Postgraduate study2016


Electronic and Electrical Engineering

School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering

Year of entry: 2016

1 year full-time

This programme is suitable for recent graduates and engineers with experience of microelectronics who have good mathematical ability. It provides a thorough knowledge of the principles and techniques of this exciting field and has been developed in consultation with industry advisors to ensure it is relevant to today’s workplace.


Electronic and Electrical Engineering

School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering

Year of entry: 2016

1 year full-time

This programme is suitable for recent graduates and engineers with experience of microelectronics who have good mathematical ability. It provides a thorough knowledge of the principles and techniques of this exciting field and has been developed in consultation with industry advisors to ensure it is relevant to today’s workplace.

Programme information

Modules are block taught so can also be studied separately by working engineers as continuous professional development either to enhance their knowledge in particular subject fields or to widen their portfolio.

Core study areas include ASIC engineering, sensors and actuators, technology and verification of VLSI systems, embedded software development and an individual project.

Optional study areas include communication networks, information theory and coding, solar power, wind power, systems architecture, advanced FPGAs, DSP for software radio, advanced photovoltaics, mobile network technologies and advanced applications.


You’ll have access to laboratories, industry standard software (Altera, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, Xilinx) and hardware including equipment provided by Texas Instruments.

Careers and further study

Consultation with industry to craft the syllabus ensures that you’ll have an advantage in the job market. The in-depth knowledge acquired can be applied wherever embedded electronic systems are found including mobile phones (4/5G), acoustics, defence, medical instrumentation, radio and satellite communication and networked systems, control engineering, instrumentation, signal processing and telecommunications engineering.

How you will learn

Compulsory modules provide a comprehensive understanding of modern microelectronics, embedded electronic systems, emerging technologies and their uses while the individual research project offers the chance to pursue a specialism in-depth. You’ll have access to advanced research knowledge and state of the art laboratories using industry standard software (Altera, Cadence, Mentor, Xilinx) so that you are prepared to enter a wide range of industry sectors on graduation.


Examinations are held in January and May, with coursework and group work assessments throughout the programme. The high practical content of this course is reflected in the inclusion of laboratory assessments and practical examinations. The individual research project is assessed by written report and viva voce in September.

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries are available each year for UK/EU and international students who meet the criteria for award. For full details visit our fees and scholarships pages.

Entry qualification

Upper second class (2:1) honours degree in electronic / electrical engineering, computer engineering, physics or an equivalent qualification.

Programme modules

Compulsory Modules

• ASIC Engineering
• Sensors and Actuators for Control
• Embedded Software Development
• Individual Project

Optional Modules (Choose five)

• Communication Networks
• Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing
• Solar Power 1
• Wind Power 1
• Communications Channels
• DSP for Software Radio
• Imagineering
• Mobile Networks
• Advanced FPGAs
• Engineering Applications
• Systems Modelling for Control Engineering – new for 2015
• Radio Frequency and Microwave Integrated Circuit Design – new for 2015

Block-taught, individual modules are also highly suitable as CPD for professional engineers needing to fill a skills gap. 

The following descriptions of modules are intended as a guide to the curriculum. The content may be
subject to change at the discretion of the University.

ELP405 Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Engineering
The aim of the module is to teach students tools and methodologies for designing complex Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), using VHDL for design entry and the CADENCE software for synthesis and back-end design. A second aim is to help students understand the various levels of abstraction in ASIC design and to appreciate the complexity of designing state-of-the-art VLSI chips.

It includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Linux OS.
  • Introduction to IC design and to Cadence CAD tools.
  • Combinational and Sequential Logic.
  • Logic styles. Adders, shifters, multipliers.
  • Architectural level.
  • Concept of a high level language.
  • RTL formulation.
  • The data-path.
  • FSM.
  • Behavioural, structural and data-path modelling and simulation.
  • VHDL - Types; Signals and variables; concurrent and sequential statements; entities and architectures; components and configurations; processes, procedures and functions; packages; blocks; aliases.
  • Binding, elaboration and simulation.
  • Use of the Leapfrog simulation package.
  • Logic synthesis algorithms.
  • Synthesising combinational and sequential circuits.
  • Synthesising systems.
  • Cadence RTL Compiler: Advanced synthesis techniques.
  • Layout Issues. Placement, routing and floor-planning. Use of the Place and Route package Silicon Ensemble.
  • Issues in Clock design. Skew, delay, clock distribution.
  • Power issues. Methods of reducing power. Delay balancing. Switching activity. Probabilistic power analysis.

