Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Computer Engineering Graduate Program


As a graduate student of Computer Engineering, your studies could range from the smallest nanoelectronic logic circuits to the largest of supercomputing systems. With this in mind, we have built a unique program at the University of Pittsburgh. We offer MS and PhD degree programs in Computer Engineering that are specifically designed to offer students a wide range of instructional and research opportunities across the disciplines of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Our program is simultaneously homed in two departments, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. A joint faculty administers the program and considers each application. Once you are in the program, you can choose a research adviser in either department at any time. What's more, you will be considered for financial aid by both departments.

As you look more closely, we think that you will agree that our program gives you an opportunity to look at Computer Engineering in new way -- one that combines a solid foundation with a range of specialization opportunities that are ideal for a career in this ever-evolving discipline.

Jun Yang & Bruce Childers
Co-Directors, Computer Engineering Graduate Program & Computer Science Graduate Program 
Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering & Arts and Sciences


The Computer Engineering (CoE) Graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh is a research-oriented program. As such, we offer only a thesis-based, research MS degree this is primarily intended for students on their way to completing a PhD degree. 


The research MS provides the student the opportunity to work on a thesis (applied or basic in nature) under the close supervision of a faculty adviser. The minimum requirements for the research MS are 24 credits of graduate course work that includes three courses from the core requirements listed under the Ph.D. program and six hours of  thesis credit for the preparation and defense of a thesis on a topic in the student's primary area of interest.

Students seeking a terminal MS  Degree are encouraged to apply to the MSEE degree with a computer engineering concentration. Information on this program is available at http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/ECE/Graduate/Electrical/Programs/

Within Computer Engineering, graduate course work includes: computer architecture, microprocessor systems, VLSI design, design automation for VLSI, software engineering, computer networks, and automata theory. Faculty/student research includes projects in algorithm development, digital implementation of real-time systems, multiprocessor systems, parallel computer architectures, computer-aided engineering, optical computing, VLSI architectures, computer-aided design for VLSI, microprocessor systems, homogeneous and heterogeneous architectures, parallel performance modeling and analysis, cluster computing, and computer and communication networks. Department laboratories that support this research are the Optical Computing Systems Laboratory, Pittsburgh Integrated Circuits Analysis (PICA) Laboratory, the Pitt Parallel Computer Laboratory, the Network Communications Laboratory, the Jurenko Computer Architecture Laboratory, and the Swanson Embedded Computing and Interfacing Laboratory.


Course Requirements

This degree requires at least 72 credits. The specific program of study should be approved in advance by the Student's Research Committee (described below) and include the following three components.

  • Core courses (12 credits) : each student must complete at least four courses from the core subdisciplines listed below such that at least one course is chosen from each area, and one additional course from any of of the areas.
  • Computer Architecture
    • CS 2410 Computer Architecture 
      OR (only one counts)
    • ECE 2162 Computer Architecture
  • Software Systems
    • CS 2210 Compiler Design
    • CS 2510 Computer Operating Systems
    • CS 2310 Software Engineering
    • ECE 2186 Software Engineering
  • Hardware Systems
    • ECE 2160 Embedded Systems
    • ECE 2192 Introduction to VLSI Design
    • ECE 2120 Hardware Design Methodologies                                                                                  
  • CoE Courses: (27 credits minimum) must be chosen from the list of CoE graduate courses , or from pre-approved CS or EE courses not cross-listed as CoE courses.                                                                                                      
  • Electives/Non-Dissertation Research: (21 credits minimum) are elective and may be other courses from ECE. CS. or other disciplines including research/project courses not part of the students dissertation research.                                  
  •   Dissertation: (12 - 18 credits)  


Each student must pass the following examinations:

  • Preliminary Examination : This is an oral examination conducted by the Student's Research Committee. The Master of Science Thesis Oral Examination will satisfy the Preliminary Examination requirements.
  • Comprehensive Examination : To complete the comprehensive examination, a student must satisfy the following requirements not later than two years after entering the program:

    (a) Complete a total of five courses with a grade of A- or better. These courses must be taken from either the core requirements or the CoE Elective categories  listed above, and
    (b) Complete the four courses that satisfy the core requirements category above with a grade of B or better.

    The particular of mix of five courses in part a) can be any combination of core or elective courses. However, any core course requirement that is not included in the five must be completed with a B or better in order to satisfy part b). That is, the students must get  five A- grades in the approved course list AND pass the core courses with a B or better. 

