Computer Systems Engineering

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

UCAS code H605


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.


The School of Engineering and Digital Arts’ degree programmes are taught by staff with both academic and industrial experience. Our programmes are based on leading-edge research topics, vital in a field that advances so quickly, and combine theory with practical and project work – the chance to turn ideas into real systems. Our student work has been awarded international prizes.

Our staff meet regularly with a team of senior industrialists to ensure that our programmes keep up to date with industry.

Our degree programme

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:

  • Kent Engineering Society
  • Digital Media Society
  • 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

Lecture Syllabus


Graphical interpretation of a derivative and its numerical estimation

Differentiation of y = x squared from first principles

Differentiation of x to the power of n and polynomials by inference

Stationary values (turning points, Max and Min)

Differentiation of trigonometric functions

Differentiation of exponential functions

Differentiation of logarithmic functions

Differentiation of sums, products, quotients and functions of a function

Maclaurens series for sin x, cos x, e to the power of x, ln (1+x), (1+x) to the power of n


Comprehension and use of the integral notation symbol

Integration as the inverse operation of differentiation Constant of integration

Integration of polynomials, trigonometric functions and exponential functions

Integration of products and fractions

Integration by substitution (change of variables)

Integration by parts

Use of partial fractions

Integration of compound trigonometric functions

Calculation of the constant of integration

Integration as the process of summation

Definite integrals – calculations of areas

Simple first order differential equations – solution by the method of separation of variables.


Examples Class

Differentiation - 3 hours

Integration - 5 hours


Calculus x 4

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Lecture Syllabus


Introduction – Charge

Capacitance as a charge storage element

Capacitors in series and parallel

Charging capacitors using a current source

Charging capacitors using a resistor and voltage source

Discharging capacitors Energy stored in capacitors Coulombs Law

Electric field

Electric field between parallel plates Breakdown field of insulators Equipotentials

Electric flux density

Capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor



Magnetic field around permanent magnets and current carrying conductors

Rules for working out direction of magnetic field

Quantifying a magnetic field – flux and flux density

Force on a current carrying conductor – simple applications – Loudspeaker Magnetic field intensity. Fields for toroids, solenoids and long wires Permeability of free space. Magnetic materials, relative permeability.

Faraday's Law of Induction. Simple applications: Dynamic microphone, AC generator.

Mutual Inductance, Self Inductance. The transformer.


Laboratory Classes

There will be 3 x 3 hour laboratory classes. The titles of the laboratory experiments are: Magnetic field around a long wire

Charging capacitors

Parallel plate capacitor

Example Classes

Electrostatics - 5 hours

Magnetism - 4 hours

There will be 9 hours of examples classes. This work will be assessed by a 1 hour test in conjunction with EL026 and EL027.

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Electrical quantities, circuit theory, circuit calculations and theorems.


General measurement theory

Use of electronic instruments


Structure of reports, treatment of errors, conclusions

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Lecture Syllabus


Brief summary of circuit laws – applications to general circuits

Engineering aspects of resistors – preferred values, tolerance, power rating

Signals – time varying DC, AC, square, sine, ramp – characterisation

Diodes – functionality, terminal characteristics, simple circuits, Light Emitting diode

Capacitors: charge storage device, AC performance

Filters, low pass, high pass, simple circuits using resistors and capacitors

Transistors – terminal characteristics – gain

Simple transistor amplifier

Transistor as a switch – simple applications

Operational amplifiers – characteristics. Inverting and non-inverting circuits. The operational amplifier as a comparator – simple applications

Power supplies: transformer, rectifier, smoothing capacitor

The inductor – AC operation


Harmonic signals: frequency, phase and amplitude Energy and power for resistive loads, R.M.S. Values Capacitors in A.C. Circuits

Inductance, inductors in A.C. Circuits

Analysis of circuits with more than one element



There will be 6 x 3 hours of laboratory classes. The titles of the laboratory experiments are: Filters

Inductors and capacitors in AC circuits

Operational amplifier circuits

The Radio Project (triple session)


Introduction to Electronic Circuits and Systems - 5 hours

AC Circuits - 3 hours

This work will be assessed by two 1-hour tests held in conjunction with modules EL025, EL024 andEL027.


Electronic Circuits and Systems x 2

AC Circuits x 1

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Lecture Syllabus


Basic structure of atoms – notion of electronic energy levels in atoms

Formation of energy bands in solids

Notion of division of materials into insulators, metals and semiconductors. Resistivity

Formation of charged carriers in semiconductors. Doping. P-N junction operation

I-V characteristic curve

Zener diodes

Operation of bipolar transistor and field effect transistors

Simple FET circuits


Binary decisions (yes/no) (on/off)

Binary decisions dependant on other binary decisions

Truth tables

Logic gates in electronics Networks of logic gates Simple Boolian algebra Real life applications Simple Memory elements Digital numbers



There will be 4 x 3 hour laboratory classes. The titles of the laboratory experiments are: Logic gate experiment

Transistor switch

P-N junctions

Bipolar transistor amplifier


There will be 7 hours of examples classes. This work will be assessed by a 2 1-hour tests in conjunction with EL024, EL025 and EL026.


