Postgraduate taught 

Computer Systems Engineering MSc

Digital Communication 4 ENG4052

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction is given to explain how signals in digital communication systems are detected, the sources of signal noise and resultant communication system error rates. Students examine the fundamental limits on information transmission, consider codes for error detection and correction, and develop an ability to analyse practical digital communications systems.


3 lectures plus 1 coding consultation session per week

Excluded Courses





50% Examination

5 times 10% coding assignment reports

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

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. 


Reassessment is not available for coding assignments.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of the fundamental physical limits on information transmission, practical knowledge of industrially relevant noise models and error correcting codes in digital data transmission, and the ability to analyse and design communication systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ describe the components of a digital communication system

■ analyse practical techniques for characterising digital communication systems

■ apply appropriate digital modulation and demodulation techniques

■ explain the concepts of information, entropy, bandwidth, channel capacity, noise and aliasing in digital communication channels subject to induced noise

■ devise appropriate error detecting and correcting codes given a system specification

■ develop code to demonstrate modulation/demodulation, carrier recovery, OFDM, effects of noise on a communications channel, apply forward error correction techniques

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.