VLSI Engineering



How Smart Is Your Hardware?|
As the Internet of Things promises to take devices and objects online, there’s even greater pressure on the underlying hardware needed to make things “smart.” Whether your focus is wireless communications, logic design, verification, synthesis, physical implementation, circuit design, testing or manufacturing integrated circuit products, you’ll need to constantly refresh your skill set to meet the demands of a changing industry. Our VLSI Engineering certificate offers opportunities to practice hardware skills using real EDA tools and a server with quad-core CPU and high memory. In other words, we’ll help you make the world a smarter place.

Pick up skills course by course or declare candidacy for the certificate to add a UC credential to your resume.

Five Tracks of Study
Take your pick between our Design Methodology, Logic and Functional Design, SystemVerilog and Verification, Physical Design and Timing Closure, and Circuit Design tracks to discover skills you can put to work.

Hands-On Practice
Gain real-world hardware skills by using electronic design automation tools in our state-of-the-art lab.

The Profession

Hardware Isn’t Hard to Find

Hardware designers and developers shape the technology we need to make computers faster, more efficient and, in every sense of the word, smarter. Depending on your specialty, our VLSI Engineering curriculum offers the skills you need to compete in various industries, notably:
•  Integrated circuit
​•  ASIC
•  Semiconductor
•  EDA
•  IOT devices and systems


Average Earnings
The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers was $111,730 in May 2015. –Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Market Relevance
It is predicted that the Internet of Things (IoT) will take millions of devices online, and as many as a quarter million IoT applications will be developed by 2020.

Job Market
“Gartner [Research] believes that by 2017, about half of all IoT products will be marketed by companies that are less than three years old, suggesting a significant opportunity for innovative new engineering graduates.” – IEEE Job Site


Program Objectives
As a graduate of the VLSI Engineering certificate program, you can develop the skills to:
•  Implement Verilog modeling of digital logic
•  Write assertions for formal verification using SystemVerilog
•  Build an advanced UVM verification environment
•  Understand IO technologies such as PCI Express, Ethernet and Fibre Channel
•  Complete practical designs with Xilinx FPGAs


Program Format

UCSC Extension’s VLSI Engineering courses are offered at UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus, a beautiful facility located on the corner of Scott and Bowers in Santa Clara. Many of our courses are available online. Choose courses according to your interest or declare candidacy in the certificate for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

Required: 14-unit minimum
To complete the certificate, you must complete a total of 14 units, with at least 2 core (*) courses


Design Methodology
•  Developing the Nanometer ASIC: From Spec to Silicon, 2 units
•  Practical Design with Xilinx FPGAs, 3 units

Logic & Functional Design
•  Digital Logic Design Using Verilog*, 3 units
•  Practical DFT Concepts for ASICs: With Nanometer Test Enhancements,* 3 units
•  IO Concepts and Protocols: PCI Express, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel, 3 units
•  Digital Design with FPGA, 3 units 

SystemVerilog & Verification
•  SystemVerilog Essentials: Functional Verification and Simulation, 1.5 units
​•  SystemVerilog for ASIC and FPGA Design, 3 units
•  SystemVerilog Assertions and Formal Verification, 3 units
•  Advanced Verification with SystemVerilog OOP Testbench,* 3 units
•  System and Functional Verification Using UVM (Universal Verification Methodology), 3 units

Physical Design and Timing Closure
•  Physical Design Flow From Netlist to GDSII*, 3 units
•  ASIC Physical Design, Advanced, 3 units
•  Timing Closure in IC Design, 3 units

Circuit Design
•  Low-Power Design of Nano-Scale Digital Circuits, 3 units
•  Analog IC Design, Introduction*, 3 units
•  IO Design Fundamentals, 3 units
•  Wireless Communications and Mobile Antenna Design, Introduction, 3 units
•  Jitter Essentials, 1.5 units
•  Comprehensive Signal and Power Integrity for High-Speed Digital Systems, 3 units

Related Electives
•  Embedded System Hardware Architectures, Introduction, 3 units
•  System Design for Low Power Management, 1 unit

You will need a degree in a technical field or equivalent knowledge acquired through training and experience in hardware design and development. Experience with UNIX and/or LINUX is required for the lab sessions. Knowledge of a programming language (e.g., C, Perl or Bash Shell) may be helpful.

It is recommended that you take at least one course from the 'Design Methodology' category. Other courses can be taken based on your interests and professional levels. For beginners, take 'Introduction' courses before 'Advanced'. Also of Interest courses listed may substitute for one elective, subjected to approval by the Academic Department.

Want to learn more about our curriculum in person? Join us for a free Info Session to learn more about our courses, faculty, and program requirements. Learn more on our Events page.

The rough cost of the VLSI Engineering certificate is estimated at $5,800.



No application is required to enroll in our courses or certificate programs. Information about our open enrollment process can be found on our Enrollment page. If you have any questions about our programs, please contact the UCSC Extension Outreach office by phone at 408-861-3860, or by email at extensionprogram@ucsc.edu.

From the schedule below, click on a course title to see sections available for enrollment. You may view the full course schedule, or enroll in the course, by clicking the respective button. The course type offerings (classroom, online, blended) are guidelines and subject to change. A blended (hybrid) course has both classroom and online components.

Declaring Candidacy

If you intend to pursue a certificate, declaring candidacy establishes program requirements early in your studies, so any subsequent curriculum changes do not affect your progress. It does not limit what courses you can take; and it helps you structure your professional development program for maximum benefit to you. Go the declare candidacy page to establish your requirements for this program. Certificate program requirements must be completed within three years of declaring candidacy.

Course Schedule

1. Required Certificate Review
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
O-CE0186 VLSI Engineering Certificate Completion Review Online Online Online Online
2. Core Courses
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
3. Electives
4. Events