Dec 15, 2019  
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) 
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Computer Engineering - BS

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College of Engineering

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Effective for students beginning degree Summer Sem. 2013 thru Spring Sem. 2014

Admission to the College of Engineering

In addition to the policies of the University concerning admission of students, the following regulations apply to the College of Engineering:

1. Transfer students from other colleges or universities will be referred to the Engineering Admission Committee for evaluation. Criteria considered in admission decisions for transfer students include resources available in the requested department and the transfer GPA, along with an evaluation of the program of the former college or university. Decisions concerning academic standing once the student is admitted to USU will be based solely on USU grades.

2. Students registered on campus (including Undeclared) must be approved by the Engineering Admission Committee before transferring to the College of Engineering. Students in this category must have demonstrated, by courses taken at USU, a potential to succeed in the major of their choice.

3. Admission requirements for students desiring to major in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering are the same as those governing admission to the College of Engineering, except that students must also be "calculus ready". That is, they must (1) achieve a score of 27 or higher on the Math ACT test; or (2) complete MATH 1050  and MATH 1060  or MATH 1210  with a grade of B or better; or (3) achieve an AP score of at least 3 on the AB Calculus or BC Calculus test.

Pre-Engineering and Professional Engineering Requirements

Students interested in Engineering careers enter the University with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Therefore, it is necessary for all students to demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in basic engineering, mathematics, science, and English before they are admitted into a professional engineering program. Specific courses used to evaluate this proficiency are listed on the applications to the Professional Program available in the individual departments or in the Engineering Advising Center. The professional engineering programs consist of the last two years of study listed in the departmental sections of the General Catalog. Students will not be admitted into engineering classes numbered 3000 or higher until they have been admitted into a professional engineering program. Applications listing the required pre-professional courses and admission standards are available from the various departments and the Engineering Advising Center. The minimum requirements a student must satisfy in order to be eligible to apply for admission to a professional program are:

1. The student must achieve a grade of C- or better in every required preprofessional course. The P/D+, D, F grading option may not be used except in freshman English composition.

2. The student must achieve an overall grade point average of 2.8 or better for all required pre-professional coursework completed at USU.

3. A student can repeat no more than three of the required pre-professional courses in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements. Multiple repeats of the same course are included in the total of three repeats. Audits count as a time taking a class unless prior written approval is obtained from the college academic advisor.

Satisfying minimum eligibility requirements does not ensure that a student will be admitted to a professional program in a specific department. The number of students accepted will be based upon the number of students that can be accommodated in upper-division classes. Applicants will be ranked and selected in order of their academic standing in the required pre-professional courses.

The Program

The Computer Engineering program helps to prepare students for careers as practicing engineers by offering a balanced curriculum of classwork, laboratory work and design experiences. Coursework includes basic science (with an emphasis on physics), mathematics, computer programming, English, humanities and social sciences. Building upon this foundation, core engineering courses help provide students with a solid foundation in circuit analysis, design and analysis of electronic circuits and the design of digital circuits, computer systems, and networking. Throughout these engineering courses, an emphasis is place on computer-based tools and experience is provided using modern laboratory equipment.

The major includes courses in senior design, in which students use the skills they are acquiring in the design, analysis, and implementation of a significant project. The design process also includes a significant writing component, in which students exercise technical writing and project documentation skills. Students frequently work in teams on these projects, both within the department, as well as with teams of students from other engineering departments. Senior projects may be done with industry sponsorship, or in conjunction with an internship at a company.

Many students obtain experience and earn summer income by taking internships at engineering companies. Several companies actively recruit USU students. These internships provide excellent experience for students, as well as potential employer contacts.

The computer engineering degree builds upon the core engineering concepts by providing greater depth in programming, operating systems and computer architectures. These topics help prepare students for positions in computer-related work. 

Students also have the flexibility to choose from among a wide variety of technical electives, covering such engineering areas as communications, electromagnetics, antenna design, computer architecture, controls, optics, microprocessor interfacing, real-time processing, electronics, and controls, as well as options in computer science, physics, mathematics, and other fundamental sciences.

In cooperation with other departments, all students are encouraged to complete one or more minors in mathematics, computer science, physics, or other appropriate fields of interest to the student.

Computer Engineering Objectives and Outcomes

For purposes of program assessment and improvements, the following program educational objectives have been established by the department:

PEO1: Graduates will succeed in pursuing their chosen career path. The primary indicator of success is that graduates will establish a reputation among their peers for engineering expertise and sound ethical judgment. Other indicators of success include:

(a) achieving professional advancement with increasing responsibility;

(b) engaging in technology-based entrepreneurial activities;

(c) engaging in advanced study in engineering graduate programs or related areas.

PEO2: Graduates will engage in a continuous process of life-long learning. Evidence of such engagement includes activities such as:

(d) staying abreast of emerging technologies;

(e) obtaining new skills or developing proficiencies with tools and programming/hardware description languages;

(f) actively participating in professional communities.


The educational outcomes of the Computer Engineering Program is to provide students with:

  • (a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
  • (b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • (c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, health and safety, manufacturability, an sustainability
  • (d) An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  • (e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • (f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsiblity
  • (g) An ability to communicate effectively
  • (h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, and societal context
  • (i) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, lifelong learning
  • (j) A knowledge of contemporary issues
  • (k) An ability to use the techniques, skill, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice


The computer engineering major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Career Opportunities

Electrical and computer engineers design, analyze, program, and supervise the production and manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as computers, computer peripherals, digital multimedia equipment, robotics, cell phones, radar, test equipment, and many other products used in modern society. They contribute in important ways to transportation industries (automotive and aeronautical), the computer industry, and national defense. Engineers are also employed in technical sales and support positions for business and scientific equipment. Many engineers work for private industry, or form their own companies. Others work for large corporations, such as Micron, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Novell, Agilent, and Hewlett-Packard.

Engineering also forms a strong foundation for graduate studies in other areas, such as bioengineering, law, business, or (with additional courses in biology and chemistry) medicine. The job placement rate for students graduating from USU's computer engineering program is nearly 100 percent. 

Recommended High School Courses

Students interested in entering any field of engineering should take two or three years of algebra, pre-calculus (including trigonometry), and calculus if possible. Four years of English and courses in computer programming, physics, and chemistry are also recommended. If the suggested pre-calculus mathematics courses are not taken in high school, they must be taken in college prior to starting calculus. 

Academic Advisement

All students should contact their academic advisor for assistance with course selection, program planning, and meeting graduation requirements. If they do not know who their advisor is, students should contact the Engineering Advising Center, ENGR 314A. 

Academic Requirements

The Engineering Advising Center maintains a handout sheet giving current details of all academic regulations of the college. It is the responsibility of the student to know the current regulations and to follow these regulations.

Preprofessional Program

Students must maintain a USU GPA of 2.0 to remain in good standing both in the college and the University. Students in a pre-professional program who are not making satisfactory progress toward acceptance into a professional program or who become ineligible to enter a professional program will be suspended from the college. Students in good standing in a pre-professional program must still meet the entrance requirements for admission into a professional program.

Professional Program

For all engineering majors in the professional program, the following academic regulations apply in addition to University regulations:

1. A GPA of 2.0 or higher must be maintained in all upper-division engineering/ math/science courses required for, or used as technical electives in the chosen major. Courses which were part of the pre-professional program requirements and University Studies courses are not included in this GPA calculation.

2. No more than 10 hours of D or D+ credit may be applied toward meeting graduation requirements in engineering/math/science classes.

3. College of Engineering courses may be repeated only once. Audits count as a time taking a class unless prior written approval is obtained from the department head. A maximum of three required or elective courses completed as part of a professional program can be repeated in order to meet graduation requirements. (Courses completed as part of a pre-professional program are not included in this total of three repeats.)

4. The P/D+, D, F grading option may not be used in required or elective courses completed as part of a professional program. (The P/D+, D, F grading option is approved for University Studies Courses.)

5. The academic regulations listed above (1-4) apply to required coursework and any elective engineering/math/science course which could be used to satisfy graduation requirements for the chosen degree. That is, once a student completes a particular technical elective, it becomes a required course for that student.

6. Students in violation of departmental or college academic regulations, no longer eligible for graduation, or not making satisfactory progress toward a degree, will be placed on probation.

  1. a. Students will be placed on probation if they (i) earn a an F in an engineering/math/science course which could be used to satisfy graduation requirements for the chosen degree (see No.5 above); (ii) have more than 10 hours of D credit (see No. 2 above) or (iii) have an upper-division GPA of less than 2.0 (see No. 1 above).
  2. b. Students remain on probation until they improve their standing by repeating and passing all failed classes, repeating classes to reduce the number of D credits to 10 or less, and/or by raising their upper-division GPA above 2.0.
  3. c. While on probation, a student must earn a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher in engineering/math/science classes and must not earn any grades of D or F. While on probation, a student may not preregister. The student's major code will be changed to a pre-professional code. The student must meet at least once per semester with the college academic advisor to work out a schedule having the primary goal of correcting the existing academic problems.    

Students must complete the General Education Requirements 

  •  PHYS 2220  will fulfill the Physical Science (BPS) requirement for students in the Computer Engineering major.   
  • Since both MATH 1210  and MATH 1220  are required for the Computer Engineering major, one of the courses will fulfill the Quantitative Literacy requirement and the other will fulfill the Exploration requirement

Students must also complete the University Studies Depth Requirements :

  • ENGL 3080  and ECE 4850  will fulfill the Communication Intensive (CI) requirement 
  • MATH 2270  or MATH 2280  will fulfill the Quantitative Intensive (QI) requirement
  • Complete at least 2 credits in approved 3000-level or above courses from each of the following categories: Humanitites and Creative Arts (DHA) and Social Sciences (DSS)

Transfer Students

Transfer students coming to USU with an associate degree from a regionally- accredited institutution may be deemed as having satisfied the General Education portion of the USU University Studies Requirements, but not necessarily the College of Engineering requirements. Students with transfer credits in University Studies areas will need to have their transfer credit evaluated by the College of Engineering to determine which of the University Studies requirements it will satisfy. In general, transfer students will still need to satisfy the Depth Education portion of University Studies. Also, since not all associate degrees granted by institutions outside of Utah include an American Institutions course (a State of Utah requirement), students may need to complete such a course while at USU.

Pre-professional Program

Professional Program

Suggested Semester Schedule

Because of the variation in schedules, it is recommended that students meet with an advisor to work out a schedule for their junior and senior years. The following courses are required for students selecting the Professional Program in Computer Engineering.

Junior Year (31 credits)

 see note  2

Senior Year (29-30 credits)

Fall Semester (15 credits)

Spring Semester (14-15 credits)

Capstone Courses (select 3-4 credits)

 1. Only select and declare a course as a capstone if you are committed to that topic for your senior project. Otherwise enroll in ECE 4820 . You can  always take one of the courses below unconnected to your senior project (not as a capstone).

2. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged. Other members of your team don't have to be in the same capstone course, but they may work on different areas of the same project related to their capstone course.

3. The capstone professor will be there to guide you on what to do for your capstone, but there will be work outside of class to learn the technical details for your proposal.

4. All students who choose to use a capstone course other than ECE 4820  must complete a Capstone Course Declaration and turn it into the Advising Office at the beginning of the semester they take the capstone course.

High-Level Technical Elective Courses (select 14-17 credits)

Students must complete a total of at least 14 credits within high-level technical electives. Courses listed in this departmental section as Computer Engineering Electives or Computer Science Electives may be used to fulfill this requirement. Also, courses having an ECE or CS prefix, which are numbered at the 5000 level, may be used as high-level technical electives.

Technical Elective Courses (select 20 or more credits)

Math and Science Electives (select 3-6 credits)


Any upper-division (3000, 4000, or 5000 level) ECE class not required by the major may also be used as a Technical Elective course. However, specific courses must be approved in writing before the student registers for the course.


 1 Students desiring a Computer Science minor must take CS 1405  as a freshman. The rest of the minor is built into the curriculum. This lab is not required for the Computer Engineering major.

2 Some of the junior classes can be delayed until the senior year, but this may limit a student’s choice of electives during his or her senior year

3 Students cannot receive credit for both Engineering Mechanics and Physics Mechanics.

4 Students cannot receive credit for both Engineering Thermodynamics and Physics Thermodynamics.

5 Students cannot receive credit for both ECE Optics and PHYS Optics.

6 Students satisfying PHYS 2210  and/or PHYS 2220  with AP taken before Fall 2011 will not need PHYS 2215 /PHYS 2225 .


*These classes are required for admission to the Professional Engineering Program (PEP). Courses are listed under the semesters in which they best fit.

**ENGL 3080  must be taken before or concurrently with ECE 3810  .

*** ECE 4820  and a capstone course must be taken during the same semester if a capstone couse is selected; otherwise ECE 4820  and ECE 4830  must be taken during the same semester. If a capstone course is chosen, the one credit from ECE 4820  must be made up with an ECE elective.


Electrical and Computer Engineering Minors


Students should have all minors approved by the minor department. Minors may be filled by using the Technical Electives credits for courses in the chosen minor area. All courses required for the minors must be completed with grades of C- or better.

Mathematics Minor

Required courses include MATH 1210 , MATH 1220 , MATH 2210 MATH 2270 , MATH 2280  and two additional courses (6 credits) numbered above 4000, excluding MATH 4300 , MATH 4400 , MATH 4500 , MATH 5570  and MATH 5580 .

Physics Minor

PHYS 2210  and PHYS 2220 , plus 10 credits selected from PHYS 2500 , PHYS 2710 , and/or PHYS courses at the 3000 level and above (not to include PHYS courses designated as USU Depth courses).

Computer Science Minor

A minimum of 16 credits (with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and a C- or better in each class) is required. Students must complete CS 1400 , CS 1405 , CS 1410 CS 2420  and two additional computer science classes. At least one of the two classes must be numbered at the 3000 level or above. Students should contact the Computer Science Department for information about classes that may not be used toward the Computer Science Minor. Other minors should be approved by the minor department.

Electrical Engineering Mentors

The following list of faculty interests is provided to help students select the appropriate faculty member to contact for career and elective selection counseling.

D. J. Baker, electronics, space, electromagnetics
R. Baktur, electromagnetics
S. E. Budge, image processing, signal processing
B. Cetiner, microwaves, electromagnetics
K. Chakraborty, computer engineering
T. Chantem, real time adn embedded systems
D. L. Cripps, control systems, robotics
R. Gerdes, cyber security
J. H. Gunther, digital communication, signal processing
H. S. Hinton, optics
R.Q. Hu, wireless communications
T. K. Moon, digital communication, information theory, signal processing
S. Roy, computer engineering
C. M. Swenson, space systems
C. Winstead, analog VLSI, information theory

Requirement Changes

Graduation requirements shown on this sheet are subject to change. Students should check with their assigned advisor concerning possible changes.

For Information Contact:

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Engineering Laboratory 149; Utah State University; 4120 Old Main Hill; Logan UT 84322-4120; tel. (435) 797-2840;;


Minimum University Requirements

Total Credits


Grade Point Average (most majors require higher GPA)

2.00 GPA

Credits of C- or better


Credits of upper-division courses (#3000 or above)


USU Credits (30 USU credits, 20 of which must be upper-division courses, 10 of which must be courses required for student's major)

30 USU credits

Completion of approved major program of study

See college advisor

Credits in minor (if required)


Credits in American Institutions (ECN 1500 ;HIST 1700 , HIST 2700  or HIST 2710 ; HONR 1300 POLS 1100 ; or USU 1300 )


General Education Requirements  and University Studies Depth Requirements 




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