The Computer Science and Engineering degree prepares students to work in the full range of career options pursued by computer engineering and computer science graduates, and, with the appropriate choice of electives, software engineering. Graduates will be well prepared for careers in the rapidly growing area of smart technologies, which is projected to be the largest driver of technological and economic development over the next several decades. This ongoing technical revolution will require engineers who are competent in both computer software and hardware and who have the engineering skills to design and implement complex, intelligent systems. 

Computer engineers make vital contributions to nearly all facets of modern society through their work in areas such as computer systems, software applications, medical imaging, robotics, wireless communications, and fiber optics. They also play crucial roles in major emerging technologies such as driverless vehicles, smart cities, and human genomics. 

Why Study at Iowa

Iowa's computer science and engineering program is the first in the state and one of only 12 programs nationwide that offer accredited degrees in this major. The curriculum has been developed in close consultation with our industrial advisory boards to produce graduates best suited to meet the current and future needs of business and industry. This program is the only one in Iowa that seeks accreditation by both the Engineering Accreditation Council and the Computing Accreditation Council. 

Iowa admits incoming first-year students directly into engineering. About 525 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year.  Women account for over 27 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent. 

Students choose to study engineering at Iowa because of the college's academic excellence, individual attention, small-college environment, camaraderie, and tremendous opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's undergraduate program in the top 20 percent of engineering programs nationwide. 

The College of Engineering is committed to providing high-quality educational and research experiences for students. Engineering Professional Development (EPD) develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship programs, engage in employer outreach, and provide opportunities for students to network with employers, including an engineering career fair and other career-development programming each semester.

BSE/MS Fast-Track Degree Program

The College of Engineering offers a joint (fast-track) Bachelor of Science in Engineering/Master of Science for computer science and engineering undergraduate students who intend to earn an MS in electrical and computer engineering at Iowa. BSE/MS students may take up to 12 s.h. of graduate-level course work and do thesis-level research while they are still undergraduates, and they may count 9 s.h. of graduate course work toward both degrees. Once students complete requirements for the bachelor's degree, they are granted the BSE and they normally complete the MS one year later.  

Course Work

The Computer Science and Engineering curriculum is jointly taught by faculty from the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science Departments. The program encompasses the technical rigor of a Bachelor of Science program in computer science, but also provides a full component of computer engineering course work. Graduates gain the foundational knowledge provided by a computer science education together with the critical thinking, problem-solving, and system design skills at the core of a computer engineering curriculum. 

The Computer Science and Engineering major will require course work in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mathematics, and statistics, as well as the Engineering core courses.

The program includes a 24 s.h. elective component. Students choose from several elective focus areas to personalize their curriculum and to help them gain depth of knowledge for the type of job or research they plan to pursue. Focus area options in computer science and engineering include:

  • Big data/data mining/machine learning
  • Bioinformatics
  • Business
  • Computer breadth
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer networks
  • Signal and image processing
  • Software engineering
  • Sustainability

Students also may work with their academic adviser to create a customized and elective focus area plan tailored to their goals and interests. 

Specific required curricular elements include a capstone project course sequence, extensive laboratory components, a General Education component from the humanities and social sciences, and leadership and team-building experiences beginning in the first semester.

Review Computer Science and Engineering in the UI General Catalog for more information. 

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 undergraduate student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Engineering student support services include free tutoring for your first two years of math, science, and engineering courses. 

Engineering student organizations, fraternities and sororities, and national honorary societies offer many opportunities to develop your leadership abilities. 

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The department's undergraduate laboratories include facilities for the study of electrical and electronic circuits, wireless communication, power and sustainable energy, signals and systems, microprocessor-based computers and systems, measurement automation, communication systems, control systems, computer-aided design of very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits, image processing, robotics, and optics.

Laboratories are furnished with modern equipment, including digital oscilloscopes, computer-controlled virtual instrumentation, and software and hardware for embedded systems development.


On average, 93-98 percent of Iowa engineering graduates are employed in their field of study or pursuing advanced education within seven months of graduation. There is exceptionally strong employer demand for graduates whose background combines computer science and engineering skills, and typically there are many more positions available than graduates to fill them. 

Engineering Professional Development (EPD) offers individual advising and class presentations on resume and cover letter preparation, job and internship search strategies, interviewing skills, and job offer evaluation. 

Engineering is a well-respected profession that is used as a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting.  Engineering majors hold eight of the top ten spots on the list of top-paid majors for bachelor's degree graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).


Apply early for scholarships. The College of Engineering offers Engineering First-Year Scholarships as well as many other scholarship opportunities for sophomore, junior, and senior students. To learn more, visit the College of Engineering Scholarships.

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs


Computer Science and Engineering (BSE)
Focus Areas
Big Data/Data Mining/Machine Learning
Computer Breadth
Computer Hardware
Computer Networks
Signal and Image Processing
Software Engineering
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Selective Admission