Computer Engineering Graduate Program

The field of Computer Engineering incorporates both Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Science (CS). Computer engineers design, program, produce, operate, and maintain computer and digital systems. They generally apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics to the design of hardware, software, networks, and processes to solve technical problems. The Graduate Degrees (ME and MS/PHD) offered in the Computer Engineering program at the University of Virginia will prepare you to utilize your academic preparation to become successful practitioners and innovators in computer engineering. Our degrees are interdisciplinary which allows our students to work with researchers in a wide variety of areas across the Engineering School. Current graduate students work with faculty in EE, CS, Systems, and Biomedical Engineering.

Research Areas of Focus

The faculty of both the Department of Computer Science and the Charles E. Brown Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering welcome Computer Engineering students who combine interest in hardware and software. Students have the freedom to focus on a traditional research area or to work with faculty in both departments to develop apersonalized area of research interest. As more faculty research crosses disciplines, students are finding even more opportunities to work with faculty in other departments as well. 

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

Computer Architecture And High Performance Computing
Computer Security, Privacy & Cryptography
Cyber-Physical Systems
Data Science, Data Mining And Machine Learning
Dependable, Resilient And Reconfigurable Computing
Embedded Systems, Autonomous Systems , and Wireless Sensor Networks
High Performance Computing
Human-Machine Learning
Internet Of Things (IoT) And Physical Systems
Medical and Wireless Health
Image Processing
Mobile, Distributed And Cloud Computing
Networks And Internet
Smart And Connected Health Systems
Smart Energy And Power Management
Smart Cities
VLSI; System-On-Chip; Low-Power Design



  • Admission to the Graduate Program

    Admission to the Computer Engineering Program is highly selective.   We are looking for students with excellent technical and communication skills who are excited to join our creative community.  Our program has the flexibility to allow students to work with faculty in many different research areas across departments in the School of Engineering at the University of Virginia.

    The Computer Engineering Program (CpE) offers admission to two Graduate degrees, a research oriented Doctoral Degree (PhD) and an industry oriented Masters of Engineering (ME) Degree.  (Note:  Students who are interested in Research and have completed a Bachelor of Science degree are encouraged to apply directly to the PhD Program.  A Master of Science Degree may be earned on the way to the PhD Degree.)    Students in the PhD program are generally supported with a teaching or research assistantship.  Students in the ME program pay tuition while taking courses.

    Students are required to submit GRE scores but may use unofficial scores for the application process.  Official GRE scores must be submitted to the Graduate Office prior to the beginning of the student's first semester.  All students whose first language is not English are also required to submit TOEFL or IELTs scores.  However, TOEFL/IELTS is not required if the applicant has received a 4-year degree at an English-speaking institution (whether or not the institution is in the U.S.).   If the applicant has a 4-year degree from a non-English-speaking institution and a Master's degree from an English-speaking institution, TOEFL/IELTS is still required.  Most students admitted score at least 24 on all areas of the TOEFL, or a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS in each area.

    Although we do not require applicants to have a degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science, we do expect all applicants to have a strong background in both computing and electronic systems. 

    The application for admission to the Graduate Program in Computer Engineering can be found here.

  • Procedures for Transferring into the Master of Engineering Program

    As of April 15, 2019 Computer Engineering  can no longer allow students to transfer into the Master of Engineering Program.



  • Procedure for Transferring into the Master of Science or PhD program

    The MS and PhD programs are both research oriented and require that a faculty member (in CS or ECE) agree to serve as the student’s research adviser, including funding.  If no research adviser is willing to commit to a student at the time of transfer, the student may apply to transfer to the ME program instead.

    If you wish to transfer into the MS or PhD program, either from within the Computer Engineering ME program or from another MS or PhD program, talk to faculty and grad students with similar research interests to find a potential match.  Not all research groups will have the funding capacity to add a new student at will.   Develop a plan for you to collaborate wiwth the faculty and the research group on a short-term well-defined task to assess mutual interest and compatibility.   If a faculty member agrees to take on a new student, the transfer will likely be approved.

    Students who have failed the qualifying exam in another program are not eligible to transfer into the Computer Engineering PhD program.


  • Student Handbook

    Degree Requirements and Coursework

    The CpE Program offers a Ph.D. degree, the primary focus of which is a dissertation describing publishable quality research (directed by a faculty advisor) of significant depth. The CpE Program also offers two Masters degrees: a Master of Science (MS), which requires a thesis, and a Master of Engineering (ME). Degree requirements set by the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) are given in the SEAS Graduate Record and are additional to the CpE Graduate Program requirements as outlined below.    The time limit for degree completion after entering the Masters program is five years for the MS and seven years for the ME although the average time for completion is two years. The time limit for the PhD degree completion is seven years although most students graduate in five years or less.  Degree requirements set by the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) are given in the SEAS Graduate Record and are additional to the following CpE Graduate Program requirements. The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate record represents the offical repository for academic program requirements. The Graduate Record may be found here.

    The Curriculum Distribution Requirements for all three graduate degrees are outlined in detail in the curriculum requirements guide which can be found below.  The student should put together a list of proposed courses before the end of the first semester. The List of Courses should be approved by the Graduate Director, who serves as the de facto advisor for all entering PhD students. Although an MS degree in CpE is not required, the List of Courses must meet a set of "pre-requisite coursework requirements," defined to include the architecture/design course requirement, three Computer Science courses, and three Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses.  If the student has earned an MS degree at another institution, the student is entitled to waive up to 12 hours of course work.  The distribution of the 12 hours waived will be determined by the the Director with input from the advisor.

    Curriculum Requirements

  • Advancement to Candidacy and Dissertation Proposal, Defense, and Graduation

    Advancement to Candidacy and Dissertation Proposal, Defense, and Graduation

    The culmination of the PhD program is the defense of the dissertation. After a student has successfully passed the qualifying examination, the student is now formally admitted to the PhD program. The student should put together a Proposal Examining Committee of at least five faculty members, including the research advisor and one member outside the student’s advisor's department.  Two of the faculty members must be from the ECE department and two members must be from the CS department. A member of the committee who is not in the advisor home department qualifies as the outside member. The guidelines for the proposal should match the requirements in the advisor's home department.

    The Dean's office in the School of Engineering has put together an excellent set of instructions for defense and graduation which can be found here.

  • Graduate Teaching Requirement

    Graduate Teaching Requirement

    Students are strongly encouraged to complete one semester of guided undergraduate teaching experience. Working as a Teaching Assistant will fulfill the requirement.   Students are also encouraged to apply for a teaching fellowship through the Dean's Office. Another model is to work with a faculty supervisor who may or may not be the student’s advisor, to co-teach an undergraduate course.

  • Pre-2016 Requirements