Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2018-2019

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
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 each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Register for CMSC 255, 256 & 302.
  • Register for highest level of math based on placement.
  • Attend SI sessions and tutoring as needed.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Meet your peers and make new friends and study buddies at the Welcome Week cookout.
  • Register to vote in Virginia and explore Richmond’s museums, parks, festivals, and events!
  • Apply to live in the ASPiRE, Globe, INNOVATE, or LEAD Living & Learning Programs.
  • Get involved with VCU Student Government or one of over 450 clubs and organizations.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Learn about your study abroad options by visiting a study abroad fair and attending a First Advising Session in the Global Education Office.
  • Review the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs website for programs, events, and resources.
  • Considering Joining a Living Learning Community, such as VCU Globe.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete your Handshake profile.
  • Explore the engineering faculty webpages to learn about their diverse research.
  • Learn about research opportunities through V.I.P Teams, UROP and DURI.
  • Volunteer to do research with a professor.
  • Join an Engineering student org like ACM, LUG, RamDev, ACM-W, VINE.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Find internships or co-ops at the Engineering Internship and Career Fairs every semester.
  • Meet with Engineering Career Services to perform a “Gap Analysis and develop your career plan, starting with your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles and a resume.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Continue coursework in programming, math, chemistry, and physics.
  • Consider Accelerated Master’s, added at end of second year.
  • Go to your professors’ “Office Hours” to discuss research interests, picking classes in your major, and strategies for success in your program.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider leadership roles in a student organization.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Take service-learning classes, volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA), or complete a service project.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
  • Consider short-term, semester, and year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Join a culturally-focused 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
  • Consider taking ENGR 395 Professional Development and gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Obtain a leadership position in a student organization.
  • Apply for internships, co-ops, and VIP Teams.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Mock Interview with an employer through Engineering Career Services.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your advisor to discuss degree progression and upcoming coursework, including track selection.
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • Attending lectures, meetings, and conferences. Consider applying to present a poster.
  • Consider the Cybersecurity or Data Science Certificates for meeting upper level CMSC elective requirement.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Create and complete a science related community-engaged research project.
  • Attend civic meetings, such as school board, neighborhood associations, city council, or state legislative sessions.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Consider being a mentor in VINE.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship through VCU’s National Scholarship office.
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond.
  • Practice communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences, particularly in professional settings.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Assess your professional experiences to date (research, internships, co-op). Decide if you value continuity with an employer or breadth of experience.
  • Work on developing your professional online presence (LinkedIn, Handshake, Github).
  • Apply for summer research funding through UROP.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or career services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Research graduate programs to determine the competitive applicant profile, including GPA, prerequisite coursework, and entrance exam scores.
  • 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 CMSC electives relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, for example).
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider applying for a year-long service opportunity after graduation through programs like VCU AmeriCorps, Literacy Lab, Peace Corps, Fulbright Student Scholars, Teach for America and City Year.
  • Participate in any civic organizations related to your academic or non-academic interests.
  • Volunteer at an organization devoted to the arts, environment, education, or policy.
  • Consider working as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (formerly the Virginia Historical Society).
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your resume and Github account.
  • Present your research at conferences such as the UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other discipline- specific conference.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships and skill building.
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for steps beyond graduation.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair in both the Fall and Spring. These are the best opportunities to secure employment post-graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy in the fall.
  • Before graduation, attend the graduation meeting and complete the post-graduation survey.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

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 each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Register for CMSC 255, 256 & 302.
  • Register for highest level of math based on placement.
  • Attend SI sessions and tutoring as needed.
  • Find internships or co-ops at the Engineering Internship and Career Fairs every semester.
  • Meet with Engineering Career Services to perform a “Gap Analysis and develop your career plan, starting with your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles and a resume
Experience Year 2
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Continue coursework in programming, math, chemistry, and physics.
  • Consider Accelerated Master’s, added at end of second year.
  • Go to your professors’ “Office Hours” to discuss research interests, picking classes in your major, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Consider leadership roles in a student organization.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Take service-learning classes, volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA), or complete a service project.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week
  • Consider short-term, semester, and year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Join a culturally-focused 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.
  • Consider taking ENGR 395 Professional Development and gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Obtain a leadership position in a student organization.
  • Apply for internships, co-ops, and VIP Teams
  • Mock Interview with an employer through Engineering Career Services
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references.
Year 3
  • See your advisor to discuss degree progression and upcoming coursework, including track selection.
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • Attending lectures, meetings, and conferences. Consider applying to present a poster.
  • Consider the Cybersecurity or Data Science Certificates for meeting upper level CMSC elective requirement.
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship through VCU’s National Scholarship office
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond.
  • Practice communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences, particularly in professional settings.
  • Assess your professional experiences to date (research, internships, co-op). Decide if you value continuity with an employer or breadth of experience.
  • Work on developing your professional online presence (LinkedIn, Handshake, Github).
  • Apply for summer research funding through UROP
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or career services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Research graduate programs to determine the competitive applicant profile, including GPA, prerequisite coursework, and entrance exam scores.
  • 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 CMSC electives relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, for example).
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (formerly the Virginia Historical Society).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your resume and Github account.
  • Present your research at conferences such as the UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other discipline- specific conference.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships and skill building.
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for steps beyond graduation.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair in both the Fall and Spring. These are the best opportunities to secure employment post-graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy in the fall.
  • Before graduation, attend the graduation meeting and complete the post-graduation survey.