engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering.
Applying to Cal Poly
Admission to Cal Poly is competitive, and the school remains highly selective. Candidates must meet general California State University requirements in addition to institution-specific criteria, which evaluate academic performance, extracurriculars, and subjective indicators.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: WSCUC, ABET Tuition: $10,194/year (in state), $28,104/year (out of state), $30,420/year (international) Required Credits: 191-195 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
Based in Boston with 10 satellite campuses in the United States and international locations, Northeastern emphasizes experiential learning. The school counts more than 19,000 undergraduates among its diverse student body.
This blended program combines dedicated modules in engineering and computer science to equip tech-literate learners with advanced computational thinking and design capabilities. Over the program's extended five-year course, learners participate in a trio of co-ops that enrich their classroom learning with field experience and networking opportunities.
Many computer engineering programs feature a primary or exclusive focus on hardware, but Northeastern offers a balanced approach that builds equal familiarity with hardware and software. As a result of the program's unique structure and interdisciplinary focus, graduates emerge prepared for an expanded set of career options.
Applying to Northeastern
Core application materials include academic transcripts, a counselor recommendation and teacher evaluation, and an institutional application. Test scores remain optional for the 2021-22 academic year.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: NECHE, ABET Tuition: $27,180/term Required Credits: 139 credits Program Length: 4-5 years Delivery Format: On campus
Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida is a high-profile research university with a history spanning more than 160 years. Its fall 2020 first-year students boasted average GPAs of 4.5 and SAT scores of 1405, indicating high institutional levels of academic excellence.
UF's well-regarded bachelor's degree in computer engineering combines courses offered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer and Information Science. This multidisciplinary focus supports an extended list of specialization options, including cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence, systems engineering, hardware engineering, and computer architecture.
The program builds to an intensive culminating experience, in which candidates undertake a major project in computer design and present their work to a faculty panel. This requirement speaks to the program's objective of developing well-rounded, capable professionals with complete hard and soft skill sets.
Applying to UF
Candidates who qualify for UF admission must also complete a set of eight pre-professional courses in advanced mathematics and physical sciences. Applicants must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA across their first two pass attempts to qualify for full admission.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, ABET Tuition: $6,380/year (in state), $28,658/year (out of state) Required Credits: 126 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus, hybrid
Founded in 1846, this small but accomplished liberal arts university has an impressive institution-wide student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. Its class of 2019 had a 95% placement rate, including average starting salaries of more than $60,000 per year.
This innovative, skills-focused computer engineering degree features a thorough and balanced curriculum purpose-built to yield graduates who adapt quickly to the field's fast-changing nature. Endorsed by ABET, the program moves beyond technical skills to integrate ethical and social considerations.
Bucknell also offers a BS in electrical engineering, and the first two years of the computer and electrical engineering programs mirror each other. Students thus have latitude to move between the two, with computer engineering majors enjoying unique access to a cutting-edge concentration in the internet of things.
Applying to Bucknell
Candidates must apply to Bucknell's College of Engineering. Applicants must have at least three years of college prep courses in mathematics and at least one year of chemistry or physics. They must also submit questions for the school along with a personal essay, a teacher recommendation, a guidance counselor evaluation, and academic transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: MSCHE, ABET Tuition: $59,474/year Required Credits: 34 major credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
As the only Augustinian Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States, Villanova emphasizes personalized, global-minded learning. This Pennsylvania-based school is also notable as the home of the Wildcats, winners of multiple NCAA Division I men's college basketball titles.
Villanova's computer engineering program develops skills in seven core areas: C and C++ programming languages, algorithms, hardware and computer architecture, networking, interfacing, system design, and microprocessor systems. Students may then specialize in their upper years. Concentration options include cybersecurity, microcontrollers, multimedia, real-time digital signal processing, and software engineering.
The program culminates with an intensive three-semester capstone project. Industry partners often participate in student research, delivering outstanding networking and resume-building opportunities. For added depth, learners can also minor in cybersecurity, electrical engineering, or mechatronics, or pursue a double major in electrical and computer engineering.
