Embedded electronic system design, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Design, implement and verify advanced embedded electronic systems based on hardware, software and firmware.​Sign up for information

Embedded electronic system design master's programme at Chalmers

Your smartphone is probably the most well-known example of an advanced embedded system; a handheld low-power device that carries out signal processing at the same time as it is able to entertain its user with computer games, internet sessions, and streaming audio/video. What makes a system embedded is that system functionality must be implemented in hardware and software within very challenging constraints, such as performance, power consumption, real-time demands, reliability, and size.

The aim of this master's programme is to educate engineers that can design, implement and verify advanced embedded electronic systems based on hardware and software. The programme graduates will gain knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, ​such as integrated circuit technology, computer design, industrial design methodologies and industrial design software suites. Programme graduates will be qualified to work as productive engineers in industrial teams designing state-of-the-art embedded products or intellectual property or to undertake graduate studies leading to a doctorate in the field of electronic system design.

This master's programme is designed to address the entire design challenge of embedded systems. During the first fall semester, three compulsory courses will give you a solid design platform in preparation for the spring design project, when all students will participate in a programme-wide embedded system design project; here, the knowledge and skills acquired during the fall are put to use in the design of a prototype embedded system. Since the local industry is involved in the specification of the project, we are able to target exciting applications, such as satellite signal processors, music synthesisers, and medical electronics.

An overarching idea of the master's programme is to facilitate the progression of key knowledge and skills throughout the courses that lead up to the big spring project. The programme makes use of progressive educational methods such as small projects, hands-on design exercises, flipped classroom teaching and scientific writing. Also, examination is adapted to the learning outcomes which means that the traditional written exam is complemented by, for example, report and logbook writing, project demonstrations and oral examinations.

Topics covered

The subjects of electronic system design and embedded integrated circuits are fundamental areas in the Embedded electronic system design master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as telecommunication, processor design and real time systems.​

Master's programme structure 

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with four compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Embedded electronic system design. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.
  • Design of digital electronic systems
  • Introduction to integrated circuit design
  • Methods for electronic system design and verification​
  • Embedded electronic system design project​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice. 
  • ​Master’s thesis 

Compulsory elective courses

​Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in various subjects. ​​During year 1 and 2, you need to select at least 3 compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate. 
  • Mixed-signal system design
  • Digital project laboratory
  • Introduction to microsystem packaging
  • Real time systems
  • Implementation of digital signal processing systems
  • Computer architecture
  • Wireless and photonics system engineering
  • Introduction to communication engineering

Elective courses 

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including the following: 
  • Computer security
  • Computer communication
  • Wireless communication
  • Photonics and lasers
  • Managerial economics
  • Dependable real-time systems
  • Complier construction
  • Multimedia and video communications
  • Integrated photonics
  • Radar systems and applications
  • Operating systems
  • Algorithms
  • Opto-electronics
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Audio technology and acoustics
  • Fiber optical communication
  • Microwave engineering
  • Space science and techniques
  • Applied signal processing
  • Power electronics converters


The opportunities for students graduating from this programme are excellent given the trend of embedded system permeating all aspects of life. Our graduates find jobs in Swedish companies like Volvo, Ericsson, Saab Electronic Defence Systems, Cobham Gaisler, or in international companies such as RUAG, Atmel, ARM, Nordic Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, NXP, or they work as consultants.
Around one fifth of our graduates continue in research schools, earning their PhDs in the general area of embedded electronic system design. Several of our students take part in research projects, both at Chalmers and in companies. Different grants allow our students to travel to conferences: Since the start of the programme, we have had around 20 scientific papers published by students from the programme.

Research​ within Embedded electronic system design

Research opportunities in this field are excellent worldwide. At Chalmers, we have a strong research environment and the programme is solidly based on the research performed within the departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Microtechnology and Nanoscience, and Electrical Engineering. The master's programme is also one of the cornerstone programmes within the field of information and communication technology, one of Chalmers’ main research areas.

​Sus​tainable development

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).​ The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.

SDGs for Embedded electronic systems design at Chalmers

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
As the ongoing pandemic has taught us, the foundation of our infrastructure can shake when we least expect it to. Our students develop embedded electronic systems at the heart of resilient IT-systems which enable the communication required for sustainable innovation.
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production 
The design of embedded electronic systems involves making tradeoffs where different limitations play an important role. Our students learn how to work under restrictions on available hardware which in turn fosters an awareness of consumption in general.

​Student interview

“We have labs in almost every course”
Shilpa Gupta, India, Embedded Electronic System Design

Why did you choose this programme?
– ​I worked for nine years as a defence scientist in India before I came to Chalmers. I decided to come to Sweden for my master’s because the society and the culture here appealed to me. My bachelor was in electronics and communication, but I had always been more interested in the electronics part. 

What have you been working on?
– We have been working on an audio surveillance-project where we are building a device and a system which can target the subject by sound. We work in two different teams with the hardware and the software and in the end, we will come together to make it a full product. Since we are working with this subject we also talk about ethics and hand in an ethics assignment. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– The mix of hardware and software of electronics in this programme is perfectly balanced so that you can choose where you want to go. I don’t see myself sitting in front of the computer programming 9-5. I like to touch things and get my hands dirty, so the hardware-part Is obviously the most interesting to me. We have labs in almost every course and something magical happens when you get to try and experiment yourself. Our labs prepare us for working in a team and SCRUM, the method we use is now standard in the industry. 

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to work for a company here in Sweden with PCB-hardware-routing. PCB is in every electronic device we see, but since the devices constantly get smaller you must be able to keep the functionality on a smaller chip or single board, so it’s a complex and challenging task. 

​​Student Blogs​

Page manager Published: Tue 17 Jan 2023.