About the course
It’s hard to imagine a world without mobile networks, the internet, radio, or audio-visual appliances. Bringing together knowledge from both electrical engineering and computer science, telecommunications engineers drive these communications systems which are so fundamental to the modern world; we can now easily make international calls, Skype our friends, and even communicate with satellites orbiting the planet. How could you influence what happens next?
You study a wide range of topics in telecommunications, including:
- Radio frequency circuits and systems
- The transmission of digital signals over analogue links
- The transfer of audio-visual information
Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s telecommunications engineers are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top engineers, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence.
You also cover traditional topics in electronics, including signal processing, circuit design, processors and software.
We were ranked 8th in the UK in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, with more than two-thirds of our research rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014). And our students enjoy learning from our expert researchers – we achieved 93% student satisfaction (NSS).
You graduate prepared to move into relevant roles across almost every industry.
“As an international student, I found it very easy to adjust to the new lifestyle as everyone is very friendly and helpful. My Masters degree has provided me with a very strong platform for career development, opening new research horizons and pathways that will help me achieve my goals.”
Naveed Syed, MSc Telecommunications and Information Systems
This degree is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).This accreditation is increasingly sought by employers, and provides the first stage towards eventual professional registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you extending your education through providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. Popular destinations include:
- The United States
- New Zealand
- Latin America
- The Middle East
- Hong Kong
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement with an external organisation, as part of one of our placement year degrees. The learning outcomes associated with this programme focus on using the specialist technical skills acquired in the first two years of the course and developing communications skills with customers.
Students are provided with support to secure a placement. Recent placements undertaken by our students have been with ARM, Microsoft, Intel, Nestlé, British Aerospace, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well a range of SME software and hardware companies.
Our expert staff
We have been one of the leading electronics departments in the country throughout our history, and in recent years, our prolific research staff have contributed to some major breakthroughs.
We invented the world's first telephone based system for deaf people to communicate with each other in 1981, with cameras and display devices that were able to work within the limited telephone bandwidth. Our academics have also invented a streamlined protocol system for worldwide high speed optical communications.
- We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
- All computers run either Windows 7 or are dual boot with Linux
- Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
- Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OPNET)
- We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.
Demand for electronics and telecommunications engineers is high; the IT and engineering sectors are growing at a rate that outstrips the supply of fresh talent.
The profession offers a range of careers from design and development to marketing, management, production engineering and applications engineering. Graduates also find employment in other disciplines because of the highly numerate nature of the subject.
Our department has a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to electronic system design and circuit design and manufacture, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities.
Many of our graduates have gone on to work with BT, whose research centre is located just 30 minutes from the Colchester campus. Other recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- National Instruments
- Circad Design Ltd
- The McClaren Formula One Team
- B&W Group
We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
This module introduces students to three key aspects of professional development. These are product development, team work, and project management. In teams of six you work throughout the year to develop a performance for a Nao robot, with a Python module at the core of the product. Apart from the core skills you also learn about contextual issues such as intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, ethical issues, and health & safety. The module is a great opportunity to build a product in a team of fellow students and have that wonderful feeling of having created something original.
View 'Professional Development' on our Module Directory
The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer programming. After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and concepts that underlie the procedural programming model, explain and make use of high-level programming language features that support control, data and procedural abstraction. Also, they will be able to analyse and explain the behaviour of simple programs that incorporate standard control structures, parameterised functions, arrays, structures and I/O.
View 'Introduction to Programming' on our Module Directory
This module introduces the fundamentals of networking including wiring and configuration of switches and routers and associated subnetting. Laboratory sessions give practical hands on experience in our purpose built networking lab. The module uses the Cisco CCNA exploration Network Fundamentals course which is the first of four Cisco courses that can be used to obtain a Cisco CCNA qualification and participants will gain the CCNA1 qualification whilst on this course.
