As a sub-field of electrical engineering specializing in digital signals and systems, computer engineering deals with the design of computing and embedded systems, from smartphones to electronic circuits and robotics, for a plethora of cutting-edge applications, ranging from aerospace to radar, and from telecommunications to networking.
Without any doubt, we live in the most digitally interconnected world ever experienced in the history of technology, to the point that there essentially isn't a field where a computer engineer would not be able to work! A graduate with a B.S. in Computer Engineering can essentially work in any high-tech industry employing computer and digital systems.
As electrical engineers who deal with signals and devices that harness electricity and electrical currents for the design of complex systems, computer engineers focus on such complex systems from a digital perspective and build modern computing devices as part of complex control systems, digital signal processing systems, mobile computing, and telecommunications systems. Unlike electrical engineers, computer engineers are able to design and optimize cutting-edge digital devices, using a thorough knowledge of their architecture, the software employed, and principles of computing and embedded systems.
Computer engineering also encompasses building new and improved digital systems and devices, using principles and techniques from physics, computer science and electrical engineering. This differs from computer science, which emphasizes programming, computing theory, data security, algorithms and data structures, and as such, focuses on software rather than hardware.
Computer engineers are specialized electrical engineers who have additional knowledge in software design and hardware-software integration — this explains why many computer engineers also get jobs as software engineers.
The curriculum of our ABET accredited B.S. in Computer Engineering degree covers a wide array of specialized topics, including programming, computer architecture, computer networks, digital hardware design, microprocessors, embedded systems and physics. Our students acquire the knowledge and skills to work on a variety of applications, including circuit design, microprocessor design, software engineering, and embedded systems — the integration of computer systems into other kinds of systems such as appliances, robots, or motor vehicles.
Skills you will acquire as a computer engineering student include:
Thorough knowledge of the architecture of digital hardware and computing systems
Design of digital integrated circuits and microprocessors
Knowledge of coding for the design, maintenance, and testing of complex microprocessors architecture
Student Project Highlight
Computer Engineering students collaborate on innovative solutions to real-world problems. Check out these student projects that address safety, health, efficiency and security.
Career options for B.S. in Computer Engineering graduates
As a B.S. in Computer Engineering graduate, you will acquire the skills and competencies sought by companies such as Intel, HP, Analog Devices, Microsoft, Amazon, and Texas Instruments. You will also be qualified to work in industries that utilize and design computing and embedded systems, such as telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, etc.
Graduates are prepared to solve problems in all aspects of computing. Career options include:
Digital Systems Engineer
Embedded Systems Engineer
Microprocessor Systems Engineer
According to Careeronestop.org, the median US wage for a graduate with a BS in Computer Engineering is $119,600 as of May 2020.
Ranked #20 on list of "Most Affordable Computer Engineering Programs"
The ranking system took into consideration tuition, retention rate, graduation rate, and quality of the program.
Admission to the CES major is competitive. Please review the following prerequisites and application process carefully.
Students may be conditionally admitted into the CES program with certain prerequisites in progress, but all prerequisites must be completed in order to enroll. To qualify for admission to CES, you must be on track to complete the following by the end of summer quarter before starting the major:
Calculus I (TMATH 124), Calculus II (TMATH 125), and Calculus III (TMATH 126).
Differential Equations (TMATH 207).
Matrix/Linear Algebra (TMATH 208).
Physics I (TPHYS 121), Physics II (TPHYS 122), Physics III (TPHYS 123).
Note that if the physics series is completed at UW Tacoma, no additional lab science is required.
Transfer students may need one additional approved lab-based science course (Chemistry I -TCHEM 142 or Biology I - TBIOL 120) to meet the total number of lab science credits required (18 minimum) for graduation.
Introduction to Programming (TCSS 142).
Object-Oriented Programming (TCSS 143).
Electrical Circuits (TCES 215- must have AC/DC).
*All pre-requisite courses must be completed in the last seven years
GPA and Credit Requirements
Cumulative prerequisite GPA of at least 2.5, with a minimum grade of 2.0 in each individual prerequisite course
Required minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all college coursework
Ready to Apply?
Before starting the application, make sure you're ready to apply:
You've been admitted to UW Tacoma and met the requirements to apply to the major (previous tab).
You have completed at least 45 college-level credits.
You completed the prerequisite courses listed in the Admission Requirements tab.
You've earned a minimum grade of 2.0 in each prerequisite course and maintain a minimum cumulative prerequisite GPA of 2.5.
You're meeting the July 1 priority application deadline. The application may close at any time after the priority deadline once the program reaches capacity.
You may need one additional approved lab-based science course (Chemistry I -TCHEM 142 or Biology I - TBIOL 120) to meet the total number of lab science credits required (18 minimum) for graduation.
UW Seattle and UW Bothell students seeking to transfer to UW Tacoma also need to have a transfer application on file to be considered for admission.
If you are not admitted to UWT, you cannot be admitted to the CES/EE major, but you may hold off on accepting your offer of admission to UWT until you have your program admissions decision.
Transfer students at Washington State community colleges are encouraged to pursue the Associate in Science - Transfer Track 2 to meet the admission requirements. Use theUW Course Equivalency Guideto determine the equivalent prerequisites at your school.
Strong applicants typically have grades of 3.0 and higher in prerequisite math, science, engineering and programming courses, as well as a solid cumulative GPA.
Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Completion of all prerequisite courses
Grades in prerequisite courses -- individually and cumulatively (competitive applicants will have earned at least a 2.5 in each prerequisite course)
The CES curriculum incorporates the fundamentals of electrical engineering as well as required CES courses. Consult the CES Schedule Planning Gridto complete all required courses.
Computer Science Fundamentals
TCES 203 Programming Practicum
TCSS 342 Data Structures
Electrical Engineering Fundamentals
TCES 310 Linear Systems and Transforms
TCES 312 Electronic and Analog Systems
TCES 372 Computer Organization and Architecture
TCES 420 Operating Systems for Engineers
TCSS 321 Discrete Structures I
TMATH 390 Probability and Statistics
Ethics and Society
TCSS 325 Computers, Ethics and Society
TCES 230 Introduction to Logic Design
TCES 330 Digital System Design
TCES 430 Microprocessor System Design
TCES 455 Devices and Controls
TCSS 460 Embedded Systems Design
TCES 480 Senior Design Project I
TCES 481 Senior Design Project II
TCES 482 Senior Design Project III
10 credits from Approved Elective List
The CES Schedule Planning grid (PDF) shows a sample pathway to complete the B.S. in Computer Engineering & Systems degree. Work with your advisor to make sure you are completing required courses for the program.
The Learning and Research Commons (LARC) is the hub of support for all members of our campus community for teaching, learning, conducting research, and using technology to support all of these endeavors.
The ABET-accredited Computer Engineering and Systems program at UW Tacoma prepares students with the theoretical and practical foundations needed to solve problems in all aspects of computing.
The Computer Engineering and Systems (CES) Program will educate each student to be a responsible and productive engineer who can effectively apply emerging technologies to meet future challenges.
Program objectives, as defined by ABET are the abilities, skills, and accomplishments expected of graduates within a few years of graduation. Programs are required to assess their graduates' accomplishments to determine if the objectives have been achieved. Within three to five years of graduation from the CES program, it is expected that many graduates will have:
Developed a product or process by applying their knowledge of mathematics, computing, systems and development tools,
Participated effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary development team and undertaken a leadership role when appropriate,
Taken graduate courses or continuing education classes to improve their skills and abilities,
Made positive contributions to their community and society by applying skills and abilities learned during their undergraduate program in computer engineering and systems,
Made decisions related to their work that demonstrate an understanding of the importance of being an ethical engineering professional,
Applied their communication skills to effectively promote their ideas, goals, or products.
Since the objectives are fairly broad, it is not expected that every graduate will achieve every objective.
Program educational outcomes, as defined by ABET, are, "Statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation." ABET prescribes the following eleven outcomes with which all graduating engineers should demonstrate proficiency:
All engineering students are assessed to determine if they have satisfied these outcomes.
The Computer Engineering and Systems Program will educate each student to be a responsible and productive computer engineer who can effectively apply emerging technologies to meet future challenges.
Ability to apply knowledge of math, science and engineering,
Ability to design and conduct experiments as well as to analyze and interpret data,
Ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs,
Ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams,
Ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems,
Understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities,
Ability to communicate effectively,
The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context,
A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning,
A knowledge of contemporary issues,
An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.