COMP214P - Systems Engineering

This database contains the 2017-18 versions of syllabuses.

Note: Whilst every effort is made to keep the syllabus and assessment records correct, the precise details must be checked with the lecturer(s).

PrerequisitesSuccessful completion of year 1
Term1 and 2
Taught By

Dean Mohamedally (35%)
Yun Fu (35%)
Graham Roberts (20%)
Chris Evans (10%)

  • Go through the experience of developing a reference design and prototype implementation for a complex and substantial software application over an extended period of time.
  • Work with an external client to obtain requirements and get feedback for a client-defined problem.
  • Experience of working team organization and management.
  • Develop and work to a plan, with regular reports and milestones to be met.
  • A practical understanding of how the development of a software system is organised and carried out, both in terms of team working skills and the technical knowledge required.
  • Practice using relevant skills and knowledge in completing tasks and milestones.
  • The development of writing, presentation and communication skills.
  • Learning how to evaluate the work done, and team and individual performance.
  • Meeting the objectives of the IEP Design and Professional Issues II curriculum.
Learning Outcomes

Students completing this module should:

  • Know how to work effectively with an external client and professional behaviour.
  • Have a good understanding of a software development process involving research and experimentation.
  • Have the ability to organize a team, work effectively in a team.
  • Know how to undertake research to identify and use relevant ideas and technologies when developing software.
  • know how to develop and test good quality software
  • Have a working knowledge of HCI, relevant to the projects undertaken.
  • Have experience of writing documentation and presenting results.
  • Have an understanding of advanced writing skills and legal issues as they apply to software development.


The core purpose of the module is for students to undertake a systems engineering project, within the Computer Science Industry Exchange Programme (IXN) structure, and also to put into practice many of the skills introduced by the IEP. The students will work in small teams, where each team works with an external client to develop a cutting-edge solution to a challenging problem defined by the client. The client will typically be from one of the following types of organisation: company, charity, health care/NHS, research intuition, or UCL research centre.

The project will be structured via a series of milestones, where each milestone involves completing a stage of the project: requirements, research into potential solutions, experiments and prototypes, definition of reference design, implementation, testing, and delivery. Each milestone is also a point of assessment. Bi-Weekly reports, which are also sent to the client, are required to track the project progress and team working.

The final milestone will require teams to deliver a working version of their application, along with a project website documenting the project results. In addition, each individual will write a report assessing the work done, the team members, and reflecting on what they have learnt.

Each team is allocated a PGTA, who they will meet every teaching week to report on progress and get feedback. In addition, each team has an academic supervisor, to be met monthly, who will monitor the overall status of the team, as well as provide more specialised support and feedback.

The project finishes with an assessed presentation and demonstration day. Each team will give a presentation of their project to an audience that will include a wide variety of invited guests, including the project client.

In addition to the project work, the module will include 8 lectures and 1 coursework covering Human Computer Interaction (HCI) material. There will also be IEP lectures on Advanced Writing and Legal Issues, each of which will have an associated coursework, and guest lectures from industry speakers. The taught material will be directly relevant to, and needed for, the project work.

Method of Instruction

Lectures and online delivery via Moodle for the taught content.

Online delivery via Moodle for the project support material.

Labs classes, and team meetings with PGTAs and supervisors, for evaluation and feedback.

Moodle will be used for all module support.


The module has the following assessment components:

  • Project (10,000 and source code) 55%
  • Coursework (4x Scenario weeks) 30%
  • Coursework (IEO, 2x 1,000 words) 10%
  • Coursework (HCI, 1,000 words) 5%

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 40% for all components combined.


Reading list available via the UCL Library catalogue.