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Computer Engineering Curriculum

Computer Engineering Curriculum - For Students Enrolled Prior to Fall 2014

Last Updated: 04/22/2011


Computer engineering is a discipline that applies principles of physics and mathematics to the design, implementation, and analysis of computer and communication systems. The discipline is broad, spanning topics as diverse as radio communications, coding and encryption, computer architecture, testing and analysis of computer and communication systems, vision, and robotics. A defining characteristic of the discipline is its grounding in physical aspects of computer and communication systems. Computer engineering concerns itself with development of devices that exploit physical phenomena to store and process information, with the design of hardware that incorporates such devices, and with software that takes advantage of this hardware's characteristics. It addresses problems in design, testing, and evaluation of system properties, such as reliability, and security. It is an exciting area to work in, one that has immediate impact on the technology that shapes society today.

Program Educational Objectives and Outcomes

The Importance of the First-Year ECE Experience

First-year students take Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE 110), a four-credit-hour class combining theory, laboratory measurement, and design. Not only do beginning students get a substantive course in their major, they also gain a better appreciation for the basic science and mathematics courses that are taken during the first two years of study. Students gain first-hand experience in the activities of professional computer and electrical engineers and are better able to make the important decision as to whether they have chosen the major best suited to them.

Intellectual Content of the Computer Engineering (CompE) Curriculum

Student involvement in the computer engineering discipline increases during each year of the program. Most of the core CompE courses are taken in the fourth and fifth semesters. During the last three semesters, the student chooses electives to define a curriculum meeting individual educational and career needs.

The computer engineering core curriculum focuses on fundamental computer engineering knowledge: circuits (ECE 110), systems (ECE 210), field and waves (ECE 329), computer engineering (ECE 190, ECE 290, ECE 385, ECE 391, ECE 411), semiconductor devices (ECE 340), and computer science (CS 225). The rich set of ECE elective courses permits students to concentrate in any sub-discipline of computer engineering including: computer systems; electronic circuits; networks; engineering applications; software, languages, and theory; and algorithms and mathematical tools.

Methods of Instruction and Design Experience

Instruction is given using a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and project methodologies of the highest quality. The large number of laboratory courses and superb access to advanced computer facilities provide excellent practical experience in the field. Engineering design, communication, and teamwork are integrated throughout the curriculum, including the beginning required courses, Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE 110), Introduction to Computing Systems (ECE 190), and Introduction to Computer Engineering (ECE 290), as well as Computer Systems Engineering (ECE 391), Digital Systems Laboratory (ECE 385), and Computer Organization and Design (ECE 411), which are taken in the third year. Further design experiences occur in the elective courses.

Honors Activity

Students wishing to do honors work are encouraged to apply to the James Scholar Program administered jointly by the College of Engineering and the ECE Department. In consultation with departmental honors advisors, students create and carry out honors contracts. They must also participate in the ECE Honors Seminar and are encouraged to participate in the yearly Undergrad Research Symposium. The department offers thesis courses and project opportunities for students wishing to graduate with Highest Honors.

Grade Point Average Requirements

A student must have a grade-point average of at least 2.0 (A=4.0) in ECE courses in order to remain in good standing and to graduate.

Junior Eligibility Rule (2.25 Rule)

To qualify for registration for the ECE courses shown in the third year of the curriculum, a student must have completed, with a combined 2.25 grade point average, the mathematics, physics, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering courses shown in the first two years.

Overview of Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requires 128 hours for graduation and is organized as follows:

Required Courses

Required courses total 75 hours

Basic Sciences and Mathematics

These courses stress the scientific principles upon which the engineering discipline is based.

Hours Course Number & Name
4 MATH 221 - Calculus I
3 MATH 231 - Calculus II
4 MATH 241 - Calculus III
4 MATH 286 - Introduction to Differential Equations Plus
4 PHYS 211 - Univ Physics, Mechanics
4 PHYS 212 - Univ Physics, Elec & Mag
2 PHYS 213 - Univ Physics, Thermal Physics
2 PHYS 214 - Univ Physics, Quantum Physics
3 CHEM 102 - General Chemistry I
1 CHEM 103 - General Chemistry Lab I
31 Total

Computer Engineering Core

These courses stress fundamental computer engineering concepts and basic laboratory techniques that comprise the common intellectual understanding of all computer engineering.

