Embedded Systems



Smart Design for the Internet of Things

From your smartphone to your laptop, your watch to your television, the Internet has the potential to be everywhere. How will this universal connectivity shape the way we do business? And how do hardware professionals design for an ever-changing digital landscape? Our Embedded Systems certificate will equip you with the skills needed to design and test hardware and software innovations of the future.

Pick up skills course by course or declare candidacy for the certificate to add a UC credential to your resume.

Graduate Prep

Interested in pursuing an M.S. in engineering? Our certificate equates to graduate elective credits at the University of Wisconsin—Platteville program, which can be completed online.

Every Level Welcome

Whether you’re looking for entry-level or advanced skills, our courses can prepare you to meet the challenges of the industry.


"Everything you need to get your skills up and running in Embedded Systems, UCSC Extension has the courses for it." —Alejandro Jimenez

The Profession

"Semiconductors are the brains, heart and guts of just about every electronic gadget you own, and the companies that make them are famous for roller-coaster highs and lows as they seek to stay relevant in a fast-changing market. But as chipmakers pursue an acquisition binge, the recent deal wrangling is generating excitement from investors. After all, it was silicon chipmakers that gave Silicon Valley its name." 

— Rex Crum, Semiconductor grab: Silicon Valley chip companies making tasty acquisitions, (Mercury News, Nov. 2017)

The World is Getting Smarter
Looking for opportunities in embedded systems design? Good news: Because embedded systems are associated with a growing number of industries, from automotive to healthcare, consumer electronics to green energy, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge of microprocessors, Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) and microcontrollers in many ways, including:

  • Emission control in hybrid electric vehicles
  • Portable and handheld medical devices and equipment
  • Mobile phones, microwave ovens, and heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems

Source: Grand View Research


Average Earnings
The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers in May 2015 was $111,730. –Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Market Relevance
In March 2016, the number of mobile-only adult Internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only Internet users for the first time, 11.3% to 10.6%. –ComScore

Job Market
The global embedded systems market is expected to reach $214.39 billion by 2020. –Grand View Research

"The courses here offered what I wanted to learn."
– Juan Escobedo Contreras, UCSC Extension Alum


Program Objectives

As a graduate of the Embedded Systems certificate program, you can develop the skills to:

  • Design, debug, and synthesize digital logic for ASICs, PGAs, and IP cores
  • Understand the basics of embedded hardware design
  • Differentiate between types of jitter
  • Decode IO technologies, including PCI Express, Ethernet and Fibre Channel
  • Use analog and digital switch-mode power supplies


“Now that I have a better understanding of embedded systems and Linux, I can apply that knowledge anywhere I choose to go in my career.” –Abdo Babukr


Program Format
UCSC Extension’s Embedded Systems courses are offered at UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus, a beautiful facility located on the corner of Scott and Bowers in Santa Clara. Many of our courses are available online. Choose courses according to your interest or declare candidacy in the certificate for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

Embedded Systems Courses
14 unit minimum
To complete the certificate, you must complete a total of 14 units, with at least 1 core (*) course.

System Design
•  Embedded System Hardware Architectures, Introduction*,
3 units
•  IO Concepts and Protocols: PCI Express, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel, 3 units
•  IO Design Fundamentals, 3 units
•  Printed Circuit Board Design for Signal Integrity and EMC Compliance, 1.5 units
•  Jitter Essentials, 1.5 units
•  Comprehensive Signal and Power Integrity for High-Speed Digital Systems, 3 units
•  Design and Analysis of High-Performance Memory Systems, 3 units
•  High-Efficiency Switch-mode Power Supply, Design Overview, 3 units
•  System Design for Low Power Management, 1 unit
•  Introduction to Robotics, 2 units
•  Wireless Communications and Mobile Antenna Design, Introduction, 3 units

FPGA Design
•  Digital Design with FPGA,
3 units
•  Practical Design with Xilinx FPGAs*, 3 units
•  Embedded Design with Xilinx FPGAs, 3 units
•  SystemVerilog for ASIC and FPGA Design, 3 units

Embedded Linux
•  Embedded Linux Design and Programming*,
3 units
•  Linux Device Drivers, 3 units
•  Linux Device Drivers, Advanced, 3 units

Embedded Software
•  Embedded Firmware Essentials*,
2 units
•  Real-Time Embedded Systems Programming, Introduction*, 3 units
•  The Internet of Things: Sensors, Platforms, Communications, and Applications, 3 units
•  The Internet of Things: Big Data Processing and Analytics, 3 units
•  C Programming for Beginners, 2 units
•  C Programming, Advanced, 3 units

Related Electives
•  TCP/IP Essentials*,
2 units
•  Digital Logic Design Using Verilog, 3 units
•  SystemVerilog Essentials: Functional Verification and Simulation, 1.5 units


Technical aptitude, a background in science and technology, engineering degree, programming experience, or equivalent knowledge acquired through training and experience in the field. Prospective students are advised to review prerequisites that apply to individual courses.

