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This course is designed for students from a variety of engineering backgrounds, to enhance and develop electronic engineering knowledge and skills essential for the modern engineer.

You will gain expertise and experience in the areas of analogue and digital systems and circuit design using state-of-the-art software and processors. You will gain the in-depth knowledge and skills you need for analysing, modelling and optimising the performance of advanced microelectronic and communication systems. The course covers a broad range of topics including advanced embedded system technologies, digital design automation and silicon electronic design, as well as optical fibre communication systems and wireless communications.

This course is designed for students from a variety of engineering backgrounds, to enhance and develop electronic engineering knowledge and skills essential for the modern engineer.

You will gain expertise and experience in the areas of analogue and digital systems and circuit design using state-of-the-art software and processors. You will gain the in-depth knowledge and skills you need for analysing, modelling and optimising the performance of advanced microelectronic and communication systems. The course covers a broad range of topics including advanced embedded system technologies, digital design automation and silicon electronic design, as well as optical fibre communication systems and wireless communications.

Course Information

Level of Study
Postgraduate

Mode of Study
18 months full-time
2 other options available

Department
Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location
Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City
Newcastle

Start
January 2019 or September 2019 or January 2020

Scholarships and Discounts

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Your progress will be monitored by lecturing staff and advice and appropriate links supplied to improve your learning.

Web links are provided for further reading whilst online videos, where appropriate, are available for you to review taught material in your own time. Lecture material is enhanced with laboratory sessions which allow demonstration of theories and exploration of practical problems and limitations.

As a postgraduate student you will be expected to have a responsible and professional approach to learning, accessing the material and support provided and raising any problems with academic staff or your programme leader. You will have an opportunity to take an active role in the operation and content of the course via the departmental programme committee.

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Our passion for research informs the curriculum and impacts our teaching, ensuring that course content stays current and our academic staff are amongst the best in the country.

The team include published authors and industry experts with research interests including analogue electronics, networking, professionalism in practice, teaching and learning in technology and project management.

The department of Physics and Electrical Engineering is a top-35 research department with 79% of our outputs ranked world-leading or internationally excellent according to the 2014 UK wide Research Excellence Framework. This places us in the top quartile for world-leading publications among UK universities in General Engineering.

Staff Profiles / Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Whether your subject matter is renewable energy, astrophysics or communications, our range of specialist and general use facilities will support you. Throughout your work you will be able to measure, explore, experiment and model developments that are changing the way we all live our lives.

Technology to enhance learning in engineering is embedded throughout the programme. This takes the form of self-guided exercises, online tests with feedback, assessment feedback and videos and tutorials to support lectures. Self-development and employability are enhanced throughout the programme, especially with respect to communicating ideas in written and oral forms, the use of appropriate IT tools, personal time management, problem solving and independent learning skills.

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Our course is at the forefront of current knowledge and practice, shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

All the modules are industry or research informed, based upon academic staff industrial experience, consultancy or personal research interests. This allows the knowledge and skills that you will acquire to meet the need and practical application for real world scenarios.

The course is supported by a team of academics who are highly respected by research groups around the world and who make a significant contribution to the faculty and University vision for the future of research within the higher education sector.

Department Research

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

A strong industrial and research based curriculum enhances your employability by considering real world scenarios in which known solutions are absent.

You will be encouraged to research information from professional publications, company literature, etc. to determine innovative and appropriate solutions to these scenarios, enabling you to demonstrate relevant industry practice.

You will also be attached to one of the departmental or faculty research groups for your final dissertation, exposed to and incorporated into a working team and environment. This provides the opportunity for both work-related learning experience and professional career development.

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

The rapid growth of the communications and microelectronics industries has created a strong demand for skilled engineers, who are able to design and manufacture semiconductors and freespace and optical communication systems.

The UK Government’s commitment to high-speed broadband means that demand for communications engineers is expected to outstrip supply. UK and international demand for microelectronic engineers remains strong, with salaries reflecting employers’ need to attract the best candidates.

Upon graduation, you will be well-equipped to apply for roles such as communications engineer, electronic/electrical engineer, operational researcher, software engineer and systems developer. You may also consider the wider engineering and information technology sectors, including energy, transport, electronics and telecommunications, defence and manufacturing and engineering management.

Book an Open Day / Experience Microelectronic and Communications Engineering

Visit an Open Day to really get an inside view of what it's like to study Microelectronic and Communications Engineering at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Entry Requirements 2018/19

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have:
A minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in Physics, Engineering or a relevant subject.
Or an equivalent qualification with relevant experience.

International qualifications

If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language requirements

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Entry Requirements 2019/20

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have:


A minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in Physics, Engineering or a relevant subject.
Or an equivalent qualification with relevant experience.

International qualifications:

If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language requirements:

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Fees and Funding 2018/19 Entry

Full UK Fee: £5,995

Full EU Fee: £5,995

Full International Fee: £14,000

ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

FUNDING INFORMATION

Click here for UK Masters funding and scholarships information.

Click here for International Masters funding and scholarships information.

Click here for UK/EU Masters tuition fee information.

