Foundations of Electronics I

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Northwest University
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 21 March 2025
14 March 2023


Requisites for this module


CE216, CE266

Key module for

BSC H60E Electronic System Engineering,
BSC H60ECO Electronic System Engineering

Module description

This module is one of two concerned with scientific and engineering foundations on which electronics is based.

All electronics components are based on physical principles that relate voltage, current flow and the storage or loss of energy. All the theory we need to learn about how circuits behave is based on the fact that electric charge cannot be created or destroyed, and that the energy of each electron just depends on where it is, and how fast it is moving. How charges move in materials depends on their crystal structures. From basic ideas, the main principles of electronics are built up so that they can be used in the wider study of electronics to solve problems.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce electrical and electronic components based on physical principles that relate voltage, current flow and the storage or loss of energy. These are illustrated in laboratory practical work.

Upon completion of this module, students should have gained an understanding of electronic principles that enables them to analyse basic network circuit problems.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Apply dimensional analysis to electrical units and formulae

  2. Apply concepts such as Thévenin and Norton sources to resistor networks

  3. Apply systematic circuit analysis methods such as mesh and nodal analyses

  4. Apply analysis of electric fields to explain capacitance

  5. Explain the basic properties of conductors, insulators and semiconductors

Module information

Outline Syllabus

  • Use of physical units; the MKSA system of units; introduction to vectors.

  • Concept of resistance and Ohms law for linear materials; conductance; series and parallel combinations. Series and parallel circuit paths; Basic electrical measurements.

  • Principles of conservation and Kirchhoff laws as basis for electrical theory; Networks with sources: Thevenin and Norton theorems. Matrix description of a network. Systematic circuit analysis methods.

  • Charges and Fields; Forces on static and moving charges due to electric and magnetic fields; Electric fields due to charges; conservation of charge. Potential and electrical energy.

  • Charge mobility in materials, electrical current as collective charge motion.

  • Introduction to semiconductor devices; diodes and bipolar transistors.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and Laboratories


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test (Week 10)    30% 
Coursework   Laboratory Report 1 (Lab 2)    30% 
Coursework   Laboratory Report 2 (Lab3&4)     40% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Autumn Special 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Xinruo Zhang, email: xinruo.zhang@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Xinruo Zhang
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Dr Wai Chung Tang
Queen Mary University of London
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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