Course programme

MSc programme at a glance

The study programme is developed to cover all important aspects of Smart Systems Integration in all its diversity. SSI is conducted over four semesters, where the students will spend one semester at each of the three Universities, taking full advantage of the specializations of each University. The fourth semester is devoted to the master thesis, where the student group will be split in three parts, performing the master thesis work in one of the three institutions or collaborating partners (primarily industrial partners).

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The first semester in Edinburgh, Scotland

The first semester will be carried out on the campus of Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland (UK). The courses provided cover the following topics, which will also benefit from current cutting-edge research being undertaken in the University laboratories.:

  • The fundamentals of smart systems and their integration, with particular emphasis on hands-on work using the UV-LIGA process, a simple but versatile process that allows students to understand and put in practice the foundations of micro-manufacturing in a clean-room environment.
  • Principles of actuation and sensing will then be presented as these concepts underpin the great majority of smart systems today.
  • A course on packaging and integration will be delivered as these topics are fundamental to the understanding of the manufacturing and costs of a smart system, both for Si-based and non-Si smart systems.
  • Furthermore, a course in Advanced Writing Skills and Research Preparation will prepare students for research methodology and for scientific writing.
  • The second semester in Vestfold, Norway

    The second semester is hosted by the Department of Micro and Nano Systems Technology (IMST) at University College of South East Norway (USN). The topics will build upon the first semester courses, with a focus on both classroom and laboratory teaching.

  • A course in manufacturing processes for smart systems will continue the first semester teaching of the fundamentals of SSI, the focus will be on silicon processing, including laboratory work in the cleanroom facilities of USN.
  • The important topic of measurements and characterization will be covered as well as the applications of smart systems for biological and biomedical systems. The course will refer to the extensive research activities in these fields at USN / IMST.
  • The topic of Micro and Nano Biological Systems, being one of the given courses, is one of the speciality research fields of USN/ IMST, particularly through bio-MEMS.
  • A course in Norwegian society, culture and language will give the students basic insight into the Norwegian language, as well as the Norwegian and Scandinavian society of today.
  • The third semester in Budapest, Hungary

    The third semester is hosted by Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), Budapest, Hungary. The different courses of this semester cover topics highly relevant to the design aspects of smart systems at the European renowned design laboratories of BME. The topics have been formulated to offer breadth of coverage in all aspects of smart systems design as follows

  • the co-design of MEMS and integrated circuits. The course emphasize the design and technology issues of smart systems what incorporate a micro-electromechanical sensor, the readout circuitry and the signal processing circuit as well.
  • a special course is dealing with the high level design of digital integrated circuits. The course curriculum includes the industry standard hardware design languages like VHDL and System-C.
  • In the framework of the design laboratory the students form groups to design a complete smart system including a MEMS sensor, the analog interface for the sensor and a digital circuit for further signal processing and communication. BME provides industry standard design tools for all aspects of this design work.
  • The interdisciplinary course of Hungarian language and Culture aims to provide a comprehensive picture of Hungarian Culture through centuries to our times. In accordance with the students’ academic profile special emphasis is given to Hungarian cultural heritage in different fields of science, engineering, and economics.
  • The last semester

    The fourth semester, is devoted to the master project. Each of the collaborating institutions will propose master projects for one-thirds of the students. The student group will be divided between the three institutions, as far as possible meeting the students’ first choice while still conforming to a fairly equal size of the student groups going to each institution. A large number of the proposed master projects will be in close collaboration with the associated partners EPoSS and NCE-MNT, as well as other collaborating companies.

    Summer School in Hungary

    Prior to the third semester, a Summer School with five days professional programme will be held in Hungary (partly in the capital Budapest, partly at Lake Balaton as the most visited tourist destinations of Hungary). Presentations of “state of the art” by academic and industrial experts in Smart Systems Integration will be given, and also a workshop with industry. This will allow an early exposure to students of possible topics for master projects. Staff from all three consortium partners will be present. Read more...

    SSI students vision - Diploma & Joint degree

    SSI students will be highly competent in the field of integrated smart systems, provided by the richness and diversity of the material being provided on the course. System-level understanding is an integrated part of the SSI,

    the successful candidates are expected to be very attractive for various industrial companies, not only in the home countries of the three partner universities, but also in other European countries, as well as outside Europe.”

    SSI will deliver a joint degree, certified through one joint diploma and a corresponding Diploma Supplement.


    Smart System Integration

    Educational model


    SSI Course Plan

    First semester programme in Scotland

    Fundamentals of Smart Systems Integration

    In this course, the student will develop an understanding of the fundamentals of smart systems integration and their role in various engineering applications. As micro- and nanotechnology enable the majority of such smart systems, the course will present the fundamentals of microfabrication in terms of processes and materials.
    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory work in clean room, tutorial

    Sensors and Actuators

    Smart systems have added functionalities through the integration of sensors and actuators, combined with electronic processing. This course will cover the different sensing and actuation mechanisms and how they can be integrated into larger systems and combined with electronic processing.
    Optimum smartness of a sensor will be discussed alongside FMEA of smart systems. Industrial case studies of smart systems will be presented. Optical, biological, chemical and inertial sensing principles will be presented. Principles of actuation and the different categories of forces will be explained.
    Course delivery: Lectures, labs and tutorials

