Electrical and Computer Engineering

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B.S. in Computer Engineering

  • Department Chair:  Dr. Xiaojun (Ashley) Geng
  • Department Office:  Jacaranda Hall 4509 
  • Office Number:  (818) 677-2190

1. Accreditation

The Computer Engineering undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

2. Mission Statement

"Our mission is to prepare students for rewarding careers and higher education. Our graduates will be able to solve complex technical problems and address the needs of modern society, and will pursue lifelong learning."

3. The Major

"Nowadays the world is lit by lightning," the playwright Tennessee Williams wrote. But electrical and computer engineers prove him wrong every day. From city lights to satellites, from semiconductors to telephone switching systems to audio equipment, the work depends on electricity and the engineers who design and develop ways to harness its power.

Electrical Engineering majors at Cal State Northridge receive a solid, broad-based education. Among the many topic areas in the basic curriculum are mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer programming, engineering materials, electrical circuits, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, engineering economy, and numerical analysis. At the senior level, students are required to take an approved concentration in one of the Electrical and Computer Engineering options: biomedical engineering, communications, digital systems design, control systems, electronics, microwave and antenna engineering, or power systems.

The Computer Engineering (CompE) program bridges the curriculum gap between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Computer Engineers deal with the hardware and software aspects of computer system design and development. The CompE curriculum contains components of both the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering programs.

Computer Engineering majors receive a broad knowledge in the basic curriculum. Among the many topics are: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electrical circuits, engineering economy, algorithms, programming, and computer organization. Computer Engineering students will take coursework in a number of areas (i.e. computer architecture, digital design) from both the software and hardware points of view, allowing them to get a broader, more complete exposure to the subject. Additionally, these curricula will be unified in the one year senior design project course bringing together the existing Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science programs.

The ECE department has 17 labs associated with its ECE classes. In the labs, students work alongside professors who may be designing medical instrumentation for health care, designing microcontroller based applications, developing pager and satellite communications systems, or working on innovations in electrical power systems.

4. Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes

The computer engineering program at California State University, Northridge prepares a diverse group of graduates for lifelong careers in the field that will allow them to make productive contributions to society and to find personal satisfaction in their work.  To accomplish this, graduates of the computer engineering programs will meet the following educational objectives:

The computer engineering program strives to prepare graduates that will:

  1. Have professional careers in computer engineering or related technical fields, or continue their studies at the graduate level; and
  2. Continue their professional development throughout their careers.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering program at California State University, Northridge will have:

1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics

2. An ability to 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. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences

4. An ability to 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. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives

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

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

5. Careers

The department's practical approach to engineering offers hand's on design experience as well as theoretical knowledge. That's an advantage on the job because graduates actually have experience in constructing projects as well as designing them. Students who enjoy using math and science creatively to solve real-world problems will find rewarding careers as electrical and computer engineers.

Careers in Computer Engineering:

Graduates in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering design build communications systems, information processing, entertainment devices, medical diagnosis equipment, robotics control, navigation, and traffic control systems. Graduates can find work in virtually every industry. Among the major employers are electronic manufacturing firms, communications companies, the entertainment industry, public utilities, oil companies, laboratories, transportation companies, and chemical plants. Some graduates pursue professions as patent attorneys, technical writers, consultants, teachers, or technical sales representatives. This program not only prepares students to enter the work force, but also to enter graduate school to pursue an area of specialization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Overall employment of computer engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026. In May 2018, the median annual wage for computer engineers was $114,600.

6. High School Preparation

  • It must be emphasized that this program is based on an expectation of adequate high school preparation in science, mathematics and English. High school courses should include algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, chemistry or physics (all desirable), and four years of English.
  • Students who have not had an adequate background of pre-engineering work in high school may be required to take some additional coursework in their first year and may not be able to complete an engineering program in 8 semesters.
  • Entering beginning engineering students must take or be exempt from the Entry Level Mathematics Test and the Mathematics, Chemistry and English Placement Tests before registration in basic courses will be permitted.

7. Pre-registration Testing Requirements

CSUN requires most beginning students to take the Entry Level Mathematics Exam (ELM) and the English Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling in their courses. Refer to Test Requirements for further details on these exams. In addition to these general University requirements, students in any of the engineering programs may also need the following exams:

  1. The Mathematics Placement Test (MPT) is required prior to enrollment in MATH 150A. Students who have passed or are exempt from the ELM should take this exam prior to enrolling in their classes so they may be placed in the appropriate mathematics course. Students with scores of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC tests are exempt from the MPT.
  2. The Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) is required with a score of 40 or higher prior to enrolling in CHEM 101. Students who do not receive this score must receive a grade of “C” or better in CHEM 100 before taking CHEM 101.