  • Dissertation Proposal : Each student must present his/her plan for dissertation research to be approved by the Student's Research Committee. This is after the student has completed all other Ph.D. requirements.
  • Dissertation Defense : Each student must orally defend his/her dissertation research to be approved by the Student's Research Committee.
  • Composition and role of the Student's Research Committee:

The Student's Research Committee will consist of a primary advisor and at least three graduate faculty members from the Computer Engineering Graduate Faculty. One additional graduate faculty member from outside of the CS and EE areas will also serve on the committee.

The Student's Research Committee has two responsibilities, the approval of the program of study, and the oversight of the dissertation research.

Cadence University Program Member

This page is dedicated to the use of design tools from Cadence Design Systems in support of undergraduate and graduate course work, as well as research, within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


ECE 1192 - Introduction to VLSI Design  

ECE 1193 - Advanced VLSI Design  

ECE 1160 - Embedded Systems Design  

ECE 1896 - Senior Design  


This site is maintained by William McGahey. To contact, please e-mail: mcgahey@ee.pitt.edu .

Cadence is a registered trademark of:
Cadence Design Systems Inc.
2655 Seely Avenue
San Jose, CA 95134


Computer engineers design, produce, operate, and maintain computers and digital systems. In addition, computer engineers are used in an ever-growing number of positions involved with the applications of computers and digital technology. The need for computer engineers at both the local and national level is growing rapidly, with over 40 percent of U.S. software, hardware, and telecommunications companies projecting growth of 25 percent or more.

 The latest edition of Engineers Quarterly predicts that by the year 2005, computer engineers will become "the second largest of the engineering disciplines." This is based on a projected annual growth rate of over 6 percent, or 168,000 new computer engineering positions created in the next decade. The rapid changes in computer technology coupled with the diversity of applications require a broad-based background.

 The Computer Engineering Program provides a solid background in computer hardware, software, interfacing, and design. The program also provides elective flexibility for specialization in all aspects of computing and related areas.

Computer Engineering No. 1

Computer engineering is number one in the Top 10 Fastest Growing Professions projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For additional information on computer engineering and other computer-related disciplines, read the BLS Computer Occupational Outlook

Program Objective

The objective of the computer engineering program is to prepare individuals to be confident and successful in whatever path that they choose to pursue in the 21st century global economy. This includes those that move into practice within the computer engineering discipline either through employment in industry or government, or through a start up of their own, those that move on to advanced computer study and research in graduate school, or those that move into other professions such as law, business, or management.


To apply to a graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering:

1. TO APPLY : https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantLogin.asp?id=up-e

2. LETTERS OF REFERENCE: Applicants must have their reference letters submitted electronically as part of the on-line admissions application process.

3. TRANSCRIPTS: Applicants are required to upload academic records from each academic institution (undergraduate and/or graduate) attended. Official, original academic credentials that are issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. These will be considered unofficial copies.

4. GRE SCORES: GRE scores are required and are useful in combination with all the other materials submitted. Official GRE test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Using the institution code of 2927 for the University of Pittsburgh is sufficient. Please refer to the following web site for further information on the GRE and registration forms: http://www.ets.org/gre .

5. TOEFL or IELTS scores (Required for international applicants): The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all applicants whose native language is not English, except for those who have recently received a degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or any other English speaking country.

It is the policy of the University of Pittsburgh to admit only those students with a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test) or 80 (internet-based). Please refer to the following web site for further information on the TOEFL and registration forms: http://www.ets.org/toefl . International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores must be sent directly from IELTS to your admitting department. It is the policy of the University of Pittsburgh to admit only those students with an IELTS score of at least 6.5.

You can upload copies of your score reports (if available) when submitting your online application. This uploaded version is not considered "official" and will be used for preliminary review until your official scores are received from ETS or IELTS.

6. TUITION AND FEES:Learn more about tuition and fees associated with a graduate education at the Swanson School of Engineering.

Learn more about how scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, and grants can help pay for education excellence.

8. APPLICATION DEADLINES: Fall Term - March 1 (or February 1 for teaching assistantships); Spring Term - July 1; Summer Term - April 1 (US students only).

Please do NOT send hard copies of materials that have been submitted electronically. Original documents are NOT required until you are admitted and decide to attend the University of Pittsburgh.


Professor Jun Yang
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering    
1111 Benedum Hall

3700 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15261

Email: juy9@pitt.edu
Phone: +1-412-624-9088
Fax: +1-412-624-8003
Dept: +1-412-624-800



Professor Jun Yang

Professor Bruce Childers