Computer Systems Engineering with a Year in Industry - BEng (Hons)

Overview

Advances in electronics, computing and communications have made a huge impact on every aspect of modern life. This programme gives you the expertise needed to design the computer systems that shape the way we live and includes a year of professional experience to enhance your career prospects.

The range of uses for computers is increasing all the time – from smartphones and tablets to aircraft flight control systems and global telecommunications. Our degree gives you up-to-date knowledge of computer hardware and software, and a background knowledge of electronics, communications systems and control theory.

The programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), on behalf of the Engineering Council. This allows graduates to follow an approved process to gain Chartered Engineer status.

Applicants for September 2020 entry can apply for a scholarship of a £2,000 one-off payment. For more information and to apply, see DA VINCI Academic scholarship.


Our degree programme

Computer technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics are rapidly evolving, so experts in these fields are in great demand. This degree is based on leading-edge research and has been designed with strong industrial input.

In your first and second years, you are introduced to a wide range of computing and engineering modules. You can study the theoretical background of digital technologies, communications principles and object-oriented programming, and take modules in robotics, computer interfacing and engineering mathematics.

Your final year allows you to specialise in a particular topic of interest. This could include computer networks and communication, computer security and cryptography, digital signal processing, digital control, digital systems design and embedded computer systems.

All years include project work that replicates industrial practice to maximise the employability of our graduates.

Year in industry

You take a work placement between the second and third years of your degree. This provides valuable workplace experience and can increase your professional contacts. 

Study resources

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts offers cutting-edge equipment and facilities, including:

  • four air-conditioned computer suites with 150 high-end computers
  • 120-seat engineering laboratory
  • extensive professional CAD development software
  • PCB and surface-mount facilities
  • mechanical workshop
  • Matlab for system modelling
  • anechoic chamber for EMC (pre-compliance testing) and antenna characterisation.

Kent School of Engineering and Digital Arts is undergoing a £3 million redevelopment and modernisation which is due for completion in July 2020. You gain state-of-the-art engineering and design facilities which include

  • a virtual reality suite
  • a production studio (including photography, video and green screen facilities)
  • a large teaching and design studio
  • engineering workshop and fabrication facilities
  • a dedicated makerspace. 

Extra activities

There are a number of student-led societies at Kent which you may want to join. These include

  • UKC Digital Media
  • Kent Engineering Society
  • TinkerSoc – Kent’s Maker Society. 

Professional network

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has a long history of collaboration with industry. We have a strong reputation for our placement year, matching dedicated students with a variety of organisations in the UK and overseas.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made. Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    ABB - BBC including B in Mathematics plus one other science/technology subject (Physics, Computing or Electronics).

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    DDD - DMM  in an Engineering subject including Further Maths/Further Maths for Engineering Technicians. Other subjects are considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL including Mathematics (not Mathematics Studies) 5 at HL or 6 at SL or HL Maths: Analysis and Approaches at 5 (not Applications and Interpretations), and a science subject 5 at HL or 6 at SL.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

The module provides techniques to design electronic circuits containing active and passive components and to appreciate the power issues and frequency response of circuits containing reactive elements. An introduction will be given to Electromagnetism for engineering purposes. An understanding of the fundamentals of Electronic Engineering is assumed and the module proceeds via a sequence of lectures supported by simple exercises designed to give practical experience of the concepts introduced in the lectures.

Find out more about EL303

The module provides an introduction to the basic knowledge required to understand, design and work with basic electronic circuits and the basic principles underlying the process of Electronic Engineering. No previous electronics experience is assumed and the module proceeds via a sequence of lectures supported by simple exercises designed to give practical experience of the concepts introduced in the lectures.

Find out more about EL305

The module provides a first attempt to translate a problem into a technical solution. An understanding of the relevant software and electronic hardware options to create a functional solution centred around a microcontroller will be developed. Design skills will be applied to define and fabricate the physical solution informed by the original requirement. An understanding of the fundamentals of Electronic Engineering is assumed and the module proceeds via lectures supported by supervision and technical advice. It is designed to give practical experience of the concepts introduced in the lectures of the prerequisite module.

