Students work together on a project in a class in Rice Hall

Designing Computers and Electronics

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. The Computer Engineering program gives undergraduate and graduate students a rich learning experience spanning hardware and software in computing systems.

You Will Revolutionize Computing

Our faculty and students build tools that promise to revolutionize computing, such as machine learning, data science and signal processing. They create new hardware platforms to support quantum computing, networked IoT and self-powered computer systems. They also improve real-world applications in robotics; cyber-physical and embedded systems; computer architecture and security; low-power and high-performance circuits and devices; and computer vision, graphics and image analysis.

Research Areas of Focus

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 a personalized 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 and Smart Cities
  • Data Science, Data Mining And Machine Learning
  • Dependable, Resilient And Reconfigurable Computing
  • Embedded Systems, Autonomous Systems , and Wireless Sensor Networks
  • Human-Machine Learning
  • Internet Of Things (IoT) And Physical Systems
  • Image Processing
  • Mobile, Distributed And Cloud Computing
  • Networks And Internet
  • Robotics
  • Smart And Connected Health Systems
  • Smart Energy And Power Management
  • VLSI; System-On-Chip; Low-Power Design

Admission to the Computer Engineering Program

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.  The submission of GRE scores is optional.  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.  For information about transferring into Computer Engineering from another degree program, please contact the graduate coordinator at CPE-SUPPORT@VIRGINIA.EDU.

The PhD and the MS programs are both research oriented and require that a faculty member (in CS or ECE) agree to serve as the student’s research adviser and to provide the student with a Graduate Research Assistantship.  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. We encourage you to talk to faculty and graduate 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 with 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.  Please work with the Graduate Coordinator as you move through the process.

Students who have failed the qualifying exam in another program are not eligible to transfer into the Computer Engineering PhD program until they have passed the Qualifying Exam in their home program.