Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Advanced Electronic Systems Engineering - MSc

2019

The Advanced Electronic Systems Engineering MSc is a broad programme in advanced electronics, reflecting the latest developments in telecommunications, embedded systems, instrumentation and control.

2019

Overview

Despite this considerable breadth, an extensive range of options allows students to tailor the course to suit their individual requirements. The programme enables students to develop advanced skills in various aspects of modern hardware, software and firmware engineering.

The programme reflects the latest developments in electronic system design and illustrates the use of electronic systems technologies in instrumentation, measurement and control. You develop the skills to design and build complex electronic systems, in a wide range of applications, using appropriate technologies and techniques.

We have developed the programme with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students will be in a strong position to build a long-term career in this important discipline.

Student profiles

See what our students have to say.

About the School of Engineering and Digital Arts

The School successfully combines modern engineering and technology with the exciting field of digital media. Established over 40 years ago, the School has developed a top-quality teaching and research base, receiving excellent ratings in both research and teaching assessments.

The School undertakes high-quality research that has had significant national and international impact, and our expertise allows us to respond rapidly to new developments. Our 30 academic staff and over 130 postgraduate students and research staff provide an ideal focus to effectively support a high level of research activity. We have a thriving student population studying for postgraduate degrees in a friendly, supportive teaching and research environment, with research funding from the Research Councils UK, European research programmes, industrial and commercial companies and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence.

Our Electronic Systems Design Centre and Digital Media Hub provide training and consultancy for a wide range of companies. Many of our research projects are collaborative, and we have well-developed links with institutions worldwide.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts was ranked 21st in the UK for research intensity.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Course structure

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules.

Modules may include Credits

Fundamentals of Image Processing

General introduction to digital image processing; image acquisition, quantisation and representation; Affine transforms; image enhancement techniques: contrast manipulation, binarisation, noise removal (spatial and frequency domain); edge detection techniques; image segmentation: edge-based, region- based, watershed; Hough transform; image feature extraction; advanced image processing: morphological operations, colour image processing, various image transforms (Fourier, wavelet, etc).

Fundamentals of Pattern Recognition

Patterns and pattern classification, and the role of classification in a variety of application scenarios, including security and biometrics. Basic concepts: pattern descriptors, pattern classes; invariance and normalisation. Feature-based analysis. Texture analysis. The classification problem and formal approaches. Basic decision theory and the Bayesian classifier. Cost and risk and their relationship; rejection margin and error-rate trade-off. Canonical forms of classifier description. Estimation of class- conditional distributions; bivariate and multivariate analysis. Euclidean and Mahalanobis distance metrics and minimum distance classifiers. Parametric and non-parametric classification strategies. Linear discriminant analysis. Clustering approaches, and relationship between classifier realisations. Practical case studies. Introduction to non-classical techniques such as neural network classification.

Security Applications and Image Analysis

Signature authentication and analysis, Digital watermarking, Content hidden in Images and Video, Steganography. Image forensics.

Implementation Essentials

Programming and data analysis using MatLab and other software tools as appropriate. Introduction to practical work using MatLab. Students not familiar with Matlab programming will be provided with appropriate introductory material before this lecture.

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Introduction to Matlab

Introduces the basics of the Matlab and Simulink programme environment and prepares the students for the Introduction to Matlab workshops.

Introductiion to the MSc Projects

Overall timetable and plan for the individual and group projects

Writing Better Technical English

As scientists and engineers, an ability to communicate information clearly through the written word is central to our professional activities. Whether we are publishing our research in an academic journal, writing a report for our employers or just summarising a piece of work for our records, the way in which we write will directly influence the quality and value of what we do.

In these lectures we will look at what determines the quality of formal writing, and how we can maximise the impact and clarity of what we write. Whether English is our native language or a second language, it is important critically to examine how we write if we are to express what we have to say in the best possible way. We will begin by examining the benefits of making more effort in our writing, and we will survey some of the common errors which often occur, showing how these can have an effect not just on the ease with which our work can be understood and absorbed but also on the precise meaning of what we say. We will explore some strategies for improving writing quality, and will consider some guidelines for the development of longer-term writing skills. We will explore a number of examples of "good" and "bad" writing, and everyone will have an

opportunity to take part in some simple exercises.

