Undergraduate Course

BEng Mechatronic Systems

BEng Mechatronic Systems

Overview

The details
Mechatronic Systems
H730
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Do you have an inquisitive mind and are constantly questioning how things work? Would you like to work designing the self-driving cars of the future, or the latest industrial robots, or the next revolutionary consumer product? Studying mechatronics will enable you to develop these sophisticated intelligent systems we are so reliant on in the modern world.

Mechatronics combines principles from mechanics, electronics, computer engineering, automatic control and robots. Mechatronic engineering is the design, manufacture and testing of devices that utilise a combination of these disciplines in the same device. You will gain knowledge of engineering processes, product design, as well as the use of digital electronics and computer-aided (CAD) software. This will enable you to create your own mechatronic systems, developing them from imagination through to reality.

Our BEng Mechatronic Systems will cover electronics, electrical systems and programming. You will cover the following areas:

  • 3D Printing Technology
  • Drives and Power Electronics
  • Computer Programming
  • Sensors and Digital Signal Processing
  • Motion Control Algorithms
  • Computer Vision and Robotics
  • Embedded Systems

Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s mechatronic 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 graduate as a creative, experimental and focused engineer ready to explore further how electronics can impact the people and world around you.

Programming at Essex

Teaching someone to programme is about opening a door. In your first year at Essex you will study a module that introduces you to programming using Python. We assess your ability to think in a programmatic way in the very first week of term and if you require additional support, we offer classes which will boost your skills and confidence with programming.

Why we're great.
  • We are home to many of the world's top scientists and engineers in their field.
  • Become part of the next generation of industry professionals and academic researchers to help drive the economy, and push the frontiers of knowledge.
  • We are Top 250 for Computer Science in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2021.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, 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.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

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.

Specialist facilities

  • 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 scheduled practical class in progress.
  • All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10
  • 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 (OMNet++)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robots, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.

Your future

With growing capabilities in intelligent systems, the boundaries of these disciplines are blurring, meaning the need for multi-disciplinary mechatronic engineers is growing rapidly.

It is an emerging growth area of employment, with industries such as aerospace, automotive, banking, manufacturing, mining, energy and power production, applicant design and food process are all heavily reliant on the latest mechatronic developments.

Our department has a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to electronic systems design and circuit design and manufacture, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities. Read more about computer science and electronic engineering career destinations here.

We also work with our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Science C/4

A-levels: BBB, including Mathematics or Further Mathematics.
Please note we are unable to accept A-level Use of Mathematics in place of A-level Mathematics

BTEC: DDM, including Distinction in Further Mathematics for Technicians or Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555. Either must include Higher Level Mathematics grade 5, plus Standard Level Science grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Science in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Science at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Science. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

From 2021, we will accept grade 5 in either Higher Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Higher Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

Flexible offers
Eligible applicants that actively choose us as their firm choice will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements than those published here so, if your final grades aren’t what you had hoped for, you could still secure a place with us. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

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.

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.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed as subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Intro to Programming with C
(15 CREDITS)

This module will provide you with an introduction to fundamental concepts of computer programming in the C language, which is particularly relevant to programming embedded systems and for electronic engineers.

View Intro to Programming with C on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Fundamentals of Digital Systems
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Foundations of Electronics I
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Object-Oriented Programming
(15 CREDITS)

Want to become a Java programmer? Topics covered in this module include control structures, classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, file I/O, event handling, graphical components, and more. You will develop your programming skills in supervised lab sessions where help will be at hand should you require it.

View Object-Oriented Programming on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Foundations of Electronics II
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Digital Electronic Systems
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 07: CORE

Team Project Challenge
(15 CREDITS)

Our Team Project Challenge gives you the opportunity to develop a range of professional skills by working as part of a small student team on a specific project. The projects are research-based and incorporate the concepts of specifications, design, and implementation. You’ll learn about sustainability, project and time management, design, legal issues, health and safety, data analysis and presentation, team reporting, and self-evaluation. You’ll also develop skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, agility, leadership, collaboration across networks, and effective oral and written communication, as well as curiosity and imagination, all of which will enhance your knowledge, confidence and social skills necessary to innovate and succeed in a competitive global environment.

View Team Project Challenge on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: CORE

Mathematics for Engineers
(15 CREDITS)

You’ll be introduced to some key elements of mathematics that are essential to engineering. You'll develop your understanding through working on examples in class, and through practical laboratory-based exercises using the programming tool, MATLAB.

View Mathematics for Engineers on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Sensors and Actuators
(15 CREDITS)

Sensors and actuators are key components in a mechatronic system. In recent years, the inclusion of electronics in many vehicle functions has created the demand for engineers who can design systems with integrated mechanical and electrical components. The modern car contains a large number of sensors and actuators that are integrated in mechatronic systems found throughout the vehicle. In addition, many producers are showing great interest in virtual prototyping, which requires the ability to derive an accurate mathematical model of a system, and to create simulations that accurately predict system performance. This module is dedicated to the study of such components, including devices that are based on new and emerging technologies such as micro electromechanical systems (MEMS).

View Sensors and Actuators on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Engineering Mathematics
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Digital Systems Design
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Robotics
(15 CREDITS)

The robots are fast becoming part of our daily lives, autonomous cars will drive themselves, drones will deliver packages, and underwater vehicles will explore the oceans. This module covers fundamental knowledge on sensing, navigation, localisation, motion control, and decision making involved in most robotic platforms. You will be able to construct and program LEGO robots using Java language to perform a range of tasks.

View Robotics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Control theory and practice
(15 CREDITS)

This module introduces the fundamental knowledge of modern control theory in order to solve complex control problems. It covers dynamic system modelling, MATLAB simulation, stability analysis, controller design, and optimal state controllers and observers. The focus is on theories and techniques in both time and frequency of domains for linear control systems. The module will give you a solid foundation for understanding the principle and operation of control systems, and their potential real-world applications.

View Control theory and practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: CORE

C Programming and Embedded Systems
(15 CREDITS)

The overall goal of this module is to provide you with an understanding of how programs are written in C (a computer programming language) to solve engineering problems. Learn how to program an embedded microprocessor in C and how to design embedded mircroprocessor systems as solutions to various problems. Explore the design input and output modules for an embedded system.

View C Programming and Embedded Systems on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: CORE WITH OPTIONS

Option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 08: CORE

Team Project Challenge
(15 CREDITS)

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 Team Project Challenge on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Individual Capstone Project Challenge
(45 CREDITS)

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 Capstone Project Challenge on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Mechatronic Design
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Mobile Robotics
(15 CREDITS)

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 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: CORE WITH OPTIONS

Option from list
(15 CREDITS)

Placement

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.

Year abroad

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.

Teaching

  • 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

Assessment

  • In your first year, you will have exams before the start of term in January
  • 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

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£20,650

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Applicant Days

If you are an undergraduate student from the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2022, you will receive an invitation to attend an Applicant Day. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from December to May on various Wednesdays and provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. For further information, please head to our Applicant Days webpage.

If you are an EU or International student, or can’t make any of our Applicant Days, we’ll be running a variety of Virtual Applicant Days throughout the year. To find out more, check out our Visit Us webpage.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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