What Do You Want to Know About Electrical and Electronic Engineering?

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1 S c h o o l of El e c tro n i c s,

El e c tr i c a l E n g i n e e r i n g & C o m p u te r S c i e n c e

Electrical, Electronic and

Software Engineering



Electrical, Electronic

and Software


what is




Engineering is about

improving the way we

live through innovation.

It has been defined

as the application

of science to solve

practical problems.

Almost every practical device you can think of has been designed and manufactured to exact specifications by a team of engineers. Once made, their designs will be analysed, and where necessary improved upon. A new generation with greater functionality which is smaller, faster, safer and more efficient than the last will then be produced. This cycle of improving existing

designs, as well as coming up with new groundbreaking technologies, is what engineering is all about.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Responsible for the design of

groundbreaking new computers, portable electronic products, wireless internet communications, healthcare technologies and renewable energy sources, electrical and electronic engineers are contributing

to the evolution of mankind. Today’s world is one dependent on such devices, and therefore growth in the field of electrical and electronic engineering is of the utmost importance to the advancement of the human race.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering comprises of many different areas, all of which are constantly undergoing new and exciting changes:

Power generation and distribution

Electrical engineers are always trying to improve designs, whether developing more environmentally friendly ways to create power or making current methods of electricity generation and distribution more efficient and safe.

Robotics and control from robotic arms

used in manufacture and in delicate brain surgery to feedback systems which guide aircraft, satellites and exploratory space vehicles, the field of robotics and control is becoming a more and more integral part of modern day life.

Communications systems Within

the last 50 years, humans have gone from communicating by telegram or post to using mobile phones and e-mail. Communication and live broadcasting are possible from even the most underdeveloped and inaccessible parts of the world. Rapid advances are being made in satellite, antenna and fibre optics technologies.

Microelectronics and nanotechnology

Circuits are becoming smaller and more compact, in turn leading to faster processors. 10 years ago a typical integrated circuit contained hundreds of thousands of transistors - it is now common to find one the same size containing hundreds of millions.

Software engineering with

programmable processors involved in almost every aspect of electrical and electronic engineering, software engineering plays an integral role in modern day technology.

Virtual reality and computer graphics

The incredible sense of realism you experience when playing computer games or interacting in an online virtual world is only possible because of the wizardry of ultra high-speed microprocessors and a wide range of other ingenious electronic gagdets.




aspect of


is affected by


why do




Contribute to a

growing industry

and make a

difference to the


With the growth of the industry and a worldwide shortage of engineers, many job opportunities are available to our graduates. These offer a vast array of career opportunities in fields such as research and development, design and innovation, production, marketing and sales.

Electrical and electronic engineers develop life saving technologies, security solutions, and green energy, shaping how we will live in the future.

Developments in the film, music and video games industries can also be attributed in part to the engineers responsible for the constant improvements in digital imaging and sound production.

To be part of these, or many other exciting areas, study a BEng or an MEng in either Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Electronic and Software Engineering.


is affected by







with an


why do




- Open

the door to




Upon completion of studying, graduates in EEE earn an average of £21,000, with oil & energy companies paying an average of £28,000, and major IT and telecoms averaging £24,500.

The industry offers exciting job prospects in UK, ROI and abroad putting scientific knowledge to practical use. Depending on your choice of career path you could end up working on problems ranging from designing navigation systems for aeroplanes, or commissioning wind turbines, to marketing and selling your company’s latest product.

Nothing is set in stone. Engineers are good problem solvers. This attracts companies to recruit engineers into other disciplines such as management, marketing, accounting and sales.


who does




Where did you do your first placement?

I worked for the world’s number one programmable logic company, Xilinx, at their European Headquarters in Dublin. Xilinx develop Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and other programmable devices. Their devices can be found in many of the latest technologies including toasters, mobile phones, TVs, computers and cars to name a few.

What was your role?

I was employed and trained as an Integrated Circuit Engineer. Within my role I carried out many practical verification and characterization tests on the FPGA devices to ensure they were functioning correctly. I also participated in the design of the next generation of Xilinx’s FPGA Spartan range.

I was given the same responsibilities as a graduate engineer, which has shown me what it will be like when I qualify as an engineer and taught me a lot.

What was the highlight of your placement?

The highlight of my placement was producing a program to carry out automated testing of the devices. The testing itself would take months if not years to carry out by hand, but with my program it can be carried out in a matter of weeks. I also benefited from learning two new programming languages for this

task, which will be invaluable when I come to look for a job. The most satisfying part came when I was told that my program will be used after I finish my internship to test future Xilinx FPGA ranges.

Has it helped your understanding of the industry?