Applying to Villanova
Core application requirements include an institutional application, high school academic report and transcripts, a guidance counselor and teacher recommendation, a mid-year report, and a personal essay. ACT/SAT scores are optional.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: MSCHE, ABET Tuition: $29,145/semester Required Credits: 133 credits Program Length: 4 years (4.5 years for a dual degree in electrical and computer engineering) Delivery Format: On campus
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
As a comprehensive research university, Virginia Tech prioritizes experiential approaches to learning and maintains a strong focus on undergraduate education. The school ranks in the top 5% of the U.S. for its research spending, which totaled more than $531 million as of spring 2021.
Offered through the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech's program concentrates on computer programming, physics, and mathematics in its deep exploration of technical concepts. Students engage with a learn-by-doing approach, which includes extensive experiential and practical learning opportunities with leading companies and research organizations.
Specific topics of study include very-large-scale integration, artificial intelligence and machine learning, networking, real-time systems, embedded systems, and other cutting-edge areas. Learners proceed into the computer engineering program after completing a first-year sequence of engineering courses, which provide a common academic foundation for all Virginia Tech engineering majors.
Applying to Virginia Tech
Candidates gain entry to the program by applying after completing one year of general engineering studies. Admission to Virginia Tech is competitive, with the 2019 class of incoming engineering undergraduates reporting average high school GPAs of 4.14 and SAT averages of 1351.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, ABET Tuition: $13,691/year (in state), $32,835/year (out of state) Required Credits: 131 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
Named for Quaker philanthropist Johns Hopkins, this Baltimore institution counts former presidents, corporate CEOs, and Academy Award winners among its many distinguished alumni. Engineering programs are based at the school's 140-acre Homewood campus in North Baltimore.
The Johns Hopkins program focuses on applied theory, using a hands-on pedagogical approach to develop student proficiencies with data structures, electrical engineering, hardware engineering, and circuitry. Program requirements also cover intensive sequences of mathematics and physical science courses, which contextualizes targeted learning.
All students must complete an advanced, individualized engineering project, which reflects each learner's personal interests. Intended to serve as the program's culminating experience, the project compels students to apply the skills gained in senior laboratory and design courses.
Applying to Johns Hopkins
Required application materials include a high school academic profile and transcripts, a school counselor recommendation, two teacher recommendations, and an institutional application. A test-optional application policy continues until at least 2022.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: MSCHE, ABET Tuition: $54,160/year Required Credits: 126 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
A top-25 public university, the University of Connecticut occupies a beautiful 4,400-acre campus and traces its history to 1881. The school ranks among the informal members of the "Public Ivy" group of prestigious institutions.
UConn has seen undergraduate enrollment in its Computer Science and Engineering Department double since 2017, with many new learners pursuing a computer engineering degree. The ABET-endorsed computer engineering program mainly focuses on hardware design, complementary software, and computer interfaces. It also maintains a specific emphasis on very-large-scale integrations, real-time computing, and networking.
The program includes mandatory courses in design and professional development. Design components cover microprocessors, hardware, and information processing, while the professional course sequence develops familiarity with essential theoretical concepts. These requirements reflect the program's dual focus on component architecture and fabrication.
Applying to UConn
First-time, first-year undergraduate applicants must have college prep coursework in chemistry and physics, along with English, mathematics, social studies, foreign languages, and laboratory science. Candidates must also submit academic transcripts, a personal essay, and up to two optional letters of recommendation.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: NECHE, ABET Tuition: $14,406/year (in state), $37,074/year (out of state) Required Credits: 126 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
Established in 1891, this nationally ranked school features a scenic oceanside campus and more than 200 degrees and programs. It became part of the University of California system in 1944 and counts among the nation's prestigious "Public Ivy" institutions.
Jointly administered by UC Santa Barbara's engineering and computer science departments, this bachelor's degree in computer engineering focuses on hardware integrations. Its curriculum begins with engineering, science, and mathematics basics, then proceeds into specialized tracks in which students can choose from 12 dynamic concentrations.
The program culminates in a collaborative senior capstone, in which students work on computer hardware and software design and engineering projects in small groups. Participants apply gained proficiencies in robotics, circuit design, networking, and real-time and distributed systems to create purpose-built computing systems. Teams showcase their work at a special year-end event attended by industry partners, offering excellent professional exposure.
