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10 Best Computer Engineering Graduate Schools

computer engineering masters programs

There is an ever-growing importance of technology in our world. It’s no surprise that the field of computer engineering is booming. There are now more programs than ever before that cater to those interested in this field.

But with so many options available, how can you choose the right one?

There are all kinds of top computer engineering masters programs out there.

To help you make your decision, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best master’s programs in computer engineering.

We considered factors such as the quality of the faculty, and the breadth of course offerings. Of course, we also considered the strength of the cutting edge research.

So whether you’re looking for a broad-based program or one that’s focused on a specific area of interest, you’re sure to find a match on our list.

WHAT IS COMPUTER ENGINEERING?

Before you start looking at the best computer engineering programs,
let’s get a good understanding of what computer engineering actually is!

Computer engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design and construction of computers and computer-related systems. It encompasses a wide range of topics, from hardware design and architecture to software engineering and programming.

Computer engineers often work on teams with other engineers, scientists, and technicians. They develop new technologies and products.

They may also be involved in testing, deploying, and maintaining these systems. In recent years, computer engineering has become more important. The world is becoming more reliant on computers and other digital devices.

Computer engineers are in high demand in many industries.

What Will I Learn in a Computer Engineering Master’s?

Most computer engineering graduate programs focus on the following subjects:

  • Other fields of engineering, like electrical engineering, software engineering, communications engineering, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering
  • Computer architecture (and computer architecture laboratory)
  • Programming languages
  • Embedded systems
  • Applied science
  • Software systems
  • Parallel processing
  • Computer aided design
  • Operating systems
  • Biomedical imaging and biomedical engineering
  • Physical electronics
  • Systems theory and energy systems
  • Computer networks
  • Signal processing and digital signal processing
  • Data science
  • Analytical skills
  • Electro optics
  • Wireless networks
  • Communication networks
  • Nanoscale devices
  • Artificial intelligence

To earn a graduate degree in computer engineering, you will usually need to take at least 30 credit hours of elective and required courses. Most programs include independent research.

There are more than 250 Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited CE programs throughout the country. Case Western Reserve University was the first American institution ever to award a computer engineering degree. This was in 1971. 

The concept of computer engineering itself emerged in 1939. This was when John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry created the first electronic digital computer. It was known as the Atanasoff-Berry computer

Other early pioneers in the world of hardware include: 

  • Blaise Pascal – the inventor of the mechanical calculator
  • J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly – the builders of UNIVAC, the first commercial computer
  • William Shockley et. al., – inventors of the transistor at Bell Labs
  • Steve Wozniak – the designer of the Apple I and II computers and co-founder of Apple Computer

Computer engineering differs from computer science. It focuses more on hardware and software interfaces than on software-level troubleshooting. There is an overlap between the fields. Both rely on theory and practical applications. Computer engineering blends computer science with the field of electrical engineering. 

All computer engineers must have a solid grasp of science and math. Interpersonal relationships with teams require strong verbal and written communication skills. These are two critical traits that graduate students must also master to be successful in the industry. 

There are countless programs in the country. U.S. News & World Report only ranks 148 computer engineering graduate schools in its annual listing of the Best Computer Engineering Programs.

COMMON APPLICATION AND ADMISSION QUESTIONS

Computer engineering is a challenging field. It’s true at the graduate level for sure. It is perhaps even more challenging to be accepted into a good computer engineering program. The threshold for entry can be competitive. That’s why undergraduate GPAs are so important. Believe it or not, these programs aren’t just interested in your grades. They’re interested in you! 

Finding the Right Program

Computer engineering grad programs are relatively small. The computer engineering departments must ensure the best matches out of all applicants. They look at the whole person. This is done through grades, test scores, personal statements, letters of recommendation, resumes, etc. The departments want to see how an applicant’s background and goals sync up with their current activities. Expectations run high. Admission standards vary. 

Build three lists for the computer engineering graduate schools you’re interested in. Your “dream schools,” “good shot” schools, and “safety” schools.

If you could snap your fingers and be admitted into any computer engineering university, which would be your top picks? Those are your dream computer engineering graduate schools. Perhaps they are also the hardest to get into. Next are the ones you meet every qualification for. You have a good shot of getting in. But there’s no guarantee. Finally, there are the safety computer engineering graduate schools. These are ones you’re most likely to be admitted to. This is based on historical admittance rates and your own qualifications. 

We’ve assembled a shortlist of fantastic Master’s programs at top ranked institutions for computer and software engineering. Our information is based on data from publications like the BLS and U.S. News & World Report. We will help you build your lists. Yes, these schools are all competitive. Depending on your qualifications they may fall into either your “good shot” or “dream school” columns. One thing is certain. A computer engineering degree from any of these computer engineering universities will accelerate your career!

Do Your Research

Read through the descriptions and then head to their individual computer engineering websites. Review the ones that grab your interest. Do your research. Read each requirement (and prerequisite) for admission. Pay attention to any minimum GPA or test scores listed. Ensure you meet them. Understand, too, that to be competitive, you’ll need to exceed the minimums. 

Some programs spell out computer engineering recommendations to applicants. We encourage you to heed that advice. Every academic year is different. These criteria are based on the number of applications received. Since there are only a select number of open seats available in any given program, admission rates vary. This is depending on how many applicants exceed the minimum entry requirements. The minimum may be, for example, a 3.0 GPA. But if the school is able to fill the seats with applicants holding an average GPA of 4.0, they will! 

The barrier for admittance to computer engineering programs is a moving target. There’s no way for any master’s degree to see into the future. There’s no way to know how stiff the competition is going to be. However, they can let you know what to expect based on past trends. 

