Computer Systems Engineering MEng/BEng (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
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Computer System Engineering is a contemporary course that has been developed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to design and build hardware and software for computer systems.

Course option

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

BEng:
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
MEng:
4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

UCAS codes

GG56 / G410

Start date

September 2024


Course overview

This course focuses on the engineering and integration of hardware and software systems. The course encourages you to think creatively and independently and aims to prepare you to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing technological environment.

  • This course is specially designed to bridge the gap between electronics/hardware engineering and computer science/software engineering.
  • The course covers many aspects of software while focusing on the advanced hardware design based on field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and system design based on microcontroller.
  • This course aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle challenges involved in the development of future technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, autonomous cars and green technologies.
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Why you should study this course

  • Well-equipped electronics laboratory to build electronic prototype4.
  • Explore latest networking and security protocols in a modern CISCO laboratory4.
  • Placement opportunities within a range of UK industries2.
  • Opportunities to gain international experience through field trips and the Collaborative International Online Learning (COIL) program2.

What you'll study

This course has a common first year.

The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.

If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).

Common first year courses:

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering MEng/BEng (Hons)

In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.

Modules

  • This module aims to further develop your competence in mathematical methods relevant to engineering whilst at the same time emphasising fundamental concepts, which the engineer needs to understand in order to produce a mathematical formulation of a problem.

    Compulsory

  • The module introduces you to the basic concepts and principles used in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Learning is enhanced through the use of computer circuit simulation and basic programming.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to present a structured approach to the design process, design management, and creative problem solving, leading to the output of a feasible and well-engineered solution with use of industry-standard modelling techniques, processes and software. Various design tools and techniques will be introduced together to allow innovation to occur whilst developing collaborative skills to solve real-world problems.

    Compulsory

  • This module introduces the application of elementary analogue and digital electronic techniques. Learning is enhanced through an active approach involving computer circuit simulation and the design of practical circuits.

    Compulsory

  • Adopting a very practical approach, this module aims to provide general and key technology skills associated with technical project implementation. To facilitate learning you will be mentored by academic staff and supported by technical staff.

    Compulsory

  • This module introduces the fundamentals of computer programming that will underpin the technical and theoretical content of undergraduate degree courses. You will develop basic skills in programming by learning the core control structures and problem-solving strategies common to most programming languages.

    Compulsory

In your second year, more advanced electronics and system design topics will be covered in the electronic modules. This will include electronic system design, manufacturing, and testing. Computer operating system and advanced programming topics will be taught where security issues will also be introduced. Communication and networking module will introduce the technologies and protocols used in modern communication system.

Modules

  • This module aims to provide you with the capability to produce useful practical designs in the technology area of analogue and digital electronics. Technical focus is on the performance characteristics of voltage mode operational amplifiers along with a range of typical applications. Synchronous, sequential digital logic is also included employing a hardware description language for simulation and synthesis of a digital system.

    Compulsory

  • This module builds upon and develops the fundamental computer programming skills. A programming language with direct memory access will be introduced and the syntax for control structures met already will be covered. You will focus on the new concepts of classes, objects, and object-oriented programming. Abstract Data Types and memory management will also be key themes. The module will continue to develop your professional skills by introducing profiling, unit testing, and use of version control.

    Compulsory

  • This module introduces you to fundamental concepts of modern operating systems (OS), networks and associated security. The main topics covered will include basic OS concepts such as processes, memory management, drivers and file systems. It also covers necessary interactions between the OS and the system hardware and devices and those security issues of relevance to the Operating System. It discusses the main types of Operating Systems such as Linux, Windows, Unix and MacOS. The module also covers the different types of networks, protocols, and network layers. The module also focuses on the security aspects in terms of analysing network-based attacks, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.

    Compulsory

  • The module aim is to design and develop real-world electronic systems using embedded system principles and techniques. You will work in a group to apply appropriate theoretical and practical project management methods to aid the design, develop, manufacture, construct commission, operate, maintain, decommission and re-cycle embedded products.

    Compulsory

  • This module will be focused on the manufacturing of electronic circuit boards. The module will cover schematic design and printed circuit board (PCB) design. The aim is to enable you to design your own PCBs keeping the EMI regulation into account. The lab sessions will also cover soldering practice for the students.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to provide a fundamental knowledge of computer communications (mainly in the context of local and wide area networks) and network architecture from the user’s point of view. It aims to give an overall understanding of the issues and constraints involved in wired and wireless communication systems.

    Compulsory

There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.

