Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BEng) Bachelor of Engineering
Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

For this course all applicants must also hold GCSE Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in OFQUAL regulated Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Prof Sandra Dudley

Professor of Communication Systems

London South Bank University

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2024 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 0 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  IA160-3-FY-CO  Computer Programming  Core  30  30 
02  IA193-3-FY-CO  Research and Academic Development Skills  Core  30  30 
03  IA115-3-FY-CO  Mathematical Methods and Statistics  Core  30  30 
04    IA112-3-FY or IA126-3-FY  Core with Options  30  30 

Year 1 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  CE101-4-FY-CO  Team Project Challenge  Core  15  15 
02  CE142-4-AU-CO  Mathematics for Engineers  Core  15  15 
03  CE150-4-AU-CO  Introduction to Programming with C  Core  15  15 
04  CE155-4-SP-CO  Network Fundamentals  Core  15  15 
05  CE161-4-AU-CO  Fundamentals of Digital Systems  Core  15  15 
06  CE162-4-SP-CO  Digital Electronic Systems  Core  15  15 
07  CE163-4-AU-CO  Foundations of Electronics I  Core  15  15 
08  CE164-4-SP-CO  Foundations of Electronics II  Core  15  15 

Year 2 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  CE201-5-FY-CO  Team Project Challenge  Core  15  15 
02  CE262-5-AU-CO  Engineering Mathematics  Core  15  15 
03  CE263-5-SP-CO  Analogue Circuit Design  Core  15  15 
04  CE264-5-AU-CO  Digital Systems Design  Core  15  15 
05  CE223-5-SP-CO  Signal Processing  Core  15  15 
06  CE266-5-SP-CO  Engineering Electromagnetics  Core  15  15 
07  CE231-5-SP-CO  Computer and Data Networks  Core  15  15 
08  CE243-5-AU-CO  C Programming and Embedded Systems  Core  15  15 

Year 3 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  CE301-6-FY-CO  Individual Capstone Project Challenge  Core  45  45 
02  CE334-6-SP-CO  Telecommunication Networks and Systems  Core  15  15 
03  CE335-6-AU-CO  Digital Signal Processing  Core  15  15 
04  CE330-6-AU-CO  Telecommunication Principles  Core  15  15 
05  CE321-6-AU-CO  Network Engineering  Core  15  15 
06    Option from list  Core with Options  15  15 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To equip students with the knowledge and skills that are currently in high demand in the telecommunication and related industries

  • To provide students with a foundation for further study and research

  • To enable students to acquire a broad understanding of telecommunication engineering, whilst providing opportunities for them to develop expertise within particular areas of specialisation

  • To develop the students' ability to make an effective contribution to team-based activity

  • To encourage students to adopt an investigative approach and develop autonomous study skills in order to ensure their continuing professional development

  • To provide students with an understanding of the industrial context and an appreciation of a range of external factors that affect the work of the professional telecommunication engineer

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: Apply knowledge of mathematics, statistics, natural science and engineering principles to the solution of complex problems. Some of the knowledge will be at the forefront of the particular subject of study.

    A2: Analyse complex problems to reach substantiated conclusions using first principles of mathematics, statistics, natural science and engineering principles.

    A3: Select and apply appropriate computational and analytical techniques to modelcomplex problems, recognising the limitations of the techniques employed.

    A4: Select and evaluate technical literature and other sources of information to address complex problems

    A5: Knowledge and understanding of communications engineering.

    Learning methods

    Lectures are the principal method of delivery for the concepts and principles involved in the majority of the learning outcomes.

    Students are also directed to reading from textbooks, academic papers and material available on-line.

    Understanding is reinforced by means of exercise classes, discussion groups, laboratories, assignments and project work.

    Specialist knowledge is further developed during supervision of the final year individual project.

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of knowledge outcomes is assessed primarily through unseen examinations, and also through marked coursework.

    An assessment of the understanding of underlying concepts and principles forms part of the overall assessment of the final year individual project report and oral presentation.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Design solutions for complex problems that meet a combination of societal, user, business and customer needs as appropriate. This will involve consideration of applicable health & safety, diversity, inclusion, cultural, societal, environmental and commercial matters, codes of practice and industry standards.

    B2: Apply an integrated or systems approach to the solution of complex problems.

    B3: Evaluate the environmental and societal impact of solutions to complex problems and minimise adverse impacts.

    B4: Identify and analyse ethical concerns and make reasoned ethical choices informed by professional codes of conduct.

    B5: Use a risk management process to identify, evaluate and mitigate risks (the effects of uncertainty) associated with a particular project or activity.

    B6: Apply engineering design principles to the design of communications systems.

    Learning methods

    The basis for intellectual skills is provided in lectures, and they are developed by means of recommended reading, guided and self directed study, assignments and project work.

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of intellectual skills is assessed primarily through unseen examinations, and also through marked assignments and project work.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Adopt a holistic and proportionate approach to the mitigation of security risks.

    C2: Adopt an inclusive approach to engineering practice and recognise the responsibilities, benefits and importance of supporting equality, diversity and inclusion.

    C3: Use practical laboratory and workshop skills to investigate complex problems.

    C4: Select and apply appropriate materials, equipment, engineering technologies and processes, recognising their limitations.

    C5: Ability to design, construct and analyse communication systems.

    Learning methods

    Practical skills are developed in exercise classes, laboratory classes, assignments and project work.

    Assessment methods

    Achievement of practical skills is assessed through marked coursework, project reports, oral presentations and demonstrations of completed systems.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Discuss the role of quality management systems and continuous improvement in the context of complex problems.

    D2: Apply knowledge of engineering management principles, commercial context, project and change management, and relevant legal matters including intellectual property rights.

    D3: Function effectively as an individual, and as a member or leader of a team.

    D4: Communicate effectively on complex engineering matters with technical and non-technical audiences.

    D5: Plan and record self-learning and development as the foundation for lifelong learning/CPD.

    Learning methods

    Students learn key skills in research, problem solving, communication and team project work in the first year project module, and thereafter the development of key skills forms an integral part of their overall learning activity.

    Assessment methods

    Assessment of the key skills is intrinsic to subject based assessment.
    The assessment of project work includes specific allocations of credit for project management and the quality of presentations.
    An individual's contribution to team projects is determined by means of a submission containing reflective and self-assessment components.
    The assessment of the final year individual project report includes specific allocation of credit for the quality, extent and relevance of a bibliography, including internet sources.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing