How we teach you
Degrees in Systems Engineering have a sound combination of theoretical, practical and project work. Much of the theoretical work is explained in lectures which take place in modern theatres with high technology equipment. In addition to lectures, the courses have much hands on laboratory and project work. Many students' project work shows great imagination and creativity and is highly rated by external examiners.
Some courses (such as mathematics) have tutorials where students can solve problems to help their understanding. Many others have laboratory practicals where the theory is applied suitably, thereby reinforcing the lectures. Here we have modern electronic and cybernetic equipment for those modules and state-of-the-art computer laboratories for computing modules. For some modules, assignments are set, where students investigate key aspects in their own time and write a report.
Lectures are given mainly by professional academics with excellent reputations for their research. Where possible, primarily in the last year of the degree, aspects of this research is fed into the courses so that our graduates are aware of the latest developments. In addition, many of our lecturers have extensive industrial experience or have been highly respected IT consultants. As such, the diverse range of skills of the people who teach you will provide you with well-rounded experience of both the cutting edge of research as well in-depth knowledge of the computing, electronics and IT industry.
All degrees have projects in second, third and, for MEng degrees, fourth years. The third year project is worth a third of the marks for that year and many students enthuse over this work: it requires you to apply the skills you have learned into a single, individual piece of work that can subsequently be used as a showcase to demonstrate your skills to your future employer. The fourth year project is a major piece of research worth a third of the marks for the year and provides good grounding for a career in research at a University or in industry.
In all parts of the School, staff and students can suggest the project topic and students are able to select a topic appropriate for them. There are however some differences, as reflected by the requirements of the different subjects.
Computer Science and Computer Engineering students will generally focus on developing a software product or service, using software engineering principles learned throughout the course. The degrees teach you everything you need to know to write software in a wide variety of programming languages in areas as diverse as Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Robotics and the Semantic Web.
In contrast, the IT family of degrees is as much about the process of implementing an IT project as it is about the end product (called a deliverable). Accordingly, the IT degrees require you to manage your IT project using the tools and methodologies you would use in industry as a project manager, as well as liaise with your customer and write professional reports as you would as an IT consultant.
All students write a technical report about their project. In addition, students are expected to write a short concise conference paper, highlighting their contribution, which they present at the annual School Conference for Annual Research Projects (SCARP). The relatively formal atmosphere is aimed at providing a sympathetic, but realistic introduction to the formal academic conference environment.
Many Robotics, Electronic Engineering and Cybernetics projects require extensive hardware and software design thus forming a self-contained embedded system. They are designed to consolidate the theoretical material and the skills gained through lectures and laboratory work. Students have full access to state-of-the-art circuit design and simulation software, a well equipped workshop including 3D printer, well equipped PCB fabrication facilities, including a Surface Mount oven, in addition to extensive microprocessor software development and debugging tools.
With publications in the premier engineering education journal (IEEE Transactions on Education), we are internationally recognised for our industrially relevant and project-based approach to teaching and learning in engineering. Electronic Engineering at Reading prides itself in having a "hands-on" practical focus. We believe that there is no substitute for practical experience and our courses are designed such that much of the theoretical material is supported by experimental and project sessions. You will have many practical and project sessions thus giving the type of practical experience that industry is looking for.
In order to achieve this, our laboratory equipment and facilities are second to none. These facilities are described in the labs page.