Click here for International Masters tuition fee information.

Click here for additional costs which may be involved while studying.

Click here for information on fee liability.

Fees and Funding 2019/20 Entry

Full UK Fee: £6,990

Full EU Fee: £6,990

Full International Fee: £15,000

ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

FUNDING INFORMATION

Click here for UK and EU Masters funding and scholarships information.

Click here for International Masters funding and scholarships information.

Click here for UK/EU Masters tuition fee information.

Click here for International Masters tuition fee information.

Click here for additional costs which may be involved while studying.

Click here for information on fee liability.

 

 

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Modules Overview

Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

KD7019 -

Advanced Embedded System Design Technology (Core, 20 Credits)

In this module you will cover the broad topic of Microprocessors and Microcontrollers and how they are used in Embedded Systems. This will involve investigating processor architectures, operating modes and interfacing to peripherals. Examples of structures from current industrial vendors such as ATMEL, ARM, and Microchip will be explored and examined. You will consider the hardware design and development of embedded microcontroller systems, including implementations for controlling both internal and external interfaces and peripherals. Careful examination of Real-Time control issues, interrupts and microcontroller interactions will be analysed. This will allow you to be able to design the necessary hardware for microcontroller-based systems to meet a client’s specification.

To support the implementation of hardware designs software development of Embedded Microcontroller Systems will be employed looking at both low level assembly language/machine code programming through to C programming. The techniques employed will cover code generation procedures, structured programming techniques, reusable library functions and top down/bottom up programming methods.
All these techniques will be applied case studies based upon industrial research activities. Typical applications include:

These will cover areas such as temperature monitoring, algorithmic techniques; message passing systems and communication protocols.

Microcontroller technology has a broad range of applications within industry and research environments. Employing the use of a sophisticated ARM module exposes students to the diverse implementations, of such modules, and provides the key technical skills required by industry essential to modern digital and communication systems.

More information

KD7020 -

Digital Design Automation (Core, 20 Credits)

This module provides you with a working knowledge of the tools, languages and methodologies used in the design and realisation of modern electronic systems.

A central theme of the module will be the use of industry standard Hardware Description Languages, such as Verilog-HDL and its extensions, to capture, at various levels of abstraction, the behaviour and structure of digital, analogue and mixed-signal systems (AMS). Syntax and semantics of digital language will be examined in order to create combinational and sequential building blocks that are compatible with logic synthesis using programmable logic design tools. You will get the opportunity to realise your designs using programmable hardware (CPLD and FPGA) in the workshop.

You will gain experience of System Level Design by learning about, and making use of, an advanced hardware description and verification language such as System Verilog.
The use of simulation, as a means of exploring the complex interactions within a system, will be a central theme of the module.

In addition, design realisation (using Logic Synthesis) and implementation will be used to target programmable logic devices with the digital part of a design.

In Analogue and mixed signal simulation you will develop behavioural models of analogue and mixed-signal components and integrate these into a system model in order to perform verification and exploration of design interactions and trade-offs.

The skills provided by this module are essential academic, practical and professional skills demanded by industry and research for the design of digital and mixed signal systems. This applies both to the general electronic systems but also to communications system development.

More information

KD7063 -

Wireless Communication Systems (Core, 20 Credits)

This module aims to introduce you to the concepts, structure and organisation of wireless communications from a system point of view, thus illustrating the theoretical concepts and their application in practical scenarios. Wireless communication systems including the old analogue as well all digital technologies based on the optical and radio frequencies will be introduced. In addition, You will learn about the fundamental theoretical concepts for both radio and optical based wireless communications.

The module syllabus:

• Communication Regulation: Regulating authorities; standards organisation; frequency spectrum, and power usage

• Radio Communication: System and subsystem specifications for radio based communication including antennas and propagation mechanisms; cellular wireless systems, traffic engineering; noise and interference; noise factor and cascaded systems; wireless channel; link budget calculations; frequency re-use; GSM; multi-path propagation.

• Optical Wireless Communications: Including the concept of indoor optical wireless systems; diffused and line of sight links; optical channel characteristics; noise sources; and optical path link budgets.

• Digital Communication: M-ary modulation and demodulation; coherent and non-coherent systems; signalling space and constellation diagrams; BER performance of different modulation formats; matched filter detection.

• Multiplexing and Multiple Access: TDM, FDM, TDMLA, FDMA and CDMA.

The syllabus will allow you to understand and pursue careers of communication system design and deployment within the telecommunications industry. This module together with other modules such as the high level system design and high level digital / analogue circuit design will give you the skills and expertise required within the telecommunications and computer network industries, as well as preparing you to do further studies in the this and relevant fields.

More information

KD7064 -

Optical Communications System (Core, 20 Credits)

The module will provide you with the knowledge and skills in system design around two key themes of optical fibre and optical wireless communications. These are essential topics for modern telecommunications and cover advanced optical system designs as well as including industrial standards in both fibre and wireless systems. Optical fibre communications provides the backbone long-haul and medium range telecommunications that offers ultrahigh data transmission capacity whereas optical wireless communications is an emerging technology. This technology enables data transmission, either in the infrared or visible light bands, employing lasers or light emitting diodes (LED) for indoor and short range communications system.

