Control theory and practice

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
16 June 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH615 Robotic Engineering,
BENGH616 Robotic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH617 Robotic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGH618 Robotic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH730 Mechatronic Systems,
BENGH731 Mechatronic Systems (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH732 Mechatronic Systems (Including Placement Year),
BENGH733 Mechatronic Systems (Including Foundation Year),
BSC H737 Mechatronics,
BSC H738 Mechatronics (including Placement Year),
BSC H739 Mechatronics (including Year Abroad),
BSC H717 Robotics,
BSC H718 Robotics (including Placement Year),
BSC H719 Robotics (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module is to introduce the fundamental knowledge of modern control theory to solve the complex control problems. It focuses on theories and techniques in both time and frequency domain for linear control systems. It includes dynamic system modelling, MATLAB simulation, stability analysis, controller design, and optimal state controllers and observers.

This module presents a control engineering methodology that, while based on mathematical fundamentals, stresses physical system modeling and practical control system designs with realistic system specifications.

Module aims

This module aims to introduce the fundamentals of complex control theory focussing on time and frequency domains for linear control systems.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module the student should have the ability to:

1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the basic theory underpinning advanced control design strategies.
2. Assess the appropriateness of various control strategies to analyse the system behaviour.
3. Investigate the robustness of control system design and evaluate their effectiveness through stability analysis.
4. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the use of software tools for the modelling, design and characterisation of control systems.

Module information

Syllabus Outline

The topics covered in the control part include:

* Control System Characteristics
* Mathematical Modelling
* Stability
* Analysis Methods (Root Locus, Frequency Response, Time Domain)
* Compensator and Controller Design
* Digital Control Systems
* State-Space Representation
* Observability, Controllability
* Robust Systems

Learning and teaching methods

20 hours Lectures and 20 hours labs


  • Nise, Norman S. (2017) Nise's control systems engineering, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Lay, David C. (c2012) Linear algebra and its applications, Boston, Mass: Addison-Wesley.
  • Femmam, Smain. (2017) Signals and Control Systems: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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 (in person, closed book, MCQ Moodle Test    20% 
Coursework   Control Theory Experimental Report    80% 
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
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Anirban Chowdhury, email: a.chowdhury@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Anirban Chowdhury
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 Shadan Khan Khattak
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 39 hours, 18 (46.2%) hours available to students:
21 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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