Additional Requirements

As for letters of recommendation, they must meet the exact requirements the computer engineering school specifies. Don’t take anything for granted by submitting generic letters. The same holds true for statements of purpose and resumes. These should address whatever the program tells you it needs to see. Give schools the data they’re looking for. Tailor the content of each document to each specific program. You might even consider hiring a trained editor to review them for you before you submit them.

International applicants must pay very close attention to English-language proficiency test score criteria. Fluency is crucial for success in a graduate program. 

See Also: 10 Best Master’s in Industrial Engineering

WHAT ABOUT FINANCIAL AID & SCHOLARSHIPS?

The only thing tougher than finishing a Master’s degree program in computer engineering is paying for it. Tuition rates for computer engineering are higher than ever. It’s important to be realistic about funding. Tackle the issue sooner rather than later. This holds true for all graduate students in computer and electrical engineering.

Types of Financial Aid

Financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, teaching assistantships, and loans are all viable funding options. Students should take the time to research and apply for everything they qualify for. Sure, it’s time-consuming. But it is always better to find sources that don’t have to be repaid before seeking loans. Need-based grants and merit-based scholarships should be your first considerations.

Filing the FAFSA

Just like undergraduates, computer engineering grad students can use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA, to apply for Federal Student Aid opportunities. Federal Student Aid disburses more than $120 billion annually to assist millions of higher ed students. Check out the federal aid website and the Financial Aid for Graduate or Professional Students brochure for details about the various programs available. Examples include:

Not everyone qualifies for aid. Anyone can apply for it. Closely review the eligibility requirements. Pay close attention to application deadlines. Grad students should also take advantage of the helpful Graduate School Preparation Checklist. According to the checklist, grad students are considered “independent students.” They don’t need to provide their parents’ financial information.

SAR

A Student Aid Report is sent to everyone who submits a FAFSA. This outlines any Expected Family Contribution and other information. It is to be forwarded to the financial aid offices of the schools indicated by the applicant. The schools should then submit applicants’ data for any aid they have qualified for. It is important to contact each school to ensure this is done. Make sure they have everything they need. You should also ask financial aid office representatives about Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and any college-based financial awards that might be available. The details for these should also be listed on the individual university or program websites. 

Other Options

There are also state aid and private/non-profit aid opportunities to explore. Computer engineering students have access to several generous scholarships. These are often donated by a range of businesses, associations, and philanthropists. 

Veterans and their eligible dependents can tap into their GI Bill benefits. Contact a Veterans Affairs representative or call the university’s financial aid office. Ask to speak with the VA liaison or program manager. Many universities also take part in the national Yellow Ribbon Program. Post 9/11 GI Bill recipients may have little to no out-of-pocket expenses.   

Students who opt to take on loans can also use Federal Student Aid to apply for an Unsubsidized Loan or a PLUS Loan via StudentLoans.gov. Applicants must sign a master promissory note. This obligates them to repay any loans, interest, and fees to the Department of Education. Your school’s financial aid office can help determine which loans you’re eligible for. Some students also opt to take out private loans from a banking institution. These tend to be more expensive than federal loans. 

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE WITH A MASTER’S IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING? 

In today’s high-tech world, most college students can’t go wrong with a Master’s degree in computer engineering. This broad field covers a lot of territory. It deals with constant advances in the realms of digital technology, networking, and systems. It spans the gap between hardware and software. Computer engineers may find themselves more focused on systems and components, microprocessors, routers, and circuits. Or they can opt to lean into the software side of things. They might work on the latest and greatest programs and apps. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook lists several careers suitable for computer engineering majors. Examples include:

Average Salaries

Computer and information research scientists have the highest median income, at $118,370. This is followed by hardware engineers at $114,600 per year. Then there are software developers at $105,590 per year. Of course, under each of these broad categories are several more specific career fields. 

For example, under the umbrella of computer and information research scientists, there are: 

  • Computer systems designers, making $124,220 per year
  • Research and development positions (in the physical, engineering, and life sciences areas), earning up to $128,570
  • Software publishers, earning a median of $140,220.

Hardware engineer areas include: 

  • Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing – $126,610
  • Federal government fields – $113,430
  • Research and development (in the physical, engineering, and life sciences) – $128,340
  • Semiconductor (and electronic component) manufacturing – $119,540

Software developers work in: 

  • Computer systems design – $100,080
  • Finance and insurance – $107,960
  • Management (of companies) – $104,420
  • Manufacturing – $110,290
  • Software publishing – $114,320

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for computer engineers is $87,001. The high end is $127,000. Salaries in associated fields include computer software engineer, at $103,000. There’s also a computer hardware engineer, at $104,000. 

PayScale lists salaries for workers holding a bachelor’s computer engineering degree as follows: 

  • Embedded software engineer – $76,000
  • Firmware engineer – $82,000
  • Principal software engineer – $$127,000
  • Senior software engineer – $109,000
  • Software developer – $71,000
  • Software engineer – $80,000
  • Senior software engineer/developer – $99,000

Pay is dependent not only on the field of work in computer engineering. It’s also dependent on one’s level of education, years of experience, geographic location, and employer. The BLS predicts significant job growth for computer and information research scientists. It is around 16%, over the next decade. That’s considerably higher than the rate for most jobs. Software developers do even better. They skyrocket to a projected 21% growth rate. Computer hardware engineering is projected to grow by 6%. This is greater than the average for most careers.

State Statistics

The states with the highest number of workers in all of the above computer engineering fields are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington.

Workers in the field are highly satisfied. A few of the top computer engineering employers cited by the BLS are:

  • Northrop Grumman
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Intel
  • Raytheon
  • Boeing.

Most of these computer engineering businesses are also defense contractors with the federal government!

