student looking at laptop in classroom


Computing for Embedded Systems (with Foundation Year)

Please note that new student recruitment to this course has been suspended for the September 2018 intake. Applications for 2019 should be made through UCAS from September 2018.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Computer Science and Creative Technologies
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 29 September 2017


Why study computing for embedded systems?

Computer systems are evolving rapidly. Most consumer technology like TVs, phones and wearables now use complex software running on embedded central processing units (CPUs).

With this technology becoming pervasive, companies have an urgent need for graduates skilled in this area.

Why UWE Bristol?

BEng(Hons) Computing for Embedded Systems gives you a strong understanding of computer systems with a focus on networks, CPU architecture and embedded systems development.

If you have technical curiosity and a strong interest in finding out how computer systems work, you will enjoy this course.

Learn about different aspects of digital electronics and programming, with options to focus on software or hardware.

Design and write the software that runs the computers that run the world. Not just laptops and desktop PCs, but all the 'hidden' computers in driverless cars, aircraft, spacecraft, medical equipment, industrial equipment, navigation systems, phones, gadgets, household appliances and wearables. In fact, all of the 'things' in the internet of things and more.

Apply for fee sponsorship and well as student work placements and graduate jobs. Build your industry network and knowledge through employer fairs, conference trips and presentations from visiting professionals.

Connect with our online alumni network, providing links to the great and the good in the technology industry worldwide. Graduate with practical skills and hands-on experience that will help you get ahead in the workplace.

Where can it take me?

Most of our graduates are snapped up when they graduate, with the majority in employment within six months.

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



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (foundation year)

Compulsory modules:

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

You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into year one.

Year one

You will study:

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

Year two

You will study:

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

Plus one optional module from:

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

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the five year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after year two.

Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Final year

You will study:

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

Plus one optional module from:

  • Professional Experience (studied during placement year)
  • International Experience (studied during placement year)
  • Professional Development
  • Ethical and Professional Issues in Computing and Digital Media

And one optional module from:

  • Designing and Developing Device Drivers
  • Group Design and Integration Project
  • Ethics and Professional Issues*
  • Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Cryptography.

*Compulsory for students who don't do a placement.

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 we aim to support you throughout your studies.

We take a practical approach that uses laboratory investigation and direct experiments to help you understand and remember ideas more easily. Programmes of lectures provide explanation and overall guidance for the course.

Work in pairs or small groups to explore difficult concepts through discussion. Collaboration work prepares you for common career scenarios, where you'll be contributing to the success of a team.

Attend lectures from professionals and alumni to learn about sector challenges and opportunities. Build your network at alumni events and employer fairs where you can find opportunities and meet potential employers.

Undertake commercial work alongside your studies, from smartphone apps to industrial technology.

Get help from our team of trained senior students (PALs), who can assist you with subject problems. This is especially useful when coursework assignments are due.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Showcase your work

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

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


You'll be assessed through a mix of practical coursework and yearly exams.

See our full glossary of assessment terms

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check



Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you highly employable on graduation.

If you choose the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after year two.

Work placements, sponsorships and prizes are available from a range of partner organisations.

Our students have completed placements in aviation or oil and gas at General Electric. 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

Our industry standard facilities will help you develop practical skills and bring ideas to life.

Access over 500 workstations in UWE Bristol's 24-hour computing laboratories. Create and test software in Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems on our dedicated servers.

Design and develop embedded software on complex, real-world devices. Build and program electronic devices to do a variety of tasks.

Collaborate with classmates and develop strategies and presentations in our well-equipped studios.

A mix of traditional and creative learning environments will enable you to learn essential knowledge and real-world skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

As a graduate, your combination of hardware and software expertise will be sought after by employers.

Your skills are particularly valuable in telecommunications, automotive control, real-time programming, systems administration, embedded systems development and digital systems processing. 

Potential careers could include designing and implementing new systems as part of a development team or administrating high performance systems in a maintenance group.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers 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

Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU - Full Time - Annual (Per Year) Fee - (Foundation Year)8000
Home/EU - Full Time - Module Fee (15 Credit) - (Foundation Year)1000
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
Offshore - Full Time - Annual (Per Year) Fee - (Foundation Year)8000
Offshore - Full Time - Module Fee (15 Credit) - (Foundation Year)1000
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Full time course with placement year

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU - Sandwich - Annual (Per Year) Fee - (Foundation Year)8000
Home/EU - Sandwich - Module Fee (15 Credit) - (Foundation Year)1000
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156
Offshore - Sandwich - Annual (Per Year) Fee - (Foundation Year)8000
Offshore - Sandwich - Module Fee (15 Credit) - (Foundation Year)1000
Offshore-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094

Supplementary fee information

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 72
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language and Grade D/4 or above 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

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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