Signal Processing

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
17 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH610 Electronic Engineering,
BENGH611 Electronic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH61P Electronic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHP10 Electronic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
MENGH613 Electronic Engineering,
MENGH614 Electronic Engineering (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year),
BENGH641 Communications Engineering,
BENGHP41 Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHPK1 Communications Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGHQ41 Communications Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BSC H631 Electronics,
BSC H632 Electronics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC H633 Electronics (Including Placement Year),
BENGH169 Neural Engineering with Psychology,
BENGH170 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Placement Year),
BENGH171 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BENGH172 Neural Engineering with Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC H167 Neural Technology with Psychology,
BSC H168 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BSC H176 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Placement Year)

Module description

This module provides a basic understanding of the analysis of linear systems and introduction to filter design techniques for analogue signal processing. The Laplace transform and its application in circuit and system theory are introduced, together with the concepts of system transfer function and impulse response, and techniques for deriving the transfer function of a circuit.

The steady-state response of systems to sinusoidal inputs is presented. Bode plotting techniques are covered, and the effects of feedback are investigated, and techniques for ensuring stability are discussed. Butterworth and Chebyshev filter approximations are introduced. After covering the concepts of frequency and impedance transformations, selected standard analysis and design techniques applied to low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-stop filters of both passive and active types are examined.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To introduce techniques for circuit and linear system analysis including time-domain and Laplace domain techniques as well as filter design techniques for analogue signal processing.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of time-domain differential equations relating to circuits, and their Laplace transforms.

  2. Conduct basic analysis of circuits in the Laplace and frequency domains.

  3. Make a Bode approximation to the steady state response of a circuit and assess the stability of a closed loop system.

  4. Apply Butterworth and Chebyshev approximations to ideal filter characteristics.

  5. Perform frequency and impedance transformation to derive circuits of low-pass, band-pass and high-pass filters.

  6. Realise simple passive and active filters.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

  • The Laplace Transform

    • The differential equations arising from simple electric circuits. The Laplace transform of impulse, step and decaying exponential waveforms. Laplace impedances of the basic circuit elements. Circuit analysis via Laplace impedances.

  • Poles and Zeros, Partial Fractions

    • Poles and zeros of transfer functions.  Inverse Laplace transforms for first- and second-order systems.  Use of partial fractions for higher order systems.

  • Frequency Response

    • Steady-state response to sinusoidal inputs.  Magnitude, phase and group delay.  Bode straight line gain approximation.  From magnitude response to poles and zeros.

  • Feedback, Gain and Phase Margins

    • Open- and closed-loop systems.  The sensitivity of a closed-loop system to disturbances.  The s-plane and stability.  Gain and phase margins.

  • Filter Approximations

    • One port, two port and n-port networks. Basic properties of realisable transfer functions.  Constructing transfer function from amplitude response. Minimum phase filter. Common (e.g. Butterworth and Chebyshev) filter approximations. Transfer function of basic low-pass passive filters. 

  • Transformations in Filter Design

    • Frequency transformation: transformation from low-pass response to high-pass, band-pass, band-stop responses.  Impedance scaling: real and complex scaling.

  • Passive Filter Analysis and Design 

    • Lossless ladder networks and their properties. Design of passive filters from tables of element values. 

  • Active Filter Analysis and Design 

    • Introduction to active filters.  Cascade and direct methods. Second-order active blocks (e.g. Sallen & Key). Cascade against direct method in active filter design.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures.
  • Lab groups.
  • Classes


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test (In person, MCQ Moodle Test, Closed Book)    50% 
Coursework   Lab Report    50% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
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
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Eirina Bourtsoulatze, email: e.bourtsoulatze@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Eirina Bourtsoulatze
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770(non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Prof Sandra Dudley
London South Bank University
Professor of Communication Systems
Available via Moodle
Of 312 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
312 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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