OUR RANKING CRITERIA 

We have a time-tested four-part formula. It is designed for ranking the best colleges in the nation. We’d love to share it with you. We prioritize four major factors, based on information from U.S. News & World Report:

  • Earnings Potential
  • Affordability 
  • Student Satisfaction
  • Selectivity.

Reliable research and well-harvested data are the main ingredients in our recipe for success. We don’t make recommendations based on personal opinions, or financial incentives. Our revenue and content are completely separate. Sponsored schools have no impact on our computer engineering grad school rankings. The only way to make it onto one of our lists is to have an incredible academic program! If you want to know more we encourage you to check out our methodology page. 

You’ve familiarized yourself with our admission tips, notes on financial support, a few career options, and some interesting stats about computer engineering. Now it’s time to shift gears and dig into the schools on our list of the 10 Best Master’s Programs in Computer Engineering! 

#1. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, ​BERKELEY 

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

University of California BerkeleyYou’ll find one of the top computer engineering grad schools at UC Berkeley. The University of California has 10 outstanding schools in its state-wide system. The flagship institution is its recognized Berkeley campus. It is just east of San Francisco Bay and only 30 minutes from San Francisco. 

UC Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) has three grad programs in Computer Science. There is a  (MS) in Computer Science only track. There is a PhD only option. There is also a combined option (MS/PhD). 

The department’s MS is research-intensive. It is considered foundational for further doctoral studies. The two-year computer engineering program can be completed as a Master of Science. It paves the way for graduates to pursue a computer engineering career in industrial research and development. It is important to note that, according to the program’s website, the MS only option is for “exceptional applicants with research experience.” UC Berkeley admits more applicants into the MS/PhD program than the MS only option. It is recommended that students who aren’t sure should go ahead and apply to the MS/PhD program. 

Required Courses

The computer science areas of specialization are: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Database Management Systems
  • Education
  • Graphics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Operating Systems & Networking
  • Programming Systems
  • Scientific Computing
  • Security
  • Theory

Each specialization area features its own unique curriculum and covered topics. Most area groups have their own research centers and reputable faculty. The AI option covers Learning and Probabilistic Inference, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Search and Information Retrieval, Speech and Language, Vision, and Robotics. The group’s research centers include: 

  • Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab
  • Berkeley Laboratory for Information and System Sciences
  • Center for Human Compatible Artificial Intelligence
  • CITRIS People and Robots
  • FHL Vive Center for Enhanced Reality
  • International Computer Science Institute
  • VeHICaL: Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems
  • Video and Image Processing Lab

General graduate admission requirements are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • 3 letters of recommendation listing goals, accomplishments, skills, and academic work
  • GRE test scores
  • International applicants have a more extensive list of requirements, including proof of English language proficiency

Admission Requirements:

Program-specific requirements for the school of engineering include a few more specifics: 

  • GRE scores in all sections, taken within the last five years 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores from within the last two years, if the applicant’s bachelor’s degree was completed in a non-English speaking country
  • A statement of purpose. This should outline research goals, reasons for wanting to pursue the degree, and intentions after graduation
  • A personal history statement. This should explain what led the applicant to pursue this field of study
  • Letters of recommendation should be from prior professors
  • Unofficial transcripts

UC Berkeley’s computer engineering reputation speaks for itself. It has a storied history. The school is dedicated to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives. The EECS graduate program is ranked in a four-way tie for Best Computer Science Program by U.S. News & World Report

In 2018, there were 309 Computer Science grad students. Among alumni, the average starting salaries from the engineering  department are between $110,000 and $119,999!

#2. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

Georgia TechYou’ll find a top master degree for computer engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Computer Science offers a Master of Science in Computer Science (MS CS). It is considered a terminal degree. It is designed to prepare students to launch their careers in the CS industry. The school also offers a 30-hour online version of the degree. This is the Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS). 

Applicants to Georgia Tech should hold a bachelor’s degree in the field. Or they should be ready to take remedial coursework that does not count toward the MS CS degree’s requirements. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation (any classes with a grade below “C” do not count toward the degree). No credit is given for CS courses below CS 4140 – Comp Model Algorithms. See the program rules for a full overview of completion requirements. 

Required Courses

On-campus students at Georgia Institute of Technology select one computer engineering specialization from three options:

  • the coursework
  • project 
  • thesis 

On-campus course offering dates for Georgia Institute of Technology can be found on the Three-Year Course Outline page. 

The Georgia Tech course option has 30 hours. 24 credits of CS and Computer Science Engineering courses must be at the graduate (6000 – 8000) level. 

The project option at Georgia Tech has 21 hours. There must also be a 9-credit hour project (CS 6999). Fifteen credits of CS/CSE courses must be at the graduate (6000 – 8000) level. 

The thesis option at Georgia Tech requires 18 hours of coursework. There’s also a 12-credit hour thesis (CS 7000). Fifteen credits of CS/CSE courses must be at the graduate (6000 – 8000) level. 

On-campus MS CS program students at Georgia Institute of Technology have many areas of specialization to select from. This will allow you to customize the degree to meet your educational goals. These computer engineering options at Georgia Tech are:

  • Computational Perception and Robotics
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computing Systems
  • Signal processing
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Human-Centered Computing
  • Computer Architecture
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Modeling and Simulations
  • Scientific Computing
  • Social Computing
  • Network Engineering
  • Visual Analytics

Online students at Georgia Institute of Technology can view course offerings here. Students gain expertise from the following specializations: 

  • Computational Perception & Robotics
  • Computing Systems
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Machine Learning

Admission Requirements:

On-campus application requirements for the school of engineering include: 

  • A strong undergraduate background in computer science is highly recommended
  • Three recommendation letters
  • GRE scores of at least 153 in the verbal, 155 in the quantitative, and a 3.0 in the analytical sections 
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA (Note: Admitted candidates usually score higher than this.)
  • TOEFL scores for candidates from non-English speaking countries (Note: The minimum score considered for admission is 100 on the Internet-based exam. Successful applicants usually score higher.)

