Doctorate in Computer Engineering: Program Summaries

Oct 19, 2019

Students in Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in computer engineering study practical applications for engineering and computer science theories. Programs generally encompass a range of advanced topics in various applied settings.

Essential Information

In a computer engineering Ph.D. program, students participate in hands-on projects to improve their ability to create user-friendly hardware and software systems. Programs may encourage candidates to pursue an advanced specialty according to their career goals. Program specializations usually depend on the student but can include computer architecture, communication networks, and software design.

Students will need a bachelor's degree, graduate-level experience, a knowledge of engineering principles and computer science, letters of academic reference, and a personal statement in order to be admitted.

Ph.D. in Computer Engineering

Candidates in the computer engineering Ph.D. program are trained for practical, field-advancing skill development in their chosen specialty. Some programs require students to complete a qualifying exam during their first year to make sure they possess the knowledge required to continue in the program. Graduates are typically prepared for a diversity of high-level positions in the field. Courses usually offered include:

  • Computer circuitry
  • Parallel computing
  • Software system design
  • Information theory
  • Digital image processing

Popular Career Options

Students who earn a Ph.D. in computer engineering are qualified for careers in systems design, manufacturing and academia. Graduates can work for wireless communications companies, computer companies, or other businesses. The positions noted below are popular options:

  • Computer engineering professor
  • Computer hardware designer
  • Wireless network designer

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, (, reports that job opportunities for computer hardware engineers are expected to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028. Moreover, job opportunities for software developers are expected to grow 21% during the same decade. Additionally, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $114,600, and the median annual salary for software developers that work on applications was $103,620 as of May 2018.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Computer engineers may need to earn a professional engineering license. Licensure standards vary, but engineers typically must complete a 4-year supervised internship and pass a series of written exams.

Computer engineering Ph.D. programs allow students to pursue in-depth studies and research in different areas of computer hardware and software. This degree grants students access to a variety of careers involving computers, including computer hardware engineer and software developer.

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