Dr Vassilios Chouliaras

ELP022 Embedded Software Development

The aim of this module is to help students understand the need for a systematic approach to embedded software development and to gain experience of such an approach in a practical setting.

It includes the following topics:
• Need for embedded software development. Systematic approaches to software development. Software quality and development processes. Coding standards and software lifecycle.
• Languages for embedded systems and software test
• Basic features of real-time operating systems and practical aspects of real-time operating systems

Dr David Mulvaney

ELP068 Sensors and Actuators for Control

The aims of this module are for the students to understand the options available and the issues related to selection of sensors and actuators for control systems. 

It includes the following topics:

  • Sensors: Sensed quantities; Sensor types and principles; Uses of Sensors; Dynamics of Sensors; Sensor systems; smart sensors; Sensor fault detection and redundancy.
  • Actuation: Basic principles; Hydraulic systems; Pneumatic systems; Electrical systems; Advanced materials; Choice of actuation system; Open and closed loop actuator; Actuator Fault Toleranceand redundancy.
  • System design of sensor/actuator systems and control systems.

Professor Roger Dixon

ELP020 Project

The aims of this module are to give postgraduate students the experience of a substantial, individual research project in areas covered by one of the MSc programmes from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and to do this in a manner which illustrates insight into, and training of, appropriate research methods. The project is conducted under the supervision of a member of the School’s academic staff in a research area appropriate to your MSc programme.

Mr Rob Seager



ELP009 Communication Networks

This module covers the main principles of communication networks and includes the following topics:

• Introduction to network topology and architecture.
• The ISO Reference Model and its Layers.
• The Physical Layer.
• The Datalink Layer; protocols and frame structures.
• The Network Layer.
• Routing.
• Local area networks, Ethernet, WLAN.
• The Transport Layer; addressing, buffering.
• Servers; Bridges, routers, gateways.
• The IP Protocol; Addressing, UDP, TCP/IP.
• Delay analysis. Queuing analysis.

Dr Alex Gong

ELP006 Fundamentals of DSP

This module covers the fundamentals of information theory and its applications to source coding and channel coding. 

It includes the following topics:

Measure of information, self-information, mutual information, entropy, Shannon's source coding theorem, variable length codewords, craft inequality, Huffman coding, speech coding, image coding, video coding, transform coding, discrete cosine transform, channel capacity, Shannon's channel coding theorem, MIMO capacity, linear block codes, cyclic codes and convolutional codes 

Professor Sangarapillai Lambothoran


ELP033 Solar Power 1

This module covers the facts governing the nature, availability and characteristics of the solar resource at chosen sites and the fundamental concepts of photovoltaics and thermal conversion. The conversion technologies are examined critically in terms of design, efficiency, manufacturing options and costs. 

It includes the following topics:

  • Solar energy resource
  • Solar thermal systems
  • Principles of solid state physics of PV cells
  • PV systems
  • Interfacing technology
  • Manufacturing processes.

Dr Gianfranco Claudio


ELP069 Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Engineers

The aim of this module is for the students to understand the relationship between creative management, innovation and enterprise. By preparing a business plan the students will gain a competency that can make a direct contribution to UK plc. 

It includes the following topics.
• Creative management: idea-writing, nominal group technique and interpretive structural modelling.
• Business and Financial Planning: risk management, reasons for success and failure of companies.
• Intellectual Property: an awareness of the breadth of methods available together with an appreciation of the issue of whether to protect or to license business ideas.
• Innovation: concepts, methods and models of idea generation and capture. 

Professor Ron Summers


ELP015 Communications Channels

In telecommunications and computer networking, a communication channel is the transmission medium conveying the signal and can be physical, such as a wire, or wireless, such as a radio channel. This module includes the following topics:
• The free space channel - Friis equations, antennas, receivers and receiver noise and CNR calculation.
• Fading in terrestrial and satellite links - weather and ionospheric effects and Rayleigh and Mie fading.
• Satellite links including crosslinks.
• Optical links and their specific problems.
• Methods of countering channel imperfections - diversity techniques, equalisers.
• Introduction to antenna and transmission lines.

Professor Yiannis Vardaxoglou FREng


ELP008 Digital Signal Processing for Software Defined Radio

This module is an introduction to software defined radio, in particular key digital signal processing operations with modems.