View 'Network Fundamentals' on our Module Directory
Computers, embedded systems, and digital systems in general have become an essential part of most people's lives, whether directly or indirectly. The aim of this module is to introduce the software and hardware underpinnings of such systems at an introductory yet challenging level suitable for future computer scientists and engineers. Topics covered in the module include both top-view as well as bottom-view approaches to understanding digital computers. They range from the more theoretical (e.g., state machines, logic circuits, and von Neumann's architecture) to the more practical (e.g., how transistors produce binary signals, operating system functions, memory management, and common hardware devices). The module also includes problem solving classes in which a guided discussion of weekly exercises is aimed at giving the student an opportunity to consolidate his/her understanding of the topics involved. Upon completion of this module, students should have a good conceptual and practical understanding of the nature and architecture of digital computer systems and their components.
View 'Fundamentals of Digital Systems' on our Module Directory
This module develops the fundamental concepts introduced in the Digital Systems Architecture. We examine how data are represented within digital systems, including floating point, 'text' and 'data' files, and how the conversions between internal and human-readable forms are performed. The design and applications of higher-level logic elements such as counters, registers and multiplexers are discussed, as well as the more general concept of the finite state machine and its design. Transmission of digital data between systems is introduced by examination of the RS232 protocol. Further, fundamental decisions on how such sources should be represented in digital format include sample rates and quantization accuracy are discussed. In the case of audio and video especially, the possibilities for signal processing and data compression are investigated
View 'Digital Electronic Systems' on our Module Directory
This module is one of two concerned with scientific and engineering foundations on which electronics is based. All electronics components are based on physical principles that relate voltage, current flow and the storage or loss of energy. All the theory we need to learn about how circuits behave is based on the fact that electric charge cannot be created or destroyed, and that the energy of each electron just depends on where it is, and how fast it is moving. How charges move in materials depends on their crystal structures. From basic ideas, the main principles of electronics are built up so that they can be used in the wider study of electronics to solve problems.
View 'Foundations of Electronics I' on our Module Directory
This module comprises the second half of our 1st year series on fundamentals of electronics. The module focuses on reactive circuits (i.e., circuits with capacitors and/or inductors), basic semiconductors (i.e., diodes and bipolar junction transistors), electromotive devices, and operational amplifiers. The overview of these devices includes more theoretical concepts (such as Faraday's and Lenz’s laws) as well as more practical topics such as their transient and steady state responses to step and sinusoidal inputs, using phasors for circuit analysis, applications in analogue filters, amplification with feedback, power supply units, and DC motors and generators. The module includes weekly problem solving classes in which calculation exercises are discussed and four weekly lab sessions in which more theoretical concepts are applied to implementation and testing of a DC power supply unit.
View 'Foundations of Electronics II' on our Module Directory
This course covers the principles of project management, team working, communication, legal issues, finance, and company organisation. Working in small teams, students will go through the full project life-cycle of design, development and implementation, for a bespoke software requirement. In this course, students gain vital experience to enable them to enter the computer science/Electrical engineering workforce, with a degree backed by the British Computer Society, and by the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
View 'Group Project & Industrial Practice' on our Module Directory
Need to build on your mathematical knowledge? Want to apply mathematical skills to engineering? Study the fundamental mathematics for engineering, covering topics like integral transform theory, probability theory, and numerical integration. Gain experience of using Matlab software to understand and solve problems.
View 'Engineering Mathematics' on our Module Directory
This module aims to develop an in-depth understanding of analogue systems and circuit techniques from the perspective of the design process. The module incorporates two major themes: The first is the circuit orientated theme aiming to engender both an intuitive understanding of simple circuit design and functionality.The second theme focuses on the more formal analysis and computer simulation techniques using equivalent circuit transistor models where key skills in numeracy and circuit simulation are developed and then used in the design, simulation and construction of oscillator circuits. The module is supported by laboratory-based assignments that investigate small signal amplifiers, and voltage-controlled oscillator design and applications.