Modules

  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

In the final year, you will continue your studies in advanced hardware and software design, but with a focus on individual/group projects in which you will perform a detailed research or design study into a technical aspect from the course with the help of an experienced supervisor. In the hardware design areas topics such as FPGA based system design and system on Chip design will be covered whereas in the software area advanced security and machine learning topics will be the key focus.

Modules

  • In this module you will be introduces to the concepts and practical considerations of creating and evaluating secure computer systems. Systems will be analysed at both the application level and at the level of interconnected devices in architectures suck as client-server and cloud-based, with attention given to security-by-design, security legislation and regulation and the associated products and services.

    Compulsory

  • The aim is to enable you to design a computer system using a hardware description language. Specific focus would be on field programmable gate array implementation, which includes synthesis, testing and verification. An additional aim would be to learn complex system design techniques including architecting for speed and area.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to prepare you to undertake a substantial project. Key parts in this module include; project selection, project allocation, project specification, cognizance of standards relating to project, logbook keeping, supervisor meetings, project management, ethics application, literature review, preliminary analysis and design work, and preparation report. Successful completion of the module will require methodical planning, self-management, effective communication and delivery of report.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to provide an opportunity to research, design, implement and critically evaluate a functional or simulated system, object or concept and to acquire deeper knowledge of a specialist technical area. To this end, you will undertake a substantial project that will exercise in-depth technical, problem-solving, creative and other skills required of a professional practitioner including working to appropriate ethical codes of practice.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of the module is to introduce how a full FPGA-based system on chip (SoC) is designed and implemented, including both hardware and software development. A modern SoC consists of several different processor subsystems together with memories and I/O interface. Other than full-cycle SoC implementation, this module will also address how the hardware development of an SoC could be done at a high-level programming language.

    Compulsory

  • Choose one from the following two modules:

    • Machine Learning and Related Applications – 20 credits
      This module represents an introduction to the wide field of machine learning. It will present fundamental concepts related to supervised and unsupervised learning methods, for example, linear regression, support vector machines, logistic regression, k nearest neighbour, neural networks, k means and hierarchical clustering techniques. You will understand the concepts behind these methods and be able to analyse the outcomes of applying various machine learning algorithms on a set of data, together with techniques of processing such data and tuning machine learning models.
    • VLSI Design – 20 credits
      The module aims to present the principles and techniques of integrated circuit design utilizing the CMOS Technology, which is currently the industry mainstream for the vast majority of all analogue and digital integrated circuits. This module covers the fundamentals of both analogue and digital IC design principles and establish a good understanding of the analogue and digital layout and simulation techniques with IC design software tools.

    Optional

Following on from successful completion of the BEng (Hons) study you can opt to proceed to the MEng Computer Systems Engineering degree. In this additional year, more advanced topics related to computer engineering will be investigated which is beyond the scope of undergraduate study. More advanced design techniques including embedded system and digital system design approaches will be examined. You will also undertake a group-based industrial project relevant to the modern engineering problems.

Modules

  • The module aims to provide you with practical experience in the programming of real-time embedded systems including analysis, design and implementation of appropriate computer programs. Analysis and design will be founded on object-oriented (OO) concepts and the use of the Unified Modelling Language (UML). Programs will be implemented on a microprocessor system in an appropriate programming language. There will be substantial hands-on content involving the programming of a microcontroller and incorporating suitable software tools.

    Compulsory

  • The module aims to provide knowledge and experience of the engineering techniques and processes required for the realisation of embedded hardware systems. It involves a detailed study of advanced contemporary devices and their applications together with an opportunity to develop practical skills in the laboratory. This module covers the full development cycle from initial concept through design and testing to final hardware realisation. Knowledge of microcontrollers, assembly and C programming is desirable and PCB experience will be useful.

    Compulsory

  • The module aims to provide you with a sound knowledge of state-of-the-art technologies in cloud and distributed computing. This module provides coverage of the latest developments in cloud computing and related technologies such as service-oriented architecture. The module will introduce the key concepts of cloud computing as an architectural stack for understanding infrastructure as services, platform as services and software as services. It also gives an exposition of other types of distributed computing technology such as grid computing and distributed data stores.

    Compulsory

  • The module aims to provide a capability to apply the HDL language for the simulation and synthesis of digital systems on FPGAs. It covers the essential syntax of HDL and its coding styles for different digital functions and their simulation and implementation. A practical approach is adopted involving the use of contemporary HDL design tools. Assessment requires applying the concepts to small to medium design projects relevant to semiconductor industry.

