A computer engineering degree is a natural fit for online learning. From anywhere in the world, students can take advantage of internet connectivity to learn software and hardware development from instructors and professors with real world experience.
Online learning offers a tremendous opportunity for students who want to learn computer engineering but may not have the ability to live near a campus or attend classes at regularly scheduled times. The flexibility of online learning is ideal for non-traditional students who plan to continue to work full time during school, who have families that they do not want to uproot, and for students in the military who can be forced to move at a moment’s notice. If any of these apply to you, and you have a dedicated interest in computer engineering, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
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Dr. Tony Skjellum is the COLSA Professor of Cybersecurity and Information Assurance as part of the Auburn University Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. In addition, Dr. Skjellum is the Director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center and the Lead Cyber Scientist for Auburn University.
Dr. Shrikanth (Shri) S. Narayanan is the Andrew J. Viterbi Professor of Engineering at the University of Southern California where he holds an impressive range of positions including Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor of Linguistics, Psychology and Neuroscience, and Professor of Pediatrics. In addition, Dr. Narayanan is a Director at both the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab and the Ming Hsieh Institute.
Dr. Jose A.B. Fortes is a Professor and AT&T Eminent Scholar in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Fortes has written or coauthored more than 200 technical papers as well as conducting research funded by the Office of Naval Research, the AT&T Foundation, IBM, General Electric, Intel, Northrop-Grumman, and NASA.
Dr. Adnan K. Shaout is a Professor and Fulbright Scholar in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Michigan at Dearborn. Dr. Shaout's current research interests include areas of applications of fuzzy set theory, software engineering, cloud computing, embedded systems, and intelligent systems.
Dr. Linda M. Wills is an Associate Professor of both VLSI Systems and Digital Design, and Computer Systems and Software at Georgia Tech. Dr .Wills received her PhD (in addition to other degrees) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her distinguished career she has received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Career Award, the Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellowship, and the Demetrius T. Paris Professorship.
Applying to an online computer engineering program is similar to applying to an on-campus program. For the few undergraduate programs available, students should expect to fill out an online application and submit high school transcripts along with standardized testing scores (SAT and/or ACT). Students who did not graduate from high school in the U.S. or other English speaking country will also likely be required to submit test scores from the TOEFL.
Graduate programs will have a slightly different admissions process, namely in terms of requirements. In addition to an online application and transcripts from an undergraduate program, with some programs having a minimum GPA that they require. Most graduate computer engineering programs also require students to submit GRE scores in addition to letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors. A short essay or letter of intent may also be required.
Both undergraduate and graduate programs in computer engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission sector of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, also known as the EAC of ABET. Seeking out an online program with this type of accreditation is the best way to ensure that the online program has the same rigorous academic standards as an on campus program.
There is no licensure project for computer engineers and as such, no accreditation requirements for obtaining a license. However, earning an undergraduate degree from an accredited program may be required in order to pursue further studies in the same area.
While specific classes will vary from one school to another, the basic computer engineering curriculum is markedly similar.
Unlike some other undergraduate majors, computer engineering programs often require that students begin taking specific computer engineering courses in their first year of attendance. These basic courses will introduce them to the foundations of computer engineering, such as electronic and circuitry as well as the basics of computer language. Students should also expect to take a range of courses in math as well as sciences like physics and chemistry. As semesters progress, undergraduate computer engineering students will continue to take more advanced engineering courses.
Since graduate students will be expected to have a solid foundation in computer engineering already, courses will be more advanced and highly relevant to real world applications. These courses may include topics such as algorithms and optimization, network architecture, and even artificial intelligence.
Specialization is less common for undergraduates, but most graduate programs require students to choose an area of concentration for their research and thesis. Some common specializations include:
The University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering offers a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering with courses available entirely online through their Distance Education Network (DEN). The program includes coursework focusing on the design, development, testing and evaluation of computer components, systems, and networks all with the aim of achieving higher performance in computing.
Dr. Ramesh Govindan is the Northrup Grumman Chair in Engineering and Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at USC. His research interests include scalable and robust routing infrastructures in large networks, the structural properties of the Internet, and the architectures and programming systems for wireless and mobile networks.
