Undergraduate degree course in Electrical and Railway Engineering BEng 71H9 :
Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineers are involved in the design and development of technology that has become essential to all areas of the modern world; from satellites and mobile 'phones keeping our telecommunications networks connected day and night, to computers and digital networks storing and releasing, as required, the billions of bits of data that stream around the globe. In Railway Engineering, the department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering plays a major role in the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, with research in train communications and control, condition monitoring, power and energy systems, data acquisition and analysis, railway capacity, and systems engineering.
This course has been developed in close liaison with the railway industry, which means that what you will learn is relevant and immediately-applicable. The companies involved are committed to Birmingham’s railway engineering students for summer and industrial year placements for that all-important experience prior to a rewarding graduate career. If you have accepted an offer of a place at Birmingham you may also be able to apply for pre-university experience.
At Birmingham, we have been at the forefront of teaching and research in Electronic and Electrical Engineering for over 100 years, engaging in each era of new technological advance and helping it to evolve into what we see around us today. We are a friendly, confident and all-embracing department, welcoming people from all over the world. In 2014, the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) showed an overall 93% student satisfaction rating for the quality of our programmes.
The University of Birmingham is ranked 10th in the Russell Group for Electrical and Electronic Engineering according to the Complete University Guide and in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, 86% of the research in the School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering was ranked world-leading or internationally excellent. This means you will be taught by world experts and will be able to take advantage of cutting-edge research outputs.
The BEng in Electrical and Railway Engineering aims to produce highly qualified graduates who will go on, through further learning, to become Chartered Electrical Engineers. With their specialism in railway engineering, they will contribute to meet the growing demands for engineers within the railway and other sectors.
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Technological systems invented, designed and managed by Electronic and Electrical engineers have a huge influence on our daily lives, our environment and our social interaction. If you’ve enjoyed maths and physical sciences at school, studying at Birmingham will give you an exciting chance to learn about all levels of design, from transistors, transmission media and electromagnetic devices, to the organisation and control of large-scale systems such as computers, communications networks and energy generation, and distribution infrastructure.
The Electrical and Railway Engineering programme gives you a solid grounding in the underlying physical and mathematical principles of the subject, along with a thorough overview of electronic technology and its applications. Whilst studying all the major electrical engineering subjects, you will also gain experience in a range of railway system issues and disciplines to bring your studies to life within the railway industry.
For the first two years of the degree, all of our undergraduates follow an integrated BEng or MEng route. Once you’ve finished your second year, you’ll then choose whether to complete the Electrical and Railway Engineering BEng (71H9) or go on to study for an MEng degree (52H1). Progression to the MEng will require excellent second year examination results. All students will have the opportunity to take a full year in industry after the second year, to gain extra experience and make a head-start on a rewarding career in the railway engineering industry.
Our first year has been under review to allow development of a contemporary and flexible educational model that builds upon essential engineering fundamentals to develop students' broader understanding of behaviour, policy, entrepreneurship, and global perspectives and kindles the passion necessary to address the societal challenge agenda. You will also be given a broad introduction to Railway Systems Engineering.
It will be a shared first year across the disciplines of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering. Please see details in the modules section below.
You’ll extend your technical understanding and learn how to apply your knowledge and creativity to solving electrical and railway engineering problems. You’ll focus on designing real control systems and embedded systems. You will come to understand power transmission, railway infrastructure and traction systems.
Optional industrial placement year
During your second year you will have the opportunity to apply into a number of companies who are seeking electrical engineering students to work in engineering consultancies, construction and manufacturing organisations. Taking a paid placement for a year allows you to apply your classroom learning and embed engineering knowledge and skills. It usually also means a head-start into a career with your placement host or, at the very least, an informed choice of future career direction. Upon successful completion of your industrial year, you will go on to complete the BEng Electrical and Railway Engineering with Industrial Year degree.
During your third year you will solve real-world problems through a challenging individual design project in the railway sector. You will study railway operations and management and train control.
Our first year has been under review to allow development of a contemporary and flexible educational model that builds upon essential engineering fundamentals to develop students' broader understanding of behaviour, policy, entrepreneurship, and global perspectives and kindles the passion necessary to address the societal challenge agenda.
It will be a shared first year across the disciplines of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.
Electrical Engineering 1
In this module, the fundamentals of electronic and electrical
engineering are covered. It will begin with analogue circuits describing
the fundamentals of circuit analysis and the design of analogue devices.
The fundamentals of digital systems will then be covered using Boolean algebra
and related techniques to analyse digital circuits up to an introduction
to flip flops. Finally electrical power and machinery systems will be introduced.
1 & 2
The aim of the module is to introduce the range of materials
and their key properties used in engineering in order to allow them to select
the appropriate materials for a given application. The module also introduces
fundamental science that determines the electrical or mechanical properties
of materials, such as atomic / molecular structures. In addition students
will also be introduced to software which will allow them to model the properties
and behaviour of engineering materials and analyse the results of experiments.
Engineering Mathematics 1
The module aims to enhance student knowledge and understanding
of the mathematics used in engineering and to develop the skills of its use.
