How to apply
Computer Engineering is a joint program administered by the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Thus, to gain admisson to Computer Engineering, apply to SEAS.
Information about applying to the Computer Engineering program through SEAS can be found on the SEAS Admissions page.
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Frequently-asked questions about the Computer Engineering Program
Why should I attend Columbia for this subject? What distinguishes Columbia's program from other institutions?
Columbia has always had a strong connection to the history of computing, driven in large measure by a close relation with IBM, which persists to this day. IBM's T. J. Watson Research Lab was founded at Columbia University in 1945 and briefly occupied space in Pupin Hall before moving to 612 W. 116th Street and subsequently to 612 W. 115th Street. Watson Labs moved up to its current facilities in Yorktown Heights, NY in the early 1960's. From the early days, Watson researchers taught at Columbia and Columbia faculty interacted and worked with IBM researchers, interactions that continue to this day.
Columbia computer engineering faculty continue to have broad interactions with industry, providing many opportunities for our students.
What are the requirements for a major or concentration?
Please see the Undergraduate Requirements and Graduate Requirements page.
In what semester/year should I begin taking courses towards the major/concentration? What is the first course I should take?
We strongly encourage students to begin taking core required courses for the engineering program as sophomores. The catalog shows some sample programs for "early-starting" students. Starting early provides maximum flexibility in the ability to add technical electives, since core required courses are completed early. This also maximizes the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in research as juniors and seniors.
What is the structure of the major/concentration?
Please see the course catalog pages for a detailed discussion of the structure of the program. Elective courses should be chosen in consultation with the student's academic advisor.
How do I declare a major or concentration in this department?
All first-year students who are considering computer engineering are required to take Introduction to Electrical Engineering (ELEN E1201) in addition to an introductory programming course (COMS W1007 or W1009). This provides a good way to test one's interest level in the discipline. The Student Coordinator for the Computer Engineering Program, Elsa Sanchez (firstname.lastname@example.org), can answer administrative questions related to the program or arrange a meeting with a faculty advisor. Program selection is made through a form submitted to the Sophomore Class Center.
How does the department allocate advisors?
Every incoming junior in the Computer Engineering program is assigned a major advisor in the Computer Engineering faculty by the Student Coordinator, Elsa Sanchez (email@example.com). Faculty advisors are available for advising appointments at the appropriate times for course selection; these appointments are arranged by the Student Coordinator. Students are encourage to consult their faculty advisors at any time with questions regarding their program.
Will studying abroad enhance this major/concentration?
It is possible, but it is essential that any program abroad provide the necessary technical courses to satisfy the core requirements of computer engineering. Any student considering studying abroad should consult their academic advisor well in advance of any plans to study overseas.
What research opportunities exist in or through the department during the academic year?
Many undergraduate students participate in the active research program of Computer Engineering faculty. These opportunities are arranged directly through the individual faculty members and are often triggered by outstanding performance in a particular course. Faculty members who actively welcoming undergraduate participation in their programs publicize this in the Undergraduate Research Involvement Program (URIP) Web pages.
What research, internship, and fellowships opportunities exist during the summer months and how do I participate?
Many Columbia faculty hire undergraduate assistant during the summer months to participate in their research programs. Summer internships at companies are often arranged through individual faculty members contacts or by contacting Columbia's Center for Career Education.
What kinds of career opportunities would this major/concentration prepare me for?
Computer engineering students are in strong demand by companies because of their broad background in both hardware and software. In the spring semester, the faculty arrange a "junior advising night" in which we discuss career opportunities along with the staff of the Center for Career Education.
What is the best way to prepare for graduate school?
Computer engineering undergraduates are in a position to pursue graduate programs in computer science, electrical engineering, or computer engineering. A "junior advising" night is held in the spring semester, in which faculty discuss career and graduate school planning with undergraduate students.
What student clubs, committees, and/or activities are offered within or through the department?
Computer engineering majors often participate in Columbia student branch of the IEEE (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ieee).
How does one receive departmental honors in this department?
Awards and honors are decided by a vote of the Computer Engineering faculty.
What awards and prizes are sponsored by the department?
The top graduating senior in the Computer Engineering program by determination of the faculty is awarded the Computer Engineering Award of Excellence at graduation. Computer Engineering students are also eligible for a number of SEAS-wide awards.
How might a sample track or course of study be arranged?
The catalog shows example "flowcharts" of programs. These should serve as a guideline. Detailed programs should be designed in consultation with your academic advisor.
What are the demographics of the department?
Computer engineering students, like the rest of SEAS, represent a very diverse student population.back to top