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Computer Engineering

Why Study Computer Science or Computer Engineering? 

You’ve always been the expert in your house on computers and their applications. You can lose hours in front of a computer screen and not notice the time. You can make software packages work when other people cannot, and you understand that on-line computer gaming is as much a 21st century social experience as it is a hobby. If this sounds like you, you’re probably an excellent candidate to become a computer scientist or computer engineer.

If you major in computer science or computer engineering, you will have a broad range of career choices. Computer scientists design computer software and use computer programming to solve a wide range of problems. Computer engineers organize, design, and apply digital processing systems, bridging hardware and software.

Vanderbilt Engineering Advantages

When you study computer science at Vanderbilt, you receive a solid foundation in computer science and engineering principles and theoretical analysis, and also learn how to apply them in your actual computing experience. You will be able to program leading-edge smart phone applications. Our pre-med option in Computer Science (CS) and the defined path to a Bachelor in CS and Masters in Finance (with the Owen Graduate School of Management) are ideal for the student who wants a strong technical foundation for a medical or business career.

When you study computer engineering, you will develop the skills required to design and build a computer as well as the skills needed to program a computer. You’ll have a strong knowledge base in both hardware and software. With either choice, you won’t find yourself stuck in a textbook; you’ll be developing hands-on skills in the labs and throughout projects that will challenge and stimulate you.

Plus you’ll be able to work side by side with some of the top minds in the business—your professors are not only experts in the computing field, but they are terrific mentors and will help you find the best application of your talents and interests. In addition, you’ll be getting a superb liberal arts education that will enrich your technical and scientific training and help you to become a better problem solver, team member, and manager. You’ll also be prepared to advance into graduate studies in engineering, law, medicine, and finance.

Special Opportunities at Vanderbilt Engineering

Take your pick. Do you want to do field and laboratory research during the summer? Take a terrific summer internship with Google, Microsoft, Apple, Qualcomm, Boeing, National Instruments, Intel, or Amazon? Do you want to learn first-hand about how to work as part of a multi-disciplinary engineering team? Do undergraduate research on distributed real-time and embedded systems with the Institute for Software Integrated Systems? Study abroad to gain international experience?

These are a few of the opportunities through the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. When you add the opportunities you can access as a Vanderbilt student, the possibilities seem endless. You’ll have the best of both worlds as an engineering student at Vanderbilt, with close ties to your professors and fellow engineering students, while being fully engaged in the broader Vanderbilt University community with students from all over the country and around the globe.

Career Opportunities

Never better! Your ABET accredited degree in computer engineering or computer science will prepare you for a wide range of jobs, from semiconductor design and fabrication to operating systems. As with electrical engineers, computer engineers have opportunities in embedded architectures, computer systems, VLSI/electronics, intelligent systems, robotics, signals, and computational methods. Or you might decide to focus on embedded computing, in which computers interface with machinery and other physical systems (such as cars and appliances) for better control.

Your undergraduate degree in computer science is designed for flexibility, and will provide you ever-increasing opportunities to solve problems through computing. You might create your own start-up or work with one of the well-established powerhouses of the software industry. Vanderbilt professors work closely with the top companies in the industry, so you’ll have a chance to work together with individuals and groups that are changing the IT world.

Or, if you decide to pursue an advanced degree, you’ll get the support and encouragement you need. The department offers master and doctoral degrees in computer science. You might be particularly interested in the department’s major strength areas in embedded computing, intelligent systems, model-integrated computing, middleware, visual information processing, or machine learning. The curriculum can be arranged to achieve both the bachelor and the master of engineering within five years.

If you decide to obtain an MD, a law degree or a master in business or finance, your undergraduate engineering degree will provide excellent preparation and a competitive advantage.


For information about faculty and their research areas, visit


Julie L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Computer Science
Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science
355 Jacobs Hall
VU Station B #351824
Nashville, TN  37235-1824
Phone: (615) 343-6320
Fax: (615) 343-6702

W. Timothy Holman, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Computer Engineering
Associate Professor of the Practice of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering
247 Featheringill Hall
VU Station B #351824
Nashville, TN  37235-1824
Phone: (615) 322-1362
Fax: (615) 343-6702

Daniel M. Fleetwood, Ph.D.
EECS Department Chair
Olin H. Landreth Professor of Engineering
254 Featheringill Hall
VU Station B #351824
Nashville, TN  37235-1824
Phone: (615) 322-2771
Fax: (615) 343-6702

Computer Engineering Website