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Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Digital designer
  • Embedded systems engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • Software developer
  • Test engineer
  • Microprocessor systems developer


Develop the skills of electronic systems design and computer programming to be able to build future computer systems, small in size and low in power.


Study Computer Engineering at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

This course is offered at the Magee campus by the Faculty of Computing and Engineering. This course aims to prepare students for a career in professional computer engineering. It seeks to produce students with a high level of proficiency and a sound understanding of the integration of software and electronic hardware systems design. If you are interested in developing a combined proficiency in computing and electronic engineering, this is the course for you.

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About this course

In this section


The BEng Hons Computer Engineering course combines the theory and practice of both electronic design and software development through formal lectures and tutorials, supported by hands-on laboratory experiments. The practical laboratory sessions are used to underpin the theory on hardware-software interfacing, performance, and design-for-reliability which occur when developing electronic hardware systems and software programs. In particular, the course develops the necessary knowledge and skills in how the electronic hardware can be interfaced with software programs, whereby the software controls the operation of the electronic hardware. Case studies are also presented during the course to highlight both intuitive design techniques and deficiencies. Throughout the course, students will get the opportunity to work with industry standard design tools and use electronic instrumentation (e.g. oscilloscope, function generators) to debug and diagnose circuits.


This course is part-time. Part-time students are taught alongside full-time students, and modules are scheduled to accommodate day-release from employment.

Each student must complete between 40 and 80 credits (usually two to four modules) in each academic year. Modules are taught on campus on a single day per module basis and are web-supplemented.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Object oriented programming

Year: 1

This module provides an introduction to object-oriented software development in C++. At completion of this subject students should have an understanding of object-oriented programming paradigm and appreciate the evolutionary nature of current object-oriented languages; understand the issues involved in implementing a system in an object-oriented language and realise how object-oriented languages impact on program performance, reliability and maintenance; and have mastered a programming paradigm and language relevant to current commercial standards

Algorithms and Data Structures

Year: 1

The module builds upon the expertise acquired in Year I algorithmic programming. Students are introduced to the classic data structures and algorithms that are used to process them, the specification of methods and classes and the measurement of algorithm performance.

Mathematics II

Year: 1

This module introduces students to the essential mathematics required for embarking on further study in engineering, computing or a related discipline. It develops the students mathematical skills required to solve problems that arise in the context of their undergraduate study. The module content is introduced in a pragmatic way and then related to real world problems, which enhances understanding and makes the concepts more meaningful and relevant for the student. The module also aims to generate in the student a spirit of mathematical investigation and discovery leading to the development of mathematical confidence.

Electronics Systems Design

Year: 1

This module introduces the principles of design of analogue and digital building blocks which can be integrated to form electronic systems of moderate complexity. The module also discusses issues related to the interfacing of analogue and digital signals. Both elements of the module are presented through lectures, tutorials and practicals and are assessed using both continuous assessment and formal written examination methods.

Year two

Digital Systems Design

Year: 2

This module introduces digital building blocks and the principles of modern digital systems design. The module also discusses performance issues related to the realisation of digital systems. Both elements of the module are presented through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions and are assessed using both continuous assessment and formal written examination methods.

Year three

Programmable logic systems

Year: 3

This module is designed to reinforce and further develop a student's digital design and implementation skills. It is presented via lectures, tutorials, seminars and practicals and is assessed using both continuous assessment and formal written examination methods.

Mixed Signal Design

Year: 3

The module introduces students to design issues related to analogue, digital and mixed circuit systems. Utilising lecture and tutorials the building blocks common to mixed signal systems methodology are covered. The module aims to develop an understanding of the practical issues surrounding mixed signal design and implementation

Concurrent and Distributed Systems

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides a theoretical foundation in the area of concurrent and distributed systems. This is an increasingly important area of computing as these types of systems are now manifest in a wide range of internet/intranet based application domains. The module first covers the key theory and design principles and then provides a learning path for software development in this exciting and evolving area of computing/engineering. As a consequence it facilitates students to develop expertise in the core skills area of multithreaded, networked and web -enabled computer systems.

Intelligent systems

Year: 3

This module is optional

Having completed this module, the student should have an understanding of the research area of intelligent techniques. The module will address important implementation issues and describe the benefits of intelligent techniques in practical applications.