Yes, my understanding of the industry and business as a whole definitely benefited. I would recommend a sandwich year to all students. It has also undoubtedly shaped my career choice.

You went on to do a summer

placement with IAESTE. How did you get involved with this?

I had learned of the IAESTE scheme through talks which were arranged for the EEE course in Stage 2. I found the scheme very attractive as it offers the opportunity to visit another country and learn about their culture whilst receiving technical expertise in a subject area of your choice. I felt it was a once in a life time opportunity and I would have been foolish not to take advantage of it.

What would a typical day in Armenia have involved?

I lived with 3 other IAESTE students from Greece, Germany and Columbia. A typical day started with us getting up at around 09:00 and walking to the local shop to buy fresh bread. I would then take the mini-bus to work, visiting sites such as biogas and hydro-power stations, and solar

heating and power generation projects. In the evenings I would meet all the other IAESTE students in a café for some of the local cuisine, after which we would move on to a club or another café, or meet with the locals that we had become friends with.

How did you find living abroad?

Going to Armenia was a real culture shock; the way of life is very different to Northern Ireland. I learnt a little Armenian when I arrived, and the locals, who like to see tourists learning about their country, taught me a lot about the culture. I also got the chance to hike the highest mountain in Armenia, Mount Ararat, with the local mountain rescue team, take part in rock-climbing, and handle snakes.

I would recommend the IAESTE scheme to every EEE student. You can apply at any stage of your studies and it makes for a cheap way to travel the world!




understanding of the

industry and business as

a whole has definitely benefited

from my placement and I would

recommend a sandwich year to all






“My job as a research engineer is

both exciting and challenging. I have

the opportunity to work with the

latest technologies and on problems

that matter and affect our everyday


Máire McLoone




who does




Describe your job

I lead the Cryptography research team at the ECIT Institute, Queen’s University Belfast, where I carry out research into data encryption algorithms and architectures for the provision of security in modern communications applications such as email, online shopping and banking, set-top boxes and satellite communications. Along with carrying out research, I am required to secure funding to support the research area, publish papers on my work and to promote national and international links. I lecture on the Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree programmes and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate student projects.

What led you to EEE?

I was exposed to electronic engineering at an early age when my father decided to build a hydro-electric scheme on the river running by our house. Then in secondary school, I enjoyed mathematics, physics and technology, and with two older brothers in engineering, I decided that it was also the career for me.

Engineering is a well paid job, and my career has allowed me to travel the world - Australia, South Africa, China, Singapore,

Canada, the US and numerous European countries.

How did you discover your specialism?

In the final year of my engineering degree I was sponsored by Amphion Semiconductor Ltd to carry out a research project in the area of data security. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to research new ideas and designs using cutting-edge technologies, and this led me to my career as an academic researcher in data encryption.

What are you working on at present?

I am currently working on techniques that can be used to ‘break’ security designs. If we can identify weaknesses in current designs, then we will be able to develop stronger security systems for the future.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

A number of years ago I was awarded a Student of the Year prize by the Beijing Institute of Technology, which included an all-expenses paid trip to Beijing. It was my first time in Asia and I had the opportunity to see the Imperial and Summer palaces, Tiananmen Square and of course, the Great Wall of China. The whole experience was amazing and I would love to return again some day.

“studying engineering

opens up a wide range

of career options in

disciplines such as

management, sales,

law, medicine and of

course, education.”

You recently won the National Female Inventor award. What projects have you been doing lately to result in you getting a nomination for this?

I designed some of the fastest security designs currently available. For example, I developed one of the first high-speed chips of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security algorithm, the standard algorithm used by government agencies and banks for the protection of sensitive information. This technology was commercialised by a local

Belfast company, who now market a comprehensive range of AES products.

Engineering is quite a male-dominated area. Do you agree?

According to the CAO, less then 15% of students undertaking engineering courses are female, which is a real shame. Considering that the consumer electronic market targets both men and women, it makes sense that there should be more women in the development and design stages.



John Greer


Systems Design Engineer

The initial two years of my degree

exposed me to all aspects of the

field of electrical and electronic



who does




Did Queen’s help you prepare for work?

The initial two years of my degree exposed me to all aspects of the field of electrical and electronic engineering. This broad experience helped me to find the topics in which I am particularly interested and also prepared me for my placement year. When I was choosing modules for final year, I knew on which branch of electrical engineering I wanted to focus. Ultimately, this mixture of experience and knowledge helped me to get a job in the sector in which I was most interested.

What attracted you to the job?

Having completed my placement year in Schrader, I knew that it was the right place to begin my career as a graduate engineer. I was given a wide range of technical projects to complete during my work placement, and some of these involved travelling to meet customers in China and the USA. I wanted to enter a workplace which would develop me for my future career, and my placement year proved to me that Schrader Electronics was the right place to work.