The module syllabus covers the technical analysis of optical fibre and wireless communications both at a system and sub-system level. Performance calculations and design considerations are covered, specifically in the areas of optical transmitters and receivers, Careful examination of performance limiters will be defined and methods to offset them will be explored and analysed for optimum design. These limiters include such effects as modulation, noise, dispersion, modal transmission, multipath effects, diffusion, fog, turbulence, smoke etc.

System performance is developed and explored to maximise the capability of a communication channel covering such aspects as link budgets, multiplexing techniques, BER analysis etc. allowing the performance criteria being characterised to meet a system specification

With these developed skills and knowledge you will be able to undertake the design and analysis of a complex optical communication system, making judicial choices and improvements.

More information

KD7066 -

Analogue Electronic Design (Core, 20 Credits)

Within this module you will learn some of the key design and development skills needed for analogue electronics. The module will run through a number of fundamental building blocks of circuit design to enable you to design and develop from a high level abstraction in circuit design. The module supports this learning though the use of specific tools mixed in with key design theory along with practical lab based skills for the development and design of analogue circuitry using optimisation techniques.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Experimentation based on the use and application of an industry standard CAD package (for example, OrCAD or Mentor Graphics). Use of CAD tools to experiment with a number of circuit structures to derive their function and application inside of an abstract CAD environment.
Components, Bipolar device operation and modelling in association with passive components. The design needs for the layout of components, including some of the key parameters needed for modelling inside a CAD environment.

Analogue Design
Design of fundamental analogue cell structures, including switches, active resistors, current sources and current sinks. The design of current mirrors from basic to more advanced supply voltage independent mirrors, and voltage and current references. Integrated circuit level design of the building blocks of communications, for example, low noise amplifiers, mixers, phase locked loops and oscillators.

More information

KD7067 -

Engineering Research and Project Management (Core, 20 Credits)

The module aims to develop a critical appreciation of the various principles underlying research that will enable you to discuss, evaluate and apply a variety of research approaches, methods and techniques to an engineering problem. It will also prepare you to consider, evaluate and apply the key knowledge and skills that underpin the professional practice of project management in an engineering context. In addition the broader key skills of knowledge and awareness of other none discipline areas are developed. The curriculum is delivered using two main thematic areas, which are delivered concurrently - Research and Professional Engineering business practice. In the Research theme the nature and practice of research are developed, you will use the university Library facilities to access information and make critical judgement of the information in the context of the subject specialism. The Professional Engineering Business practice theme introduces you to the practice of approaching all projects / research professionally being aware of planning, management and costs.

A detailed breakdown of the themes are:

Research:
- Generic research skills, information literacy. Appropriate literature search strategies, evaluation, reviewing and analysis methods.
- Specifying objectives which are specific, realistic, measurable under the SMART acronym, Endnote software

Professional Engineering business practice:
- Project Management, planning, time estimation and workloads, Gantt charts, CPM and PERT. Managing change, Managing budgets and realistic costing, MS project
- Legal, ethical or social issues in research and business, Risk analysis, classification and risk handling strategies
- Propose a professional business plan for research funding or any other funding

More information

KL7003 -

Academic Language Skills for Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering (Optional, 0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home institution can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject area in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’.
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Discussing ethical issues in research, and analysing results.
• Describing bias and limitations of research.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

KD7065 -

MSc Engineering Project (Core, 60 Credits)

This module allows you to engender a spirit of enquiry and thirst for knowledge into a practical or theoretical dissertation. It includes aspects of information research, retrieval and critical appraisal; research enquiry based upon practical and theoretical skills development and critical discussion and appraisal of results; and an opportunity to compose a thesis or research style paper and to deliver a technical presentation on the project.

This module aims to make use of the knowledge and analytic skills developed throughout the programme to provide solutions to real-world industrial and research problems. In this module you will develop:

• Critical thinking on current engineering practices and their limitations, and exposure to state of the art technologies.

• Independent problem solving skills to develop and propose solutions to fundamental and subtle problems.

• An understanding and appreciation for the need and application of ethics within research and the wider society, and apply this in the context of the Engineering project undertaken.

• Project management skills to organise and plan tasks with clear objectives, outcomes and timescales, and analyse the true “cost” in order to achieve project outcomes.

• Key technical writing and presentation skills to a professional standard expected by both industry and academia.

These will provide a professional base from which you will be able to identify and use key knowledge, objectives, theories and techniques, plan and cost in order to bid, for funding, for future industrial and research projects. A key requirement of a professional engineer.

More information

Study Options

The following alternative study options are available for this course:

Any Questions?

Our admissions team will be happy to help. They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901.

Applicants Contact Details:

bc.applicantservices@northumbria.ac.uk

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at 
www.northumbria.ac.uk/exp

Terms and Conditions - northumbria.ac.uk/terms
Fees and Funding - northumbria.ac.uk/fees
Admissions Policy - northumbria.ac.uk/adpolicy

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