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Penn State University Park

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

University Park, PA


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Earn a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, or Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Computer Science and Engineering

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State is committed to offering an outstanding graduate education in core areas that include theory, algorithms, programming languages, systems, computer vision, networks, security, cyber enabled discovery, data mining, computer architecture, VLSI, embedded and mobile systems, and high performance computing. The department faculty members also help to address critical challenges facing the nation, ranging from health care and energy to social computing and national defense. The department is home to the Institute for Networking and Security Research (INSR) as well as the Embedded and Mobile Computing Center (EMC^2). The department is thus very dynamic in research. Each semester there are weekly colloquium series and several special lectures from distinguished computer engineers and scientists. The department has 32 tenure track faculty members, 12 instructional faculty members, and approximately 200 graduate students, including 160 Ph.D. students. Admission to the CSE department is extremely competitive. Each year more than 900 applications are received. Approximately 50 students are admitted in the fall semester, and an overwhelming majority of funded applicants are Ph.D. students. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers 3 graduate programs: a Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering. Students may start in a master's program and then continue in the Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. Students in the Computer Science and Engineering Program Frequently Earn Funding for Free Postdoctoral Education

Students in the programs of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering who have earned Ph.D. degrees and choose to pursue postdoctoral education to develop further skills are often the future leaders in their respective fields. For this reason, most postdoctoral education is supported by research funding for external grants or contracts awarded to university faculty members, in recognition of the important contributions that such graduates may one day provide to Penn State's academic community and to society at large.

Penn State and the Computer Science and Engineering Department Rank among America's Highest in Research Expenditures

Penn State ranks among the nation's 10 largest public research institutions. Penn State ranked 14th among major U.S. universities in research expenditures in science and engineering fields, with 11 distinct research fields at Penn State being ranked among the top 10 in the nation. Nationally, Penn State ranks 9th in industry-sponsored research, and computer science at Penn State ranks 8th in the nation for total external research expenditures while engineering ranks 3rd in the nation for total external research expenditures.

Graduate Students at Penn State Receive Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships to Help Fund Their Education

Graduate students at Penn State often take on teaching assistantships or research assistantships. Approximately 3,000 assistantships are awarded each year, requiring students to work for 18 weeks in either the classroom or the laboratory. Many research assistantships are 48-week appointments, covering the 36-week period of the academic year and an additional 12 weeks for the two summer session terms. Occasional work-study positions are available in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering for clerical assistants.

Penn State, in State College, PA, Offers Students a Diverse and Collegial Environment for Collaborative Research

Penn State is located in State College, PA, and is a multicampus public research university that exists thanks to a land grant from the state. The University Park campus is the main campus, and serves as the home to numerous departments and programs, including the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Graduate students at Penn State enjoy a supportive research environment that provides modern facilities and sufficient funding to make groundbreaking discoveries. According to National Science Foundation data for 2012, Penn State ranked 14th overall among major U.S. universities in research expenditures in the science and engineering fields, making research a priority. This focus on research fits with the university's belief in the importance of the development of critical thought. One of the strengths of Penn State is original thought derived from demographic and cultural diversity. The university fosters an atmosphere that encourages representation of faculty members, staff members, and students from typically underrepresented groups, ranging from different races and religions to students of different nationalities and sexual orientations. Penn State's student body is represented by 50 states and 131 countries, creating a highly-diverse collaborative research environment where students can benefit from the varied perspectives that their classmates bring to the table.

Penn State Students Join Academic Organizations, Fraternities, Service Organizations, and Athletics

Penn State offers a number of different student organizations and clubs, ranging from academic and professional associations to more religious and spiritual clubs. Interested students may choose to take part in the student government or, if qualified, join the Honor Society. There is a rich Greek life at Penn State, and students wishing to join fraternities and sororities will find numerous choices. Students with more community-oriented mindsets may join one of the universities' 49 service organizations, ranging from 4-H and Big Brothers/Big Sisters to Habitat for Humanity and the Student Red Cross Club. The Nittany Lion serves as the mascot for more approximately 800 student-athletes, who compete in a wide variety of sports. Penn State had a record 299 Academic All-Big Ten Conference selections during the 2015-2016 academic year. Throughout its storied history, Penn State has had 184 Academic All-Americans (3rd highest in the NCAA). Over the last 21 years, 4,626 Penn State student-athletes have been recognized as Academic All-Big Ten honorees. The athletics program at Penn State encourages student-athletes to reach their highest potential on the field, in class, and at home.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Engineering (M Eng)

Location & Contact

Address 201 Old Main
University Park, PA  16802
United States
Contact Dr. Amr S. Elnashai
Phone: 814-865-7537
Fax: 814-863-4749

Penn State University Park