University Senate††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Proposed: January 31, 2003

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Adopted:







WHEREAS,†††† the Education Committee has favorably reviewed a proposal from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to establish the M.S. in Computer Engineering, to be jointly administered by the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Departments of the School, and


WHEREAS,†††† the committee is satisfied that the proposal has the support of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science Committee on Instruction, and


WHEREAS,†††† there is a growing need for experts knowledgeable about both the hardware and software aspects of computer technology, and


WHEREAS,†††† the existing separate masterís degrees in computer science and electrical engineering do not fully meet the needs of the growing discipline of computer engineering, and


WHEREAS,†††† currently enrolled undergraduates in the computer engineering program, alumni, and industry representatives have expressed interest in a graduate degree in computer engineering, and


WHEREAS,†††† there is no question that computer engineering is a legitimate discipline of study as reflected by comparable programs at peer institutions;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,†††††† that the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science be authorized to offer the M.S. in Computer Engineering.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,††† that the Senate forward this resolution to the Trustees for appropriate action.




††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Proponent:



††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Committee on Education



Executive Summary


Continuing advances in semiconductor technology and manufacturing have resulted in major improvements in the design of computers and digital hardware. Computers, as they become more powerful per cost unit, are being embedded in more and more systems. The digital communications field is developing at an incredible pace. These developments translate into a growing need for computer engineers, experts knowledgeable about both the hardware and software aspects of computer technology. Computer engineers must be comfortable with subjects normally covered by both Electrical Engineering or Computer Science Departments.

††††††††††† Many universities have long had Computer Engineering (CE) programs, educating students on both the undergraduate and graduate level. These include programs at Stanford University, University of Michigan, UCLA, UC San Diego, and University of Minnesota. At Columbia, we have had a popular undergraduate program successfully operating for nine years. Student interest is high, as demonstrated by the large number of majors: 69 juniors and seniors in Spring-02. In recent years, we have received many inquiries, from current undergraduate majors, alumni, and outside students and industry employees, who are eager to obtain a graduate degree in computer engineering.

††††††††††† The importance of computer engineering education and research to New York State and local industry is underscored by a recent prestigious award, jointly received in 2001 by Columbia University and several other New York academic institutions, for a New York State Microelectronics Design Center (MDC). The center was established to promote research and especially education in many core areas of computer engineering (e.g., digital circuit design, computer design, CAD). Columbia has the largest number of participating faculty among all NYS institutions involved in the Center (6 faculty, including 4 from computer engineering). In summary, given the substantial number of undergraduate majors, inquiries from prospective students, and the recent award of a New York State Microelectronics Design Center, we would like to expand the Computer Engineering program to offer a Master of Science degree.

††††††††††† No start-up funds for faculty or laboratory space or equipment are required. The same interdepartmental faculty now operating the undergraduate Computer Engineering program would offer the M.S. degree in Computer Engineering. Existing courses from both the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments would be the basis for the program. It would not be necessary to make investments other than to ensure that we have adequate faculty to handle the increased enrollments, and sufficient staff support to handle the corresponding administrative duties.

††††††††††† Students pursuing this new degree program will be provided with rigorous training in core areas of both CS and EE. On the CS side, these courses will cover basics of computer and digital design, programming and software development, more advanced computer systems courses (operating systems, programming languages and translators), and related theory courses. On the EE side, courses will cover foundations of circuit theory, three design laboratories, and more advanced courses in signals and systems, as well as VLSI design.

††††††††††† Admissions and degree requirements would be similar to Computer Science and Electrical Engineering M.S. programs. Students would be required to take 30 points of graduate level courses, which full-time students could complete in two semesters. It is assumed that incoming students would have prior education in computer science, electrical engineering, or, of course, in computer engineering. Some would have to add basic courses, not completed previously, to their graduate programs. As is already the case in existing Computer Science and Electrical Engineering M.S. programs, every effort will be made to schedule courses after 4:00 PM to accommodate part-time students. Moreover, many of the required courses are now offered on Columbia Video Network (CVN) through our School, making it easier for students to take these courses if they work in industry.

††††††††††† Recipients of the MS degree in computer engineering would be qualified to assume positions in computer and digital design, VLSI, system software design and maintenance, CAD tool development, etc. They would also be well equipped for jobs in the digital communications field, whether the focus is on both hardware or software aspects. Should they so desire, they would also be able to enroll in doctoral programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science.

††††††††††† CS faculty, Profs. Unger, Nowick and Edwards, and EE faculty, Profs. Zukowski and Shepard, will be responsible for overseeing the program. Enrollment in the program is expected to start at about 16 students, and rise to about 23 students per year, over the first five years.