Digital Electronics x 1

Semiconductor Electronics x 1

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Lecture Syllabus


An introduction to the use of computers and the process of programming them

Introduction to the MATLAB programming environment

MATLAB basics: Variables and Arrays, Displaying Output Data, Data Files, Operations

Built-in MATLAB Functions

Branching statements and Loops

An introduction to problem solving techniques and the Program development cycle

Program design tools: Flowcharts and Pseudocode

User-defined functions

Introduction to Plotting: Two-Dimensional, Three-Dimensional, Multiple Plots and Animation

Additional data types: Cell arrays, Structures and Graphics handles.


22 hours terminal based exercises integrated with the lectures. This will take the form of 11, 2-hour exercises during the year of which 6 will be assessed.

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This module will focus on the topics which are fundamental across mathematics and the sciences. We will learn about the properties of many functions such as straight lines, quadratics, circles, exponentials, logarithms and the trigonometric functions. The focus of this module is on applied problem solving in many real-life situations, as well as some coverage of the rigorous theory behind many of these ideas. The material is delivered through lectures and examples classes, so that students have many different ways to learn. Many harder, extra-curricular examples are provided for keen students.

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  • Arithmetic


    Significant figures

    Standard form


    Simplification of fractions

    Percentages and fractional changes


    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

    Read more
  • 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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    Lecture Syllabus



    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.


    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.


    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.



    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


    (ii) 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.


    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.


    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.



    6 assessed laboratory assignments - 2 hours each.


    2 non-assessed tutorials - 1 hour each.

    1 assessed practical laboratory mini project - 3 hours.


    3 assessed laboratory assignments - 2 hours each.


    1 non-assessed examples class.


    1 non-assessed examples class.

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    Lecture Syllabus


    Introduction to the project and use of log-books. PCB manufacture. Resistor and capacitor components. Robot mechanics.




    CAD tools. Dos/don'ts on CAD package. Robot sensors and circuits.


    Introduction to Robots. Introduction to C/C++ Programming.. Programming of self-built robots using C/C++ Programming and the Arduino Duemillenova Board.





    This is designed to provide experience in the practical and management aspects of project work and is supported by lectures and weekly small group tutorials. There is a total of 42 laboratory hours over the Autumn and Spring terms. The main components are: use of the Mechanical Workshop, basic mechanical work, soldering, assembly and testing of a printed circuit board.


    A series of weekly exercises (Weeks 14 to 16) aimed at familiarising the students with the Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools needed to develop the PCB circuit which will later be integrated into the robot. This practical work will be supported by three lectures given at the beginning of term.


    A series of weekly individual exercises, of which two are assessed. The exercises are designed to provide experience with the robot kit, and programming the robots using C/C++ language. During the second Project Week of the term, the developed PCB will be integrated into the robot and the complete design will be assessed by demonstration at the end of the term. This practical work will be supported by five lectures given towards the beginning of term. There will be a competition for the best robot, with the award of a prize.



    A laboratory exercise using the Project Laboratory facilities.

    Assessment is by completing an answer booklet.


    Assessment of students' design and built quality of the robot baseplate.


    Assessment of students' PCB design.


    Weekly exercises of programming of robots.


    Weekly exercises of programming of robots.


    Assessment of students' hardware construction of the PCB.


    An assessed demonstration of the robot constructed in the project.


    An assessed record of PCB design and construction.

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    Lecture Syllabus


    The analogue world, the digital world. Digital systems design: hardware and software. An overview of digital technologies. Examples of digital systems. Combinatorial logic. AND, OR and NOT gates. Introduction to Boolean algebra. Karnaugh maps and minimisation techniques. Functional building blocks: adder, comparator, encoders and decoders. Implementation issues, programmable devices.


    The NAND latch, D-type FF, shift register, counters. Delays, clocks. Hierarchical design. Overview of Computer Systems. Architectural and operational properties of sequential machines, comparison with combinational circuits. Finite State Machines. Realisation of synchronous machines: design technique, approaches, examples. Algorithmic State Machines. Basic computer operation. The stored program concept.

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    SYSTEMS ANALYSIS (6 lectures + 3 examples classes)

    Introduction to differential equations.

    First order DE and methods of solution.

    Initial conditions and solutions of RC and RL circuits.

    Homogeneous second order differential equations. General solution.

    Initial conditions, particular solution and examples of RLC circuits.

    Non homogeneous 2nd order differential equations.

    SIGNAL ANALYSIS (6 lectures + 3 examples classes)

    Odd, even and periodic functions

    Integration of Trig. Functions.

    The Fourier Series.

    Examples of the Fourier series for simple functions

    The concept of discrete spectrum and Paserval's Theorem

    The complex Fourier series and examples.

    ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD ANALYSIS (12 lectures + 4 examples classes)

    Partial differentiation

    Multidimensional integrals

    Introduction to partial differential equations

    Laplace, Poisson and Wave equations. Boundary conditions and initial conditions

    Introduction to electromagnetism and fields

    Electrostatic examples. Fields around common transmission lines. Capacitance.

    Amperes law and magneto-statics field examples. Inductance.

    The wave equation for transmission lines. Time harmonic solutions

    Reflections and wave propagation

    Introduction to Maxwell's equations and EM wave propagation

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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:

    • 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.


    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.


    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.


    The 2019/20 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £9250 £18400

    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.


    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.


    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. 

    For 2018/19 entry, 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