What kind of environment do you work in?

As Schrader has grown in the past few years, it has been careful to retain its family atmosphere where everyone is eager to help new employees settle into their role.

You are as likely to

find me working on a

test vehicle or talking

to customers as you

are to find me at my

desk, and this variation

in tasks is one of the

aspects of my job

which I most enjoy.

What role do you play in the company, and what kind of projects have you been involved with?

My role is that of Systems Design Engineer, meaning that I have project responsibilities which range from requirements capture to setting test limits for systems which are ready to go into production. To date I have been involved in tyre pressure monitoring (TPM) projects with several of the world’s largest car manufacturers.

What have been the job highs/lows/ most exciting project?

The most exciting part of my job has been high-speed testing of our TPM systems. Who would imagine that enrolling for an electrical and electronic engineering course would eventually lead to me

driving at 160mph around a test track in Germany?

What opportunities has your job provided you with/what are the benefits of these?

I have been given the opportunity to advance my technical knowledge, putting into practice much of the knowledge which I learned as a student at Queen’s. Also, I have had the opportunity to develop the core skills, such as communication, which are crucial to any engineering role.

What are the benefits of travelling to other countries?

Travelling for work is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. First, it provides an opportunity to meet customers in their own environment; this insight helps me to work more effectively on the given project. It is also rewarding to experience different cultures and build relationships with work colleagues around the world.

John Greer

The initial two years of my degree

exposed me to all aspects of the

field of electrical and electronic


Local company Schrader Electronics Ltd., part of the engineering company, Tomkins PLC, is a leading manufacturer of Automotive and Industrial Electronics.

They are the market leader in the design and manufacture of remote tyre pressure monitoring (RTPMS) products.

Schrader Electronics has leveraged its expertise in sensing and radio frequency technologies to introduce new innovative products like a new fuel level sensor.



Academic Excellence

Queen’s University Belfast is one of the United Kingdom’s most established universities and is a member of the Russell Group, an association of the top 20 major research-intensive universities in the UK. The subject area of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is consistently ranked within the top five by both the Times and Guardian League Tables. The teaching staff have gained the highest grades possible in the national Teaching Quality Assessment programme. The lecturers, who also undertake research work, have obtained the top grade in the Research Assessment Exercise, which measures the research output of all university schools.

As an undergraduate you will therefore be taught up to date material by experts at the cutting edge of research in their specific fields. You will be able to see at first hand some of the ground breaking technologies which are shaping the future of industry and society.

Social Life


Belfast is now officially one of the fastest growing cities in the United Kingdom. it is a Mecca for party-going students looking for some of the most diverse nightlife around. You’re guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy - be it a fancy meal, a night on the town, a drink with friends, or a trip to the movies.

With the Ulster Museum and numerous art galleries nearby, as well as the Queen’s Film Theatre and events all year round, there is plenty of culture in Belfast. Every October, Belfast Festival at Queen’s, the largest festival of its kind in Ireland, brings the best of international art, providing venues for stand-up comedy, music, film and theatre. Other annual events include Belfast Film Festival, Festival of Fools, and St Patrick’s Day, to name but a few. A coffee-shop culture has been embraced by the people of Northern Ireland and the area surrounding Queen’s University is noted for its abundance of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. The University’s Students’ Union has much to offer in terms of socialising and entertainment. The Mandela Hall, in the basement of the Union, regularly hosts big-name bands. Take part in a wide range of sports and

activities, and socialise in one of the UK’s most exciting and trendy cities

There is more to studying at Queen’s than just hard work. The university offers a wide selection of inclusive clubs, societies, and sports teams. Whether your thing is football, rock-climbing, juggling, or music, there is something for you to take part in. With a newly refurbished state of the art Physical Education Centre at Queen’s, all the facilities that you need to keep in shape are available, including a swimming pool and a climbing wall.

When it comes to socialising, there are few places better than Belfast, with a number of social hot-spots situated within walking distance of the main campus and halls of residence. Weekly comedy nights and pub quizzes at the Students’ Union, as well as live bands and DJs playing there and in nearby pubs and clubs every week, promise to keep you entertained on nights out. If you fancy something quieter, pool tables are available in the Students’ Union, and a cinema and bowling alley are within 10 minutes walk.

why choose




to do



We offer four degree

pathways specialising

in Electrical and

Electronic, and

Electronic and

Software Engineering.

Regardless of degree

pathways, students

can also take a

sandwich year working

in industry, either at

home or abroad.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)

This 3 year course introduces and develops the fundamentals of engineering. A wide range of subject matter is covered in Stages 1 and 2. In Stage 3 there is the option of specialising in a certain area or continuing study of a wide range of topics. A major final year project is also undertaken, which again can be chosen to either cover a wide range of areas or be more specialised.

