Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Electronic and Computer Systems (top-up) - BEng (Hons)

UCAS code H691


The Electronic and Computer Systems BEng is designed to allow suitably qualified students, such as successful Engineering Foundation Degree graduates, to take a one-year Stage 3 course. This leads to the same level of qualification as for students taking a traditional three-year course.


Electronics-based products play a vital role in our daily lives, from the sophisticated diagnostic equipment used in modern hospitals to leading-edge fibre optic communications. Computer technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics are advancing at an ever-increasing pace.

At Kent, we offer degree programmes teaching state-of-the-art technology, which means our graduates can work at the forefront of all the major areas of electronic engineering.

Our teaching is research-led so you get to know about the latest cutting-edge technologies, and the courses combine theory with vitally important practical and project work – the chance to turn ideas into real systems. Our student work has been awarded international prizes.

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 courses.

Our staff meet regularly with a team of senior industrialists to ensure that our courses keep up to date with industry, and you have the opportunity to spend a year working in industry, which improves your skills and career prospects.

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.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

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

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Lecture Syllabus


Hertzian dipole, small loop, resonant dipoles and balanced/unbalanced transitions, patch and slot antennas, antenna matching, mutually coupled and phased arrays, reflector antennas, antenna measurement and CAD modelling. Wireless propagation, direct and 2-ray reflection, diffraction, scattering, Doppler spread, large and small scale Rayleigh fading. Outline of Radar, Stealth & RFID operation.


Cellular concept: frequency reuse, channel assignment, handoff, system capacity, cell sectorization. 2G, 3G and 4G systems. Propagation in macrocells, microcells and picocells (indoor). Empirical models for signal strength. Narrow-band and wideband channels. MIMO transmission.


Review of methods of long distance communication. Microwave point to point links; capacity, atmospheric conditions, spatial and frequency diversity. Receivers, noise figure, BER, amplifier compression, frequency converters, antenna branching feed networks. Transmitter systems. analogue and digital systems. Satellite link architecture and link budgets. orbits, control, multiple access.






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Lecture Syllabus


Introduction to the mbed microcontroller system. Structure of the mbed, data input/output, serial communications, interrupts and timers. Compiling and downloading code to the mbed.


An introduction to operating systems. Real time operating system features. Concurrent processes and priority. Synchronising processes. Hardware and operating system constraints. Deadlines and real time scheduling. Inter-task communication, message passing and threads. Multi-processor systems and redundancy. Hardware for real time. Safety critical systems. Case studies.


A series of case studies illustrating design and performance issues for real-time embedded systems leading to an introduction for the assignment to control a petrol engine.



This laboratory uses a hardware platform to develop an RTOS application and to monitor its performance.


This laboratory assignment is concerned with the control of the ignition timing of a simulated petrol engine. A microcomputer is programmed in 'C' to generate the spark at the appropriate time.

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Lecture Syllabus


Eight hours of lectures covering specification and design considerations for electronic products including the use of design and manufacturing standards, product safety considerations, sustainable manufacture and product qualification. PCB design, fabrication and assembly techniques are discussed, including electrostatic damage in the field and the production environment, assembly techniques (surface mount and conventional) and inspection, test and reworking during the manufacturing procedure, plus design verification.


Eight hours of lectures introducing techniques for managing electromagnetic compatibility of products in design, manufacture and use. This includes electromagnetic interference (EMI) in the near and far field-regions, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and EMC testing, conducted EMI and filtering, signal conductors and grounding schemes. Students are introduced to the European EMC directive.


Four hours of lectures providing an introduction to the principles of good project management and systems engineering, including project planning and review, governance, risk management and product safety management. The lectures will also introduce the use of management Standards such as ISO 9000, commercial and contractual considerations, ethical considerations, and managing intellectual property.


Four hours of lectures will aim to introduce the importance of financial management for engineering covering the principles and importance of corporate finance and financial management within the business and project. The lectures will also provide an introduction to accountancy and financial statements; discuss entrepreneurship and introduce the financial liabilities of companies and directors; the treatment of assets and the evaluation of net present value will also be considered.