It includes the following topics:
• Review of Fourier analysis and linear time-invariant systems.
• Digital transmission systems. Sampling and discrete time systems.
• Multi-rate signal processing.
• Random processes and adaptive filtering: Least Mean Square (LMS) and Recursive Least Squares (RLS), and applications in channel equalization and synchronization.

Professor Sangarapillai Lambothoran


ELP017 Mobile Network Technologies

This module covers the practicalities of mobile telecommunication systems, their constraints and ways that these constraints may be countered.
It includes the following topics:

  • Basic System Design
  • Network Planning
  • Network Operation
  • Cellular Systems
  • Multiple Access Techniques
  • Spectrum, LTE, WiMAX.

Dr Rob Edwards

ELP021 Advanced FPGAs

Students will learn to specify the architecture and then design and implement systems on programmable chips (SoPC) using established and advanced methodologies.

Topics include –
• FPGA Review and FPGA internals.
• Advanced VHDL for System FPGAs
• System-on-Programmable-Chip architectures using Xilinx XPS/VivadoAltera QSYS
• Advanced Concepts: Multiple clock domains, retiming, pipelining, interfaces (Ethernet, DDR). Full system simulation
• Behavioural synthesis: Use of C2H and AutoESL tools
• Lab project: Application of all principles taught in the teaching lab, targeting real FPGA silicon 

Dr Vassilios Chouliaras

ELP025 Engineering Applications

This module looks at the collection and processing of realtime signals from the ultrasonics and biomedical fields. These signals are very often low level and noisy and the module will provide examples of how such problems are overcome.  

Topics covered include –
• Transducers: Sensor types and principles; Sensors and systems;
• Sensor drivers: Passive sensor readout circuit
• Connecting sensors to microcontrollers (systems)
• Connecting smart sensors to PC/Network
• Sensor systems for biomedical monitoring. .
• System design of sensor circuits for engineering applications.

Dr Paul Lepper and Dr Sijung Hu


ELP026 Radio Frequency and Microwave Integrated Circuit Design

This module aims to enhance the understanding of the principles of Radio Frequency (RF) and Microwave Integrated Circuit Design and production using Applied Wave Research's Microwave Office CAD software tools. It provides an overview of practical RF and microwave components and circuits based on transmission lines, such as filters, couplers and amplifiers and hybrids. At microwave frequencies, lumped element components, such as resistors and capacitors, do not always perform well. Practical models for these elements as well as ways of implementing them in transmission line form will be studied. Evaluation of results from computer simulations and hardware testing will be performed. Measurement techniques will also be presented and some discussion of the uncertainties associated with measurements is included.

Dr Alford Chauraya

ELP027 - Systems Modelling for Control Engineering

This module covers a selection of methods used in control systems design for modelling systems that may be non-linear or have uncertain parameters. The second part of the module studies robust control methods – as in techniques that are robust in the presence of system variations. Modelling: Non-linear MIMO systems, systems identification, least squares regression, linearisation of
complex systems, model order reduction, state space modelling. Control: Control of non-linear systems, PIP control, robust H-Infinity control, observer-based optimal control, LQG control.

Dr Peter Hubbard


Programming with C

This optional, non-credit bearing course is intended to provide revision for students who already have some experience of C, or to act as a conversion course for students familiar with other programming languages. C is by far the most popular language for the practical implementation of embedded systems in industry, particularly in digital communications and signal processing work. Students should attend this course if they wish to develop their language skills before embarking on practical projects or if they will be following the Embedded Software Development module. The skills introduced in the series of lectures can be practiced in the accompanying laboratory sessions.

Dr David Mulvaney


Programme Director

Rob Seager:

For further information about The Wolfson School: Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, please see our website at

Apply now

The best way to apply for admission to a taught or research programme is online. This helps us to process your application quickly.

Your application must be supported by documentary evidence of entry qualifications, including English language, academic transcripts and references.

You are strongly advised to send your documents, including transcripts and references, as soon as you make your online application – they can be submitted online.

A decision about your application cannot be made until we receive your supporting documents.

For more information on the application process, take a look at our how to apply section.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. The standard tuition fees for this course are:

Taught ProgrammesUK/EUInternational
PGT Band 3 (Laboratory-based) £6,600 £18,950

University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.


A number of scholarships and bursaries are available (dependent on eligibility):

  • Student loans for master's degrees
  • Department-specific bursaries
  • Scholarships
  • Professional and Career Development Loans
  • External charities and trusts
  • Studentships
  • Research Council funding

Find out more about the support available for UK/EU students and international students.