8. Transfer Requirements

All degree programs in engineering accommodate students beginning as freshmen or as transfer students. Transfer students should have completed lower division writing, mathematics, physics and chemistry courses. Courses that are transferred into the major are reviewed to ensure that they satisfy the same requirements as courses at CSUN. Courses transferred into the engineering major must have been completed with a grade of “C” or better.

9. Minimum Grade Requirements

The following are minimum grade requirements (no exceptions will be waived):

  • For all required courses in your major:  C-
  • For all transfer courses:  C
  • For all General Education (GE):  D-
    • Basic Skills Requirements Section A (A.1 through A.4):  C-
      --- > such as ENGL 115, COMS 151/L, PHIL 230

* More stringent prerequisite requirements may apply to some courses.

10. Academic Advisement

  • All freshmen are required the make their academic advisement appointments with the CECS Student Services Center/EOP Satellite (Jacaranda Hall 4509, 818-677-2191) or with the Matador Advising Hub (Extended University Commons (EU) Room 150, 818-677-2900) prior to enrolling in all classes.  Based on the results of their placement tests, students will be placed in the appropriate courses and supplied with all advisement materials.

  • All sophomores are required to make their academic advisement appointments with the CECS Student Services Center/EOP Satellite (Jacaranda Hall 1501, 818-677-2191).
  • All new transfer students should meet with a faculty advisor in the ECE Department to meet and advise them into the proper classes for their first semester. All continuing undergraduate students in good standing are encouraged to seek advisement each semester.

  • All students on Academic Probation or Disqualification are required to make an appointment with the Department Chair.

11. Requirements for the Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering

The Computer Engineering program requires a minimum of 123 units total, including:

  1. General Education and Title 5 requirements of 27 units
  2. Computer Engineering core of 96 units
  3. a minimum of 12 units of an approved elective.
  4. Computer Engineering majors must complete a minimum of 30 semester units of upper division computer engineering courses in residency, including senior design project I and II.


1)  Lower Division Required Courses (39 units)

NOTE: All students must pass the English Placement Test with a score of 151 or above before enrolling in any 200-level engineering courses. 

Freshman Year

MATH 150ACalculus I5
MATH 150BCalculus II5
PHYS 220A/LMechanics and Lab3/1
COMP 110/LIntroduction to Algorithms and programming and Lab3/1
COMP 182/LData Structures and Program Design and Lab3/1
BIOL 106Biological Principles I3

Sophomore Year

MATH 250Calculus III3
ECE 280 or MATH 280Applied Differential Equations3
PHYS 220B/LElectricity and Magnetism and Lab3/1
COMP 282Advanced Data Structures3
ECE 240/LElectrical Engineering Fundamentals and Lab3/1

2)  Math and Science Electives (6 units)

      Select a minimum of 6 units from the following list with corresponding lab if one exists:

BIOL 106LBiological Principles I Lab1
BIOL 107/LBiological Principles II and Lab3/1
CHEM 101/LGeneral Chemistry I and Lab4/1
CHEM 102/LGeneral Chemistry II and Lab4/1
PHYS 227/LPhysics III and Lab4/1
PHYS 375Quantum Physics I3
MATH 262Introduction to Linear Algebra3
MATH 326Discrete Mathematics3


3)  Upper Division Required Courses (39 units)

Note: All students must complete lower division writing requirements with grade of C or better before enrolling in any 300-level course and any 400-level course in the major.

Junior Year

ECE 309Numerical Methods in Electrical Engineering2
ECE 320/LTheory of Digital Systems and Lab3/1
ECE 340/L Electronics I and Lab3/1
ECE 350 Linear Systems I3
ECE 351 Linear Systems II3
ECE 304 Engineering Economy3


The senior year must include a "capstone" design experience and additional courses with design content so that the student's total engineering program contains at least one semester of engineering design. This engineering design requirement must be taken in residency.

An advisor and the Department Chair must approve all senior year electives.


Senior Year

ECE 422Design of Digital Computers3
ECE 425/LMicroprocessor Systems and Lab3/1
ECE 420Digital Systems Design with Programmable Logic3
ECE 442/LDigital Electronics and Lab3/1
ECE 450Probabilistic Systems in Electrical Engineering3
ECE 492Senior Design Project - Electrical I2
ECE 493Senior Design Project - Electrical II1

4)  Upper Division Electives (12 units)

Select a minimum of 12 units from the following:

