Computer Systems Engineering

Electronic and Communications Engineering - BEng (Hons)

UCAS code H619

2019

Spectacular advances in electronics, computing and communications have made a huge impact on modern life. Studying Electronic and Communications Engineering at Kent you become a part of this revolution, and gain the knowledge and skills to make your own mark in this exciting field.

2019

Overview

Electronics-based products play a vital role in our daily lives.  Examples include diagnostic equipment used in modern hospitals, broadband, satellite, and wireless communication technologies, and consumer electronics in the home.  At Kent, our research led degrees mean our graduates can work at the forefront of the major areas of electronic engineering and you will combine theory with practical and project work, turning ideas into real systems.  

We have strong links with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and our student work has won international prizes.  Also, our visiting industrial professors contribute a strong industrial relevance of our courses.  

Our degree programme

This programme covers all aspects of electronic engineering, which means on graduation you can enter any branch of electronics.

Your first year lays the foundation for the rest of your studies and includes modules on computer systems, electronic circuits, engineering analysis and mathematics. You also complete a robotics project which gives you the chance to construct a robot.

In your second year, you further develop your understanding of the field, gaining further practical experience. As your knowledge grows you discover which areas particularly interest you, so that in your final year you can begin to specialise in preparation for your final-year project.

Year in industry

It is possible to take this programme with a year in industry, Electronic and Communications Engineering with a Year in Industry.

MEng programme

We also offer Electronic and Communications Engineering MEng, a four-year programme which allows you to focus in depth on particular topics.

Foundation year

If you do not have the qualifications for direct entry on to one our degree programmes, you can take Electronic and Communications Engineering with a Foundation Year.

Study resources

We provide first-class facilities to support your studies, including:

  • 120-seat multi-purpose engineering laboratory
  • four air-conditioned computer suites housing around 150 high-end computers
  • CAD and development software
  • PCB and surface-mount facilities
  • an anechoic chamber
  • 3D body scanner
  • motion-capture studio
  • mechanical workshop staffed with skilled mechanical engineers.

Professional links

The School has strong links with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). We have several visiting industrial professors who contribute to the strong industrial relevance of our programmes.

Extra activities

There are many ways to get involved in School life. You could become a student representative, giving students a voice on School committees or become a student ambassador and work with us in secondary schools to promote engineering and technology.

We also host events where you can meet industry experts and former students.

In addition, you can take part in student-led societies including:

  • TinkerSoc – a society that embraces all forms of technology, where you build, hack and make things.

Independent rankings

Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent scored 90.7 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019.

In the National Student Survey 2018, over 86% of final-year Electronic and Electrical Engineering students who completed the survey, were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Of Electronic and Electrical Engineering students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 94% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE). 

Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental behaviour and components (hardware and software) of a typical computer system, and how they collaborate to manage resources and provide services in scales from small embedded devices up to the global internet. The module has two strands: 'Computer Architecture' and 'Operating Systems and Networks,' which form around 35% and 65% of the material respectively. Both strands contain material which is of general interest to computer users; quite apart from their academic value, they will be useful to anyone using any modern computer system:

[a] Computer Architecture

- Data representation: Bits, bytes and words. Numeric and non-numeric data. Number representation.

- Computer architecture: Fundamental building blocks (e.g. registers). The fetch/execute cycle. Instruction sets and types.

- Data storage: Memory hierarchies and associated technologies. Physical and virtual memory.

- Sustainability. Energy consumption of computer systems: ways that this can be reduced and methods to estimate use.

[b] Operating Systems and Networks

- Operating systems principles. Abstraction. Processes and resources. Security. UNIX-style operating system fundamentals.

- Device interfaces: Handshaking, buffering, programmed and interrupt-driven i/o. Direct Memory Access.

- File Systems: Physical structure. File and directory organisation, structure and contents. Naming hierarchies and access. Backup.

- Fundamentals of networking and the Internet.

- Networks and protocols: LANs and WANs, layered protocol design. The TCP/IP protocol stack; theory and practice. Connection-oriented and connectionless communication. Unicast, multicast and broadcast. Naming and addressing. Application protocols; worked examples (e.g. SMTP, HTTP).

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ELECTRIC CIRCUITS

SINUSOIDAL STEADY-STATE ANALYSIS

The phasor concept. Phasor relationships for R, L and C elements. Circuit laws using phasors. Thevenin & Norton equivalents and source transformations. Node voltage and mesh current analysis using phasors; supernodes and supermeshes. Superposition in AC analysis.

AC STEADY STATE POWER

Electric power. Instantaneous power. Average power. Effective value of a sinusoidal waveform. Maximum power transfer and conjugate matching. The transformer. The ideal transformer. Using transformers in circuit matching.

TWO-PORT NETWORKS

Definition and calculation of Z, Y, H and AB parameters. Relations between various parameters. Symmetric, reciprocal and unilateral two-ports. Input and output impedances and transfer functions of terminated two-ports. Two-port interconnections. Analysis and design of simple feedback amplifiers using two-port approach.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS

INTRODUCTION TO SEMICONDUCTORS

Atomic structure. Semiconductors, conductors and insulators. Conduction in semiconductors. N-type and P-type semiconductors. The PN junction, formation of the depletion region. Biasing the PN junction, current voltage

characteristics.

DIODES

The pn diode, ideal and practical models. Diode applications: half-wave rectifier, full-wave rectifier, power supplies. Diode limiters.

Zener diode, operation and characteristics. Using Zener diodes for voltage regulation. Zener limiting.

Optical diodes, operation and applications: light-emitting, photodiode.

BIPOLAR JUNCTION TRANSISTOR (BJT).

Basic operation, characteristics, parameters and biasing. Transistor as an amplifier. Transistor as a switch. Transistor packages. BJT bias circuits, base bias, emitter bias, voltage-divider bias. DC load line. Small-signal BJT amplifiers. Hybrid parameters and r-parameters. AC equivalent circuit and AC load line. Common-emitter amplifier, equivalent circuit and voltage gain. Emitter-follower, equivalent circuit and voltage gain.

FIELD-EFFECT TRANSISTOR (FET)

Junction field-effect transistor (JFET), n- and p-channel, operation, characteristics. Self-bias and voltage divider bias. Metal Oxide Semiconductor FET (MOSFET), depletion and enhancement mode devices, characteristics, biasing. FET amplifier circuits.

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This module introduces students to main electric components (i.e. resistors, capacitors, inductors, and voltage and current sources) and to operational amplifiers, which are the basic building blocks of many circuits; how do they work and what properties do they have; what are their main usages in circuits and systems; and how to practically perform simple measurements and tests. Also, fundamentals of analysis of electric circuits and the main circuit laws are taught. The teaching of this module makes an extensive use of a computer-aided electronic circuit design and simulation tools to assist in and to amplify traditional lecture-based learning, in addition to worked example and practical sessions. It also includes a mini-project in which students gain practical laboratory experience, including design, physical construction and testing of an example operational amplifier circuit. The module requires some elementary mathematical skills.

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This module is designed to provide experience in the practical and management aspects of project work. It is supported by a lecture course and weekly supervised laboratory sessions. After an initial hands-on introduction to use of bench equipment and the Computer Aided Design (CAD) and fabrication of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB), the project consists of constructing a robot that incorporates an additional PCB of your own construction and the development of software of your own design to enable your robot to address a specific set of tasks.

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The module provides an introduction to the basic knowledge required to understand, design and write computer programs and the basic principles underlying the process of Software Engineering. No previous programming 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.

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15

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.

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15

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.

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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.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

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.

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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.

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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.

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This module provides students with a general knowledge of the principles of microwave communication technologies and how signals are transmitted via transmission lines. The module builds on this knowledge by introducing you to some of the microwave circuits used in modern communication systems.

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15

This module builds on the knowledge of the circuit theory and electronic circuits learned in the first year and introduces more advanced analytical and computer-aided techniques of circuit analysis and design in both frequency- and time-domain as well as at very high frequencies (RF and microwaves). It uses these techniques to teach the operation and design principles of various advanced analogue electronic circuits (e.g. filters and oscillators). RF and microwave circuits and technology are also introduced, together with necessary analysis and design skills. Computer simulation and design software is used extensively to gain better understanding of the circuits. Practical experiments in the lab sessions are used so as to help students gain some practical skills in filter designs.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

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

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This module presents the main principles of modern communication systems and how these are applied in real communications systems. The module provides specialist knowledge of examples of current systems, including antennas and propagation, mobile and satellite communication systems. In addition, you gain an awareness of some of the available products, systems, technologies and techniques in the field of communication systems.

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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.

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Information theory and Shannon capacity, information measure and mutual information, source coding and channel coding/decoding, multiuser communications.

Network architecture, topology. Access networks, voice and data. Transport networks and multiplexing. Local are networks, Ethernet, WiFi. TCP/IP networks and the Internet.

Optical communication systems. Propagation in optical fibres. Sources (LEDs, laser), modulation. Photodiodes, receivers. Optical components. System power budgets, noise and dispersion.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Teaching and assessment

Teaching includes practical work in conventional laboratory experiments or projects, lecture modules and examples classes, which develop your problem-solving skills, and staff hold regular ‘surgeries’ where you can discuss any questions you have. 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 Stage 3 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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • educate students to become engineers who are well-equipped for professional careers in development, research and production in industry and universities, and who are well-adapted to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing subject
  • produce professional electronic engineers with a well-balanced knowledge of electronic engineering
  • enable students to satisfy the professional requirements of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • provide academic guidance and welfare support for students
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and an environment where students can develop their potential.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • mathematical principles relevant to electronic and communications engineering
  • relevant scientific principles and methodology
  • advanced concepts of analogue and digital circuits and systems, telecommunications and instrumentation
  • the value of intellectual property and contractual issues
  • business and management techniques to achieve engineering objectives
  • the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct in electronic engineering
  • current manufacturing practice with particular emphasis on product safety and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards and directives
  • characteristics of materials, equipment, processes and products
  • codes of practice, industry standards and quality issues
  • contexts in which engineering knowledge can be applied.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

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

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • use of mathematical techniques to analyse problems in electronic engineering
  • the ability to work in an engineering laboratory environment and to use a wide range of electronic equipment, workshop equipment and computer aided design (CAD) tools for the practical realisation of electronic circuits
  • the ability to work with technical uncertainty
  • apply quantitative methods and computer software relevant to electronic engineering to solve engineering problems
  • the ability to design electronic circuits or 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
  • use technical literature and other information sources and apply it to a design
  • apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocation and execution of a design project and evaluate outcomes
  • prepare technical reports and presentations.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • generating, analysing, presenting and interpreting data
  • using information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills and working as part of a team
  • communication by various means: written, verbal and visual
  • learning effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development
  • critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
  • managing time and resources within an individual project and a group project.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates go into careers in areas such as: 

  • electronic engineering and computing
  • telecommunications industries including radio, television and satellite communications;
  • medical electronics, instrumentation and industrial process control.

They have gone on to work in companies including:

  • BAE Systems
  • Nokia
  • the Royal Navy
  • Xilinx
  • British Energy
  • RDDS. 

Some graduates choose to go on to postgraduate study, for example, MSc Advanced Communication Engineering (RF Technology and Communications), Advanced Digital Systems Engineering and Information Security and Biometrics.

Professional recognition

For over 30 years, our BEng and MEng courses in Electronic and Communications Engineering have been accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which enables fast-track career progression as a professional engineer.

Help finding a job

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

In addition to the technical skills you acquire on this programme, you also gain key transferable skills including:

  • planning and organisation
  • leadership
  • effective communication. 

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

The course didn’t just teach me the technical knowledge needed to be an engineer, it taught me how to solve problems and how to approach engineering challenges.

Scott Broadley Electronic and Communications Engineering MEng

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. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB including B in Mathematics and a science/technology subject (Physics, Computing or Electronics)

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.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Engineering: Distinction, Distinction, Merit including Distinction in Further Mathematics for Technicians

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL including Mathematics (not Mathematics Studies) 5 at HL or 6 at SL, and a science subject 5 at HL or 6 at SL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students programmes. 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. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

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

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £19000

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.* 

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.

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.

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.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.