Online computer engineering program admissions guidelines do not include GRE scores or recommendation letters. 

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Career Development web page lists helpful resources for finding internships and co-op positions. There are also:

  • job boards
  • career fairs
  • work abroad opportunities
  • business start-up connections
  • research portfolio-building
  • lots of student organizations

Georgia Tech’s College of Computing hosted 6,838 Master’s students in 2018. An incredible 6,365 of these were OMS CS students. It holds numerous prestigious rankings, such as the No. 8 Graduate computer engineering program. This is as noted by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. It was No. 16 among Global Universities for CS. It’s No. 7 for Artificial Intelligence programs. It is No. 16 in Programming Languages.

#3. STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY  

COMPUTER ENGINEERING MASTER’S PROGRAM

Stevens-Institute-of-TechnologyStevens Institute of Technology has an outstanding master degree computer engineering. Stevens Tech opened in 1870. It was named after “America’s First Family of Inventors.” Stevens Institute of Technology has a long history of innovation and excellence. It has a close proximity to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It’s also positioned for maximum modern networking opportunities.

There are a variety of hands-on co-op computer engineering programs. Students of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering’s master’s in computer engineering program can garner ample real-world experience in hardware and software development. 

Core and Elective Courses

There are options to specialize in:

  • computer systems
  • real-time and embedded systems
  • data communications and networks
  • digital systems design
  • image processing and multimedia
  • information systems
  • computer architecture
  • information systems security
  • intelligent systems

Graduates are guaranteed to be sought-after subject matter experts.  

The engineering program has two study tracks: Master of Science or Master of Engineering. A third option allows for a dual Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This is in collaboration with the Stevens School of Business. There’s even an online option through StevensOnline

Concentrations for the degree are: 

  • Embedded Systems
  • Software and Data Engineering
  • Networks and Security
  • Artificial Intelligence

Core classes include: 

  • CPE 517 – Digital and Computer Systems Architecture
  • CPE 555 – Real-Time and Embedded Systems
  • CPE 593 – Applied Data Structures and Algorithms
  • CPE 690 – Introduction to VLSI Design
  • EE 608 – Applied Modeling & Optimization
  • A mathematical foundation course (CPE 602 Applied Discrete Mathematics or EE 605 Probability and Stochastic Processes I)

To graduate, students need a minimum 3.0 GPA in both their major and core courses. Students have up to six years to finish the degree and may transfer in up to nine credits. That is if the grade in each course was at least a “B.” 

Admission Requirements:

The academic catalog features full details of the engineering program’s requirements. General requirements for admission include: 

  • Official transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Optional resume and personal statement
  • Competitive GRE or GMAT scores (for full-time students only)

On-campus students can enjoy working within the department’s advanced modern research centers. There are dedicated labs to: 

  • Analytics and Information Security for Complex Systems
  • Sensing, Machine Learning, and Robotics Technologies
  • Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
  • Hardware Utility Design and Software Optimization Networking

Career opportunities for graduates for the school of engineering include positions as:

  • computer engineers
  • design engineers
  • project engineers
  • systems integration engineers
  • systems engineers
  • field service engineers
  • network engineers.

Stevens graduates have been snatched up by some of the biggest firms in the business. Examples include:

  • AT&T
  • Comcast
  • Facebook
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • Microsoft. 

Stevens collects honors and high rankings across the board. That’s from academics to athletics, thanks to its award-winning faculty and top-notch quality of life. The Princeton Review cited it as among the Best Value Colleges in 2019. It was at No. 7 in the nation for Best Career Placement (2019). It was within the Top 25 for Internships (2019). U.S. News & World Report places Stevens at No. 74 among National Universities. 

Other notable rankings include:

  • No. 4 in the nation in CNBC’s “25 Colleges That are Worth the Money” list for 2018
  • No. 5 in Financial Advisor’s “10 Colleges That Offer Students the Best Bang for the Buck”
  • in the Top 25 STEM Colleges, according to Forbes.

As you can see, there’s something big going on at Stevens!

#4. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS – URBANA-​CHAMPAIGN

PROFESSIONAL MASTER OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignAnother great master degree in computer engineering can be found at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The elite Grainger College of Engineering at the University Of Illinois – Urbana-​Champaign has been making research breakthroughs in STEM fields for decades. Through the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, it’s able to continue that proud tradition. It has a cutting-edge, 32-credit hour Master of Computer Science (MCS) program. 

Esteemed school alumni include business titans from:

  • Match.com
  • Microsoft
  • Netscape
  • PayPal
  • YouTube
  • Yelp

The MCS professional degree sets students up for similar success. This is through a world-class curriculum taught by award-winning faculty. They are devoted to positive student outcomes. In fact, UIUC College of Engineering graduates often receive two or more job offers upon graduation!

The MCS engineering program may be completed either at the school’s campus or online. The on-campus MCS is full-time and competitive. This is due to limited space. It offers the widest range of class selection. The coursework includes four required classes. These cover breadth topics. That, plus advanced courses and electives.

The online MCS is built for students who are working or have other obligations and need to attend classes through distance learning. UIUC uses Coursera to deliver its massive open online courses. This is done via a series of video lectures, assignments, projects, and exams. The platform can also be used for advising and other communications with faculty, staff, and teaching assistants. The online engineering program is self-paced. It can be completed in as little as one year or spread out over up to five years. 