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Lecture Syllabus


ADC and DAC, The sampling Theorem, The Discrete Fourier Transform, The Fast Fourier Transform, The z-Transform, pole-zero diagrams, Transfer Functions, Stability


An introduction to digital filters. FIR Filters: design, implementation and applications, Windowing Functions, IIR Filters: design implementation and applications. Matlab Tools for Filter Design and implementation. Applications of DSP. Hardware architectures for DSP


Implications of digital implementation of feedback control systems. Analogue design using Root Locus analysis and Bode Plots. Controller Emulation Methods. Direct digital design of feedback control systems.


Case Studies: Motor Speed Control; Position Control; Aircraft Pitch Control; Robot Control - for example



Digital Control Design


Two assessed directed study MATLAB DSP examples.


Directed study MATLAB CONTROL examples.


DSP Experiment.


Control Experiment using MATLAB.

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Lecture Syllabus


Information theory. Shannon channel capacity. Source coding. Single and matrix parity codes, Hamming distance and error protection properties. Code classification; Block, convolutional, linear, nonlinear, cyclic codes: definition, generator polynomial, encoding and decoding. Convolutional codes; Encoder trees and trellis diagrams, free distance, Viterbi algorithm.


Network types, applications: architectures and topologies. General characteristics of traffic. Characteristics of circuit and packet switching. The access network: telephony and ISDN. Wireless access and mobile communications. The transport network: PDH and SDH. Traffic theory. Modern telecoms networks:WDM, intelligent networks. Data networks: multiple access techniques. LAN access protocols: Ethernet, Wireless LANs, network interconnection. Wide-area packet switched networks, Internet Protocol (IP), TCP; TCP/IP protocols.


Fundamentals. Propagation in fibres. General system considerations. Optical sources: LEDs and lasers; types, modulation effects, performance. Optical detectors: PIN and avalanche photodiodes. Optical amplifiers, modulators and filters. Receiver performance. System power budget; noise and dispersion. Modulation formats, coherent systems, multiplexing including WDM. Future systems.



2 one-hour examples classes. Assessed.


2 one-hour examples classes. Assessed.


2 one-hour examples classes. Assessed.

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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 3 modules, with the exception of the final year project, are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. The programme includes project work to replicate industrial practice and develop skills to maximise employability.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • enable students who have gained 240 credits on equivalent modules to those on our Stage 1 and 2 Electronic and Communications Engineering programme to obtain a top-up to a full BEng honours degree
  • educate students to become engineers, well equipped for professional careers in development, research and production in industry and universities and who are well prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing subject
  • produce professional engineers with specialist skills in hardware and software
  • provide academic guidance and welfare support for students
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and provide an environment where students can develop their potential.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the mathematical principles relevant to electronic and communications engineering
  • scientific principles and methodology required in electronic and communications engineering
  • advanced concepts of analogue and digital circuits and systems, telecommunications and instrumentation
  • the value of intellectual property and contractual issues
  • business and management techniques that may be used 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 Compatiility (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:

  • analysis and solution of problems in electronic engineering using relevant mathematical methods
  • apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support the study of electronic engineering
  • deploy engineering principles and apply them to the analysis of key electronic engineering processes
  • identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques
  • apply and understand 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 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
  • 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
  • the ability to 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:

  • the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of Information and Communications Technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills, and the ability to work as part of a team
  • communication by various means: written, verbal and visual
  • to learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development
  • critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
  • the ability to manage time and resources within an individual project and a group project.


Our graduates go into careers such as: 

  • electronic engineering and computing
  • telecommunications industries including radio, television and satellite communications; medical electronics, instrumentation and industrial process control
  • in companies including BAE Systems, Nokia, the Royal Navy, Xilinx, British Energy and RDDS. 

They also frequently go on to postgraduate study, for example, MSc in Advanced Communications Engineering (RF Technology and Telecommunications), Advanced Digital Systems Engineering (Communications) or Information Security and Biometrics.

Entry requirements

This programme is an intensive one year top-up programme for applicants who have completed one of the following:

  • HND in an appropriate subject (such as Electrical/Electronic Engineering).
  • foundation degree in an appropriate subject (such as Electrical/Electronic Engineering).
  • successfully completed two years of an appropriate honours degree programme.

The applicants need to be individually considered by the Admissions Officer as the suitability of the programme will depend on the syllabus of HND/FD/Honours Degree and the grades obtained in individual modules.

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
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 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