The range of uses for computers is increasing all the time – from
smartphones, games consoles and tablets to aircraft flight control systems, super computers, autonomous robots and global
telecommunications. Our degree gives you up-to-date knowledge of
computer hardware and software, and a background knowledge of
electronics, communications systems and control theory. This programme contains leading-edge research, which is vital in a field that advances at such a fast pace.
The programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and
Technology (IET), on behalf of the Engineering Council. This allows
graduates to follow an approved process to gain Chartered Engineer
Applicants for September 2020 entry can apply for a scholarship of a £2,000 one-off payment. For more information and to apply, see DA VINCI Academic scholarship.
Our degree programme
This degree develops the skills and expertise needed to design computer systems, covering up-to-date detailed knowledge of computer hardware and software including electronics, communications systems and interface technologies. Our courses are designed with strong industrial input and therefore students graduate with excellent career prospects.
Computer technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics are
rapidly evolving, so experts in these fields are in great demand. This
degree is based on leading-edge research and has been designed with
strong industrial input.
In your first and second years, you are introduced to a wide range of computing and engineering modules. You can study the theoretical
background of digital technologies, communications principles and
object-oriented programming, and take modules in robotics, computer
interfacing and engineering mathematics.
Your final year allows you to specialise in a particular topic of
interest. This could include computer networks and communication,
computer security and cryptography, digital signal processing, digital
control, digital systems design and embedded computer systems.
All years include project work that replicates industrial practice to maximise the employability of our graduates.
Computer Systems Engineering student Fatima talks about her time at the University of Kent.
Year in industry
You can take a work placement between the second and third years of
your degree. This provides valuable workplace experience and can
increase your professional contacts. For more details, see Computer Systems Engineering with a Year in Industry.
The School of Engineering and Digital Arts offers cutting-edge equipment and facilities, including:
four air-conditioned computer suites with 150 high-end computers 120-seat engineering laboratory extensive professional CAD development software PCB and surface-mount facilities mechanical workshop Matlab for system modelling anechoic chamber for EMC (pre-compliance testing) and antenna characterisation.
Kent School of Engineering and Digital Arts is undergoing a £3 million redevelopment and modernisation which is due for completion in July 2020. You gain state-of-the-art engineering and design facilities which include
a virtual reality suite a production studio (including photography, video and green screen facilities) a large teaching and design studio engineering workshop and fabrication facilities a dedicated makerspace.
There are a number of student-led societies at Kent which you may want to join. These include
UKC Digital Media Kent Engineering Society TinkerSoc – Kent’s Maker Society.
The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has a long history of
collaboration with industry. We have a strong reputation for our
placement year, matching dedicated students with a variety of
organisations in the UK and overseas.
Teaching includes lectures, coursework and laboratory assignments, examples classes where you develop your problem-solving skills and regular staff ‘surgeries’. Practical work is carried out in air-conditioned laboratories, with state-of-the-art equipment and outstanding IT infrastructure.
Stage 1 modules are assessed by coursework and examination at the end of the year. Stage 2 and 3 modules, with the exception of the final-year project, are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. All years include project work to replicate industrial practice and develop skills to maximise employability.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- mathematical principles relevant to computer systems engineering
- scientific principles and methodology relevant to computer systems engineering
- advanced concepts of embedded systems, signals and image processing, control, computer communications and operating systems
- the value of intellectual property and contractual issues
- business and management techniques which may be used to achieve engineering objectives
- the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct in computer systems engineering
- current manufacturing practice with particular emphasis on product safety and EMC standards and directives
- characteristics of materials, equipment, processes and products
- appropriate codes of practice, industry standards and quality issues
- contexts in which engineering knowledge can be applied.
You develop the following intellectual abilities:
- analysis and solution of hardware and software engineering problems using appropriate mathematical methods
- the ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support study of computer systems engineering
- the use of engineering principles and how to apply them to analyse key computer systems engineering processes
- the ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques
- the ability to apply and understand a systems approach to computer systems engineering problems
- the ability to investigate and define a problem and identify constraints including cost drivers, economic, environmental, health and safety and risk assessment issues
- the ability to use creativity to establish innovative, aesthetic solutions while understanding customer and user needs, and ensuring fitness for purpose of all aspects of the problem including production, operation, maintenance and disposal
- the ability to demonstrate the economic and environmental context of the engineering solution.
You develop subject-specific skills including:
- the use of mathematical techniques to analyse and solve hardware and software problems
- the ability to work in an engineering laboratory environment and to use electronic and workshop equipment, and CAD tools to create electronic circuits
- the ability to work with technical uncertainty
- the ability to apply quantitative methods and computer software relevant to computer systems engineering in order to solve engineering problems
- the ability to implement software solutions using a range of structural and object- oriented languages
- the ability to design hardware or software systems to fulfil a product specification and devise tests to appraise performance
- awareness of the nature of intellectual property and contractual issues and an understanding of appropriate codes of practice and industry standards
- the ability to use technical literature and other information sources and apply it to a design
- the ability to apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocation and execution of a design project and evaluate outcomes
- the ability to prepare technical reports and presentations.
You gain transferable skills including:
- the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
- the use of information and communications technology
- personal and interpersonal skills and working as a member of a team
- effective communication (in writing, verbally and through drawings)
- effective learning for the purpose of continuing professional development
- critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
- how to manage time and resources within an individual project and a group project.
The programme aims to:
- educate students to become engineers, well-equipped for professional careers in development, research and production in industry and universities, and capable of meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing subject
- produce computer systems engineers with specialist skills in hardware and software engineering, prepared for the complexities of modern computer system design
- enable students to satisfy the professional requirements of the IET
- provide academic guidance and welfare support for all students
- create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer students an environment where they can develop their potential.