Hours Course Number & Name
4 ECE 110 - Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering
4 ECE 190 - Intro to Computing Systems
4 ECE 210 - Analog Signal Processing
3 ECE 290 - Computer Engineering I
3 ECE 329 - Fields and Waves I
2 ECE 385 - Digital Systems Laboratory
4 ECE 391 - Computer Systems Engineering
4 ECE 411 - Computer Organization & Design
3 ECE 340 - Semiconductor Devices
4 CS 225 - Data Structure & Software Principles
35 Total

Other Mathematics

These courses provide additional sophistication for the computer engineer. The probability and statistics course lays the groundwork for understanding problems ranging from communications engineering to data analysis in diverse areas such as medicine and manufacturing.

Hours Course Number & Name
3 CS 173 - Discrete Structures
or MATH 213 - Basic Discrete Mathematics
3 ECE 313 - Probability with Engineering Applications
or STAT 410 - Statistics and Probability II
6 Total

Composition I

This course teaches fundamentals of expository writing.

Hours Course Number & Name
4 RHET 105 - Principles of Composition
4 Total

Technical Electives

These courses stress the rigorous analysis and design principles practiced in the major concentration areas of computer engineering.

Hours Requirements
22 One course must be outside of the ECE and CS technical electives. The remainder must be electives in ECE and CS. All are to be chosen from the Departmentally Approved List of Technical Electives

Notes: 1) The new Comp E sequence: ECE 198 JL, KL and 298 takes 2 more hours than the old sequence, ECE 190, 290, 385. These 2 hours will be credited to your ECE tech elective hours. 2) Courses that are “same as” ECE courses are counted as ECE courses. GE 421 Intro to Robotics is “same as” ECE 470, so it counts as an ECE tech elective. In CS 241 it says “Credit is not given for both CS 241 and ECE 391.” They are not the same course; you won’t get any credit for CS 241.


  1. ECE/PHIL 316, Engineering Ethics, is a Campus Humanities course which meets the Comp II requirement. It does not count as an ECE Elective.
  2. Some sections of ECE 198, 199, 298, 398, and 498 may not have technical content (e.g., Professionalism and Ethics in Engineering). These sections will not count as ECE electives.
  3. Specifically required ECE courses (e.g., ECE 329) do not count as electives.
  4. Courses for non-majors (e.g., ECE 205) do not count except by permission.
  5. Independent study courses = ECE elective hours: ECE 397 (Electrical and Computer Engineering Problems), ECE 396 (Honors Project), ECE 496+499 (Senior Thesis). If in a different department, CS, PHYS, etc. they can be approved for non-ECE tech elective hours.
  6. Non-ECE tech elective hours: ENG 491, Interdisciplinary Design Projects, approved sections. For ECE credit, or senior design credit go to 156 Everitt Lab. However, no student may take more than 4 hours special problems with the same instructor, nor count more than a total of 6 hours towards graduation as a technical elective or a required advanced ECE course or lab.

  7. ECE 297 may be repeated once for a total of 2 hours of ECE tech electives, but does not count as part of the 6 hours of independent study allowed for tech electives.

Social Sciences and Humanities

The social science, humanities and liberal education courses, as approved by the College of Engineering, ensure that students have exposure in breadth and depth to areas of intellectual activity that are essential to the general education of any college graduate. Humanities, Social Sciences, and General Education Requirement.

Hours Requirements
18 The social science, humanities and liberal education courses approved by the College of Engineering and satisfying the campus general education requirements for social sciences and humanities.

Campus General Education Requirements

Students must select courses that satisfy both the College of Engineering's social sciences and humanities requirement and the campus requirements in social and behavioral sciences and in humanities and the arts. Proper choices will assure that these courses also satisfy the campus requirements in the areas of Western and non-Western cultures. Many of these courses satisfy the campus Advanced Composition requirement, which assures that the student has the advanced writing skills expected of all college graduates. The campus requirements in Composition I, natural sciences and technology, and quantitative reasoning are met by required courses. Beginning with the class that entered in fall 2000, students must complete a third-level college language course. Most students satisfy this requirement by completing three years of high school instruction in a single language. Courses taken to satisfy campus requirements must be taken for a grade. Humanities, Social Sciences, and General Education Requirements.

Free Electives

(12 hours) These electives give the student the opportunity to explore any intellectual area. This freedom plays a critical role in helping students to define minor concentrations in areas such as bioengineering, technology and management, languages, or research specialties. At least six hours must be taken for a letter grade.  Check the College of Engineering Advising Web page for recent updates. Review the CE Curriculum Map for details.

Hours Requirements
12 Free electives