Find out more about EL311

This module provides an introduction to contemporary digital systems design. Starting with the fundamental building blocks of digital systems the module outlines both theoretical and practical issues for implementation. Practical work includes the use of digital simulation and analysis software for implementing real-world problems.

Find out more about EL315

Mathematics is the fundamental language of engineering, allowing complex ideas to be formulated and developed. This course provides the sound basis of mathematical techniques and methods required by almost all other modules in the department's engineering courses. Topics covered include functions, set theory, complex numbers, calculus, linear algebra, statistics and probability. The lectures are supported by assessed examples classes, taken in small groups.

Find out more about EL318

This module expands the introductory mathematics covered in EL318 and provides students with the appropriate mathematical tools necessary for the further study of electronic, mechanical and computer systems. The main emphasis of the course is in applied calculus, which isused to solve real-world engineering problems.. The lectures are supported by assessed examples classes, taken in small groups.

Find out more about EL319

Mechanics:

Forces, moments and Equilibrium of rigid bodies

Dynamics of linear and rotary motion

Angular momentum, work and energy

Elementary stress-strain analysis

Engineering Design:

Transformation of a client requirement into an engineering design statement

Decomposition and evaluation of design requirements

Consideration of the human and ergonomic factors in the design process

CAD based drawings and models via CAD tools

Realisation of CAD models using computer numerical control manufacturing machines

Find out more about EL323

This module provides an introduction to object-oriented software development. Software pervades many aspects of most professional fields and sciences, and an understanding of the development of software applications is useful as a basis for many disciplines. This module covers the development of simple software systems. Students will gain an understanding of the software development process, and learn to design and implement applications in a popular object-oriented programming language. Fundamentals of classes and objects are introduced and key features of class descriptions: constructors, methods and fields. Method implementation through assignment, selection control structures, iterative control structures and other statements is introduced. Collection objects are also covered and the availability of library classes as building blocks. Throughout the course, the quality of class design and the need for a professional approach to software development is emphasised and forms part of the assessment criteria.

Find out more about CO320

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

This module builds on the foundation of object-oriented design and implementation found in CO320 to provide both a broader and a deeper understanding of and facility with object-oriented program design and implementation. Reinforcement of foundational material is through its use in both understanding and working with a range of fundamental data structures and algorithms. More advanced features of object-orientation, such as interface inheritance, abstract classes, nested classes, functional abstractions and exceptions are covered. These allow an application-level view of design and implementation to be explored. Throughout the course, the quality of application design and the need for a professional approach to software development is emphasised.

Find out more about CO520

This is a highly practical module that starts with a typical programming language environment suitable for microcontrollers, looks at software engineering issues, methods for the programming of an 32-bit microcontroller and concludes with the input/output of data using polling and interrupts. There are supporting practicals.

Find out more about EL560

The module introduces fundamental techniques employed in image processing and pattern recognition providing an understanding of how practical pattern recognition systems may be developed able to address the inherent difficulties present in real world situations. The material is augmented with a study of biometric and security applications looking at the specific techniques employed to recognise biometric samples.

Find out more about EL561

The module consists of a practical group project involving both hardware and software. Also included is a series of supporting lectures. Students work in groups of typically four. The project provides an opportunity for students to gain experience not only in technical areas such as PC based data acquisition, computer interfacing, visual programming and hardware design and construction but also in transferable skills including team working, project management, technical presentations and report writing.

Find out more about EL562

This module consists of a series of coherent lectures, laboratory sessions and examples classes. Technical topics covered in the module include basic error analysis, general principles of measurement and instrumentation, sensors and transducers, signal conditioning and data presentation elements, power supplies, and noise and screening. The students are taught to understand the role of the various elements of a measurement system and to specify and evaluate a measurement system for a given application. In practical laboratory sessions the students construct and test basic measurement systems using common sensors and electronic components. There is also a practical laboratory session on power supplies. Real-world case studies are provided to illustrate the applications and significance of measurement systems in industry.

Find out more about EL565

This module provides an overview of modern digital system implementation. It includes an introduction to CMOS circuit design, fabrication technologies, memory technologies, memory interfacing and an introduction to VHDL/Xilinx.

Find out more about EL568

This module introduces basic concepts and techniques for describing and analysing continuous and discrete time signals and systems. It also introduces the fundamentals of feedback control systems, covering techniques for the analysis and design of such systems.

Find out more about EL569

This module introduces fundamental concepts of communication systems and communications networks, including baseband signals and noise, analogue modulation/demodulation, sampling and digitisation, digital modulation/demodulation, network architecture and topologies, link layer, local area network and Internet protocols. Extensive practical work is included. Examples classes also support student learning.

Find out more about EL570

Year in industry

Students on a Year in Industry degree spend a year working in industry between Stages 2 and 3. The School has excellent industrial links, providing students with many placement opportunities. We have a dedicated Employability Officer who helps you apply for placements but please note that it is your responsibility to secure a placement, which cannot always be guaranteed. 

Students taking the Year in Industry programme are eligible to apply for a placement offered through the School's exchange agreement with Hong Kong City University.

There are many benefits to taking the Year in Industry. Information specific to this programme can be found in the Year in industry Engineering and Digital Arts leaflet.

Compulsory modules currently include

Students spend a year (minimum 30 weeks) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided via a dedicated Placement Support Officer and Placement Tutor within the School. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Note that participation in this module is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement, for which guidance is provided through the School in the years leading up to the placement. Students who do not obtain a placement will be required to transfer to the appropriate programme without a Year in Industry.

Find out more about EL791

Students spend a year (minimum 30 weeks) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided via a dedicated Placement Support Officer and Placement Tutor within the School. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Note that participation in this module is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement, for which guidance is provided through the School in the years leading up to the placement. Students who do not obtain a placement will be required to transfer to the appropriate programme without a Year in Industry.

Find out more about EL792

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

Introduction to the project, research techniques, poster design, report structure and writing.

Find out more about EL600

This module introduces the theory and practice of employing computers as the control and organisational centre of an electronic or mechanical system, and examines issues related to time critical systems. It also provides exposure to practical embedded systems design through practical work, with one assignment exploring the ideas of real-time operating systems introduced in the lectures and a second using a microcomputer programmed in 'C' to control the ignition timing of a simulated petrol engine.

Find out more about EL667

This module introduces the issues relating to the development of commercial electronic products. Topics include design, production techniques, the commercial background of a company, quality, safety and electromagnetic compatibility standards, electromagnetic compatibility issues and product reliability, ethical and environmental issues.

Find out more about EL671

This module looks at the methodology of designing and implementing large digital systems. Students taking this module will learn how to design reliable digital systems using synchronous design techniques, will learn how to design digital systems which are easily testable and will be able to use a range of software tools which synthesize digital systems using VHDL.

Find out more about EL673

This module continues the study of classical control and signal processing and further takes the classical control and signal processing developed in module EL569 into the digital domain. Tools are developed for analysis in the digital environment and there is a strong emphasis on design and evaluation.

Find out more about EL676

Optional modules may include

Security has always been an important aspect of computing systems but its importance has increased greatly in recent years. In this module you learn about areas where security is of major importance and the techniques used to secure them. The areas you look at include computer operating systems (and increasingly, distributed operating systems), distributed applications (such as electronic commerce over the Internet) and embedded systems (ranging from smart cards and pay-TV to large industrial plant and telecommunications systems).

Find out more about CO634

The scope of the module is outlined below. Note that topics will not necessarily be delivered in this order:

Professional issues and professional organisations.

Data privacy legislation, and other UK laws relating to the professional use of computer systems.

Criminal law relating to networked computer use, including new Anti-Terrorism legislation; and their application

Intellectual Property Rights, including Copyright, Patent and Contract Law.

Health & Safety issues.

Computer-based Projects, including the vendor-client relationship and professional responsibilities.

Find out more about CO643

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates for 2020/21 entry are £9,250:

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time £20500

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates in 2020 were £9,250.

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.* 

EU students

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. It will not affect students starting courses in academic year 2020/21, nor those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. It will also not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

DA VINCI Academic Scholarship

A one off payment for UK, EU and Overseas applicants who meet the criteria set by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts. For more information and to make an application, see DA VINCI Academic Scholarship

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching includes lectures, coursework and laboratory assignments, examples classes where you develop your problem-solving skills and regular staff ‘surgeries’. Practical work is carried out in air-conditioned laboratories, with state-of-the-art equipment and outstanding IT infrastructure.

Stage 1 modules are assessed by coursework and examination at the end of the year. Stage 2 and 3 modules, with the exception of the final-year project, are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. All years include project work to replicate industrial practice and develop skills to maximise employability.

Please note that progression thresholds apply. In particular, in order to be considered for a placement, students are required to achieve an overall mark at Stage 1 of at least 60%.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • educate students to become engineers, well-equipped for professional careers in development, research and production in industry and universities, and capable of meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing subject
  • produce computer systems engineers with specialist skills in hardware and software engineering, prepared for the complexities of modern computer system design
  • enable students to satisfy the professional requirements of the IET
  • provide academic guidance and welfare support for all students
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer students an environment where they can develop their potential.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • mathematical principles relevant to computer systems engineering
  • scientific principles and methodology relevant to computer systems engineering
  • advanced concepts of embedded systems, signals and image processing, control, computer communications and operating systems
  • the value of intellectual property and contractual issues
  • business and management techniques which may be used to achieve engineering objectives
  • the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct in computer systems engineering
  • current manufacturing practice with particular emphasis on product safety and EMC standards and directives
  • characteristics of materials, equipment, processes and products
  • appropriate codes of practice, industry standards and quality issues
  • contexts in which engineering knowledge can be applied.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectual abilities:

  • analysis and solution of hardware and software engineering problems using appropriate mathematical methods
  • the ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support study of computer systems engineering
  • the use of engineering principles and how to apply them to analyse key computer systems engineering processes
  • the ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques
  • the ability to apply and understand a systems approach to computer systems engineering problems
  • the ability to investigate and define a problem and identify constraints including cost drivers, economic, environmental, health and safety and risk assessment issues
  • the ability to use creativity to establish innovative, aesthetic solutions while understanding customer and user needs, and ensuring fitness for purpose of all aspects of the problem including production, operation, maintenance and disposal
  • the ability to demonstrate the economic and environmental context of the engineering solution.

Subject-specific skills

You develop subject-specific skills including:

  • the use of mathematical techniques to analyse and solve hardware and software problems
  • the ability to work in an engineering laboratory environment and to use electronic and workshop equipment, and CAD tools to create electronic circuits
  • the ability to work with technical uncertainty
  • the ability to apply quantitative methods and computer software relevant to computer systems engineering in order to solve engineering problems
  • the ability to implement software solutions using a range of structural and object- oriented languages
  • the ability to design hardware or software systems to fulfil a product specification and devise tests to appraise performance
  • awareness of the nature of intellectual property and contractual issues and an understanding of appropriate codes of practice and industry standards
  • the ability to use technical literature and other information sources and apply it to a design
  • the ability to apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocation and execution of a design project and evaluate outcomes
  • the ability to prepare technical reports and presentations.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills including:

  • the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • the use of information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills and working as a member of a team
  • effective communication (in writing, verbally and through drawings)
  • effective learning for the purpose of continuing professional development
  • critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
  • how to manage time and resources within an individual project and a group project

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

Independent rankings

Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent scored 90% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Over 94% of Electronic and Electrical Engineering graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

Careers

Graduate destinations

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has an excellent record of student employability. Previous graduates have gone on to careers in:

  • design of electronic and computer systems
  • software engineering
  • real-time industrial control systems
  • computer communications networks.

Other graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • BAE Systems
  • RAF
  • CISCO
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (MOD).

Help finding a job

Employers are always keen to employ graduates with knowledge of the work environment and some students receive job offers from their placement company.

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts holds an annual Employability and Careers Day where you can meet local and national employers and discuss career opportunities. Ongoing support is provided by the School's dedicated Employability Officer.

The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Professional recognition

Our programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which enables fast-track career progression as a professional engineer.

Apply for Computer Systems Engineering with a Year in Industry - BEng (Hons)

Full-time applicants

Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre. 

The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.

Application deadlines

See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines. 

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

Discover Uni information

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Discover Uni is designed to support prospective students in deciding whether, where and what to study. The site replaces Unistats from September 2019.

Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

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Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.