Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Microelectronic Systems UESTC1008

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces the basic concepts of digital microelectronic systems.  Both theoretical and practical aspects of the design of digital systems are covered.  Based around programming a modern microcontroller, and interfacing it with peripheral components, the course also introduces the concepts of embedded systems including digital and analogue input and output.


This course will be timetabled in blocks, typically one week in four.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses





75% Written Exam: Final Exam

25% Practical Skills Assessment: 15% Laboratory Exercises, 10% Laboratory Project


Students must submit work for assessment for the course laboratory or a grade of credit withheld will be given.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Due to the nature of the coursework and sequencing of courses, it is not possible to reassess the coursework laboratory.


The initial grade on coursework laboratories will be used when calculating the resit grade.

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ give theoretical and practical experience of designing, building and testing microelectronic systems with a development kit for a simple microcontroller interfaced with discrete components and external peripherals;

■ develop skills in systematic design and documentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ explain concept of embedded electronic systems and give examples; describe a microcontroller (MCU), how it differs from a microprocessor, how memory is organised, and different architectures in common use;

■ explain basic architecture of a modern microcontroller, including arithmetic logic unit, program memory, data memory and input/output ports;

■ identify regions of memory map, which are volatile and non-volatile; understand significance of memory-mapped input and output;

■ introduce programming in C to enable the control of a modern microcontroller;

■ describe process of writing a program in C to control analogue and digital input and output to and from a modern microcontroller using an ARM mbed as the testbed ;

■ connect LEDs to the ports and calculate the value of series resistors;

■ connect pushbuttons and explain the need for pullup resistors;

■ write programs to control analogue and digital inputs and outputs using an ARM mbed;

■ interface peripherals using appropriate communication protocols to an ARM mbed, and control their operation;

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend the timetabled laboratory classes.