Senior Year

COMP 322/LIntroduction to Operating Systems and System Architecture and Lab3/1
COMP 380/LIntroduction to Software Engineering and Lab2/1
COMP 424Computer System Security3
COMP 429Computer Network Software3
COMP 522Embedded Applications3
COMP 529/LAdvanced Network Topics and Lab3/1
COMP 539Network Infrastructure3
COMP 581Open Source Software3
ECE 420LDigital Systems Design with Programmable Logic Lab1
ECE 443/LPulse and Waveshaping Circuit Design and Lab3/1
ECE 520/LSystem on Chip Design and Lab3/1
ECE 524/LFPGA/ASIC Design & Optimization Using VHDL and Lab3/1
ECE 526/LVerilog HDL for Digital Integrated Circuit Design and Lab3/1
ECE 527/LApplication Specific Integrated Circuit Development and Lab3/1
ECE 546Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit Design3
ECE 551Image Processing3
ECE 562Data Communication Network3


Note that some elective courses have prerequisites that are not part of the required program. All courses must include the lab, if one exists. Other courses may be selected with the approval of the ECE Department Chair. The total number of units in the major is 96.


5)  General Education (27 units)

Computer Engineering majors have to follow a modified general education program depending upon the year and enrollment status as a college student. Returning and transfer students should consult an advisor before planning their general education programs.

Computer Engineering students are required to take courses in the following GE sections: Analytical Reading and Expository Writing (3 units), Oral Communication (3 units), Social Sciences (3 units), Arts and Humanities (6 units), Comparative Cultures (6 units), U.S. History and Local Government (6 units). All other GE requirements are met through completion of courses in the major. Nine of the GE units must be at the upper division level and two courses must meet the Information Competency requirement.

Total Units Required for the Degree: 123

12. 4-Year Plan

13. CompE Flowchart

14. Major Evaluation Sheet (Senior Electives)

15. Suggested Senior Elective Package

16. Senior Elective Design Units

17. Instructions for Filing a Senior Program

All undergraduate Computer Engineering students are required to file a senior program and pass the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) before enrolling in any 400 level Electrical Engineering courses.  To file a senior program, all lower division core courses (100 and 200 levels) should be completed.  At the time the senior program is to be filed, students should be taking and planning to complete the 300 level required Engineering courses as indicated in the ECE Department plan.

If a student has taken all or some of the lower division core courses at some other school and has transferred them to CSUN, he or she still needs to complete the "Recommendation for Course Substitution or Waiver of Major or Minor Requirements for Bachelor's Degree" form (commonly referred to as the substitution form) that can be obtained from the ECE Department or on the "students forms" section of the CSUN Admissions and Records website. The student must also bring a copy of his or her DPR report and a copy of the course description from the other academic institution with the course/s highlighted. This needs to be done before filing the senior program.  Exceptional cases should be reviewed by and discussed with your advisor. 

Units/Design Units requirements:

All students receiving the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree must have a minimum of 30 Upper Division Engineering Units taken in residency, a minimum of 18 Engineering Design units taken in residency, and a minimum of 4 ECE/Comp Senior Elective Units taken in residency.  Senior Elective courses should be selected with these requirements in mind.


  1. Make an appointment to see the undergraduate advisor by contacting the ECE Department office.  At this meeting, the undergraduate advisor will review your DPR with you and make sure you are aware of all remaining course requirements. The undergraduate advisor will recommend a Professor in your field of interest to be your career advisor and complete the senior program with you.

  2. Make an appointment to see your advisor by contacting him or her during their office hours and indicate that you need to plan your senior program.  Allow 1-2 days notice for the advisor so that he or she can obtain your file.

  3. Before meeting with your advisor, review the attached senior elective package and make a tentative list of ECE/Comp senior courses you would like to take.

    NOTE:  Some elective courses have prerequisites that are not part of the required program. Other courses may be selected with the approval of the ECE Department Chair.

    Undergraduate ECE students are required to take both the lecture and the lab for all elective Electrical Engineering and Computer Science courses that have labs.

    Attached you will also find the list of all undergraduate required courses including Senior ECE Electives with their design units.  Your TOTAL program must have at least 18 design units.

  4. Bring the attached forms with your worksheet to the meeting with your advisor. The advisor will forward the forms to the ECE Department office for the Chair's approval (please allow 1 week to process).

  5. After the senior program has been signed by the student, advisor, and ECE Department Chair, the student can request a graduation check.  A graduation check is to be requested from the ECE Department office (JD4509) approximately one year before graduation.

    NOTE: Should a student want to change his or her graduate program after the graduation check is completed, the student can do so by completing the following forms:

  1. "Recommendation for Course Substitution or Waiver of Major or Minor Requirements for Bachelor's Degree" (commonly referred to as the substitution form)

  2. "Request for Senior Program Questionnaire"

    These two forms can be obtained from the ECE Department office. After completion of these forms, they are to be turned in to ECE Department for the Department Chair's approval.

18. Procedure for Graduation Evaluation (Grad Check)

19. Faculty Areas of Specialization