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MSc Digital Systems Engineering

Engineer the digital systems which will revolutionise the world of tomorrow

Year of entry: 2019

Length

1 year full-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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The development of digital technology over the past 50 years has revolutionised the design and performance of everything from mobile phones to cars and entertainment systems. Engineers, working at the forefront of this innovation, continue to enhance the performance of these devices. 

This course will provide you with advanced knowledge and transferable skills in the design, modelling, implementation and evaluation of digital systems, enabling you to contribute effectively to the increasingly complex and rapidly evolving technologies that are prevalent in industry and research.

You will learn new techniques to keep up-to-date with developments in industrial and research settings, and will have hands-on experience of the different stages of the design of a modern digital system, culminating in the construction of a complex device in a group project. This course uses FPGAs as a hardware platform and VHDL as the design language. It is built around an extensive laboratory programme which will allow you to gain greater familiarity with the industry standard tool chains and provide you with a solid grounding in both theory and practice. 

Accreditation

Accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Research excellence

In the latest REF assessment (2014), 87% of our work was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent

My experience with the course modules is overly positive with the professors being really friendly and supportive to all of our cohort. Concluding the Digital Systems Engineering MSc provides the foundations for well-rounded future engineers.
Spyros, MSc Digital Systems Engineering

Course content

You'll study a total of 120 credits spread over the year, as well as undertaking a project worth an additional 60 credits. All the modules are compulsory. 

As a taught MSc student in the Department of Electronic Engineering, you will also gain access to our carefully designed Professional Development Framework which has been developed in consultation with our Departmental External Advisory Board and key contributors from industry, research and academia. The aim of the framework is to equip you to graduate as a more effective, better prepared and well-rounded potential employee, ensuring that you will stand out from the crowd.

Modules

You will study the following core modules:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Research project

You will undertake the MSc Project worth 60 credits. 

The group project will immerse you in a life-like scenario of a company developing digital systems. You will undertake building a complete FPGA-based digital system, and in doing so will gain practical experience of project management and team skills. The system will include both software (such as human-computer interface, low-level programming) and hardware (such as FPGA, A/D converters, communication interfaces).

The project will culminate in the design and realisation of a printed circuit board hosting a FPGA interfaced to a variety of peripherals. Communication links allowing connection to a PC will enable the creation of a diverse range of multimedia, diagnostic or communication systems. At the end of the project, you will be able to take the board you have designed with you, providing you with a complete FPGA development system to further investigate digital system design.

You will typically be working in a group of three to six students. Each group will be responsible for setting up a “company” in which quality control, organisation and execution of the design, development, test and integration of the product can be effectively documented. You will be assigned a target system to design, and provided with a budget for your group to prepare and present a tender document. As a group you will then prepare a design, implementation, test and integration plan that will be followed.

At the end of the project your group will prepare a presentation of the final system outlining everyone’s contribution and provide a demonstration of the final working system. You will also submit group documentation along with an individual report.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Conduct research and development in applied electronic engineering and computing to advance the state of knowledge in digital system design methodologies, algorithms, devices and tools.
  • Extract and critically evaluate literature and other data about complex systems through analytical and computational methods and modelling.
  • Create innovative and optimised designs to address real-world problems involving reconfigurable hardware and software systems by synthesising novel research-based ideas into engineering specifications. 
  • Apply professional skills of programming, CAD, construction and measurement, test and verification, combined with an understanding of engineering systems and components, to independently solve complex and technically challenging research-based problems.                       
  • Debate, defend and contextualise information in a succinct and technically accurate manner for engineers and non-technical audiences, and to write and interpret technical documentation.
  • Proficiently manage themselves, teams and complex projects in preparation for technical careers as leaders in applied electronic engineering.

 

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£8,580£21,640

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

All course text books and materials are available in the library or via the VLE. Depending on how you work, you may wish to print off notes and other material. You receive a free, £15 credit for printing and photocopying when you join the department, but any printing you do beyond this you will have to pay for. 

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

We offer some departmental scholarship opportunities for our taught MSc courses.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You will learn via a mixture of lectures, lab sessions and seminars.

Facilities

Students taking this course have the use of departmental laboratories equipped with dedicated computing equipment including Zynq SoC platform - Zedboard and Xilinx Vivado tool chain, and STMicro ARM processor and expansion boards and licences for Keil uVision embedded C compiler, these will be used in a variety of modules including the group project.

Teaching location

The Department of Electronic Engineering is based on Campus West. The majority of teaching takes place within Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed through a mixture of exams, continuous assessments, presentations, project viva or demo, report, posters, and video presentations.

Careers and skills

This course will give you hands-on experience of the design and implementation of digital systems in a way which is applicable to many research or industrial settings. The group project which emphasises team working will enable you to become an attractive candidate for a future role.

Throughout your time here, you'll work with industry-standard tools to ensure you leave with experience relevant to real-world situations. You'll benefit from visits and talks from our industrial contacts and gain training in research methods and project management as well as skills in personal effectiveness and project management. 

Career opportunities

Former students have jobs in big name companies from the UK and across the world such as:

  • ARM
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • CSR
  • Elekta
  • HP
  • Lenovo (China)
  • Mindeo
  • Qualcomm
  • Shanghai Electric Cable Research Institute
  • Snell and Xilinx
  • Broadcom

Transferable skills

  • The ability to analyse complex problems
  • The ability to design innovative solutions, and have the practical technical ability to bring novel ideas into being
  • Communicate effectively your questions, analysis, findings and solutions to a variety of audiences via a variety of media.
  • Become an effective team-player, adaptable to working alone or in different sized teams for a variety of different purposes
  • Gain technical skills in this field
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Increase management skills
  • Research skills 
  • Digital literacy
I've greatly enjoyed the course thus far, and have been thoroughly impressed by the quality of teaching. Everyone in the programme is very helpful and friendly, and the curriculum provides a solid base in digital systems!
Richmond, MSc Digital Systems Engineering

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Degree

Equivalent of a 2:1 honours degree or above from a university recognised by the University of York. This degree should have a significant electronics and/or computing content. We are willing to consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules or appropriate industrial experience.

Other qualifications

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Electronic Engineering

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