Computer Systems Engineering MEng

Placement Offered This course has a Professional Development option.

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

We live in the age of ‘any device, any time, anywhere’ computing. Technology, communications and consumer electronics are rapidly evolving, and computer systems are central to our everyday interaction, be it a large scale distributed system based on the Internet or an embedded system in a consumer electronic device such as a mobile phone.

The demand for expertise in these fields is also rapidly growing. The very nature of the technologies that underpin computer systems means that you need not only to understand state-of-the-art developments in hardware and software, but also to have developed the necessary skills and ability to design computer systems in every aspect of commerce and industry.

Brunel’s course comprises four systemic themes:

  • programming and software engineering;
  • computer architecture and applications;
  • data communications;
  • digital electronic systems.

You will develop skills, expertise and knowledge in the areas of computer hardware and architecture, computer software, digital electronics, communication networks, embedded systems and interfacing.

The range of options available in later years of the programme will allow you to maintain breadth or to specialise, with a focus on computer hardware design, data communication networks or distributed computing.

What do our students think about this course? View student profiles.

Our MEng programmes are new and their accreditation is presently in the review stage. All our relevant MSc programmes have IET approval.

Is this degree right for me?

Based on solid computing and engineering principles, this hands-on course is designed for students who are looking for greater intellectual challenge and who wish to develop a professional outlook. You should be fascinated by all aspects of computers, be excited by the prospect of software development and have a desire to gain knowledge and understanding of how they may be integrated to create new and innovative systems.

You should be intellectually curious and want to examine and develop your potential. You should be a problem solver with a wish to invent new ways of solving problems using computers. You should also prepared to push the technology to the limit and make it work for you in delivering a solution. Perhaps you are inquisitive as to how computer applications are, and will in the future, changing society.

You will probably be a team player, but above all, you must be committed to learning to succeeding in your chosen field.

About Electronic and Computer Engineering at Brunel

Research activities in Electronic and Computer Engineering cover a wide range of topics that have direct correlation with the vision and requirements of industry. These are carried out in five research centres formed under two broad thematic areas – Telecommunications and Systems.

We can boast a large set of comprehensive high-quality teaching and learning resources coupled with strong industrial research links and an excellent record of employability amongst our graduates.

See what our students say about this course.

Our Undergraduate courses are featured by a number of activities that are summarised at Course Highlights.

Read more about our Electronic and Computer Engineering courses. 


This course aims to meet the increasing demand for professional engineers who have wide-ranging knowledge of, and who can contribute to, the design and development of hardware and software for computer systems. They will be able to design, integrate, and develop technological solutions for the generation of computer engineering systems.

The programme provides a coherent curriculum through which problem solving, professional development and transferable skills required to work in computer systems engineering and related industries are developed. The sandwich programme provides an enhanced awareness of the industry as well as enhanced professional and personal development.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265814 (School Marketing Office)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Admissions Tutor: Dr David Smith

School Marketing Office

Web: School of Engineering and Design
Tel: +44 (0)1895 265814

Course Content

Some Level 1 modules are in common with those offered to Electronic Engineering students, and you will also take modules and workshops in computing and Internet technologies. Specialisation continues at Level 2, and at Level 3 you will pursue your particular interests further through your selection from a list of optional modules and through your final year project.

If you choose the MEng programme you can study for an additional fourth year (Level 4), which will take your degree to Master’s standard.

Typical Modules

Level 1 Core
  • Digital Systems and Microprocessors
  • Web Design and Development
  • Problem Solving and Programming
  • Computer Systems Mathematics
  • Internet and Network Technologies
  • Computer Systems Workshop
  • Interaction Design & Usability
  • Programming for Digital Media 2
  • Web Development Project

Level 2 Core

  • Data Networks, Services and Security
  • Computer Architecture and Interfacing
  • Digital System Design and Reliability
  • Multimedia Content Analysis and Delivery
  • Object Oriented Systems Programming
  • Engineering Group Design Project
  • Management

Level 3 Core

  • Individual Project and Project Management
  • Design of Intelligent Systems
  • Network Design and Advanced Data Security
  • Distributed Systems and Computing
  • Advanced Digital Systems

Level 4 Core

  • Major Group Project
  • Embedded Systems Engineering
  • Innovation, Business and Enterprise for Engineers

Level 4 Options

Any three from the following:

  • Wireless Network Technologies
  • Optical Satellite and Mobile Communications
  • Network Design and Management
  • Advanced Mobile Systems
  • Intelligent Signal Processing

Special Features

Our expertise in data communications and networks is almost unparalleled in the UK. Our MSc programmes have gained approval from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and are delivered internationally.

