Computer Systems Engineering (Software) BEng
About the course
With computer systems now so central to our everyday lives, notably through mobile devices and the internet, the demand for technology, communications and consumer electronics experts continues to surge.
This Computer Systems Engineering course with a specialism in software helps you understand state-of-the-art developments in hardware and software, developing your ability to design technological solutions for the next generation of computer engineering systems.
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.
To view the Brunel engineering graduate showcase video please click here.
This course aims to produce highly qualified engineers who will take up demanding managerial roles within the electrical industry by developing leadership, innovation and creative skills – enabling graduates to follow successful engineering careers and aspire to senior managerial roles.
Careers for graduates range from roles within software houses, designing code to any kind of firmware or middleware responsible for driving a variety of hardware. This also includes most types of research-led professional positions where software development is needed.
If you are a problem solver fascinated by all aspects of computers and software development, this hands-on course will develop your abilities to design, integrate, and develop innovative technological solutions.
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.
Level 1 Compulsory
- Interaction Design and Usability
- Programming for Digital Media 2
- Digital Systems and Microprocessors
- Problem Solving and Programming
- Fundamental Mathematics for Engineers
- Discrete Mathematics for Engineers
- Level 1 Computer Systems workshop
- Internet and Network Technologies
- Web Design and Development.
Level 2 Compulsory
- Data Networks, Services and Security
- Computer Architecture and Interfacing
- Digital System Design and Reliability Engineering
- Multimedia Content Analysis and Delivery
- Object Oriented Systems Programming
- Engineering Group Design Project
Level 3 Compulsory
- Individual Project
- High Performance Computing
- Software Engineering and Technology
Level 3 Options
- Network Design and Advanced Data Security
- Design of Intelligent Systems
- Advanced Digital Systems
- E-Business Systems.
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
Our expertise in data communications and networks is almost unparallelled in the UK.
Future proofed training
Engineering courses at Brunel are aimed squarely at developing the expertise, knowledge and new ideas graduates need for the information age, and cover the full breadth of electronic, computer and multimedia engineering.
The College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel spends around £500,000 per year on new software and has over 500 computers. We maintain and give students access to the most current and commercial software available, with laboratories that are often equipped with software and hardware from prestigious industrial collaborators.
Strong links with industry
We formally liaise with industrial partners about appropriate course content and emerging trends, ensuring students receive training that meets the needs of industry and the wider marketplace, with enhanced choice and quality work placements.
Pioneering research centres
We’ve five research centres within Telecommunications and Systems and a research portfolio of £7.5m worth of ongoing research grants and contracts.
Based in West London, Brunel also benefits from its proximity to most of the country’s information engineering and telecommunications industry.
Women in Engineering and Computing Programme
Brunel’s Women in Engineering and Computing mentoring scheme provides our female students with invaluable help and support from their industry mentors.
This course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Facts and Figures
Electronic and Computer Engineering (ECE) is one of the largest disciplines in the University with over 40 full-time academic staff and extensive teaching and research portfolios. The discipline boasts an undergraduate population of 500 and a postgraduate population of over 300 students.
ECE at Brunel 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.
The Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering is part of the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, one of the largest colleges at Brunel University London.
Our NSS (National Student Survey) results show a consistent year on year increase in student satisfaction.
Teaching and Assessment
At Brunel we adopt a teaching style that is research-led, so the latest cutting-edge technologies will be taught as part of the course. Our courses combine theory with practical and project work – an approach which can help you to turn ideas into real systems – and our students are regularly awarded national and international prizes.
How many hours of study are involved?
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?
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.
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.
Brunel graduates 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.
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 gone on to work 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 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.
The University maintains close contact with you during your placement year. Our dedicated Professional Development Centre with over 30 staff, including specialist industry consultants, and has been named ‘Best University Placement Service’ several years in succession.
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 2016/17 entry
£9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year
See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants
The Government has proposed changes to allow tuition fees for UK and EU students to rise by inflation. These changes are currently subject to approval, but if approved, would result in tuition fees of £9,250 per year from 2017/18.
Entry Criteria 2016/17
- GCE A-level BBB, including a Science, Engineering or Maths subject (General Studies not accepted).
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD (In Electrical/Electronic Engineering or Engineering) including Distinction in Further Maths for Technicians and Distinction in either Electrical or Electronic Principles.
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in Electrical/Electronic Engineering or Engineering with an A-level in Maths at Grade B.
- BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in Engineering with A-levels grade BB to include Maths.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 including 5 in Higher Level Maths, Science or an Engineering subject.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass Access to Engineering or Electronics and Computer Engineering course with 45 credits at Level 3 and with Merit or higher in all units. All Maths and Physics units must be Distinctions at level 3.
- Foundations of Engineering courses For Brunel Foundations of Engineering progression requirements, see the course page.
5 GCSEs to include Maths at Grade C and English Language at 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 GCSEs.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have 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 number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.