Computer Engineering, BS
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Nguyen Engineering Building, 3100
4400 University Drive, MS 1G5
Fairfax, VA 22030
The field of computer engineering can be described as a blend of electrical engineering and computer science. It is an amalgam of the computer hardware orientation of an electrical engineering program and the operating systems and languages of a computer science program. Computer engineers are involved in research, development, design, production, and operation of a wide variety of digital systems, from integrated circuits to computer systems and large-scale computer networks.
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Students who earn a degree in computer engineering may work in software, hardware or in fields that are based on a combination of the two areas. Computer engineers find employment in a number of diverse fields including computer manufacturing, consumer electronics, telecommunications and networking, computer forensics, research and development, robotics and software engineering, among many others. Some may choose to pursue patent law and become patent attorneys/agents or become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses. The proximity of the department to the USPTO and to local venture capital firms opens up a rich range of alternative prospects to students. The department has strong ties to local businesses and representatives from companies are regularly invited to the department as guest speakers. An active industrial advisory board provides input in setting future directions for the department. Whatever field they choose, employment prospects for graduates of the computer engineering program are excellent.
Classes in the department are taught by experienced faculty who have been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for their research and teaching excellence. They have been awarded more than 35 patents and have $7M in active research grants. Many of them have also won prestigious research and teaching awards and a number of them are elected as fellows of professional organizations such as the IEEE.
Students gain hands on experience in the virtual and physical space in the numerous laboratories in the school’s building. The dual semester long senior design project effort is one of the highlights of the computer engineering program. Some recent projects included a fire extinguisher that uses sound to put out fires, a remote controlled robot that is small and agile enough to go places too small or dangerous for humans, and an unmanned aerial system that can perform search and rescue operations.
A senior design lab is available for students to design and build a working prototype of an electronic device or system. Some equipment found in that lab includes machines used for PCB prototyping, 3-D printing and laser based cutting tools.