View 'Analogue Circuit Design' on our Module Directory
Digital systems are an important part of most electronic devices and systems. In this module students learn to design a small system using an industry-standard prototyping board based around a Xilinx FPGA. The module is laboratory based using Xilinx Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and it builds on knowledge of digital circuits that students learn in CE161. Students learn how to design, and more importantly, how to debug and test a design, using laboratory test equipment, to convert an idea into working hardware.
View 'Digital Systems Design' on our Module Directory
This main aim of this module is to provide a detailed description of the data link layer of telecommunications systems and its interface with the physical layer of these systems. It starts by using the OSI model to place these layers in the context of the entire telecommunication system. It then describes the principal methods for the quantitative description of link signals, which then enables the fundamental link layer transmission media to be described as well as of baseband transmission. A discussion of link layer flow control and error correction naturally leads to description of link layer protocols. Finally, the transmission of digital signals over analogue links and analogue signals over digital lines are discussed. A coursework assignment will be set on the detailed planning of satellite up and down links. There will also be a progress test.
View 'Telecommunication Principles' on our Module Directory
Many modern electronic devices are high speed and are widely used in computers, communications, radars and various other electronic systems. This module deals with those aspects of electromagnetic necessary for fine engineering of high speed circuits, devices, antennas and systems and for interference mitigation.
View 'Engineering Electromagnetics' on our Module Directory
Want to configure Internet routing protocols for interconnecting networks? Or configure Ethernet switches and associated protocols? Build on your understanding of Internet routing protocols, Ethernet and other IP networking. Gain practical experience of configuration. Design addressing structures and interconnecting strategies for campus scale networks.
View 'Computer and Data Networks' on our Module Directory
The highlight of our undergraduate degree courses is the individual capstone project. This project module provides students with the opportunity to bring together all the skills they have gained during their degree and demonstrate that they can develop a product from the starting point of a single 1/2 page description, provided either by an academic member of staff or an external company. In all the student spends 450 hours throughout the academic year, reporting to their academic tutor, and in the case of company projects, to a company mentor. All projects are demonstrated to external companies on our Project Open Day.
View 'Individual Project' on our Module Directory
How do you configure Internet routing protocols for interconnecting WAN and LAN technologies? How suitable are WAN protocols within a modern communications infrastructure? Study the theories behind simulating and analysing network performance. Understand the fundamental principles behind contemporary network architecture and protocols, and evaluate why new protocols are created.
View 'Network Engineering' on our Module Directory
Operation of many electronic systems like radio, TV and phones is based on signals and signal shaping. This module provides basic understanding of linear systems and filter design techniques for analogue signal processing. Of practical importance are the concepts of stability, sensitivity, and design centring for production and quality control of systems and circuits, which are also emphasized in the module.
View 'Signal Processing' on our Module Directory
This module describes the fundamental principles of telecommunication systems and networks covering both radio-frequency/microwave (RF/MW) and optical fibre communications by a unified approach. In brief - the module content reflects at depth the full complexity of modern telecommunication field and what you as a future telecommunication professional need to know to succeed in your career choice. The module gives a comprehensive overview of modern and future telecommunication networks and an introduction to basic principles of information and its processing in communications, the main transmission and demodulation techniques of the information-carrying analogue and digital signals are considered in depth for RF/MW and optical systems. This provides an integral understanding of how modern communication systems operate at all levels from top to bottom, including transmission system engineering, analysis of the effect of various impairments on the system performance, system development and optimisation. The module's focus on fundamental principles means that you as a future telecommunication or electronic engineer working in the communication area will be well-prepared to follow the changes which are taking place in this rapidly evolving field. In order to provide both good theoretical knowledge and strong applied skills, in addition to the lectures the module is supported by the problem solving classes.
View 'Telecommunication Networks and Systems' on our Module Directory
This module aims at introducing students to digital processing techniques, including sampling and analysis of digital signals, signal conditioning, the design of digital filters, and digital signal processing applications. Discrete signals and systems are studied, with an emphasis on the Fourier and Z-transforms that are necessary for the analysis of discrete signals and design of digital filters.
