Computer Engineering

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (CompE) combines education in hardware and software development, with students gaining the background necessary to become broadly-educated professionals who are knowledgeable in both domains, understanding how the domains interact, restrict, or enable interdependent capabilities.

Core coursework encompasses the physical and mathematical sciences, object-oriented programming, algorithms, data structures, software engineering, technical communications, circuits and systems, microprocessors, embedded systems, and operating systems. The major also offers the opportunity to build a strong foundation in network design and development, signal processing, mobile computing, sensor systems, semiconductor devices, testing and quality assurance, and project management, among others.

This major is offered by the Division of CSS as well as the Division of Engineering & Mathematics. 

Accreditation & Licensure

ABET, pronounced a bet, logo with text Engineering Accreditation CommissionIn September 2017, the University of Washington Bothell Computer Engineering program received full ABET accreditation. All graduates of the program are retroactively included under the umbrella of the ABET accreditation.

Please visit the the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) website to learn more about the accreditation. Students who have questions about licensure requirements and the effect ABET accreditation has in the State of Washington should access the related Department of Licensing site for more information.

Questions? 

CompE students:

Current students:

Transfer students:


Program overview

Student outcomes:

These are the abilities that we aim our graduates to have attained upon completion of the degree.

  • Outcome 1: an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  • Outcome 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.
  • Outcome 3: an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • Outcome 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.
  • Outcome 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.
  • Outcome 6: an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • Outcome 7: an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Learning objectives

Five to ten years after completing their degrees, our graduates will,

  1. Become engineering/computing professionals who can assume leadership roles, technical or managerial, in computer engineering and related fields.
  2. Be successful in pursuing advanced studies in computer engineering and related fields.
  3. Become contributing citizens who are conscientious of ethical and societal responsibilities.
  4. Become effective communicators in professional and non-professional environments and be able to function as a team member.

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Admission prerequisites

Applications for Autumn 2022 admission has now closed.  The next admission cycle for Autumn 2023 admission will open on February 1st, 2023. Learn more about the admissions process and requirements.

Learn how to apply to the Computer Engineering major.

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Course information & requirements

Please view the Computer Engineering Degree Chart (pdf format) for a condensed overview of the degree requirements, which include a set of univeristy requirements and major requirements.

Course descriptions

Read about the topics and materials covered in a course during the quarter. 

Community College equivalencies

Approved UW Bothell equivalencies specific to many Computer Engineering prerequisites are located on the Community College Equivalency.

If you do not find the community college or course you are looking for, please view the Equivalency Guide for Washington state community and technical colleges.

Course sequence

The CSS Division offers a variety of introductory computing courses for pre-majors, as well as courses for students pursuing non-CSS majors.  Please see the following flowcharts to help you choose the right first computing course for you:

Your pre-major or major advisor can give you additional assistance.  To contact a School of STEM Advisor, please call (425) 352-3746 or send an email to cssadv@uw.edu.

University Requirements

Areas of Knowledge (30 credits)

  • Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts/Arts and Humanities (15 credits)
  • Individuals and Societies/Social Sciences (15 credits)

Diversity Course (3 credits)

Can be met through VLPA or I&S

Writing/Composition (15 credits)

Other Major Requirements

** can be completed before admittance

Natural Science (6 credits)

Math (20 credits)

Degree Requirements

CSS (25 credits)

B EE (30 credits)

CSS or B EE Electives (10 credits)

Of these 10 credits:

  • Elective courses must be either CSS or B EE
  • 5 elective credits must be at the 400 level
  • 5 elective credits must be at the 300 or 400 level
  • Maximum of 5 credits combined can be CSS or B EE Special Topics courses
  • Maximum of 5 credits combined can be CSS or B EE Independent Study or Undergrad Research.

Capstone (must be taken consecutive quarters) (10 credits)

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Assessing your programming experience level

While the introductory programming course CSS 142, designed for CSS majors (e.g., CSSE, AC, etc.), has no prerequisites, historically students who have enrolled have had varying levels of prior experience with programming.  While all students, regardless of their prior experience, are held to the same standards with regards to attaining learning outcomes, some students with limited prior programming experience may find a learning environment with peers of similar backgrounds to be helpful for their learning.  Some terms, one or more sections of CSS 142 may be designated for "limited programming experience" students.  The questions below provide a self-assessment to help students determine whether they have limited programming experience.

Question 1: 

Have you ever written a program (regardless of length) in a text-based programming language (e.g., Java, C++, C#, Python, etc.)?

If you answered "no," you probably have limited programming experience.  If you answered "yes," please continue to the next question.

Question 2: 

Which of the following topics do you understand well enough to write a short program (under 50 lines) using the concept?

  • Variables
  • Expressions
  • If statements
  • Loops
  • Nested loops
  • Arrays
  • Classes

If you answered "no" to 4 or more of the above topics, you may have limited programming experience.

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Computer Engineering Capstone

Capstone (B ENGR 494, B CE 495 and B CE 496) is three-quarters long. Engineering students have the opportunity to work with a group to develop and prototype a project. Students typically complete capstone during the final quarters of their Computer Engineering degree. Groups are assigned an industry sponsor and a faculty mentor that they work with in part II and III of the capstone. Students have a list of available topics that they can choose from, although there are times where students are able to utilize their connections with industry to create their own topic (with approval from the capstone coordinator).

  • Capstone must be taken consecutive quarters, and are offered in either sequence: Autumn/Winter/Spring or Winter/Spring/Summer.

  • The Computer Engineering Capstone is different from the CSSE capstone. Computer Engineering students work with mechanical, electrical or other computer engineering students.

  • Plan to attend a Capstone Symposium to see all the capstone projects of STEM students. They happen during the Friday of Finals week each quarter. Capstone teams share a poster presentation and present to faculty/industry sponsors/students/the public about their project.

How to get registered for capstone:

  1. Meet with your Academic Advisor

    • Talk with your academic advisor to determine when is the best quarter to begin capstone.
    • Ensure you are on track to meet the prerequisites for capstone. They can be found in the course descriptions for B ENGR 494 and B CE 495/B CE 496.
  2. Register for B ENGR 494

    • After meeting with your advisor, you will be given instructions on how to register for Capstone I: B ENGR 494.

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Policies

This is a guide only, please schedule quarterly appointments with your academic advisor.

All major requirements and prerequisite courses require a minimum 2.0 GPA

  • Capstone Design I, II & III must be taken consecutive quarters
  • Complete Graduation Application 2 – 3 quarters prior to graduation

Below are links to special policies regarding specific courses.

UW Policies

  • UW Bothell Residence credit – 45 out of last 60 credits earned must be taken at UW Bothell
  • Cross Campus Enrollment – after earning 15 credits at home campus, students are eligible to take up to 15 credits per year at another UW campus.
  • Maximum of 15 credits in Electrical Engineering are allowed to be taken at UW-Seattle

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Faculty

Most of the courses in the Computer Engineering program are taught by faculty in:

The links above take you to pages that list the faculty in each Division and briefly describe their background and interests.

Faculty coordinators

Kaibao Nie

Associate Teaching Professor and Computer Engineering Coordinator

Email: niek@uw.edu

Yang Peng

Assistant Professor and Computer Engineering Coordinator

Advisor

Students currently admitted in Computer Engineering:

Leon Lewis

Engineering Programs Advisor

Schedule an online appointment!