Computer Engineering

Jose Renau directs the first-ever OpenSPARC Center of Excellence.


The UCSC B.S. in computer engineering prepares graduates for a rewarding career in engineering. The   computer engineering curriculum's focus is making digital systems that work. The program's emphasis on interdisciplinary system design provides both excellent training for future engineers and strong background for graduate study. UCSC computer engineering graduates will have a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of computer engineering and the scientific and mathematical principles upon which they are built.

Computer engineering focuses on the design, analysis, and application of computers and on their applications as components of systems. The UC Santa Cruz Department of Computer Engineering sustains and strengthens its teaching and research program to provide students with inspiration and quality education in the theory and practice of computer engineering.

Because computer engineering is so broad, the B.S. in computer engineering offers five specialized concentrations for completing the program: systems programming, computer systems, robotics and control, networks, and digital hardware.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.
  • M.S.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • An accelerated combined B.S./M.S. degree in computer engineering enables eligible undergraduates to move without interruption to the graduate program.
  • Five concentrations: robotics and control, systems programming, computer systems, networks, digital hardware
  • Minor in computer engineering

Departmental faculty focus on multidisciplinary hardware and software research including computer system design, design technologies, computer networks, embedded and autonomous systems, digital media and sensor technology, assistive technologies, and robotics. Students complete a senior design capstone course and choose either a corporate-sponsored project or their own. Undergraduates contribute to Computer Engineering Department research activities as independent study students, paid employees, and participants in Research Experiences for Undergraduates.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

Please see the current UC Santa Cruz General Catalog for a full description of the BSOE admissions policy.

Freshman Applicants: Once at UCSC, students will be accepted into the major based on grade-point average in selected lower-division mathematics, physics, and programming courses required for the major.

High School Preparation

It is recommended that high school students applying to the BSOE have completed four years of mathematics and three years of science in high school, if possible one year each of chemistry, physics, and biology. Comparable college mathematics and science courses completed at other institutions may be accepted in place of high school preparation. 

Information for Transfers

  1. By the end of the fall term in which you are applying, you must have completed at least four (4) of the lower-division course requirements from the list below.
  2. By the end of your last spring term in community college, you must complete an additional two (2) lower-division course requirements from the list below.
  3. All lower-division requirements must be completed with a minimum 2.80 GPA.
  4. All lower-division requirements completed will be counted toward the GPA.

Math 19B
Math 23A
AMS 10/Math 21
AMS 20


  • Assistive technologies
  • Communications design
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Computer system design
  • Control system design
  • Digital electronics
  • Embedded system design
  • Environmental monitoring
  • FPGA design
  • Multimedia
  • Nanotechnology
  • Network administration and security
  • Remote sensing
  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Signal/image/video processing
  • Wireless communications

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.

Many students find internships and fieldwork to be a valuable part of their academic experience. They work closely with faculty and career advisers in the UC Santa Cruz Career Center to identify existing opportunities and often to create their own internships with local companies or in nearby Silicon Valley. For more information about internships, visit


BSOE students may wish to develop their cross-cultural competency, typically via the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Interested students must work very closely with the faculty and academic advisers in their major very early during the freshman or sophomore year to create a plan for transferability of coursework towards graduation. For more EAP information, visit

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Roberto Manduchi, professor of computer engineering at UCSC, has received a Helmholtz Test-of-Time Award from the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV). This award recognizes the best papers published at the ICCV which continue to influence the field 10 or more years after publication.

Manduchi's research currently focuses on assistive technology for people with visual impairments. Specifically, he is exploring the use of mobile computer vision and wearable sensors for increased spatial awareness and information access.

Alumni Focus

Dr. Aman Shaikh (M.S., computer engineering, ’00; Ph.D., computer science, ’03), is a principal member of the technical staff at AT&T Labs–Research.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064