View 'Digital Signal Processing' on our Module Directory
Interested in designing, programming and evaluating AI robots? To understand the potential applications for AI in the real world? Study different approaches to the use of AI robotics, along with associated design methodologies. Gain practical experience of building your own autonomous mobile robots and intelligent machines, from sensing to action.
View 'Mobile Robotics (optional)' on our Module Directory
Computer vision is the discipline that tries to understand the content of images and videos. It has an extraordinarily wide range of applications; well-known ones include inspection on production lines, reading number plates, mixing live and computer-generated action in movies, and recognising faces. However, researchers are working on applications such as driverless cars, building 3D models from photographs, robot navigation, gaming interfaces, and automated medical diagnosis -- in fact, whenever you as a human looks at the world and try to understand what you see is fair game for computer vision. This module introduces you to the principles of computer vision through a series of lectures and demonstrations. You have an opportunity to learn how to use these principles and algorithms on real-world vision problems in the associated laboratories using the industry-standard toolkit, OpenCV.
View 'Computer Vision (optional)' on our Module Directory
The world demands software systems with ever increasing richness of behaviours and degrees of complexity. However, traditional software engineering techniques, which were inherited with relatively minor adaptations from other, older branches of engineering, have been struggling to scale up to the challenges posed by modern software systems. As a result, a large proportion (as much as a quarter!) of software projects based on traditional methods end up being cancelled at some point in their lifecycle, with many more being late, over budget and with less features than initially stipulated. In this module you will learn why traditional software engineering techniques fail, and you will become very familiar (through lectures, labs, videos and a large group project) with a novel set of techniques, known as Extreme Programming and Agile Software Development, which fundamentally solve these problems. In the last decade, these techniques have been so successful that today as many as 80% of all projects adopt agilite methods.
View 'Large Scale Software Systems and Extreme Programming (optional)' on our Module Directory
Embedded systems have become more pervasive and powerful to take on truly sophisticated functions in recent years. When facing with the rapid technical updating and complicated market requirements, the designers have to use advanced design techniques to deal with the complexity. In this module, you will gain the experience of full embedded system design process, and the fundamental knowledge on hardware components and real time programming. The hand-on practice helps your understanding of embedded system design process.
View 'Advanced Embedded Systems Design (optional)' on our Module Directory
This module embraces the world of high-quality audio systems where it integrates topics on amplifiers, digital audio signal processing and loudspeaker systems. The module is presented by a leading academic in the field of audio engineering who is widely published and has engaged in a lifetime of audio research. A pervasive theme is the role of negative feedback that is so critical in electronic systems, where sub-topics include stability, error correction, servo amplifiers, phase-lock loops and noise shaping. The module discusses both analogue and digital electronic techniques, provides CAD opportunity to simulate feedback amplifiers and presents grounding in loudspeaker systems and transducer modelling. The module should appeal to students who wish to gain a more in-depth understanding of electronic systems within an area where performance is critical.
View 'Audio Electronic Systems and Design (optional)' on our Module Directory
Digital systems are in virtually all devices we interact with: from consumer electronics, to biomedical applications and automotive industry. Digital technology is evolving so rapidly that engineers need rapid-prototyping software and hardware tools that allow them to explore and test an implementation before moving to the production. In this module, learners will gain fundamental circuit design and verification skills by using an industry-standard hardware description language (VHDL) to program field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The learning process is experience-oriented so that hands-on practice in designing embedded systems as well as theoretical background is acquired during the course.
View 'High Level Digital Design (optional)' on our Module Directory
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Courses are taught by a combination of lectures, laboratory work, assignments, and individual and group project activities
- Group work
- A significant amount of practical lab work will need to be undertaken for written assignments and as part of your learning
- You are assessed through a combination of written examinations and coursework
- All our modules include a significant coursework element
- You receive regular feedback on your progress through in-term tests
If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form
and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring
to discuss your grades.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.