Sep 27, 2023  
Rensselaer Catalog 2021-2022 
Rensselaer Catalog 2021-2022 [Archived Catalog]

Computer and Systems Engineering

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This field is one of the fastest-growing branches of engineering. Strong course sequences in software, hardware, and systems engineering are available. Students consider the computer as a system in itself, as a tool for modeling and design, and as an embedded element within a real-time system. There is the flexibility for in depth study in areas such as automatic control, communications, information processing, computer software, computer hardware, computer networks, robotics, signal processing, and image analysis.

First Year


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Select one of:

Second Year


  • Science Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Third Year

The Arch Summer Semester*

* For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, The Arch Summer courses would be taken during the fall semester.  For listing of the exception process go to:

  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall OR Spring

  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fourth Year

  • Computer Engineering Elective Credit Hours: 3-4​ 
    (See footnotes 1 and 4 below)
  • Restricted Electives (2) Credit Hours: 6-8
    (See footnotes 1, 5 and 6 below)
  • Technical Elective Credit Hours: 3-4
    (See footnotes 1, 5 and 6 below)
  • Free Electives (3 or 4)  Credit Hours: 12-16
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Electives

In this area, electives are based on the Institute and School of Engineering requirements. Additionally, at least one course must be selected from the list posted on the ECSE home page. Students are urged to elect humanities, arts, and social science sequences through which they will obtain adequate breadth and depth in subject areas. Students desiring minors in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences must consult the school or department in which the courses are offered to obtain further information and specific requirements.

Restricted Electives

Any 3- or 4-credit-hour course with the designation ECSE 4XXX, ECSE 6XXX, CSCI 4XXX, or CSCI 6XXX.

Technical Elective

Any 3- or 4-credit-hour course in engineering, mathematics, or science at the 4000 level or higher.

Computer Engineering Electives


  1. May be taken either term.
  2. The free electives must total at least 12 credits.
  3. This course will be fulfilled from a list published at the start of each semester.  For a list of courses that satisfy the Professional Development – Technical Issues & Solution requirement refer to the link “Professional Development Courses” on the Registrar’s “Academic Planning” web page.  It should be completed before the capstone design course.
  4. May be taken in the third year.
  5. It is recommended that students use electives to form a concentration. See the ECSE Web page for concentration listings.
  6. No more than one Independent Study course may be used when satisfying the combined Technical and Restricted Elective requirements.
  7. May be replaced by ENGR 1100 Introduction to Engineering Analysis.
  8. Core courses that are the prerequisites for 4000-level courses, offered in Fall and Spring terms annually.  Students should take the courses as soon as their prerequisites are met.

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