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Computer engineering

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR032
  • No. of Places: 175
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 455* points
  • Duration: 5 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.I., M.A.I. Optional: B.A.I. only
  • Specific Entry Requirements: See requirements
  • Course Options:

    Students who wish to study Computer engineering apply to the Engineering degree (TR032). The first two years are common to all Engineering students and at the end of the second-year students select Computer engineering as their specialist area.

    See TR032: Engineering (common entry programme) for details of the Freshman (first two) years.

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Computer engineering?

Computer engineering is about understanding how computer systems work, and also how they integrate with other systems that surround us. Take for example a modern-day car; a car contains many separate computer systems for controlling such things as the engine timing, the brakes and the air bags. To be able to design and construct such a car, the computer engineer needs a broad theoretical understanding of all these various sub-systems and how they interact. This might involve some mechanical engineering, thermodynamics and fluids as well as the computer systems themselves.

The impact of computer engineering has been more significant and more pervasive than that of many other disciplines. The mobile phone, the Internet and games consoles are all products that were not even imagined 30 years ago, but have now been realised by the ingenuity of computer engineers.

Computer engineers may design computer hardware, write computer programs, integrate the various sub-systems together or do all three. Computer engineers need good management skills and good people skills as they often get quickly promoted to project management positions.

The optional fifth year of the programme will allow students to study toward the M.A.I. Master's degree qualification with more advanced level of treatment of the topics listed above.

Why study Computer engineering in Trinity?

The School of Computer Science and Statistics which runs the Computer engineering programme is the oldest computer science department in Ireland. It consists of more than 60 academics and over 300 postgraduate students. The school was ranked in the top 1% of computer science schools in terms of research impact, while research funding in 2012 exceeded €10 million. Some famous spin-out companies from the school are Iona Technologies, Havok, Demonware and DAFT.

What will you study?

Third year courses cover:

  • Microprocessor systems (including building a microprocessor system) – all aspects of the principles, design, construction and characterisation of the hardware and system software of microprocessor-based computers.
  • Computer networks - protocols, behaviour and security of computer networks.
  • Operating systems and concurrent systems - programmes that coordinate, manage and control the allocation of computer resources to other programs; systems of programs designed to run alongside one another, in the same processor or in multiple connected processors.

In the fourth year, in addition to a course in engineering management and an engineering project, you will study:

Computer graphics - introduction to computer graphics: modelling, rendering and animation.

  • Computer vision - image processing, 3D vision, object recognition and tracking with reference to applications in healthcare, multimedia and robotics.
  • Computer architecture - distributed systems models, file servers, naming, recovery from failure, advanced topics and case studies, and the architecture of high-performance computer systems.
  • Data and knowledge engineering - file and database management, information structuring and retrieval, knowledge management, design and operation of rule-based systems, expert system applications, heuristic search and case-based reasoning.
  • Sustainable computing - this course introduces the foundations of sustainability and gives an appreciation for how energy is currently used in ICT and the problems created by the continuous growth of the ICT industry.
  • Augmented reality - interactive interfaces, 3D vision, design and development of interactive augmented reality games.
  • Security of networks and distributed systems - understanding of risk as it applies in distributed systems, tools available to control risk, security protocols such as Kerberos, TLS and digital rights management.

Practical work is emphasised throughout the third and fourth years. In the fifth optional year, which leads to an M.A.I. Master’s degree, students take a number of elective courses during the first semester. These courses include:

  • Fuzzy logic
  • Formal methods
  • Advanced computer architecture
  • Embedded systems
  • Distributed systems
  • Networked applications
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Real time animation

During the second semester each student undertakes a final year project that is assessed by a presentation and an end-of-year dissertation. Some examples of project areas include:

  • An investigation into Sugarscape
  • Automatic visualisation of Java programmes
  • CLP-based printing job scheduler
  • Character comparison using image processing
  • Statistical analysis of non-invasive high speed interconnect data
  • Genetic algorithms for programme optimisation
  • Virtual educational environments
  • Real-time smash simulation
  • Bluetooth IP with payment for services

Study abroad

You may choose to spend all of the penultimate year at a European university as part of the Erasmus, Cluster or Unitech programmes.


In the second half of the fourth year, M.A.I. students may have the opportunity to apply for internships in industry or in a research laboratory. Internships are subject to availability, and students generally compete for them.

Career opportunities

The demand for software and system designers will continue to grow within the next decade. When you graduate you will find opportunities for employment in software companies, financial institutions, large industrial organisations, research institutions and multinationals in Ireland as well as in Europe, the US and Japan.

Further information

Tel: +353 1 896 1765

Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateHC3 Mathematics
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C Mathematics