    Advanced Packaging and Integration

    Packaging and integration is particularly important in development and manufacturing of smart systems. In this process the system functions are realized by combining sensors, actuators and electronics using advanced packaging materials and methods. The course content covers topics from the fundamentals in mechanics of materials to advanced topics such as wafer level packaging and 3D integration methods. Packaging materials, and microscale bonding and joining methods (e.g. wire bonding, flip chip assembly) for electrical interconnections and encapsulation are an essential part of the course as well as testing methods for studies of the associated mechanical and thermomechanical reliability and hermeticity.
    Course delivery: Lectures, labs and tutorials

    Advanced Writing Skills and Research Preparation

    In this course, the student will develop his writing skills in relation to being able to write assignments, scientific reports and essays. They will be given formal instruction in how to undertake background research and Harvard referencing so that a literature review can be carried out. The essentials of project management such as time management, data analysis and presentation will also be explained.
    Course delivery: Lectures and tutorials

    Local Culture

    In this course, the student will develop an understanding of British and Scottish culture and attain an appreciation of the general meaning of culture. Also the staff presenting will attempt to facilitate cultural exchanges between students of different countries and promote a closer and more realistic approach to the complexity of intercultural communication.
    Course delivery: Lectures, informal meetings and dialogue

    Second semester programme in Norway

    Manufacturing Processes for Smart Systems

    Building further upon the course “Fundamentals of Smart System Integration”, the course explores the science of miniaturization: how to make sensors and actuators in micro and sub-micro scales. Much focus is spent on silicon processing, being by far the most common material in use for microsystems as well as microelectronics.

    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory work in clean room (silicon processing), tutorials

    Micro and Nano Biological Systems

    This course treats smart systems where biological matter is measured, manipulated or integrated as part of a transducer mechanism of a physical device, either for medical purposes (diagnosis or treatment), or for scientific study. This interdisciplinary subject represents the merger between biology, chemistry, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering and introduces the tools required to design and understand Micro and Nano Biological Systems.

    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory work, tutorials

    Measurements and Characterization

    The course gives the student a good overview of modern measurement techniques based on electrical, optical, chemical, physical and structural principles. Measurement results are analyzed based upon mathematical models of the basic physical measurement principles, and the student will be able to select the most appropriate techniques for a specific measurement problem related to smart systems.

    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory work in various characterization equipment (with smart systems related examples), tutorials

    Norwegian Society, Culture and Language

    The course introduces “the Nordic model” as an economic and political system and how this model has contributed to the high level of innovation, affluence and welfare that characterizes the Nordic countries today. The student will also learn the basic Norwegian vocabulary in order to communicate in everyday routine situations.

    Course delivery: Lectures, tutorials, colloquia

    Third semester programme in Hungary

    System Level Design

    This course gives a wide coverage to the most important hardware description languages (VHDL, System C) for modelling and constructing digital systems. The types of the programmable devices and the related integrated development environments are discussed in depth. The course concerns the questions and methodologies of hardware-software co-design, virtual components, intellectual property and system synthesis.

    The laboratory practice is built on the lecture course of System Level Design. Industry standard software CAD tools are utilized due to the strong industrial cooperation of the department.

    Course delivery: Lectures and laboratory practice

    Complex Design

    The complex design course focuses on the supplementary topics of Smart Systems Design: the active and passive components on the system board, power supply, on board communication protocols, System-on-Chip architectures, reliability and testing, and virtual instrumentation. In the supplementary laboratory practices the students develop small applications for system-on-chip devices and measurement setups for smart systems testing and characterisation.

    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory practice, tutorials

    IC and MEMS Co – Design

    The course focuses on the different aspects of CMOS and MEMS devices from a technological and design methodology point of view. CMOS circuits, layout, sizing, scaling effects, MEMS design and scaling are topics discussed in depth. Design techniques of IC -and MEMS co-design such as multi-domain simulation or multiphysical compact modelling are introduced and analyzed through state-of-the-art case studies.

    The syllabus of the laboratory practice covers the complete design flow of IC and MEMS co-design. A workgroup formed of students are designing a complex Smart System solution including MEMS sensors and actuators and the relevant CMOS circuitry.

    Course delivery: Lectures, laboratory work

    Individual Design Laboratory

    Students solve individually combined and practical tasks concerning the design, realization and testing, supported by industrial and academic mentors. They can synthesize a high level knowledge with experimental and practical job. The projects are to be selected from a given list. Main areas: IC construction using IC design systems, development of measuring systems for MEMS investigations, design of special sensors and MEMS elements, integrated design of Smart Systems, CAD tools in Smart System design and simulation.

    Course delivery: Laboratory work, advise

    Introduction to Hungarian Language and Culture

    The interdisciplinary course of Hungarian language and Culture aims to provide a comprehensive picture of Hungarian Culture through centuries to our times. In accordance with the students’ academic profile special emphasis is given to Hungarian cultural heritage in different fields of science, engineering, and economics.

    Course delivery: Lectures, tutorials

    Fourth semester: Master Thesis

    Students can choose the last semester in one of the three institutions, or in external collaborating partners. Master thesis topics will be proposed by each of the partners, and may be among the following categories:

    Design and simulation of Smart Systems
    Design and simulation of MEMS
    Characterisation of MEMS and sensors
    Design and characterisation of Lab-on-a-Chip systems
    Circuit design and simulation techiques for Smart Systems
    High level design and simulation of Smart Systems
    Technology development for MEMS
    Technology development for microfluidics
    Smart Systems integration technologies and development
    Thermal characterisation in MEMS
    Thermal characterisation in microfluidics