M.Sc. Embedded Systems

Delft University of Technology | Delft , Netherlands
Embedded systems are hardware/software combinations whose purpose is to control a device, a process, or a larger system. Specific examples of embedded systems include: those controlling the ABS of a car or the operation of its engine; the automatic pilot of an aircraft; the chip set and software within a set-top box for digital TV.



Embedded systems are hardware/software combinations whose purpose is to control a device, a process, or a larger system. Specific examples of embedded systems include: those controlling the ABS of a car or the operation of its engine; the automatic pilot of an aircraft; the chip set and software within a set-top box for digital TV; and control systems embedded in a nuclear reactor. The importance of embedded systems is growing continuously. In 2003 there were 8 billion embedded programmable components worldwide. Conservative estimates foresee a doubling of this figure by 2010 or 3 embedded devices for every person on earth.

As systems become ever more intelligent and distributed, they also become more complex and interdependent. Security, dependability and interoperability requirements continue to grow. Timely and cost-effective system design, development, and inter-working all have become major challenges. These challenges can only be addressed effectively through a new generation of students educated in Embedded Systems design.

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science offers a 2-year MSc programme in embedded system design. This multidisciplinary programme has an increasing inclination towards embedded software and systems dependability. As more and more functionality is moved from hardware to software, embedded software engineering cost is becoming a bottleneck.

After completing the master degree program in Embedded Systems, graduates are acquainted with the whole trajectory of embedded systems design and know all the major fundamental concepts involved. They know the life span of embedded systems and the role of architectures in the field of embedded systems. They are capable of determining and formulating system requirements and can reliably transform them into a realization, ranging from distributed computer systems and reconfigurable hardware to direct silicon realizations. Finally, they know how to test and optimize an embedded system.

The master's degree programme in Embedded Systems is a joint programme of the 3TU federation; a federation of the three technical universities in the Netherlands.

The MSc programme in Embedded Systems is related to the programmes in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and in particular Computer Engineering, which are also offered by the faculty of EEMCS. The Computer Engineering programme has a focus towards (field) programmable hardware (such as microcontrollers and FPGAs), while the Embedded Systems programme has an inclination towards embedded software and system dependability.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline April 1 (EU and Non EU)
Tuition fee
  • EUR 12916 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 1835 Year (EEA)

Tuition fees 2013/2014: EU: 1.835,- (app.) Non-EU: 12.916,- Apart from the tuition fees, the cost of living and studying in Delft is estimated to be 850,- to 1.100,- per month. This includes such things as food, accommodation, transport, books, compulsory health insurance, social life expenses and study trip costs.

Start date
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Partnership Joint
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

The MSc programme in Embedded Systems takes two years (120 EC) and is taught in English.

The programme consists of:

  • A homologation part worth at most 18 EC. If no or partial homologation is needed the remaining EC are added tot the electives part
  • A compulsory part worth 28 EC
  • An electives part worth at least 34 EC and no more than 42 EC including an optional internship of maximal 20 EC. Courses are to be selected out of a given list of electives
  • A Master thesis worth 40 EC, consisting of a research project worth 10 EC (IN4610) and a final project worth 30 EC (IN4600)

Homologation subjects (max 10 EC)

In the homologation phase students have mandatory subjects depending on the BSc degree of the student.

Mandatory subjects (30 EC)

- Embedded Computer Architecture (6)
- Performance Analysis (4)
- Real-time Systems (6)
- Embedded Real-Time Systems (6)
- System Validation (4)
- Software Testing and Quality (4)

Electives (20-40 EC)

Elective Traineeship (max 20 EC)

The traineeship is preferably carried out with an (inter)national company or institute. The departments mediate in finding suitable places that satisfy the requirements with respect to scientific and engineering level. Optionally, the internship can be replaced by an equivalent of elective courses (20 EC)

Master thesis (40 EC)

The final project is a research-oriented individual education project that must provide proof of an engineering and scientific attitude. It is carried out as part of one of the research projects of the groups participating in the master degree program in Embedded Systems, and may involve third parties like industry or research institutions. Before the student can start the thesis project an individual project (10 EC) has to be finished. This project is tailor-made and is a preparation for the final project. It consists of elements such as literature surveys, preparatory research/studies, or additional, specialized courses.

English Language Requirements


When you have a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering or in Computer Science

A BSc in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering in from TU Delft gives automatic entrance to the programme, as do the corresponding degree from other universities in the Netherlands, Imperial College London, ETH Zürich, RWTH Aachen and Paris Tech.

When you have a Dutch HBO diploma

In general, holders of a Dutch Higher Technical Education (HBO) diploma in "Technische Informatica", "Elektrotechniek", or equivalent will have to complete a special HBO bridging programme before they can be admitted (see the bridging programmes for Electrecal Engineering and for Computer Science).

When you have a foreign BSc degree

To be eligible for admission, you must have a BSc degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical/Electronics Engineering, or equivalent.

Students who hold a BSc degree in a related field may apply but may be required to follow a specific programme to make up for any deficiencies.

Work Experience

No work experience is required.

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