student looking at laptop in classroom


Computing for Embedded Systems (with Foundation Year)

Please note the tariff points stated for this course are indicative. The tariff points for 2018 will be published by August 2017.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Computer Science and Creative Technologies
Foundation Year: City of Bristol, Ashley Down Centre and Years 1 to 3: Frenchay
Four years full-time; five years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Dr Martin Serpell
Key fact:
Boost your career prospects – both nationally and worldwide - with sought after skills in development, systems design, implementation and maintenance.

Page last updated 27 July 2017


Why study BEng(Hons) Computing for Embedded Systems?

Computer systems are evolving rapidly. Most consumer technology such as TVs and digital boxes now use complex software running on embedded CPUs. With this technology becoming increasingly pervasive, companies have an urgent need for skilled graduates in this area.

Why study our course?

On this course, you will develop a strong understanding of computer systems with a focus on networks, CPU architecture and embedded systems development. Practical work will equip you with an understanding of the different aspects of digital electronics and programming, with options to focus on software and or hardware. Using this knowledge and skills, you will design and develop a processor or multi-threaded software in your final year.

During the first year of this course, you will study in City of Bristol College's advanced IT and computing laboratories. You will be able to access UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus and all the facilities and accommodation available to all our students. From the second year of your course onwards, you will be based at UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus.

Real world experience

Thanks to strong support from regional IT companies, there are opportunities for fee sponsorship and prizes as well as student work placements and graduate jobs. To build your industry network and knowledge, we arrange employer fairs, conference trips and presentations from visiting professionals and ex-students.

Our active on-line alumni network is located all over the world, providing links to the great and the good in the technology industry.

Where It can take you

Our graduates hardware and software expertise is highly sought after by employers in areas such as telecommunications, automotive control, real-time programming, systems administration, embedded systems development and digital systems processing.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



If you have technical curiosity and strong interest in finding out how computer systems actually work, you will enjoy this course. It involves lots of practical work concerned with the different aspects of digital electronics and programming. There are option routes to choose from, which concentrate more on hardware or on software. However, both options specialise in the design and implementation of computer systems.

You will spend your initial year at City of Bristol College, where studies focus on Programming, Mathematics, Computer Architecture, Internet Systems and Professional and Communication skills. The rest of the course will be based at UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus.

Foundation year (Year zero)

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Computer Science and Creative Technologies courses, and therefore may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year. Transfer onto the Creative Music Technology course is subject to an audition.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Professional and Communication Skills
  • Maths for Computing
  • Computer Architecture
  • Information Systems Fundamentals
  • Internet Systems
  • Programme Design and Implementation
  • Programming Project.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Computer and Network Systems
  • Programming in C++.
  • Web Programming
  • Digital Principles.

Year two

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Mobile and Embedded Devices
  • Secure Computer Networks
  • Operating Systems
  • Internet of Things.

In addition, you will study one of the following optional modules:

  • Data, Schema and Applications
  • Digital Design
  • Design and Analysis of Data Structures and Algorithms.

Optional placement year

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Embedded Systems Development
  • Building and Porting Embedded Operating Systems
  • Digital Systems Project
  • Parallel Computing.

In addition, you will study one optional module from the list below:

  • Professional Experience
  • International Experience
  • Professional Development
  • Ethics and Professional Issues*.

As well as the above, you will study one optional module from the list below:

  • Designing and Developing Device Drivers
  • Group Design and Integration Project
  • Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Cryptography.

*compulsory for non-placement students.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Getting to grips with new subjects can be demanding, but by offering the correct level of assistance we aim to support you throughout your studies. Our use of a practical approach during laboratory investigation and direct experiment means that theory and principles can be more easily assimilated. You will frequently work in pairs or small teams, which will help you understand difficult concepts by discussing them. This style of collaborative working provides an excellent preparation for the most common career scenarios, where you will be contributing to the success of a team.

Programmes of lectures provide explanation and overall guidance for the course. Extra assistance and guidance is available from a team of trained senior students (PALs), who are available to help small groups or individuals with particular subject problems. This is of special relevance when course work assignments are due.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


Assessment generally takes the form of a mix of practical coursework and yearly examinations.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.



Students who complete a work placement are more likely to graduate with a better degree and obtain higher quality work on graduation. So, as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and network, a placement will make you highly employable on graduation.

Thanks to our strong support from regional IT companies, work placements are available in a broad range of organisations, large and small. Some students have completed placements in aviation, or oil and gas at GE. Others have worked for technology leaders like Hewlett Packard and IBM. Many work for regional employers in specialist areas such as software, sensors or technical services.

Study facilities

During your initial year, you will be studying on City of Bristol College's Ashley Down campus, which has extensive computing and IT labs equipped with the latest industry standard software. During this year, you'll also have access to all the facilities and accommodation available to all UWE Bristol students.

The following year, you will develop practical skills and bring your ideas to life in our state-of-the-art facilities at UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus. Here, you will:

  • create and test software, using our dedicated servers with Windows, Linux and Unix based operating systems
  • design and develop embedded software on complex, real world devices
  • design, build and program electronic devices to undertake a wide variety of tasks
  • develop and test networks, using our specialist networks labs
  • collaborate and develop ideas in our labs, which are designed to emulate a real-world software development environment.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Develop industry contacts

We run large alumni groups where you can build your network.

We also arrange employer fairs where you can learn about recruitment and be interviewed by potential employers.

Learn from industry

To help you learn more about the industry, we arrange for visiting professionals and alumni to talk about sector challenges and opportunities.

Gain experience

From day one, we will encourage you to apply your skills in industry. As a result, many students do commercial work alongside studies from smartphone apps to industrial technology.

Showcase your work

Students regularly showcase inventions at UWE Bristol's annual faculty degree show. Past exhibits include unmanned aerial vehicles and a passive room monitor, which tracks the movement of people around buildings.

Network and learn

We have arranged trips to FOSDEM and open source conference where you can learn about industry, compete and network with developers and employers from all over the world.


Careers / Further study

On graduation, your combination of hardware and software expertise will be sought after by employers. These skills are particularly valuable in telecommunications, automotive control, real-time programming, systems administration, embedded systems development and digital systems processing. Potential careers could also include designing and implementing new systems as part of a development team or administrating large high performance systems in a system maintenance group.

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.


Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year150

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 72
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language and Grade D or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in Mathematics or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards the overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

The 'Typical offers' information above is only for full-time students entering the foundation year.

We are happy to consider your application if you have a mixture of A-Levels and BTEC qualifications.

We also welcome applications from highly motivated students who do not meet the usual entrance requirements given above, so we will consider you if you have gained equivalent knowledge and skills from substantial relevant work or other experience.

If you expect to achieve a higher tariff score, you may also be interested in our BEng(Hons) Computing for Embedded Systems course.

UWE Bristol's International College

If you are an international student and do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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