Dr. Aleksandra Korolova is the WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC. Prior to joining the academic ranks of USC, Dr. Korolova gained real world experience at top flight organizations including Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Microsoft.
The Auburn University online program in computer engineering is actually a joint program between the computer science and software engineering departments. Students can choose to pursue a Master of Software Engineering, Master of Science or a PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering. The topics of these programs are decidedly similar to other programs that are billed as computer engineering programs and include courses in artificial intelligence, database systems, and computer design.
Dr. Sanjeev Baskiyar is an Associate Professor in the Auburn University program for Computer Science and Software Engineerings. Dr. Baskiyar’s research interests include Computer Architecture, Distributed Computing and Task Scheduling.
Dr. Cheryl Seals is an associate professor at Auburn in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department. While her main academic research interests are human computer interaction, user interface design, usability evaluation and educational gaming technologies, she also focuses considerable efforts on improving computer science education across the full spectrum of educational levels and fostering interest in STEM careers in young students.
Through their distance learning program, the University of Florida offers a number of Master’s level online computer engineering programs, including degrees in electrical and computer engineering, computer engineering on its own, and computer engineering specializations in communication, bioinformatics, and semiconductor device technology.
Dr. Ann Gordon-Ross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Gordon-Ross’ research interests include low-power design, reconfigurable computing, platform design, dynamic optimizations, hardware design, real-time systems.
Dr. A. Antonio Arroyo is an Associate Professor and Director of the Machine Intelligence Lab at the University of Florida. As could be expected, Dr. Arroyo has particular research interest in machine intelligence as well as artificial intelligence, microprocessors, microcomputers, expert systems, human-machine interaction.
The University of Michigan offers online courses culminating in a Master of Science in Engineering degree focused on Computer Engineering. The program is specifically tailored to working students with courses offered both online and in the evening for those who choose the campus option. In person courses are held at the Dearborn campus.
Dr. Yi Lu Murphey is a professor and IEEE Fellow in the University of Michigan Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Dr. Murphey has contributed to numerous publications and has particular research interest in robotic vision, machine learning, intelligent vehicle power management, as well as other fields within engineering.
Dr. Chris Mi is a professor and IEEE Fellow at the University of Michigan, teaching in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Dr. Mi has written or coauthored more than 100 journal articles and contributed to a variety of books, largely on the subject of electric and hybrid vehicles and vehicle power management.
The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is one of the top ranked computer engineering programs in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Georgia Tech offers an online Master of Science degree program in Electrical & Computer Engineering, allowing dedicated students to earn this valuable degree from anywhere in the world.
Dr. George F. Riley is a Professor at Georgia Tech in the Computer Systems and Software Department in addition to being Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. Of particular note for those students who are looking towards future careers in business, prior to earning his PhD, Dr. Riley was a founder and CEO.
Dr. Elliot Moore is an Associate Professor of Digital Signal Processing at Georgia Tech where, prior to becoming a professor, was a recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award as well as a National Science Foundation Fellow. Dr. Moore’s research interests include voice analysis, speech feature extraction, and voice synthesis.
It is important to note that engineering schools do not uniformly report campus visitation requirements for online learning programs. Indeed, different program requirements could change from year to year depending on courses and professors. However, in general there are no campus visit requirements for these programs and the degrees earned are exactly the same as those bestowed upon campus students. Some programs, particularly those graduate degree programs that include a thesis, do have campus visitation requirements for defending said thesis and for the oral exam portion of their degree. This is true, for instance, at Auburn. Students should be sure to thoroughly investigate any campus visitation requirements for programs to which they apply, especially if those requirements could present an obstacle for ultimately completing the degree program.
Choosing the right computer engineering program is no small decision. The school you choose can very well have a big impact on the career opportunities you have. For example, students who wish to apply their computer engineering education to the automotive industry would be hard pressed to find a better choice than the university of Michigan, a school that is already deeply entrenched in the auto businesses. When earning a degree online, professors become even more important. Students should be sure to seek out a programs where professors have similar interests to them and are willing to help them throughout the program as well as moving forward in their career.
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