I want to go to grad school for computer engineering. I am in a non-STEM major. My GPA could be better. However, a lot of my prior undergrad research has been in interdisciplinary work ( mixing Computer Science with ethnography or sociology ). All together, I have about 4 research experiences in my undergrad career in either pure Computer Science or Computer Science mixed with ethno/soc. How will this affect my chances of being admitted into grad school for directly into a PhD? Also if I just decide to do a Masters, how much does prior undergrad research correlate to funding for a Master's?

  • Why computer engineering? Do you have an interest in computer hardware, such as VLSI design? Computer science and computer engineering are quite different, especially at the graduate level. Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 22:11
  • @MikeBorkland im pretty interested in applying signals processing algos to sociology. Also I want to see the feasibility of making custom made computer hardware for computational sociology ( if at all needed ) Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 13:51
  • That's interesting. I'm not sure if custom-made hardware would provide any benefits... algorithms would though. Do you know anything about computer hardware? Do you know what a transistor is? Can you make a basic logic circuit from a truth table? Can you draw a diagram of a CMOS inverter circuit? All these are very, very basic questions that anyone with a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering would be able to answer. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 15:50
  • @MikeBorkland No I can't. However, I assume a PhD program would make me take pre-reqs to do this however. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Your research in computer science is "somewhat close" to computer engineering. Plus the fact that you've demonstrated your "research" capabilities. That should help your grad school application.

The big question mark would be your abilities in engineering. The way to remove these doubts is to take, and do well in engineering courses.

Getting into a PhD program, while doable, might be a bit of a stretch. It's possible to make a "lateral" transfer into a Master's program, however. That's where you should take engineering courses to prove your abilities in this area.

  • Can you elaborate more on This? Especially why you put in quotes "Research" and "somewhat close" Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 16:48
  • @dabberson567: Graduate programs will vary in their requirements. A few will want certain things exactly. You won't fit these programs. But a number of programs are looking for raw talent, and will accept reasonable substitutes for their required credentials. Your background will likely fall into some programs' "reasonable substitutes" category. In those cases, your chances of getting in are likely better than you think, even though you have the "wrong" background, or at least not the "right" one.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 0:03

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