Recommended Course Sequence
For beginners, take the core course first, after which, courses may be taken in any order provided the prerequisites are met. Also of Interest courses listed may substitute for one elective, subjected to approval by the Academic Department.

Want to learn more about our curriculum in person? Join us for a free Info Session to learn more about our courses, faculty, and program requirements. Learn more on our Events page.

The rough cost of the Embedded Systems certificate is estimated at $5,770.



No application is required to enroll in our courses or certificate programs. Information about our open enrollment process can be found on our Enrollment page. If you have any questions about our programs, please contact the UCSC Extension Outreach office by phone at 408-861-3860, or by email at extensionprogram@ucsc.edu.

From the schedule below, click on a course title to see sections available for enrollment. You may view the full course schedule, or enroll in the course, by clicking the respective button. The course type offerings (classroom, online, blended) are guidelines and subject to change. A blended (hybrid) course has both classroom and online components.

Declaring Candidacy

If you intend to pursue a certificate, declaring candidacy establishes program requirements early in your studies, so any subsequent curriculum changes do not affect your progress. It does not limit what courses you can take; and it helps you structure your professional development program for maximum benefit to you. Go the declare candidacy page to establish your requirements for this program. Certificate program requirements must be completed within three years of declaring candidacy.

Course Schedule

1. Required Certificate Review
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
O-CE0071 Embedded Systems Certificate Completion Review Online Online Online Online
2. Core Courses (Choose One)
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
3. Electives
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
EMBD.X406 IO Concepts and Protocols: PCI Express, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X409 Printed Circuit Board Design for Signal Integrity and EMC Compliance 1.5 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X407 Jitter Essentials 1.5 Classroom
EMBD.X400 Comprehensive Signal and Power Integrity for High-Speed Digital Systems 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X405 High Efficiency Switch-mode Power Supply, Design Overview 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X411 System Design for Low Power Management 1.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X401 Digital Design with FPGA 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X408 Practical Design with Xilinx FPGAs 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X402 Embedded Design with Xilinx FPGAs 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X403 Embedded Firmware Essentials 2.0 Classroom Classroom
LINX.X402 Linux Device Drivers 3.0 Classroom Classroom Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X410 Real-Time Embedded Systems Programming, Introduction 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X413 The Internet of Things: Sensors, Platforms, Communications, and Applications 3.0 Classroom Classroom Classroom
LINX.X403 Linux Device Drivers, Advanced 3.0 Classroom Classroom
LINX.X409 Embedded Linux Design and Programming 3.0 Classroom Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X412 The Internet of Things: Big Data Processing and Analytics 3.0 Classroom Classroom
VLSI.X404 Digital Logic Design Using Verilog 3.0 Classroom Classroom
VLSI.X412 SystemVerilog Essentials: Functional Verification and Simulation 1.5 Classroom Classroom
VLSI.X413 SystemVerilog for ASIC and FPGA Design 3.0 Classroom Classroom
VLSI.X405 IO Design Fundamentals 3.0 Classroom Classroom
ITEC.X407 TCP/IP Essentials 2.0 Online Online Online Online
ITEC.X410 Wireless Communications and Mobile Antenna Design, Introduction 3.0 Classroom Classroom
CMPR.X400 C Programming for Beginners 2.0 Classroom and Online Classroom and Online Classroom and Online Classroom and Online
CMPR.X401 C Programming, Advanced 3.0 Classroom and Online Classroom and Online Classroom and Online Classroom and Online
EMBD.X414 Design and Analysis of High-Performance Memory Systems 3.0 Classroom
EMBD.X415 Embedded System Hardware Architectures, Introduction 3.0 Classroom Classroom
EMBD.X416 Introduction to Robotics 2.0 Classroom Classroom
4. Events