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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. The 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 hardware systems design. If you are interested in developing proficiency in both 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.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


Four years, including placement.

Each student must complete 120 credits (usually six modules) in each academic year, with the exception of placement year (60 credits). Years 1, 2 and 4 are spent in the University. Modules are taught on campus and are web-supplemented. In Year 3, students undertake a year's work experience.

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

Programming I

Year: 1

This module provides students of computing with an initial competence in the development of software through the medium of a modern programming language with facilities for both structured and object-oriented programming

Programming II

Year: 1

This module is a direct follow-on to Programming I. Students are introduced to more advanced features of both an algorithmic programming language and an object oriented language, and will be expected to acquire a higher level of competence in writing software.

Computer hardware and organisation

Year: 1

Differences in the internal structure and organisation of a computer lead to significant differences in performance and functionality, giving rise to an extraordinary range of computing devices, from hand-held computers to large-scale, high-performance machines. This module addresses the various options involved in designing a computer system, the range of design considerations, and the trade-offs involved in the design process.

Mathematics for Engineering

Year: 1

The module covers topics that are suitable for a first year BEng course. These include algebra, trigonometry, matrices, calculus, sequence and series.

Digital Electronics

Year: 1

This module introduces the student to basic digital electronics principles presented using a combination of lectures tutorials and practical laboratories and are assessed using both continuous assessment and formal written examination methods.

Analogue Electronics

Year: 1

This module introduces the student to analogue electronic principles presented using a combination of lectures tutorials and practical laboratories and is assessed by two class tests and a written examination.

Year two

Visual Programming

Year: 2

A large number of software have to be deployed on various platforms, and they have to provide a graphical user interface. This module will introduce the key concepts and principles of C# application development using Visual Programming and Event-driven programming techniques in the context of rapid application development of modern, high quality software solutions with Graphical User Interfaces. Programming for both pc windows and mobile platforms will form a core element of the module.

Object oriented programming

Year: 2

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: 2

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.

Professional Issues

Year: 2

The module prepares students for professional work including the responsibilities and obligations of employees, employers and clients as determined in codes of professional conducts. Students will have the opportunity to practise the presentation of themselves in, for example, application forms, curriculum vitae, interview and aptitude tests. In addition the module addresses issues such as intellectual property rights and defamation, data protection, computer misuse and other ethical issues related to working as a professional in the software sector.

Mathematics II

Year: 2

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.

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.

Electronics Systems Design

Year: 2

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 three

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of computing whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Professional Practice - Computing

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module enables students who have secured a placement job to complete a period of appropriate work experience in a supportive environment. Students will have opportunities to gain employability skills, reflect upon the applicability of their subject specific skills, and gain insight into the graduate job market. Students who successfully complete the module are eligible for the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or Diploma in Professional Practice International (DPPI).

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.

Programmable logic systems

Year: 4

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: 4

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: 4

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.

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

Intelligent systems

Year: 4

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.

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

The GCE A Level requirement for this course is 300 UCAS tariff points including grades BBC, to include a minimum of grade C in one from GCE A level Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computing (not IT/ICT), Software Systems Development, Technology and Design, Design and Technology or Engineering.


The requirement for this course is successful completion of BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Computing (not ICT/IT), Electronics or an Engineering discipline, with overall award profile of DDM to include at least 9 unit distinctions.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Overall Irish Leaving Certificate Highers requirement for this course is 300 UCAS tariff points including B1B2B2B3B3 (typical grade profile) to include at least one science-based subject (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computing, Technology or Engineering).

Minimum Irish Leaving Certificate Ordinary Grade C3 in English and Mathematics also required.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is 300 UCAS tariff points including AABCC to include minimum of Grade B in a science subject.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is 300 UCAS tariff points including BBB one of which must be a science subject.

International Baccalaureate

Minimum 26 points (13 at higher level) to include Mathematics and a Science subject. Grade 4 in English Language also required in overall profile.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

The entry requirement for this course is successful completion of a Ulster University validated Access route in Science/Technology with Overall 70% and 70% in Mathematics. Equivalent Mathematics qualifications considered for the Mathematics requirement.

Other Access courses considered individually, please contact the Faculty Office 028 90366305.


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

The General Entry Requirements for English Language must be met. Please check the following link

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.

Additional Entry Requirements


BTEC changes reflecting Subsidiary Diploma/Diploma/ Extended Diploma can be viewed on the Equivalence of Qualification table online at:

Higher National Diploma
An HND in a relevant Engineering/ Science subject at an appropriate overall standard. Advanced entry (year 2) may be considered. Please contact the Faculty Office 028 9036 6305 or for advice.

Any other subjects refer to the Faculty Office.

The General Entry Requirements must also be met including English Language minimum GCSE grade C (or equivalent). Please check the following link

Teaching and learning assessment

Lectures are used to present theory and concepts, and are supported through a combination of tutorial discussion and practical, laboratory exercises. Students will be directed to read sections of recommended texts and will be expected to undertake directed reading in preparation for all scheduled classes, and to consolidate the material covered in class by private study.

Modules are either assessed by coursework only or by a combination of coursework and formal examinations (January and May). Coursework assessment is carried out using any combination of written assignments, class tests, practical tests, presentations, and group assignments as appropriate to meet the learning outcomes of each module.

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, as project managers or in planning and technical management. There is also the opportunity to work in research. Opportunities for postgraduate study in electronics, computer science or a related area are broad.

Work placement / study abroad

All students normally spend one year on industrial placement (Year 3) working in some aspect of the computing/engineering industry for a minimum period of 25 weeks. On satisfactory completion of the placement period you are eligible for the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP). Students who complete their industrial placement abroad receive the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (International).

Alternatively, students may apply to study abroad in another academic institution for a year. Satisfactory completion leads to the Award of Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS).

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.


All applicant can apply via UCAS.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Prizes and Scholarships for this course can be viewed on the Faculty Prize list:

Follow the links to the Faculty of Computing and Engineering.

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