    Compulsory

  • This module will enable you, working in groups and in conjunction with industry, to produce successful system and sub-system designs, incorporating where necessary the most advanced technical and mathematical concepts from both their past knowledge and that acquired during the course. You will develop a professional working relationship with an industrial or research group client and deliver a solution to professional, industrial standards. Throughout the management aspects of the project work will be stressed to enhance your capability in this area.

    Compulsory

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods which may include lectures, seminars, lab, workshops, online activities and group work. Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. The course also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.

A portion of contact time will be dedicated to course support sessions. The course support sessions are weekly, timetabled sessions where you can explore areas of the course you find challenging, or get support with personal projects and employability efforts.


Teaching contact hours

We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:

  • On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Group work
  • Self-directed learning
  • Work placement opportunities2.

If you would like more information, you can request information about teaching hours.

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Formal examinations
  • Phase tests
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Individual assignments
  • Laboratories
  • Posters

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


International experience opportunities

Computer Systems Engineering is an international business, so we encourage a global perspective throughout our teaching.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Requirements  What we're looking for
UCAS points BEng (Hons): 120
MEng: 128
A Level BEng (Hons): BBB to include Mathematics. Excludes General Studies.
MEng: ABB to include Mathematics. Excludes General Studies.
BTEC BEng (Hons): DMM in an engineering subject to include Merits in the 'Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems' and 'Enginerring Principles' units.
MEng: DDD in an Engineering subject to include Merits in the 'Engineering Principles' and 'Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems' units.
IB Diploma BEng (Hons): 29 to include Mathematics and one from Physics, Chemistry, Design Technology or IT at a higher level.
MEng: 31 to include Mathematics and one from Physics, Chemistry, Design Technology or IT at a higher level.
GCSE requirement 5 GCSEs graded 4 / C or above to include English and Mathematics.
Access to HE BEng (Hons): The Access to HE Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits in Mathematics or Physical Science units. Plus GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 / C or above.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:


You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.


Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £9,250 per year Not available
EU £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £19,850 per year Not available

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Optional international field trips: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU support bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Facilities

The School of Future Transport Engineering is based in the Engineering and Computing Building, and the attached Beatrice Shilling Building. Both buildings are high-specification learning environments, which benefit from extensive social learning facilities, well-appointed laboratories, lecturing facilities and classrooms, facilitating our innovative teaching methods across a diverse suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses4.

Electronics lab
Four industry-standard electronic labs are equipped with modern facilities for electronic design, prototyping, test and measurements.

Cisco lab
The Cisco lab is used for working with general networking and towards accreditation by Cisco. Optional modules allow students to work in the lab to develop skills in preparation for the Cisco certification exam.

Manufacturing facility
This facility is equipped with 3-D printers and PCB manufacturing machines. This also has a separate area for soldering training.


Careers and opportunities

On successful completion, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of computer systems and computer networking; digital electronics, microcomputers, computer systems hardware; operating systems, network security and software; mathematical principles necessary to underpin the discipline; management of engineering including social, environmental, economic, legal and ethical topics.
  • Solve engineering problems employing a system approach.
  • Design software and hardware for application-specific purposes.
  • Design computer systems and networks.
  • Search and evaluate information sources.
  • Adopt a holistic approach to using computer hardware and software technology in a commercial context.
  • Use electrical and electronic test equipment in experimental work.
  • Implement and test software solution.
  • Simulate computer systems and protocols.
  • Apply computer technology, software tools and quantitative methods.
  • Configure and connect electronic and computer systems.
  • System on Chip (SoC) design.
  • Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit (VLSI) design.

Opportunities exist throughout the world for highly trained professionals who combine computing and engineering skills.

The course focuses on computer hardware-software design and integration, giving you the opportunity to gain substantial practical experience, which aims to support you in demonstrating your capabilities to potential future employers upon successful completion.

Course content is regularly reviewed to reflect what is relevant and in demand in the industry. We seek external feedback from the External Examiner and a current group of professionals and subject experts from industry, universities and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Where our graduates work

Previous graduates from similar courses have gone into roles in a diverse range of industries, for example, JLR, GE and National Grid, Jaguar Land Rover, Blackberry, IBM, DSTL – Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Advanced Electronics Company, Ultra Electronics Sonar Systems, PX Group and more. Some choose to progress to further study of an MSc or PhD.

Further study

You can choose to continue your studies at Coventry University with the Embedded System Engineering MSc. You may be entitled to an alumni discount on your fees if you decide to extend your time with us by progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2023/2024 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2024/25 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.


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