Applying to UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara assesses applications by evaluating academic performance in college prep courses and looking at SAT/ACT scores, paying special attention to the mathematics section. Exact standards vary, depending on the number of applicants and available spaces in any given year.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: WSCUC, ABET Tuition: $3,814/quarter (in state), $14,720/quarter (out of state) Required Credits: 191 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
Chartered in 1856, Auburn University became the first land-grant college in the American South with the 1872 passage of the Morrill Act. Its student body numbers more than 30,000 learners, about 80% of whom are undergraduates.
Grounding students in digital systems, electrical engineering, circuit analysis, and software applications, this program provides excellent flexibility and customization. Degree-seekers plan a unique course sequence each semester, empowering learners to focus on areas of personal interest.
In the first year, learners engage with a foundational core before moving into differentiated material as sophomores. The program's senior year includes a two-semester capstone, which prompts graduation candidates to undertake an intensive, commercially viable design and engineering project of their own choosing.
Applying to Auburn
Candidates receive admission to the bachelor's degree in computer engineering by earning acceptance to Auburn's pre-engineering program. Applicants must submit high school transcripts, a graded writing assessment, ACT/SAT scores, AP/IP scores, and a resume.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, ABET Tuition: $4,908/semester (in state), $14,724/semester (out of state) Required Credits: 124 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
The University of Georgia bills itself as the "birthplace of higher education in America." This historic school originally incorporated in 1785, making Georgia the first state to commission its own university.
UGA's computer engineering degree prepares students for rewarding careers in entrepreneurship and engineering. Course content focuses on disciplinary essentials including mechatronics, wireless sensor networks, systems programming, circuitry, and system design. Instructors ground course material in real-world contexts, giving the program a strong applied theory orientation.
The program's capstone component offers senior students an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents in professional settings. Industry partners regularly participate in these intensive and collaborative design projects, submitting practical problems in need of innovative solutions for student consideration. Sponsors from the 2019-20 academic year include Advanced Biologics, Caterpillar, and the United States Air Force, among many others.
Applying to UGA
Admission officials consider a candidate's entire academic record through the end of their junior year, along with extracurricular pursuits, public service, and a personal essay. Computer engineering is a high-demand major; the admissions committee therefore conducts a close evaluation of academic performance in major-related coursework.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC, ABET Tuition: $9,790/year (in state), $28,830/year (out of state) Required Credits: 130 credits Program Length: 4 years Delivery Format: On campus
What the Best Computer Engineering Programs Have in Common
All schools strive to create unique learning experiences, but the best computer engineering programs share multiple important features.
They are accredited. In addition to regional institutional accreditation, many of the best computer engineering programs have endorsements from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Look for schools endorsed by the following universally recognized regional accrediting agencies:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
They promote academic excellence. Important quantitative indicators of academic excellence include the program’s retention and graduation rates, with high rates corresponding with healthy levels of student satisfaction. Analysts also consider the percentage of instructors with full-time permanent positions, as schools that commit more of their resources to robust faculty tend to offer more rigorous academic experiences.
They maintain prestigious reputations. Students who attend particularly reputable schools tend to enjoy advantages when applying to graduate programs and jobs. In addition to considering selectivity, our rankings experts look at long-term return on investment. University of Notre Dame offers an excellent example: Its computer engineering program boasts a nearly 100% post-graduation placement rate, indicating elite reputability.
They are affordable. Students need to extract value for their educational dollars, making programs that balance financial accessibility with academic excellence particularly appealing. Schools with affordable tuition rates, lower costs of attendance, and lower rates of student loan default fare better in this aspect of the ranking. Analysts also consider the availability of non-repayable financing sources, such as scholarships and grants.
What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Programs
A bachelor’s in computer engineering cultivates the technical and professional skills graduates need to pursue promising career avenues in hardware, software, and network engineering.
A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering requires about 120-128 credits, depending on whether students elect to complete capstone projects or internships. Learners with associate degrees in computer engineering or related areas can usually apply 60 credits toward their bachelor’s degrees.
