Is a general engineering degree good enough if I want to work with computer engineering? More details on the comments


I’m a rising senior who’s considering Swarthmore. However, they only offer a general engineering degree, while I am already set on computer eng. It seems you can delve deeper into specific areas through the electives, but your degree will still be titled “General Engineering”. Would that harm me in the long run? I would like to work in NYC afterward and have enough technical flexibility to hop from hardware-related projects to software engineering and the like. I’m particularly interested in working with end-user gadgets, like electronics, phones, smart-stuff, VR, etc.

1 Like

First, I’m not advocating for Cal Poly over any other school. I just grabbed this because I’m very familiar with the program and I know where to find the course catalog. My son holds a BS/MS in ME (mechatronics concentration) from Cal Poly. You should do the same exercise with other schools that you are interested in.

What I want you to look at are the courses offered. There are more CompE courses at Cal Poly than all engineering courses combined at Swarthmore. What you need to ask yourself, be it Cal Poly, Purdue, Illinois, Berkeley, or wherever, is can you get close to replicating their experience at Swarthmore. Those are the students you will be competing with for jobs.

My personal take is that you’d be fine with a CS degree from Swarthmore, but at a big disadvantage if you want to do CompE.


If you want to work in computing, CS is probably a better fit major, although you may want to take a few ENGR electives if you are interested in computer hardware. The hardware-related courses would be CPSC 052 / ENGR 025, ENGR 015, and possibly ENGR 011, 028, 073).

Be aware that Swarthmore’s CS department is not large enough to handle the student demand:


IMO, the most important aspect of finding colleges to put on your list is if they have your major.

What is attracting you to Swat?



Thank you for replying. It’s mostly fit, as I’ve been told, as well as the possibility to get full aid as an international student. Some people have urged me to apply because they think the office would like me for a number of reasons.

As an international student, it’s going to be very difficult for you to get full aid. Swat is need aware for international students.