Core and Elective Courses

Four courses from the list below must be completed for the school of engineering  with a grade of “B-” or better:  

  • CS 484 – Parallel Computing 
  • CS 498 – Applied Machine Learning 
  • CS 410 – Text Information Systems 
  • CS 411 – Database Systems 
  • CS 412 – Introduction to Data Mining 
  • CS 421 – Programming Languages and Compilers
  • CS 427 – Software Engineering I 
  • CS 498 – Data Visualization
  • CS 425 – Cloud Computing Concepts
  • CS 498 – Cloud Computing Applications 
  • CS 498 – Cloud Networking 
  • CS 450 – Numerical Analysis 

In addition, three advanced classes and STAT 420 – Methods of Applied Statistics are required. 

The other option for students is the online MCS in Data Science. This allows for a specialization in learning statistical and computational methods. Specific coursework includes:

  • Machine Learning
  • Data Visualization
  • Data Mining
  • Cloud Computing

Admission Requirements:

Admission requirements for the school of engineering are straightforward: 

  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of reference
  • A statement of purpose
  • A resume/CV
  • No GRE tests are needed

In 2018, there were 1,111 grad students enrolled in the school. It awarded 92 on-campus MCS computer engineering degrees and 41 online MCS computer engineering degrees. The engineering program is ranked No. 5 in Best Computer Science Schools in the nation. That’s per U.S. News & World Report. The school also receives a great deal of research funding from the National Science Foundation. It maintains countless multi-million-dollar industry partnerships.  

The engineering department awards incredible graduate fellowships.  Examples include the Computer Science Excellence Fellowship and the Computer Science Gene Golub Fellowship. This is in addition to many other awards to help students. There are also campus, industry-sponsored, and national awards, fellowships, and scholarships to compete for. The University of Illinois – Urbana-​Champaign truly has it all!

#5. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

University of Texas AustinYou will find another one of the best computer engineering graduate schools
at the University of Texas at Austin. The
University of Texas at Austin says it does things bigger. It means it! In the last decade, UT Austin has been awarded more than 786 patents. It has completed over 6,200 externally sponsored projects. It has received more than $652 million each year in research grants and contracts. That’s massive. That kind of money attracts a world-class faculty and students! 

The university’s Department of Computer Science is no exception. The Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) program is for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science. They are prepared to push further into their studies. Applicants without a CS degree are much less likely to be admitted. There are some exceptions for online students. 

Core and Elective Courses

This program is designed to be finished in two years. The 30-credit hour on-campus degree features two options. There is a thesis or no thesis option. The no thesis (coursework only) option has three major requirements. They are: 

  • 1) Meeting all prerequisite courses: 
    • Discrete Math for Computer Science (CS 311)
    • Introduction to Programming (CS 312)
    • Data Structures (CS 314)
    • Algorithms and Complexity (CS 331)
    • Computer Organization and Architecture (CS 429)
    • Principles of Computer Systems (CS 439) 
  • 2) Major coursework for 24 hours (including nine hours of diversity courses and 15 hours of CS graduate courses)
  • 3) Six hours of minor coursework in a “supporting subject” 

The thesis option features the same criteria for completion as the no thesis option. Instead of 15 hours of CS graduate courses, students complete nine hours plus the thesis courses. 

The new online MSCS degree also calls for 30 credit hours. These cover foundational coursework plus electives. These electives are focused on in-demand industry specialties. Students have up to three years to complete the online program. It can also be done in half that time. 

Admission Requirements:

Admissions requirements for the school of engineering are as follows: 

  • Official transcripts
  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science with a 3.0 or higher GPA (Note: Online students may hold a degree in another field if all undergraduate program prerequisites are met.) 
  • GRE general test scores (no waivers are available, but there is no minimum required score); competitive applicants should have high quantitative and math scores from the undergraduate program
  • An optional CV, personal statement, and up to three letters of recommendation

For international applicants:

  • TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test, or 
  • IELTS: an overall band of 6.5 on the academic test

The numerous areas of research in CS include:

  • artificial intelligence
  • bioinformatics and computational biology
  • computer architecture
  • data mining, machine learning, and natural computation
  • formal methods
  • graphics and visualization
  • model-driven engineering
  • programming languages and implementation
  • scientific computing
  • security
  • theoretical computer science.

Leading all of these programs are:

The department’s Friends of Computer Science (FoCS) program ensures close ties between a wide roster of industry partners and CS students and faculty. The program impacts the regional economy with a breathtaking $8.7 billion economic impact per year. U.S. News & World Report ranked UT Austin at No. 10 in Computer Science. It is right under its Ivy League counterpart, Princeton. 

Here’s some interesting trivia! UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center is home to the fastest academic supercomputer in the world!

#6. CORNELL UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE (MSCS)

Cornell UniversityAnother one of the best graduate programs in computer engineering is at Cornell University.

Cornell University is nestled in the rolling hills of Ithaca, NY, in the Finger Lakes region. Cornell University has a relatively small campus (745 acres). It has a massive reputation! It is an elite member of the Ivy League. Competition for admission is fierce. Gaining acceptance into the Computing and Information Science Computer Science grad program is even tougher! 

The engineering department opened in 1965. It is one of the oldest of its type in the nation. The engineering schools are home to just 14 Master of Science students. This makes it one of the most selective programs on our list. The program at Cornell University admits about seven or eight students each year.

The Master of Science in Computer Science is designed to be finished in four semesters. The master’s degree is geared toward students wanting to enhance their understanding of the field. This is done at Cornell University via advanced courses, intense research, writing, and teaching practice as teaching assistants (during which time they receive full tuition and a stipend). 

