degree program offered
engineering students have been able to concentrate in computer
engineering since 1997, but their degrees have been granted either
in computer science or electrical engineering. Now, with the recent
endorsement of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia,
U.Va. has begun offering an accredited degree program in computer
first students are expected to receive their degrees in computer
engineering in December.
skills attained by students in this program position them to become
major contributors to the computer revolution,"² said John
Stankovic, chair of U.Va.'s Department of Computer Science.
to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer engineering is
one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, second
only to "database administrators, computer support specialists
and other computer scientists." The bureau estimates that
between 1996 and 2006, there will be 235,000 new openings for
Bechta Dugan, a U.Va. professor of electrical engineering who
has been a strong supporter of the new degree program, says computer
engineering lies somewhere in the middle between computer science
-- which covers theory, algorithms, software, networking, graphics
and computer architecture -- and electrical engineering -- which
covers microelectronics, electrical circuits and devices, networks,
communications systems, computer architecture, hardware design
and systems analysis.
engineering provides a balanced view of both areas -- electrical
engineering and computer science -- that students will need for
many of the new jobs being created by our booming Internet economy,²
to concentrate in computer engineering, students had to complete
all the requirements for a degree in electrical engineering or
computer science, as well as all the requirements for a degree
in computer engineering. That left almost no elective courses
at all, Dugan noted.
reducing the number of required courses to that of other engineering
tracks, 128 credits of course work, the new program offers the
students new flexibility," Bechta Dugan said.
formal creation of the program, which will be jointly administered
by both departments, comes as enrollment in classes in electrical
engineering and computer science continues to climb. The program's
goal is to enroll 150 undergraduate students within five years.