Program length varies by prior education and program format. Students with a high school or equivalent degree can complete bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering in about four years of full-time study. Learners who opt for a part-time program usually take an additional 2-3 years. With an associate degree in the field, a degree-seeker can typically complete a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in two years.
A typical computer engineering curriculum combines hardware-related classes in microprocessors, fiber optics, and memory components with software-related courses in operating systems, networks, and programming languages.
To apply to a computer engineering program, each candidate must submit a resume, a cover letter, transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and a nonrefundable application fee. Most computer engineering programs do not require personal essays. However, tailoring the cover letter to each prospective school may give students an edge in the admissions process.
Applicants may want to consider using Common App, which allows them to apply to multiple schools at once, streamlining the application process.
Minimum GPA and SAT/ACT scores vary by school. But to be competitive at a top-notch computer engineering program, candidates should aim for an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher, with SAT/ACT scores in the 90th percentile.
An aspiring computer engineer with low test scores can pursue an associate degree in computer science or engineering and then transfer to their desired four-year computer engineering program after graduating.
While computer engineering and computer science professions share similarities, they differ in some significant ways. Computer science focuses on designing algorithms, building software, and researching theories of computation. Computer engineering combines skills in electrical engineering, hardware design, and hardware-software interfaces.
The following information provides detailed insights into the primary differences between a bachelor’s in computer engineering and a bachelor’s in computer science.
Designing hardware and hardware-software interfaces
Designing algorithms and converting them into software programs and applications
Digital logic design, electronic circuit design, microprocessor design, and digital signal processing
Human-computer interaction, game theory, cloud computing, and computational theory
Biomedical engineering, game hardware design, and robotics hardware-software interface
Human-computer interaction, data mining, cloud computing, and cryptography
Hardware engineer, microchip architect, and electrical design engineer
Software architect, data scientist, and information security manager
A prospective computer engineer commonly pursues a bachelor of science (BS) in computer engineering or a bachelor of engineering (BE) with a computer engineering concentration. Despite their significant overlap, the two types of degrees differ in course requirements, typical concentrations, and potential career paths.
BE programs develop strong skills in microprocessor engineering and hardware-software interface designs. In contrast, BS programs provide advanced skills in hardware and software design.
BE and BS programs offer many of the same specializations. However, BE programs more commonly provide concentrations in computer hardware design, such as gaming hardware design and mobile device design, whereas BS programs feature concentrations in software design and cybersecurity.
A BE and a BS in computer engineering prepare learners for similar career paths, but a BE may give graduates an edge when competing for traditional engineering jobs. A BS may provide an advantage for students applying for research jobs in corporate research and development departments.
A typical bachelor’s degree in computer engineering integrates electrical engineering and computer science fields. Enrollees must complete prerequisites, general education requirements, major requirements, and a set number of electives. Some computer engineering degrees conclude with a capstone or internship.
The following list provides information about some of the courses students may encounter in a typical computer engineering program.
This required class focuses on basic robot construction and programming for robotic control. Students learn to apply engineering design to construct prototypes, test designs using simulation software, and integrate sensors for automated decision-making.
Microprocessor Design and Interfacing
Learners acquire fundamental skills needed to design microprocessors and optimize hardware-software interactions. Enrollees also gain basic insight into common techniques used for environmental sensing and control.
Algorithm Design and Analysis
Enrollees develop the basic skills needed to design various algorithms, including search, sort, graph, and string algorithms. Learners also explore best practices used in gauging the efficiency of algorithms translated into specific programming languages.
In a machine learning course, enrollees learn various techniques for designing algorithms that instruct computational systems to learn independently by detecting patterns. After mastering the fundamental designs deployed in machine learning, students gain practical experience by experimenting with different implementations.
The Future of Computing
In this elective, learners gain a basic understanding of the limits of silicon-based transistors, the obstacles standing in the way of building microchips from materials other than silicon, and how to use crowdsourcing to increase computational power.
How Much Will a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering Cost?
Tuition for a computer engineer degree varies by in-state vs. out-of-state rates, public vs. private school types, and online vs. on-campus attendance.