Year four

Research Studies and Project Management

Year: 4

This module is designed to equip students with the appropriate research and project management skills needed to complete a project within the Computing domain. Firstly, the module provides an underpinning foundation of research concepts, methods and techniques necessary for project development and delivery. Secondly, the different stages of the research process are demonstrated. Thirdly, the students employ skills developed during the module to create a set of project deliverables such as project plan and proposal, critically reviewed literature papers, literature review and project presentation. Embedded in all these activities is the reinforcement of the need for adhering to recognised ethical standards and taking a professional approach to carrying out research.

Final Year Project

Year: 4

Students are required to undertake an individual project during the final year of the course. Its purpose is to provide an experience of developing a software/hardware/engineering solution to a realistic problem. This work combines skills and knowledge acquired previously on the course with those acquired during the project. In particular, students will have an opportunity to (i) strengthen their competence in project management, in taking an initial concept through to a successful implementation; and (ii) enhance their communication skills, in producing a dissertation and defending the work.

Mobile Robotics

Year: 4

This module is optional

Robotics brings together a wide range of disciplines, from mechanical and electronic engineering, computer science to artificial intelligence and cognitive science. This module will introduce these foundations of robotics, presenting fundamental knowledge as well as advanced research topics such as robot learning, robot navigation, and multi-robot systems. The module will be accompanied by laboratory exercises to provide an appropriate balance between theory and experiment in mobile robotics

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

A levels are not a requirement for this course. You must normally have:

I. A Higher National Diploma in Computing;

II. A Higher National Certificate in Computing with typically an all-merit profile;

III. Any equivalent qualification.

The Faculty of Computing and Engineering does not accept students with Essential Skills in Application of Number as the only mathematics qualification. You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent). If you have other qualifications than those listed, you may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Courses’ Coordinator following an interview.


GCSE (or equivalent) profile to include minimum of Grade C or above in Mathematics.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

This course is delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical laboratories. In a combined theory and practical based degree such as Computer Engineering, it is important to evaluate case studies and expose both clever techniques and design deficiencies. As a result, practical lab sessions are used to illustrate these points when designing electronic hardware systems and software programs. In particular, how the electronic hardware can be interfaced with the software program, whereby the software controls the operation of the electronic hardware. During the course students will get the opportunity to work hands-on with industry standard design tools and also electronic instrumentation for debugging and diagnosis. Students will also be directed to read sections of recommended texts and will be expected to undertake directed reading in preparation for all scheduled classes, and consolidate the material covered in class by private study.

Exemptions and transferability

Transfer between this course and other similar courses within the Faculty of Computing and Engineering may be possible on the basis of academic performance.

Exemption from parts of the course may be considered based on appropriate performance in a related, designated course or other approved experiential learning (APEL).

The course has been designed to enable students who graduate with a good honours degree to apply for postgraduate study towards a PhD, MSc, MRes or other higher qualification.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Digital designer
  • Embedded systems engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • Software developer
  • Test engineer
  • Microprocessor systems developer

Career options

Graduates with this mix of electronics and computer science skills have many career opportunities available to them. For example, careers in electronics circuit design, in the electronics or computing manufacturing industry, in software engineering, in project management or in planning and technical management. There is also the opportunity to work in research and development. Opportunities for postgraduate study in electronics, computer science or a related area are broad.

Professional recognition

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT

Accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT on behalf of the Science Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Scientist.

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT

Accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.

Academic profile

Staff on the course have significant experience in teaching the design of electronic hardware systems and programming at both high levels (Windows) and low-level (embedded systems like automotive, manufacturing). Staff have links with local industries which keep them informed of the latest electronic and software design tools/platforms being used to development products and processes.

Members of the teaching team are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and Members of the industry professional body - the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Through their research, knowledge transfer and placement activities, teaching staff are also actively engaged with the local software and IT industry, and many modules on the course are directly informed by staff research activities.


Part-time applicants can apply directly online.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course. 

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees. 

Please contact the course team for more information.


Course Director: Dr Jim Harkin

T: +44 (0) 28 7167 5128



Faculty Office

T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6305