Electronic and Software Engineering – Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)

This 3 year course is designed for students with a strong interest in electronics and computing. In Stages 1 and 2 the course material covers engineering and computer science. In Stage 3 a wide range of topics are available, offering the student the ability to specialise. A major project, with emphasis on the interaction of hardware and software in electronic system design, is also undertaken.

*It is expected that BEng students should complete at least 12 weeks industrial work experience before graduating.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Master of Engineering (MEng) Electronic and Software Engineering – Master of Engineering (MEng)

An MEng is a 4 year course. The first 3 years are much the same as a BEng - the major difference being that in Stage 3, four smaller projects are undertaken in place of the one large project. Stage 4 provides a more advanced knowledge of the subject matter, as well as an extensive introduction to business practice and management. A major project is undertaken in the final year.

A new course in Software and Electronic Systems Engineering is proposed for 2008 entry.

Sandwich Year

A paid sandwich year is available to students on any of these courses. It is usually taken between Stages 2 and 3, although for MEng students it can be undertaken between Stages 3 and 4. The placement year is highly recommended, as it gives students an opportunity to apply their knowledge whilst learning about industry and management. It provides a chance to gain team skills, and helps students to decide upon their future career path. Some placements will also offer the opportunity to travel or live abroad.


All courses are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The IET determines the standards for electrical and electronic engineering, and membership of the IET indicates competence to be a professional engineer.



to do



Entrance Scholarships

and Additional Funding

University Bursaries

The university now offers a bursary of £1000 to any students applying to Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Electronic and Software Engineering who achieve 3 A grades at A-level.

Power Academy

The Power Academy offers scholarships to new students interested mainly in electrical power engineering. Queen’s is one of 5 universities in the Power Academy, comprising the UK’s leading universities offering electrical power engineering as part of the degree. These scholarships provide financial support in academe and paid professional experience during a one-year placement with the company and during the summer vacations. Each scholarship is worth £2k per annum. In addition, a number of University scholarships are available. For further information please see the University website (www.qub.ac.uk). Local and national scholarships and prizes are also available. The School recognises academic achievement through the award of over 20 prizes. Some companies also offer private sponsorship

Sports Bursaries

The University awards bursaries to those students who have achieved a high standard in their particular sport. The scheme has been widely acknowledged in the Times Good University Guide (2006) as the 3rd best scheme in the UK, behind those of Loughborough and Bath. Any registered full-time student at Queen’s University can apply for the award. If you have a proven record of achievement in your chosen sport and want to represent the University at that sport, you are eligible to apply. Competition for the awards is very high, and many applicants have reached top international representation at their sport.

Industry Awards/ Prizes

Each year numerous prizes and awards are given by companies to students in Electrical and Electronic, and Electronic and Software Engineering.


With a world wide shortage of engineers, and exciting new developments

within the industry taking place every day, there is no better time than now

to start planning for your career in EEE/ESE. Here are the requirements to



A-Levels BB (Maths. + Physics or Technology) + B (any subject)

A-Levels + AS-Levels BB (as above) + AB at AS-Level

or BB (as above) + BBC at AS-Level

or BB (as above) + C at A-Level + B at AS-Level

Irish Leaving Certificate 6 Bs at Higher Level (including Maths. and Physics) + English at Ordinary Level


A-levels BC (Maths Physics or Technology) + C (any subject) BB (Maths + Chemistry or Biology) + C (any subject)

A-Levels + AS-Levels BC (as above) + BC at AS-Level

or BC (as above) + CCC at AS-Level

or BC (as above) + D at A-Level + C at AS-Level

VCE A-Levels B in 12-unit Engineering + B in A-Level Maths.

or B in 6-unit Engineering + B in A-Level Maths. + C in another A-Level

Irish Leaving Certificate 3 Bs and 3 Cs at Higher Level (Bs in both Maths. + Physics) + English at Ordinary Level

BTEC National Diploma with merit grades in all final year units will be considered for Stage 0

entry, Stage 1 entry is possible with distinction grades in appropriate units

HND with merit grades in all final-year units will be considered for Stage 2 entry

how to do





Admissions queries can be directed to:

Dr. Mervyn Armstrong

Admissions Tutor Tel: 028 9097 4057



Queen’s University Belfast


School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

www.qub.ac.uk/schools/eeecs/ Scholarships www.qub.ac.uk/schools/eeecs/ProspectiveStudents/Scholarships/ IET www.theiet.org Sports www.qub.ac.uk/sites/QueensSport/ Belfast festival www.belfastfestival.com UCAS www.ucas.ac.uk

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