Bristol, and the surrounding area, hosts a thriving and world-leading semiconductor design industry. The Microelectronics group at the University of Bristol has many collaborative links with multinational companies in the microelectronics industry that have identified a shortfall in graduates with the necessary qualifications and professional skills to work in the sector. This programme has been designed to meet this need.
A range of taught subjects cover core topics such as advanced architectures and system design using FPGA and DSP platforms, before progressing into more specialised areas such as digital and analogue ASIC design, integrated sensors and actuators and mixed-signal design. Changes are made periodically to reflect important emerging disciplines, such as electronics for internet of things, bio-medical applications and neuromorphic computing.
The programme offers you the opportunity to learn from experts in micro- and nanoelectronics and computer science, to allow you to start working straight after your degree or continue your studies via a PhD. Special emphasis is put on providing you with a range of contemporary design skills to supplement theoretical knowledge. Lectures are accompanied by lab exercises in state-of-the-art industrial EDA software to give you experience of a professional environment.
The course consists of 120 credits of taught units and an individual research project worth 60 credits. The following core subjects, each worth 10 credit points (100 learning hours), are taken over autumn and spring: -Design Verification -Analogue Integrated Circuit Design -Integrated Circuit Electronics -Digital Filters and Spectral Analysis (M) -Advanced DSP & FPGA Implementation -VLSI Design M -Embedded and Real-Time Systems -Wireless Networking and Sensing in e-Healthcare
Additionally students are able to choose any two out of the following four 10-credit units (some combinations may not be possible due to timetabling constraints).
-Device Interconnect - Principles and Practice -Advanced Computer Architecture -Sustainability, Technology and Business -Computational Neuroscience -Bio Sensors
In the spring term, students also take Engineering Research Skills, a 20-credit unit designed to introduce the fundamental skills necessary to carry out the MSc project.
After completing the taught units satisfactorily, all students undertake a final project which involves researching, planning and implementing a major piece of work relating to microelectronics systems design. The project must have a significant scientific or technical component and may involve on-site collaboration with an industrial partner. The thesis is normally submitted by the end of September.
The programme structure is under continual discussion with the National Microelectronics Institute and our industrial advisory board in order that it remains at the cutting edge of the semiconductor industry. It is therefore subject to small changes on an ongoing basis to generally improve the programme and recognise important emerging disciplines.
This course gives graduating students the background to go on to a career in a variety of disciplines in the IT sector, due to the core and specialist units that cover key foundational concepts as well as advanced topics related to hardware design, programming and embedded systems and system-level integration.
Typical careers are in soft fabrication facilities and design houses in the semiconductor industry, electronic-design automation tool vendors, embedded systems specialists and software houses. The course also covers concepts and technologies related to emerging paradigms such as neuromorphic computing and the Internet of Things and prepares you for a career in academic research.