Literature Review: Techniques and Tools

Surveys using networked electronic information sources, on-line databases, inter-library loan facilities, private communications, etc. Identification of a technical area worthy of research, definition of the state- of -the-art in a given field, definition of the research project, and research proposals. Patent search.

Research Project Management

Time management. Resources management. Project management software (MS Project). Use of logbooks. Data management. Data security. Team working skills.

Research Publications

Structure, content and procedures. Project reports and theses. Journal and conference papers. Technical presentations. Use of references. Writing up of abstract, introduction and conclusions. Submission, refereeing and amendments. Effective use of figures, drawings and tables. MS WORD, ENDNOTE and LATEX.

Presentations and Research Results

Objectives and structure. Audience analysis. Rehearsal and delivery. Design of visual aids. Use of computerized projection facilities. Multi-media approach. Poster design and poster presentation. Handling questions.

Interllectual Property Rights

Patents, patent rights and know-how. Copyright and copying. Design rights and registered designs. Research contracts and agreements. Confidentiality agreement.

Research Ethics

Ethics in engineering research. Research supervision. Modelling and simulation versus real experimental work. Processing and presentation of experimental data. Obfuscation in writing up research papers.

Systems Engineering

Understanding systems definitions, the context of projects and levels of systems engineering. System boundaries. Capturing requirements. System design methods. Validation and verification.

Team Dynamics

Project management phases, Tucker's team building model. People, psychological types. Influencing others and managing people. Leadership styles

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A major practical system will be developed either in an industrial context or within the department. There are no formal lectures - students will undertake the work in their own time under the regular supervision of a member of the academic staff and, where appropriate, industrial collaborators.

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Teaching and Assessment

The project module is examined by a presentation and dissertation. The Research Methods and Project Design module is examined by several components of continuous assessment. The other modules are assessed by examinations and smaller components of continuous assessment.  Students must gain credits from all the modules (180 credits in total). 

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • educate graduate engineers and equip them with advanced knowledge of electronic systems for careers in research and development in industry or academia
  • produce high-calibre engineers with experience in specialist and complex problem-solving skills and the techniques needed for electronics systems engineering in a number of application areas, including (but not exclusive to) instrumentation, imaging, control and communication systems
  • provide you with proper academic guidance and welfare support
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer you an environment where you can develop your potential
  • to strengthen and expand opportunities for industrial collaboration with the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • advanced electronic systems engineering concepts in a range of fields, and an awareness of developing technologies in these fields
  • mathematical and computer models for the analysis of electronic systems (particularly control, instrumentation, image processing and communication networking systems)
  • design processes relevant to a range of electronic systems (particularly of control, instrumentation, image processing and communication networking systems)
  • the characteristics of materials, equipment, processes and products, such as digital communication networks processes, image processing architectures and devices, instrumentation sensors, practical feedback controllers
  • a thorough appreciation of methodologies of research which are essential to engineers involved in research and development projects.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to use fundamental knowledge to explore new and emerging technologies
  • the ability to understand the limitations of mathematical and computer-based problem-solving and assess the impact in particular cases
  • the ability to extract data pertinent to an unfamiliar problem and apply it in the solution
  • the ability to analyse a problem and to independently develop a system-level specification of a solution, based on a sound conceptual understanding of the component parts of the system and how they may best be implemented
  • the ability to apply engineering techniques, taking account of commercial and industrial constraints.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to apply knowledge of design processes in unfamiliar situations and to generate innovative designs to fulfil new needs, particularly in the fields of wireless communications, networks and embedded systems
  • the ability to design, debug and test hardware/software systems through experiment and simulation and to critically evaluate the results
  • the ability to use a range of CAD tools to analyse problems and develop original/innovative solutions
  • the ability to search and obtain technical information, critically evaluate it and apply it to a design
  • the ability to act independently in the planning, resource allocation and execution of a project
  • the ability to prepare and present technical and non-technical reports and presentations.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of information and communications technology, project management and presentation tools
  • personal and interpersonal skills, the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility as an individual and as a member of a team
  • an ability to communicate effectively to different audiences, using a range of digital media techniques and to present complex data clearly using good written English
  • the ability to make decisions in complex situations using critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
  • the ability to manage time and resources within an individual and group project
  • the ability to learn independently for the purpose of continuing professional development.

Careers

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2015 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

We have developed our programmes with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students are in a strong position to build a long-term career in this important discipline. You develop the skills and capabilities that employers are looking for, including problem solving, independent thought, report-writing, time management, leadership skills, team-working and good communication.