Our laboratories are very well-equipped, with extensive gifts of software and hardware from prestigious industrial collaborators. The School spend around £500,000 per year on new software and has over 500 computers. Our policy is to maintain and give students access to the most current and commercial software available.

We have strong industrial links and formally liaise with industrial partners about appropriate course content and emerging trends. For our students this means that the course is designed to meet the needs of industry and the wider marketplace, resulting in an enhanced choice and quality of work placement.

We benefit from our geographical proximity to most of the country’s information engineering and telecommunications industry.

Our courses and research are aimed squarely at developing the expertise, knowledge and new ideas needed for the information age, and cover the full breadth of electronic, computer and multimedia engineering.


All our BEng Programmes are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). All our MEng programmes are linked to one of these accredited BEng programmes.

Our MEng programmes are new and their accreditation is presently in the review stage. All our relevant MSc programmes have IET approval.

Facts and Figures

  • Electronic and Computer Engineering (ECE) is part of the School of Engineering and Design, one of the largest Schools in the University. The School was established in 2004 from the three former departments of Design, Electronic and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. We have now expanded and developed new areas in Engineering Management and in Civil Engineering. We have over 110 full-time academic staff, 1700 undergraduate students, 500 postgraduate students on taught master courses and 300 research students.

  • The ECE subject area is one of the largest disciplines in the University with almost 50 full-time academic staff and extensive teaching and research portfolios. The subject area boasts an undergraduate population of 600 and a postgraduate population of over 300 students.

  • The ECE subject area has an extensive research portfolio totalling £7.5m worth of ongoing research grants and contracts. ECE represented a major part of Brunel’s General Engineering submission to the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), which was ranked fifth in the UK.

  • Our NSS (National Student Survey) results have show a consistent year on year increase in student satisfaction. This a result that reflects the positive learning experience of our students, and their increasing level of satisfaction with our academic provision.

Teaching and Learning

Staff Expertise 

We take pains to maintain our high level of teaching. Lecturers are at the leading edge of their fields and many are internationally and nationally recognised for their work. They act as consultants for major companies, are often widely published, have good links with industry and are commercially aware.


In Level 1 you will have about 18 taught hours a week. This will fall to around eight hours of lectures and seminars in Level 3, with the equivalent of one whole day set aside for project work.

In addition to this, staff are normally happy to answer queries outside this time. We operate an open-door policy where you can drop in and chat, or email lecturers with your questions. 

Students are expected to carry out a total of 40 hours study a week, including contact hours.

How will I be taught? 

Lectures – These provide a broad overview of key concepts and ideas relating to your course and give you a framework from which to carry out in-depth study.

Laboratories – These are normally stand-alone three hour sessions in which students can develop, understand and practice using industry standard equipment. They provide an informal environment in which to explore new ideas and apply what you have learnt in lectures, with the help of a tutor. The staff/student ratio is nominally 1:10 (one supervisor and a demonstrator).

Workshops – In a workshop you will work on more complex problems with guidance from a member of staff. This might involve producing an artefact or a design solution. Workshops allow you to develop new intellectual and practical skills and also serve to reinforce material learnt in lectures.

Tutorials – These involve up to six students. At Level 1 they will provide an opportunity to look at your academic knowledge and to develop personal skills, such as communication ability and study skills.

One-to-one – You will get one-to-one supervision for all project work, throughout all levels. If you go on a placement you will also be allocated an academic visiting tutor who will help you to set objectives, monitor your progress, and provide further support if you need it. You will also have a personal tutor who is available to discuss both academic and personal problems. 

Other – This may include guest speakers from prominent organisations, research seminars and external site visits.


Level 1 does not count towards your final degree mark but you have to pass this year in order to progress to Level 2. Level 2 contributes one third of your final degree classification, and Level 3 contributes the remainder. In the case of the MEng variant, Level 2 contributes one fifth of your final degree classification, Level 3 contributes two fifths, and Level 4 contributes the remainder.

At Level 3 you will carry out a major individual project worth a third of your Level 3 marks. This is in addition to other project work at Level 2. MEng students undertake an additional group project at Level 4.

The percentage of coursework to exam varies from module to module across the course.