According to the College Board, the annual average in-state tuition at public colleges and universities reached $10,560 for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Out-of-state learners paid about $12,000 more in annual tuition than in-state students did, making nonresident tuition rates at public institutions comparable to private school tuition rates. Room and board, books, and technology fees also add to the total degree cost.
Most schools offer discounts on their online programs and in-state rates for nonresidents, making online degrees more cost-effective than on-campus alternatives. According to U.S. News & World Report, typical tuition for an online computer engineering degree ranges from $32,000-$47,000.
Students can also cut costs by taking the first two years of their computer engineering degrees at cheaper in-state community colleges before completing the remaining two years of their bachelor’s at four-year schools. Alternative ways to finance a computer engineering degree include scholarships, student loans, financial aid, and grants. Consult the following link for more information.
Jobs for Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Graduates
Graduates with computer engineering degrees qualify for careers in microchip research, network architecture, and hardware and software engineering.
Computer and information systems managers, computer hardware engineers, and computer network architects enjoy some of the highest salaries in the field.
Popular careers for graduates with a bachelor’s in computer engineering include:
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects design and create organizational data communication networks, including LANs, WANs, and intranets. Responsibilities include researching new networking technology, designing layouts for data communication networks, and upgrading network hardware and software.
Computer and information systems managers coordinate and manage corporate computer systems and networks. Typical job duties include assessing the costs and benefits of new projects, researching new technology to optimizing computer equipment and software, and directing hardware and software updates.
Software developers design and build computer systems and applications. Responsibilities include brainstorming ideas for new software, designing algorithms for programmers to convert into software, and planning and directing maintenance and upgrades.
These hardware engineers design, build, and test computer systems and components. Typical job duties include designing and testing new computer hardware, updating existing computer hardware, and overseeing computer hardware manufacturing.
While the program rankings on this page provide a strong starting point for prospective students, other elements affect the value of a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Factors to consider when applying to computer engineering programs include:
Prospective students should prioritize universities and colleges that hold regional accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting bodies. Attending a program with regional accreditation ensures credit transferability, eligibility for federal financial aid, and qualification for certain jobs.
Programmatic accreditation ensures that schools meet national program-specific standards. Applicants should prioritize programs that carry accreditation from ABET, the accrediting body that oversees programs in the natural sciences, computing, and engineering.
Available Program Formats
Prospective learners with busy schedules, personal obligations, or work commitments may want to opt for schools that offer distance learning programs or part-time degrees. Ultimately, potential students should select the program that best fits their career goals, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
Should You Get Your Computer Engineering Degree Online?
Aspiring computer engineering students who face additional commitments on top of school work, such as full-time employment or childcare, may want to complete their degrees online. Top online programs provide the same rigorous curricula as their on-campus counterparts, but few brick-and-mortar degree formats can match the convenience and flexibility of distance learning.
Online learning has grown in popularity in recent years. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that almost 35% of fall 2018 undergraduates took at least one distance learning course. However, each student should determine whether a remote learning format suits their individual learning style.
Before considering an online computer engineering degree, prospective students should research the program’s distance learning format. Synchronous online formats provide lectures, discussions, and networking events in real time. This format closely resembles a traditional on-campus degree while still providing flexibility and convenience.
A fully asynchronous program provides pre-recorded lectures, discussion boards, and other course materials for students to access at their own convenience, as long as they meet certain deadlines. This format provides additional flexibility for learners with demanding family or job commitments.
Frequently Asked Questions
What degree do I need to become a computer engineer?
To become a computer engineer, you will need an associate or bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, at a minimum. You can also become a computer engineer by taking a master’s or a Ph.D. in computer engineering.
Can you become a software engineer with a computer engineering degree?
Yes. Computer engineering has three main branches: software, hardware, and network engineering. A computer science degree presents another educational avenue to becoming a software engineer.
What can I do with a degree in computer engineering?
A computer engineering degree can lead to employment as a computer hardware engineer, software engineer, or computer network architect, among other roles.
Is computer engineering a good degree?
Yes. This educational path can lead to some of the highest paying jobs in the computer profession. As of 2019, computer hardware engineers earned a median annual wage of $117,220.
How much does a computer engineer make with a bachelor's degree?