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to gain worthwhile experience and develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers value.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School is well equipped with a wide range of laboratory and computing facilities and software packages for teaching and research support. There is a variety of hardware and software for image acquisition and processing, as well as extensive multimedia computing resources. The School has facilities for designing embedded systems using programmable logic and ASIC technology, supported by CAD tools and development software from international companies, including Cadence™, Xilinx™, Synopsys™, Altera™, National Instruments® and Mentor Graphics™. The SMT laboratory can be used for prototyping and small-volume PCB manufacture. A well-equipped instrumentation research laboratory is also available.

Students have access to commercial and in-house software tools for designing microwave, RF, optoelectronics and antenna systems (such as ADS™, CST™, HFSS™) and subsequent testing with network and spectrum analysers up to 110 GHz, an on-wafer prober, and high-quality anechoic chambers.

Support

As a postgraduate student, you are part of a thriving research community and receive support through a wide-ranging programme of individual supervision, specialised research seminars, general skills training programmes, and general departmental colloquia, usually with external speakers. We encourage you to attend and present your work at major conferences, as well as taking part in our internal conference and seminar programmes.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: IEEE Transactions; IET Journals; Electronics Letters; Applied Physics; Computers in Human Behaviour.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A 2.2 or higher honours degree in Electronics, Computer Engineering (not Computer Science) or a related electronics discipline, Physics or Mathematics (especially Applied).

Computer Science degrees with sufficient mathematical content may be considered on an individual basis (pre-sessional Maths may be required).

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Communications

The Group’s activities cover system and component technologies from microwave to terahertz frequencies. These include photonics, antennae and wireless components for a broad range of communication systems. The Group has extensive software research tools together with antenna anechoic chambers, network and spectrum analysers to millimetre wave frequencies and optical signal generation, processing and measurement facilities. Current research themes include:

  • photonic components
  • networks/wireless systems
  • microwave and millimetre-wave systems
  • antenna systems
  • radio-over-fibre systems
  • electromagnetic bandgaps and metamaterials
  • frequency selective surfaces.

Intelligent Interactions

The Intelligent Interactions group has interests in all aspects of information engineering and human-machine interactions. It was formed in 2014 by the merger of the Image and Information Research Group and the Digital Media Research Group.

The group has an international reputation for its work in a number of key application areas. These include: image processing and vision, pattern recognition, interaction design, social, ubiquitous and mobile computing with a range of applications in security and biometrics, healthcare, e-learning, computer games, digital film and animation.

  • Social and Affective Computing
  • Assistive Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Mobile, Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing
  • Sensor Networks and Data Analytics
  • Biometric and Forensic Technologies
    Behaviour Models for Security
  • Distributed Systems Security (Cloud Computing, Internet of Things)
  • Advanced Pattern Recognition (medical imaging, document and handwriting recognition, animal biometrics)
  • Computer Animation, Game Design and Game Technologies
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Digital Arts, Virtual Narratives

Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems

The Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems Research Group comprises a mixture of highly experienced, young and vibrant academics working in three complementary research themes – embedded systems, instrumentation and control. The Group has established a major reputation in recent years for solving challenging scientific and technical problems across a range of industrial sectors, and has strong links with many European countries through EU-funded research programmes. The Group also has a history of industrial collaboration in the UK through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

The Group’s main expertise lies primarily in image processing, signal processing, embedded systems, optical sensors, neural networks, and systems on chip and advanced control. It is currently working in the following areas:

  • monitoring and characterisation of combustion flames
  • flow measurement of particulate solids
  • medical instrumentation
  • control of autonomous vehicles
  • control of time-delay systems
  • high-speed architectures for real-time image processing
  • novel signal processing architectures based on logarithmic arithmetic.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Jim Ang: Senior Lecturer in Multimedia/Digital Systems

Human computer interaction; usability and playability design; computer game studies and interactive narrative; social computing and sociability design; virtual worlds; online communities and computer-mediated communication.

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Professor John Batchelor: Professor of Antenna Technology

Design and modelling of multi-band antennas for personal, on-body and mobile communication systems; passive RFID tagging/sensing and skin mounted transfer tattoo tags; reduced-size frequency selective structures (FSS and EBG) for incorporation into smart buildings for control of radio spectrum.