Assessment is by a variety of methods, depending on your degree programme. In general, the following techniques are used:

  • Traditional exam
  • Pre-seen exam (a case study to prepare in advance)
  • Written assignments
  • Practical and creative design assignments
  • Laboratory work
  • Individual and group presentations.

Equal emphasis is put on teamwork and individual contribution in assessed group projects and presentations.


Computers have had a tremendous impact on every facet of our lives at home and work, in leisure and in communication. Now, and for the foreseeable future, the most significant growth will be in the development of reliable and efficient computer systems. The growth in demand for engineers who are able to design computer systems is therefore expected to continue. 

This, combined with the growth in embedded electronic systems across all aspects of our lives, has resulted in many new and exciting employment prospects across all areas of industry and business. 

Graduates with appropriate training in this discipline are likely to have excellent employment opportunities in such diverse fields as finance, leisure, media and marketing, as well as in all forms of engineering and computer industries.


Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey

Electronic and Computer Engineering graduates have a range of employment options open to them. The course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which provides a platform to build on for those who wish to achieve Chartered Engineering status.

In 2011/12, six months after graduating:

  • 71.4% of graduates with a first degree were in employment
  • 10.7% were in full-time further study

Read more about graduate destinations for this subject area

There is a relaxed and friendly relationship between students and staff at Brunel and we take a genuine interest and pride in the success of our students and graduates. This, together with acknowledged high quality teaching and resources, results in an excellent record of employment amongst our graduates.

Recent graduates have worked for prominent companies including Barclays Global Investors, the Royal Mail, Thales, Accenture, the Bank of Scotland, British Sky Broadcasting, Fujitsu, IBM UK Ltd, Logica, GMC, the Office of Fair Trading, Viglen Ltd and a variety of design companies.

They have undertaken such roles as Technologist, Software Developer, Software Engineer, IT Specialist, Technology Analyst, Electronic Development Engineer, Computer Engineer, Consultant, Systems Administrator, Product Development Engineer, IT Support Officer and Project Delivery Officer, to name but a few.


You have the opportunity to undertake high quality work placements within prestigious organisations such as Intel, Renesas, O2, General Motors, GSK and Motorola. Increasingly, students are selecting smaller companies to obtain a more flexible placement opportunity.

The University maintains close contact with you during your placement year. The industrial placement year is assessed and contributes to your degree – students who successfully complete the placement year graduate with ‘Professional Development’ as part of their degree title in recognition of their time spent in industry. You will be required to keep a record of your training and of work undertaken throughout the year and to submit a report documenting that experience on your return to the University.

Some of the benefits of a work placement to students include: experience in a relevant business area; the chance to develop the work-related skills demanded by the majority of graduate employers, and which will dramatically enhance your overall employability; personal development including building self-confidence, self-discipline and responsibility attributes; and financial rewards since placements are paid. 

Brunel has a purpose built Placement and Careers Centre with over 30 staff, including specialist industry consultants. Each course has a dedicated placement officer who supports students through the placement process. The service includes CV writing, one-to-one guidance and mock interviews. Brunel was names ‘Best University Placement Service’ at the Rate My Placement Awards 2010.

Check out what our placement students have to say.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2014/15 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £16,000 full-time

See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements for 2014 Entry

  • GCE A-level AAA, including a Science, Engineering or Maths subject (General Studies not accepted for this subject at all).
  • Advanced Diploma Progression Diploma Grade A in Engineering, plus the Specialist Unit in Maths for Engineers at grade C Along with 1 AS-level at Grade B for Additional and Specialist Learning.
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma D*D*D*, including Distinction in a Maths module and Distinction in either Electrical or Electronic Principles.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma D*D* in a related subject with an A Level at grade A in a Science, Engineering or Maths subject.
  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject with A Levels grade AA in a Science, Engineering or Maths subject.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 37 points, including 6 in Higher Level Maths, Science or an Engineering subject.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Access courses are not accepted for the MEng entry. Access students are encouraged to apply for the BEng degree in this subject and if they achieve sufficient grades on year one of the course they can discuss transferring to the MEng.
  • Foundations of Engineering courses For Brunel Foundations of Engineering progression requirements, see the course page.

GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C are also required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSE’s.

All applicants are required to attend an interview before a formal offer is made.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country is not listed here please contact Admissions

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas) 
  • TOEFL Paper test: 550 (TWE 4) PBT
  • TOEFL Internet test: 79 IBT (R18, L17, S20, W17)
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Tuesday 21 May 2013