Computer Engineering Major

student working on a computer hardware assembly

A computer engineering major from UIC positions you to develop computer technologies—hardware and software—that increase human capabilities worldwide.

Think of all the things that have changed in computing in the last two decades. Global society is in constant pursuit of computers that are smaller, more powerful, and easier to use. Computer engineering helps to determine not only the nature of the machines we use, but also the type of software they can handle and what that means for people on a day-to-day basis.

Computer engineering is a fast-changing field, and UIC’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering provides you with an education that will help you drive and lead those changes—not just keep pace with them.

The computer engineering major is outlined in full detail in UIC’s undergraduate course catalog. The information below offers an overview of what CE majors can expect.

Computer Engineering Major Requirements

Computer engineering majors complete coursework in three categories:

  • Nonengineering and general education courses: Nonengineering and general education courses provide a foundation in math and science and will make you a well-informed graduate in disciplines outside of computer engineering. You will take 53 credit hours in this area, including chemistry, physics, math, and a range of “chart-your-own-path” classes in categories such as Exploring World Cultures and Understanding the Individual and Society. For details on general education requirements, consult the course catalog.
  • Required engineering courses: Students earn 58 credit hours from engineering courses that all CE majors must take. These courses—including Circuit Analysis, Introduction to Embedded Systems, and Computer Organization—offer a thorough introduction to the field. For details on these requirements, please consult the course catalog.
  • Technical electives: CE majors complete 17 credit hours from courses that interest them most and will prepare them for the specific careers or research they have in mind. Examples of technical electives include Pattern Recognition I, Computer Algorithms I, Modern Linear Optics, and Transistors. The full list is in the course catalog.

See how these requirements play out for a typical student: Check out the CE major flowchart.

Academic Tracks Within ECE

The ECE department has identified groups of courses that can help guide your academic planning based on the areas of electrical and computer engineering in which you seek to specialize. You can find descriptions of each track and its associated courses on this page.

Computer Engineering Majors in Their Own Words

Fabian

Fabian Torres
Computer Engineering, BS ’21 | Oak Lawn, IL

Why did you choose UIC? I wanted to experience a top-notch engineering program in the heart of my favorite city, Chicago.

Name one thing you think UIC does better than anywhere else: UIC’s sense of family and camaraderie is amazing. It takes time, but once you make good connections with friends and faculty, you’ll see that they really want you to do your best, take away valuable skills, and make life-long relationships. It really is the people that make UIC what it is.

Dream job: Software engineer

Engineering project/assignment you did that you’re most proud of: I was pretty happy when I got my Conway’s Game of Life project working in CS 107 because I always wanted to learn how to code. With CS 107 being my introductory-level C-coding class, I was able to go from knowing little to nothing in coding concepts to building an entire working program from scratch.

Jeraldine

Jeraldine Milla
Computer Engineering, BS ’22 | Phillippines

Would you recommend the College of Engineering to new applicants? If so, why? Yes, because they will be able to feel at home regardless of where they come from. Not only that, there are so many opportunities that UIC offers that would definitely make each student’s stay at UIC worth it.

Dream job: Probably connected to entertainment, but as an engineer.

How is the College of Engineering preparing you for the working world? They offer a lot of career fair opportunities, have helped me develop my résumé, offer challenging classes, and many other things that will help me in the real world.

Place you’re most likely to be found on campus, and why: The library, where my friends and I always study and eat. It’s where I met my friends. A place to learn but also a place for great encounters with different, wonderful people.

Learn More About the Computer Engineering Major

Program Educational Objectives: CE Major

As part of our accreditation process, ABET asks our department to capture the overall goals of the electrical and computer engineering programs. These are called our educational program objectives. Within a few years of graduation, our talented graduates will:

  • Contribute to their employers, organizations, and communities.
  • Be leaders in their professions around the world and expand engineering knowledge in a variety of communities.
  • Practice and exhibit high ethical values and communicate effectively with colleagues and the public.
  • Pursue advanced degrees or become engineers, researchers, innovators, consultants, or entrepreneurs.

Student Outcomes: CE Major

Another part of the ABET accreditation process requires the department to identify the specific knowledge and skills that students are intended to have when they complete their undergraduate education. These are called student outcomes.

Students graduating from the electrical engineering, computer engineering, and engineering physics programs at UIC will have:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, 323 students are enrolled at UIC Engineering as computer engineering majors across all class years. The department graduated 55 computer engineering majors in the academic year ending August 2020.

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