Core  Courses

A summary of MSCS degree requirements is: 

  • A total of 34 credit hours are required
  • Six to 12 credit hours tied to thesis research (CS 7999)
  • Six to eight grad-level courses, of which four must be CS courses at the 5000 level or above and one at the 6000 level
  • An outside minor involving two or three grad-level courses
  • A thesis and oral presentation

Please see the List of CS Courses to review the dozens of course offerings and their full descriptions. 

When it comes to research, Cornell is in a league of its own. The master’s degree is recognized as an industry leader. The school’s current projects include transformational research in areas such as:

  • artificial intelligence
  • computational biology
  • database systems
  • human interaction
  • programming languages
  • robotics
  • scientific computing
  • theories of computing

Admission Requirements:

It goes without saying that applications for any Ivy League institution should be stellar. Cornell’s CS program requires: 

  • Transcripts of all college-level work
  • Three letters of recommendation 
    • One should address the student’s expository skills and capacity for working in a classroom setting
  • An essay discussing how the program and thesis are connected to the applicant’s career goals 
  • GRE general test scores (recommended, except for Cornell undergraduates) 
  • Non-native English speakers must submit IELTS or TOEFL scores

Note:  Cornell’s MS program only admits students who have not only excelled as undergraduate teaching assistants. They must also show an aptitude for independent research. 

This selectivity extends to the school’s faculty as well. The engineering department reaps awards from around the world. The engineering schools include:

  • Turing Award honorees
  • National Academy of Engineering members
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows
  • Guggenheim Fellows
  • MacArthur Fellows
  • Fulbright Scholars
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigators

An Oral History of Computer Science at Cornell University is an insightful look at the program’s founding. This is as told by 12 senior faculty members who played roles in shepherding this field of study into the institution. The school hosts several events, such as BigRed//Hacks, a three-day, student-run hackathon of epic proportions! 

Students in the engineering schools also enjoy participating in Computer Science Hockey and the camaraderie of the EGSA (Engineering Graduate Student Association). All of them benefit from the school’s architectural wonder. This is Bill & Melinda Gates Hall. It is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification winner. The light-filled, 100,000-square foot building is home to the Computing and Information Science department’s numerous projects and office spaces.  

#7. PURDUE UNIVERSITY WEST LAFAYETTE

MASTER’S IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING

PurdueYou will find a top masters degree in computer engineering at Purdue University West Lafayette. Purdue is in West Lafayette, IN. The beautiful campus attracts engineering students from around the world. It is the No. 1 destination for international students in STEM disciplines. That’s per the Department of Homeland Security. It is home to cultural centers like the:

  • Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center
  • Black Cultural Center
  • Latino Cultural Center
  • LGBTQ Center
  • Native American Educational and Cultural Center

Purdue offers a welcoming educational atmosphere for people from all walks of life. the school of engineering is proof.  

Engineering students in Purdue’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department may elect to pursue a Master’s in computer engineering degree. The master’s degree is one of the seven Electrical and Computer Engineering Primary Areas. There is an option for thesis or non-thesis programs. There is also an MS-only and MS/PhD track. 

Curriculum

Requirements for the program’s Plan of Study include:

  • Completing 30 credit hours of coursework approved by the advisory committee, with 15 credit hours of graduate-level Electrical and Computer Engineering and two core courses covering the student’s research area
  • At least six approved math credit hours for non-thesis engineering students and three for thesis engineering students (see Appendix A of the Master’s Program Handbook for approved courses)
  • Research credit is not necessary for MS-only track engineering students pursuing the non-thesis option, but engineering students can choose to include three credit hours of Electrical and Computer Engineering 69600 (Advanced Projects) or Electrical and Computer Engineering 69700 (Directed Reading)
  • Research credit hours are necessary for all other tracks, and the rules governing them are moderately extensive
  • Demonstrated proficiency in written English 
  • A graduate seminar – Electrical and Computer Engineering 69400
  • At least half of all credits must be earned in residence. Courses completed via distance learning are considered to be “in residence” ones. Please review the department’s website for full details. 

Want to see an overview of requirements for the MS-only (thesis or non-thesis options) and the MS/PhD (thesis or non-thesis) programs? The master’s degree information is available on the program’s page

This is one of the best computer engineering programs around. 

Admission Requirements:

Criteria for admission for the school of engineering include: 

  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • A statement of purpose 
  • A resume
  • A fellowship essay (for engineering students who attended a U.S. high school)
  • Average GPA of 3.60 or higher for U.S. applicants (the minimum is typically 3.25); international applicants are usually in the top 5% of their graduating class
  • GRE scores that meet or exceed:
    • 152 – Verbal
    • 166 – Quantitative
    • 3.6 – Analytical writing
  • International engineering students are required to submit: 
    • TOEFL: iBT overall minimum score of 80, with minimums: Writing = 18 for grad school admissions and 22 for Electrical and Computer Engineering admissions, Speaking = 18, Listening = 14, and Reading = 19
    • IELTS minimum score = 6.5, with minimums: Reading = 6.5, Listening = 6.0, Speaking = 6.0, and Writing = 5.5
    • Note: There are some exceptions

Computer engineering students and faculty stay busy with cutting-edge research. It is conducted in multiple labs and groups, such as: 

  • Computer Architecture
  • Dependable Computing Systems Lab (DCSL)
  • Haptic Interface Research Lab (HIRL)
  • High-Efficiency, Low-Power Systems Group (HELPS)
  • Internet Systems Lab (ISL)
  • Machine Learning, Planning, and Reasoning
  • Purdue Programming Languages Research Group
  • Robot Vision Lab

Purdue comes in at No. 20 in U.S. News & World Report’s Computer Science rankings. It is No. 14 in Programming Languages. The master’s degree is No. 15 in Systems. The program is the largest master’s degree program at Purdue. There are 258 MS students and more than 100 faculty and related staff. It has over $41 million in annual research expenditures. The department is able to fund projects other computer engineering graduate schools can only dream of. 

