Computers are at the heart of innumerable modern products, most of which would not be identified as computers. Computer engineering involves the development, both electronics and software, of such "embedded" computers. It requires a combination of technical knowledge, science and creativity with a strong emphasis on design to develop practical solutions to real-world problems.
Applications, industries and devices associated with computer engineering include:
- computer systems – PCs, graphics processors, servers, supercomputers
- portable consumer electronics – iPods, Palm Pilots, PlayStation
- biomedical devices – CAT scan machines, MRI, brain-machine interfaces
- integrated circuit chip and microprocessor design
- household electronics – toasters, washing machines
- telecommunications and networks – phones, base stations, wireless systems and switches
- manufacturing and infrastructure – production line control, robotics, control systems and wireless sensor networks.
The Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Computer Engineering is jointly taught by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. The joint programme brings together the learning of circuit theory and digital electronics from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree and computer programming, systems and networking covered in the Computer Science degree, providing students with the knowledge and expertise to create the next era of reliable, smart electronic embedded devices.
Minor in Communications and Network Engineering
If you have an interest in the internet, set up and running of networks and the communications side of computing then the minor in Communications and Network Engineering may be a route to take within your Computer Engineering degree.
New Zealand has a larger number of internet providers, communication and networking equipment manufacturers and infrastructure providers spanning both major exporters and smaller companies. A number of these companies are based in Christchurch.
Currently, there is a shortage of engineers to fulfil the roles in this area and a need to increase the number of graduates with these skills. Employment opportunities for graduates in this field are extensive especially in the overseas marketplace.
The first year of the BE(Hons) is called the Engineering Intermediate Year. Required Intermediate courses for Computer Engineering are:
- ENGR100 Academic Writing Assessment (zero points, zero fees)
- ENGR101 Foundations of Engineering
- EMTH118 Engineering Mathematics 1A
- EMTH119 Engineering Mathematics 1B
- EMTH171 Mathematical Modelling and Computation or MATH120 Discrete Mathematics
- PHYS101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
- PHYS102 Engineering Physics B: Electromagnetism, Modern Physics and 'How Things Work'
- COSC121 Introduction to Computer Programming
- At least one 15-point elective course (students are encouraged to take COSC122 Introduction to Computer Science as this course)
The professional years
The first and second professional years consist of courses that provide a wide, basic knowledge for the computer engineering professional. These include embedded computing, systems and control, digital electronics, electronics and devices, circuits and signals, networking, operating systems, computer science and mathematics.
In the third professional year, students take courses in embedded systems, computer architecture and embedded software engineering. You can select specialised subjects, which can include topics on machine learning, computer vision, communication and network engineering, and signal processing, as well as complete a research project.
Most courses consist mainly of lectures, with laboratory work included to complement the theory and show practical application. Some formal laboratory periods are replaced by independent and group projects.
With approximately 50% of New Zealand’s ICT industry located in the Canterbury region, Christchurch is the ideal location for such a programme, offering abundant opportunities for work experience and excellent employment opportunities for graduates.
There is currently a nationwide shortage of computer engineers despite electronic devices being one of New Zealand's major exports. This programme has been developed by UC and the electronics industry to overcome this problem.
There are plenty of exciting job opportunities locally, nationally and internationally for computer engineers, as they are in high demand. Many find employment with companies that create devices with embedded systems such as Tait Electronics, Allied Telesis, Fisher & Paykel, Dynamic Controls and Trimble.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Computer Engineering.
More informationDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Please see the Department's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Engineering
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800