Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (CpE)

The Fundamentals

The ECE Department began offering courses for the CpE program in the Fall of 2001. The first two years of the CpE program are identical to the first two years of the EE program. The BS Eng in CpE track provides a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering that would allow a graduate to function effectively in industry or continue on to graduate school. BS Eng in CpE graduates will have an understanding of embedded hardware and software systems, stand-alone and distributed computing systems, and computer networks.  The UMass lowell online Undergraduate Catalog can provide more information on this program.

For a complete course of study, go to: BS Eng in CpE Curriculum Checksheet (pdf).

What Kind of Engineer Do You Want to Be?

A computer engineer must understand the fundamentals of general engineering and hardware design as well as essential low and high level programming. A computer engineer must have a fundamental understanding of digital signal processing VLSI filters, electronics, digital/advanced digital computer logic and architecture (at the hardware level) as well as the associated software. This defines the differences between a computer engineer, an electrical engineer, and a computer scientist. An electrical engineer will study math, physical science, and some hardware, while a computer engineer will focus more on hardware and software along with physical science and math, especially discrete math. The computer scientist concentrates more on software and discrete math than the computer engineer and less time to hardware and physical science. For example, both electrical and computer engineers require at least 20 credits of circuits and electronics (theory and laboratories). Computer engineers use their knowledge to create new devices and systems that satisfy perceived societal needs, including health and welfare, safety, environmental control, knowledge enhancement, etc.


The specialization areas available for a student in the BS Eng in Electrical Engineering program do not sufficiently emphasize computer engineering. Computer engineering has grown rapidly to a size justifying a separate degree program. A BS in Computer Science focuses primarily on the theory, design, and analysis of algorithms applied to the software aspects of computer technology.  This is in contrast to the BS Eng in Computer Engineering, in which there is a desire to integrate hardware aspects at various levels (embedded systems and systems integration) with software aspects, also at various levels.

Admission and Retention

Students seeking admission into the BS Eng in CpE program should be familiar with the admission and retention requirements of the College of Engineering – refer to the Office of Admissions. This curriculum is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Meet with Your Advisor!

All undergraduate students are assigned faculty advisors and students are required to meet with their advisors during each semester, especially during registration periods or whenever there is some matter of concern. Students should consult with their advisor on the best path through each track. This is especially true for co-op and part-time students, since the need to adhere to prerequisite course requirements is very important.