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Professor Farzin Deravi: Professor in Information Engineering, Head of School

Pattern recognition; information fusion; computer vision; image processing: image coding; fractals and self-similarity; biometrics; bio-signals; assistive technologies.

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Dr Christos Efstratiou: Lecturer in Ubiquitous Computing

Ubiquitous computing, mobile computing, social computing, Internet of Things, wireless sensor networks.

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Professor Steven Gao: Professor of RF/Microwave Engineering

Space antennas; smart antennas; microwave circuit and systems.

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Professor Nathan Gomes: Professor of Optical Fibre Communications

Optical-microwave interactions, especially fibreradio networks; optoelectronic devices and optical networks.

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Dr Richard Guest: Reader in Biometric Systems Engineering, Deputy Head of School

Image processing; biometrics technologies including usability, cybermetric linkages and standardisation; automated analysis of handwritten data; document processing.

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Dr Sanaul Hoque: Lecturer in Secure Systems Engineering

Computer vision; OCR; biometrics; security and encryption; multi-expert fusion and document modelling.

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Professor Gareth Howells: Professor of Secure Electronic Systems

Biometric security and pattern classification techniques especially deriving encryption keys from operating characteristics of electronic circuits and systems.

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Dr Benito Sanz-Izquierdo: Lecturer in Electronic Systems

Antennas and microwaves.

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Stephen Kelly: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Medical electronics, including: electrocardiology; speech assessment; telemedicine and computerbased assessment of clinical conditions.

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Dr Peter Lee: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Embedded systems; programmable architectures; high-speed signal processing; VLSI/ASIC design; neural networks; optical sensor systems and applications; image processing using VLSI.

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Dr Gang Lu: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Instrumentation

Advanced combustion instrumentation; visionbased instrumentation systems; digital image processing; condition monitoring.

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Dr Gianluca Marcelli: Lecturer in Engineering

The understanding of complex systems, in particular, biological and financial systems; using mathematical modelling such as molecular simulation, Brownian dynamics and network theory.

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Mr Robert Oven: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Modelling of ion implantation processes and ion diffusion into glass for integrated optic applications.

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Professor Ted Parker: Professor Emeritus of Radio Communications

Microwave antennas; frequency selective surfaces for microwave and millimetre wave multiband antennas (dichroics); radomes and frequency dependent screening for secure buildings.

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Dr Matthew Pepper: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Medical instrumentation: in particular in-shoe force measurement for gait analysis and rehabilitation engineering.

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Dr Konstantinos Sirlantzis: Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Systems

Pattern recognition; multiple classifier systems; artificial intelligence techniques; neural networks, genetic algorithms, and other biologically inspired computing paradigms; image processing; multimodal biometric models; handwriting recognition; numerical stochastic optimisation algorithms; nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory; Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods for sensor data fusion.

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Professor Mohammed Sobhy: Professor Emeritus of Electronics

Analysis and applications of nonlinear electronic systems.

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Professor Sarah Spurgeon: Professor of Control Engineering; Head of School of Engineering and Digital Arts

Fundamental developments in the area of nonlinear control and estimation, with a particular interest in variable structure and sliding mode systems; industrial and biomedical application of nonlinear control and estimation techniques.

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Dr Les Walczowski: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

The development of dynamic web applications, mobile applications and e-learning technology.

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Winston Waller: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Design for test; analogue and digital VLSI design; medical applications of VLSI and low power voltage circuit design.

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Dr Chao Wang: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Systems

Optical communications; microwave photonics; biophotonics.

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Professor Jiangzhou Wang: Professor of Telecommunications

Modulation; coding; MIMO; mobile communications; wireless sensor networks. 

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Dr Xinggang Yan: Senior Lecturer in Control Engineering

Nonlinear control; sliding mode control; decentralised control; fault detection and isolation.

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Professor Yong Yan: Professor of Electronic Instrumentation; Director of Research

Sensors; instrumentation; measurement; condition monitoring; digital signal processing; digital image processing; applications of artificial intelligence.

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Dr Paul Young: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Design and modelling of microwave and millimetrewave devices and antennas, especially substrate integrated waveguides and smart antennas.

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Dr Huiling Zhu: Reader in Communications

Wireless communications and networking especially OFDMA; radio resource allocation; distributed antenna systems; wireless relay networks; user-centric networks; cooperative communications.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Advanced Electronic Systems Engineering - MSc at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7940 £19000
Part-time £3970 £9500

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: