Computer Systems Engineering

Electronic and Communications Engineering with a Foundation Year - BEng (Hons)

UCAS code H605

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

The Foundation Year aims to extend access to university education to students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and age groups and prepares these students for our three-year Engineering degrees. 

In your Foundation Year, you are mainly taught by the University’s academic staff via lectures, example classes and laboratory sessions and the knowledge you gain is, in most cases, equivalent to A level standard. While in your Foundation Year, you can take part in all student activities. On successful completion of your Foundation Year, you move on to the first year of our BEng programme.

Our BEng 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.

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 was ranked 11th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

For graduate prospects, Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent was ranked 13th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Of Electronic and Electrical Engineering students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 95% 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.

Foundation year

This programme is for students who do not have the qualifications needed for direct entry to Stage 1 of our degree programmes. It covers electronics, computing, physics and mathematics.

If you successfully complete the foundation year, you can go on to take either the Electronic and Communications Engineering programmes mentioned above or Computer Systems Engineering.

Modules may include Credits

This module introduces students to the mathematics of calculus and its applications in engineering. Examples classes are provided to support the student learning.

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15

This module introduces students to the basic principles of electro-magnetism and electrostatics that are necessary in order to understand modern electronic and communications systems. Practical work and examples classes are included to assist the student learning.

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15

DC CIRCUITS

Electrical quantities, circuit theory, circuit calculations and theorems.

MEASUREMENTS

General measurement theory

Use of electronic instruments

REPORT WRITING

Structure of reports, treatment of errors, conclusions

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15

This module introduces students to electronic components, circuits and systems. By the end of this module students should be able to understand the operation of some important electronic circuits. Practical work is included in this module which includes a short constructional project. Examples classes also support the student learning.

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15

This module consists of a series of coherent lectures, laboratory sessions and practical classes. Technical topics covered in the module include logic gates and networks, Boolean algebra, and their applications. It also introduces semiconductor material and devices in theory and their practical applications.

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15

This module introduces MATLAB as a technical programming language. As programming skills are essential for modern scientific and engineering work, and MATLAB is becoming an important tool for technical computations, this module enables students to cover both these requirements simultaneously. It provides students with an effective understanding of programming concepts and techniques as well as the basic software engineering process required to develop solutions to given problems using the MATLAB environment. Reflecting the need to appreciate both the functionality of programming structures and the issues involved in programming implementations the course is organised in a series of alternating theoretical lectures and practical, problem driven, terminal sessions.

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15

This module introduces fundamental methods needed for the study of mathematical subjects at degree level.

a) Functions and graphs: plotting, roots, intercepts, turning points, area (graphical methods), co-ordinate geometry of straight lines, parallel and perpendicular lines, applications to plots of experimental data, quadratics, introduction to the trigonometric functions

b) Trigonometry: radians, properties of sine and cosine functions, other trigonometric functions, compound angle formulae and subsequent results, solving trigonometric equations

c) Geometry: circles and ellipses, right-angled triangles, SOHCAHTOA, trigonometric functions, inverse trigonometric functions, sine and cosine rule, opposite and alternate angle theorems, applications to geometry problems

d) Vectors: notion of a vector, representation of vectors, addition, subtraction and scaling, magnitude, scalar product, basis vectors in 2 and 3 dimensions

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15

  • Arithmetic

    Calculations

    Significant figures

    Standard form

    Fractions

    Simplification of fractions

    Percentages and fractional changes

    Indices

    Logarithmic and exponential functions

  • Algebra

    Basic rules (operations and indices).

    Solving equations (substitution and order of operation).

    Changing subject of a formula

    Inverse operations

    Rules of indices

    Long division

    Expansion and Factorisation

    Quadratic equations

    Solving linear and simultaneous equations

    Partial fractions

    Binomial Theorem

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  • 15

    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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    15

    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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    15

    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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    15

    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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    15

    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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    15

    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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    15

    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:

    • provide students with a firm foundation in electronics, mathematics and practical skills necessary for higher level courses
    • develop in students a range of transferable skills of general value
    • offer students an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning
    • provide academic guidance and welfare support for students
    • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and an environment in which students can develop their potential.

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding

    You gain knowledge and understanding of:

    • mathematical principles relevant to electronic engineering
    • scientific principles and methodology relevant to electronic engineering
    • characteristics of materials, equipment, processes and products.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain the following intellectual abilities:

    • analysis and solution of problems in electronic engineering using appropriate mathematical methods
    • 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 through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques.

    Subject-specific skills

    You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

    • use of mathematical techniques to analyse and solve hardware and software problems
    • 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
    • analysing experimental and simulation results and determining their strength and validity
    • applying quantitative methods and computer software relevant to electronic engineering to solve engineering problems
    • preparing technical reports and presentations.

    Transferable skills

    You gain transferable skills in the following:

    • the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
    • the use of information and communications technology
    • personal and interpersonal skills and working as part of a team
    • communicating in various forms: written, verbal and visual
    • learning effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development
    • applying 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.

    Independent rankings

    For graduate prospects, Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent was ranked 13th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

    Of Electronic and Electrical Engineering students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 95% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

    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

    DDD. Contact Admissions Officer for details.

    GCSE

    Grade C in Mathematics and Physics/Science

    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)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 12 points at HL

    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.

    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.