The Electrical and Computer Engineering department maintains strong corporate partnerships. This ensures that engineering students in the computer engineering master’s degrees are armed with the in-demand skills needed by today’s industry professionals. From recruitment to career fairs, and other means of hiring outreach. Companies are lining up to hire Purdue grads for lucrative new careers!

#8. STANFORD UNIVERSITY

COMPUTER SCIENCE MS DEGREE

StanfordThe Stanford Center for Professional Development has a great Computer Science Master of Science (MSCS). It is for full- and part-time students wanting to take advantage of online learning opportunities. The terminal, 45-unit program takes three to five years to finish. Most classes are available online. This depends on the exact program of study and the school’s calendar of online course offerings. 

Core and Elective Courses

There are four broad requirements for degree completion. The first is the basic foundations requirement. Students must finish the courses listed below, or their equivalents. Engineering students must earn a final grade of “B” or higher in these courses. Those who completed these courses as undergraduates may request a waiver. The areas computer engineering graduates can study are: 

  • Logic, Automata, and Complexity 
  • Probability 
  • Algorithmic Analysis 
  • Computer Organ & Systems
  • Principles of Computer Systems 

Visit the program page for a full list of courses. 

Stanford has a significant implementation requirement. This means students must demonstrate a capacity for software development. They must finish an SI class as part of either their breadth, depth, or elective credits in computer science and engineering.

The third program requirement is the breadth requirement. It means students must take classes that expose them to topics outside of their depth area. Students may focus on a single depth or dual depths. For the single depth track, students gain a specialization through 27 units in a certain area of study. In the dual depth option, students complete 21 units in a primary area and 15 in a secondary one. 

The fourth program requirement is the selection of a specialization. The options for the school of engineering are: 

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biocomputation
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Human-Computer Interactions
  • Information Management and Analytics
  • Mobile and Internet Computing
  • Real-World Computing
  • Software Theory
  • Systems

The program page offers a complete listing of the dozens of courses in computer science and engineering. To graduate, at least 36 credits must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or more. 

Admission Requirements:

Admission requirements for the school of engineering include submission of: 

  • A statement of purpose detailing the reasons for applying to the program, preparation, research interests, career plans, and other background information 
  • Three recommendation letters, preferably two from academic sources
  • A resume, listing all publications
  • A supplemental form also listing publications and websites, if applicable  
  • Official copies of all transcripts 
  • GRE scores, dated within the last five years
  • TOEFL scores, from applicants whose native language isn’t English

Stanford is ranked No. 1 in a four-way tie for Best Computer Science/ Computer Engineering Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report. It also ranked the school at No. 1 in Computer Science programs and No. 3 in Artificial Intelligence. It was No. 3 in Programming Language and No. 4 in Systems. Consider the prestige of a Stanford degree combined with the flexibility of an online learning option. What more can a person ask for? This is one of the best computer engineering programs around. 

#9. CORNELL UNIVERSITY – CORNELL TECH

MASTER IN ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING

Cornell UniversityCornell Tech is the progeny of a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. This institute of technology has a one-of-a-kind graduate school model. It blends the academic prowess of Cornell’s faculty member body with industry experts and entrepreneurs to explore visionary new technologies for the business world. Make no mistake. The emphasis on research and education is designed to power the commercialization of digital age innovations. Graduate students are an integral part of that mission. 

Cornell Tech has a cutting-edge, one-year Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Students work with the latest prototype hardware, advanced algorithms, innovative lab projects, and cross-disciplinary teams and ventures. Grads have unprecedented opportunities to link with industry leaders. They can work with start-ups in the heart of New York City as they complete courses at the institute of technology, one of the top computer engineering schools around.

Curriculum

This degree falls under the Master of Engineering category. At this computer engineering school, courses in computer science and engineering cover:

  • principles and practices of analog/digital devices
  • ASIC design
  • machine learning
  • data science
  • signal processing
  • communications
  • robotics/autonomous systems

There’s also an integral Studio course component. This allows students to create solutions for real corporations. The studio culture focuses on:

  • entrepreneurship
  • product design
  • management
  • prototyping

It is considered a defining experience of the computer engineering major. 

The fall and spring semester credit breakdown includes: 

  • Twelve technical credits per semester
  • Three to four project & interdisciplinary credits
  • Semester totals of 15 – 16 credits

Tech courses for the computer engineering school could include: 

  • Fall: 
    • Applied Digital ASIC Design
    • Embedded Systems
    • Applied Machine Learning
    • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Spring: 
    • Intelligent Autonomous Systems
    • Applied Digital Signal Processing and Communications
    • Introduction to Computer Vision
    • Deep Learning

Project and Interdisciplinary credits for the computer engineering major could include: 

  • Product Studio
  • Becoming a Leader in the Digital World
  • Classes that are taken with other Cornell Tech Master’s students
  • Startup Studio
  • Product Management

Admission Requirements:

To apply, applicants should submit to the school of engineering : 

  • A resume
  • A personal statement describing the applicant’s interest in the program, as well as experiences demonstrating their creativity, leadership, and technical abilities
  • Two letters of recommendation (suggested) 
  • GRE scores (no waivers are available) 
  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges 
  • For international applicants, a certified English translation of transcripts, if needed
  • A valid TOEFL or IELTS score

Cornell Tech also offers a Master of Engineering in Computer Science degree. Courses in computer science and engineering cover topics such as:

  • Algorithms and Data Structures for Applications
  • Applied Machine Learning
  • Blockchains & Cryptocurrencies
  • Networking
  • Computer Vision
  • Cryptography
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Mining
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Natural Language Processing. 

The Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering program was once housed at Google’s New York City-based Chelsea Building. It relocated to Roosevelt Island in 2017. It is a new branch of the esteemed Ivy League institution. Cornell Tech’s buildings are modern. They are built with sustainability in mind. The inspiring, four-story Bloomberg Center is Cornell Tech’s educational nexus. The Tata Innovation Center is the place where academics and industry merge into a beehive of creativity and ideas. 

The campus also includes 12 acres on Roosevelt Island. It has stunning views of the New York City skyline, the Verizon Executive Ed Center, and the 270” residential high-rise known as The House. Courses are taught by a diverse faculty of experts. They are dedicated to impactful research and the creation of technological breakthroughs. 

As Business Insider put it, Cornell Tech is minting the next generation of Mark Zuckerbergs. As of early 2018, it had already helped 40 start-ups amass $32 million in funding! Cornell ranks among the top 1% of universities in the world. It holds the No. 6 spot in Computer Science. That’s according to U.S. News & World Report

#10. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

MASTER IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

UCLAThe University of California, Los Angeles has a great master’s degree computer engineering.

The University of California has always been a pioneer at the forefront of the information revolution. It opened in 1947. The University of California’s Institute for Numerical Analysis began researching mathematics relevant to developing high-speed automatic digital computing machinery. Twenty-one years later, the University of California Computer Science Department was born. 

It operates under the purview of the Samueli School of Engineering. the University of California has a distinguished Computer Science Graduate Program that draws graduate students from around the globe.

Core and Elective Courses

The school’s Master in Computer Science is an MS degree at the University of California. The computer engineering school features a wide selection of courses in computer science and engineering for the graduate degree. You’ll take classes in fields such as: 

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Theory
  • Computer System Architecture
  • Computational Systems Biology
  • Databases (Information and Data Management)
  • Graphics and Vision
  • Network Systems
  • Programming Languages and Systems

The bulk of applicants at the University of California have a strong background in computer science. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in another major will still be considered. All applicants should have two years of calculus, one year of physics, and a statistics course.

The degree at the University of California can be completed within five to six quarters. Course requirements include breadth courses and a completed Program of Study. There are options for a thesis or capstone project during the second year. Then, students are assigned “Advanced to Candidacy” status.  

Admission Requirements:

Basic requirements for admission into the computer and electrical engineering program for the school of engineering  include: 

  • Holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, with at least a 3.0 GPA (3.5 is considered competitive, and the average for admitted students is 3.6) 
  • A necessary academic foundation for graduate CS coursework
  • Competitive GRE scores

An MS degree in computer or electrical engineering at the University of California prepares students for careers in the computer science and engineering industry. MS applicants also demonstrate an interest in developing and applying technical skills and translational knowledge in computer science and engineering. 

Admission requirements include submission of:

  • At least three letters of recommendation from prior professors from the applicant’s undergraduate engineering majors
  • Official transcripts from all colleges ever attended
  • A statement of purpose, following instructions on the application (Note: The statement will also suffice as a writing sample.) 
  • GRE scores

For the Fall 2018 term, the Computer Science program at the University of California had 2,219 applicants.  It admitted 240 of them, of which 128 students enrolled. According to the department’s FAQ page, the average GPA of the applicants was 3.5. That of admittees was 3.7. Meanwhile, the average GRE percentiles for these graduate programs at the computer engineering school were: 

  • Domestic applicants: V: 74; Q: 85; AW: 58
  • Domestic admittees: V: 83; Q: 91; AW: 71
  • International applicants: V: 62; Q: 92; AW: 36
  • International admittees: V: 72; Q:96; AW: 52

UCLA’s computer science program attracts many international applicants. The demographics for the MS computer science program show that 41% of MS students hold Chinese citizenship. 25% come from India. The remaining students cat the University of California computer science programs come from the United States or another country. 

This is one of the best computer engineering programs around. 

The University of California operates many exciting research labs. It is ranked No. 13 in Computer Science by U.S. News & World Report. UCLA itself was ranked as the No. 2 Public University in the United States in the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities! Its graduate programs are some of the best. 

OTHER NOTABLE GRADUATE PROGRAMS

#11. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania‎

Carnegie Mellon University Degree: M.S. in Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University Net Price: $30,847

Website          

#12. Texas A&M University College Station

Texas A&M University Location: College Station, Texas

Texas A&M University Degree: Master’s in Computer Engineering

Texas A&M University Net Price: $19,118

Website

#13. University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Degree: Master of Science in Engineering in Computer & Information Science (CIS/MSE)

University of Pennsylvania Net Price: $26,266

Website

#14. University of California, ​Irvine

University of California, ​Irvine Location: Irvine, California

University of California, ​Irvine Degree: Master of Science in Computer Science

University of California, ​Irvine Net Price: $15,014

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#15. University of Washington

University of Washington Location: Seattle, Washington

University of Washington Degree: Master of Science in Computer Science

University of Washington Net Price: $9,765

Website

#16. The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University Location: Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio State University Degree: MS in Computer Science and Engineering

The Ohio State University Net Price: $18,694

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#17. University of Virginia

University of Virginia Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia Degree: MS Computer Engineering

University of Virginia Net Price: $17,845

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#18. University of Southern California

University of Southern California Location: Los Angeles, California

University of Southern California Degree: Master of Science in Computer Science

University of Southern California Net Price: $36,161

Website      

#19. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Degree: Master of Computer Science

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Net Price: $18,971

Website

#20. University of Michigan Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Degree: MS EECS

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Net Price: $16,856

Website

IF YOU ENJOYED THAT THEN CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLES ON THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S PROGRAMS IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING & BEST ONLINE MASTER’S PROGRAMS IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING!

Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor