Apr 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Computer Engineering, B.S.

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Program of Study

Engineering is broadly described as the creative application of scientific and mathematical principles used to design, develop, improve, and analyze structures, machines, devices, components, systems, and industrial processes useful to society. Computer Engineering is a blend of computer science (CS) and electrical engineering (EE) that focuses on the integration of software and hardware. The CS courses provide the background for software and computers, while the EE courses provide the background for building physical devices. Students use their knowledge in computer architecture, operating systems, embedded systems, software, networking, electric and integrated circuits, and signal processing to integrate computer hardware and software to analyze and solve problems. They research, design, and implement hardware and software for general-purpose computers as well as special-purpose devices such as cell phones, x-ray machines, alarm systems, digital video recorders, routers, keyboards, printers, and appliances.

The educational objectives of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering at CSUSM are to produce graduates who, within three or five years after graduation, are able to:

  • Be engaged in professional practice as innovative problem solvers with a strong work ethic;
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively as a team member and/or leader in an ever-changing professional environment; and
  • Continue their life-long learning such as progressing through advanced degree or certificate in programs in computing, science, engineering, business, and other professionally related fields.

The curriculum for computer engineering begins with the necessary preparatory courses in mathematics, physics, and computer science. Core courses and electives cover a wide range of topics including Circuits and Electronics, Algorithms and Software Design, Computer Architecture and Digital Design, Embedded Systems, Computer Networks and Security, and Signal Processing. Students will take courses that include laboratory activities. Students are also required to do a senior capstone project, which involves planning, design, implementation, documentation, and presentation.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering will be able to:

1. identify, formulate, and solve computer engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics;

2. apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors;

3. communicate effectively in writing and orally with a range of audiences;

4. recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts;

5. function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives;

6. develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions;

7. acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Career Opportunities

Computer Engineering majors have multiple paths to reach their career goals. Computer engineers find jobs in many businesses and industries such as aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, power production, medicine, manufacturing, defense, and products such as electronics and major appliances. Their skills are used in research, design, development, and test of computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. Computer engineers in the industry have a wide range of job titles, including:  Systems Engineer, Design Engineer, Product Engineer, Applications Engineer, Test Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Communications Engineer, Network Engineer, Sales Engineer, Field Engineer, Process Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Engineer, and Device Engineer. A degree in computer engineering also prepares students for graduate study in computer engineering and related fields.  

Admission Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering maintains the same general Undergraduate Admission and Graduation Requirements and/or Transfer policies and requirements described in the California State University San Marcos Catalog.


High school students are encouraged to take four (4) years of English; four (4) years of mathematics, including trigonometry and pre-calculus; and one year of physics. Courses in calculus and computer programming are recommended. Experience in clear, concise, and careful writing is valuable for success in all courses.

Transfer students entering the program at the junior and senior levels will be expected to have completed a maximum of thirty-six (36) lower-division units including courses in computer science, mathematics, and physics, which may be applied toward the preparation for the major requirements. 
Of the thirty-six (36) units:

  • sixteen (16) units must appropriately match the description for CE 100 , CS 111 , CS 211 , CS 231 , and EE 280  (depending on the articulation agreement between Cal State San Marcos and other institutions; transfer students are advised to consult with their articulation officer to determine if they need to take CE 100, CS 111, CS 211, CS 231 and EE 280);
  • thirteen (13) units must appropriately match the description for MATH 160 *, MATH 162 , MATH 260A , and MATH 270 ; and eight (8) units must appropriately match the description for PHYS 201 * and PHYS 202 .

*Six (6) units of the above-transferred courses, MATH 160 and PHYS 201, will count toward the lower-division General Education requirements in Area B. Students are encouraged to consult their faculty advisor to learn about courses that fulfill the General Education requirements.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of fifteen (15) upper-division units counted toward the major must be completed at Cal State San Marcos.

General Education Requirements (48 Units)

General Education Requirements

Preparation for the Major (46 Units)

Supporting Courses (30 units)

Major Requirements (38 Units)

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120.

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