1 & 2
Fluid Mechanics and Energy Conservation
In this module, the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and energy
conservation, and introduce associated engineering applications.
||1 & 2
This module introduces students to the unique features of Railway Engineering, placing them in a context of history, sustainable development and environmental impact. The module will consist of a number of topics providing links to future modules in the Railway Engineering minor programme.
||1 & 2
|Introduction to Computing for Engineers
The aim of this module is to introduce engineers to computers and
computer programming using an important modern programming language which
has applications from small embedded systems to supercomputers.
In this module, the mathematics and scientific principles related to
mechanics in the context and application in engineering. The module covers:
general principles, the mechanical properties of material and the basic
principles of analysis, all underpinned with essential mathematics. Where
relevant, historical examples are embedded into the module in order to
provide context for the taught material.
||1 & 2
|Digital Systems and Embedded Computing
|Engineering Mathematics 2
|Electronic Circuits and Devices and Electromagnetics
|Electrical Energy Systems and Control
|Railway Infrastructure Engineering
|Control Systems Design
|Electrical Power Transmission and Distribution
|Power Electronics Applications
|Organisation and Management
|Railway Operations and Management
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to keep them up-to-date, which may require changes to module content. Also, key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Mathematics. You must also pass the practical element of any reformed science A levels which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015.
General Studies not normally accepted as one of the three A levels, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of an offer marginally.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level to include Mathematics with a minimum of 32 points overall.
BTEC Extended Diploma considered (in relevant subject).
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
The learning and teaching methods adopted in the Electrical and Railway Engineering programme will include large group lectures, tutorial classes, small group tutorials, laboratory classes, design classes and supervised self study for design and research projects.
You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering here where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
What you can expect
Throughout your degree, depending on module choice, you can expect about 20 hours of contact time per week on average. This consits of approximately 14 hours of lectures and 6 hours of tutorials/labs. During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in the field of computer science. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself.
At the start of your degree, you'll be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.
In your first year the course is delivered via lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory classes. As you proceed through your course the number of structured hours decreases and there's a strong emphasis on project work in your final year.
Laboratory-based work is an integral part of our Electronic & Electrical Engineering degree programme, vital not only to develop your experimental practical skills, but also to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures. Practical sessions typically last two to three hours, although more advanced experiments and activities may span over several sessions.
Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and to interact with 'ask the audience' style electronic voting systems.
Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.
Project Work. All of our undergraduate programmes feature a significant level of project working in each year of study, with individual and group projects designed to prepare our graduates for teamworking, problem solving and project management. To support this the entire second year goes on a team-building weekend in the Lake District before starting their group project, and those who take an MEng degree programme do the same again before starting their major group project in the third year. For many of our students these weekends help to build skills and friendships which last long beyond their project work.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.
The course modules are taught through lectures, tutorial problem classes, and laboratory and/or project work, and you'll be assessed through a mixture of written exams and continually assessed coursework. As your degree progresses, you will attend fewer lectures and perform more practical work in preparation for your final-year project. Around half of the total course marks are assessed through formal examination, and half through coursework or continuous assessment.
During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review, mentioned above, to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your School or Department and can help with any academic issues you encounter. Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre?s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as written feedback on your assessments, class feedback sessions and discussions with your tutor. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you fail an exam we will ensure that you receive particularly detailed feedback to enable you to learn for the future.
The railway sector is extremely buoyant, with a wide range of significant projects underway or planned. The degree programme will give students an insight into the railway industry and knowledge of the technical disciplines that are involved, ensuring that all students will be very employable within the industry. However, graduates will also have a solid grounding in Electrical Engineering and will be able to find employment in organizations across the Electrical Engineering industry.
Unistats data show that 90% of our students go on to work or further study after graduation and that those in work succeed in finding graduate-level jobs with salaries in the region of £23-£28,000 per annum.
Preparing for your career is one of the first things you need to think about when you start university. There is a great demand for trained engineers, and armed with a good degree from a world-renowned university like Birmingham, our graduates have the opportunity to get involved in all sorts of exciting projects close to home or further away. Our accredited degree programmes provide an excellent preparation for rewarding professional careers in the electronics, computing, telecommunications and energy industries. But the skills you'll gain, such as technical engineering, applied science and mathematical, computing, teamworking, and project and management skills, also open up career opportunities in the fields of financial services and consultancy.
At the University of Birmingham, we enhance your employability with superb opportunities to gain industry experience, assiting you to secure mentoring opportunities, global internships and placements. Spending a whole year in industry between your second and final study years is a chance to earn money and gain real-life experience, allowing you to get involved in serious projects and put into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. It's a great chance to prove your worth and placements often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job.
We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.
Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Career destinations of recent graduates include:
Engineering Officer (RAF)
Graduate Engineer (Network Rail)
Digital Media Assistant (Road Safety Analysis)
Graduate Electrical Construction (National Grid)
Design Engineer (IDX co. Ltd)
Systems Designer (Amor Group)
Graduate Test Engineer (Goodrich)
Advanced Product Creation Engineer (Jaguar Landrover)
Production Manager (Powelectrics Ltd)
University Careers Network
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
If you make the most of the wide range of services
you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Visit the Careers section of the University website for further information.
Application will be made to the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) for accreditation of the programme for the education of Chartered Engineers
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Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Engineering Society is an active society within our department.
You may also be interested in the Autonomous
Robotic Club and the Robotics
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.