Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Computer engineering

College of Engineering

 
Program description

Computer engineers are responsible for developing the powerful computer systems that have become a part of our everyday life. Applications for computer engineering span the spectrum from high-performance, general-purpose computing systems such as desktop workstations used in all facets of business, to small microprocessors embedded in larger systems and functioning as controllers. These latter applications, known as embedded systems, can be found in control systems for trains, aircraft and automobiles; medical equipment; telecommunications systems; and consumer electronics and appliances. This explosive growth of computer systems in use in almost every new appliance or vehicle has resulted in a strong demand for engineers trained in the development of these systems, and all indications are that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Career opportunities

Computer engineers (or computer hardware engineers) research, design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture and installation of computer hardware, including computer chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and related equipment such as keyboards, routers, and printers. This field should not be confused with computer software engineers, who design and develop the software systems that control computers.

The work of computer hardware engineers is similar to that of electrical engineers in that they may design and test circuits and other electronic components; however, computer hardware engineers do that work only as it relates to computers and computer-related equipment. They work on the design, planning, development, testing, and even the supervision of manufacturing of computer hardware -- including everything from chips to device controllers.  They also focus on computer networks for the transmission of data and multimedia.

The work of a computer engineer is grounded in the hardware -- from circuits to architecture -- but also focuses on operating systems and software. Computer engineers must understand logic design, microprocessor system design, computer architecture, computer interfacing, and continually focus on system requirements and design.

Change of major requirements

VCU GPA of 3.0 or greater, with a minimum of 12 VCU credit hours earned. Completion of MATH 200, MATH 201, and any of PHYS 207, EGRE 101, or ENGR 101, all with grades of "B" or higher. If attempted, MATH 200, MATH 201, MATH 211, MATH 301, MATH 307, PHYS 207, PHYS 208, CHEM 101, and/or CHEM 102 must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. GPA for all attempted engineering and computer science courses must be 3.0 or greater.The historical repeat course option does not apply to these averages.   


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Computer engineer
  • Computer network architects
  • Computer systems engineer
  • Controls engineer
  • Hardware design engineer
  • Mechatronics engineer
  • Microsystems engineer
  • Network engineer
  • Product engineer
  • Test engineer
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • College Professor
  • Lead Research Scientist
  • Research & Development Engineer
  • Senior Embedded Software Engineer
  • System Architect
Professional associations and resources
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 201 or higher
Science required
  • 5+ additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
Additional tuition/fees
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Building/room location:
601 West Main Street, Room 203
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-0181
Email:
electricalengr@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Register for EGRE 101 and 245.
  • Register for the highest level math you can.
  • Attend all SI sessions and seek tutoring.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Continue progression in engineering and mathematics coursework.
  • Learn about double-majors or minors that pair easily with your major.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Consider taking ENGR 395 Professional Development: gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
  • Apply for internships, co-ops, & VIP Teams.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Begin selecting Technical Electives, being aware of the prerequisites to fourth-year Technical Electives.
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • In consultation with your advisor, identify which third-year courses are prereqs for the 3 capstones for CPE.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Practice professional communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Choose courses teaching content and skills most relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, Physics, Computer Science, others).
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the VMFA and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Computer engineering

College of Engineering

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Register for EGRE 101 and 245.
  • Register for the highest level math you can.
  • Attend all SI sessions and seek tutoring.
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Continue progression in engineering and mathematics coursework.
  • Learn about double-majors or minors that pair easily with your major.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Consider taking ENGR 395 Professional Development: gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
  • Apply for internships, co-ops, & VIP Teams.
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
Year 3
  • Begin selecting Technical Electives, being aware of the prerequisites to fourth-year Technical Electives.
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • In consultation with your advisor, identify which third-year courses are prereqs for the 3 capstones for CPE.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Practice professional communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Choose courses teaching content and skills most relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, Physics, Computer Science, others).
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the VMFA and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.