Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering George Mason University Volgenau School of Engineering

General Information

In this course you will be introduced to the principle of a microcontroller, which comprises all elements of a basic computer system on a single chip, i.e. microprocessor, memory, and I/O devices. Unlike the embedded system you used in ECE 350 where you could rely on Linux as an operating system, in this course you learn how to use and program a microcontroller ``bare-metal'' and how to interface it with other devices, such as sensors, keypads, and displays. This course also covers real-time control issues, assembly language programming for control, design of control software, input/output methods, design tools, and available single-chip microcomputers. In the associated lab you will be designing and constructing special purpose microprocessor controlled systems including games, measurement devices, etc., comprised of a microcontroller and ancillary hardware. This course is highly recommended for ECE 492/493 students interested in using microcontroller technology in their senior design projects.

Lectures Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 pm -4:15 pm myMason Collaborate UltraJens-Peter Kaps
Labs Monday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm myMason Collaborate UltraJay Deorukhkar, Atharv Dixit
Thursday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm myMason Collaborate UltraJoseph Coffin
Friday 8:30 am -11:10 am myMason Collaborate UltraJoseph Coffin


  • Class Calendar: (pdf)
  • Syllabus: (pdf)


Dr. Jens-Peter Kaps
Office: Engineering Building, Room 3222
Email: jkaps'at'

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 10:00 am to 11:00 am
  • Thursday 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Office hours are held using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. If you are a student in my class, you'll have a link on our course page on myMason. Otherwise please use this link Office Hour Tuesday or Office Hour Thursday during the office hour timings to contact me. Additional office hours are by appointment only (see the Contact page for how to setup an appointment).

Teaching Assistant

NameE-Mail Office Office Hours
Jay Deorukhkarjdeoruk2'at'gmu.edumyMasonWe 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Fr 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Joe Coffinjcoffin2'at'gmu.edumyMasonTu 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
We 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Atharv Dixitadixit4'at'gmu.edumyMasonTu 1:00pm - 2:00pm
We 2:00pm - 3:00pm


  • ECE 445 Computer Organization (grade C or better) or ECE 350 Embedded Systems (grade C or better)
  • and one of
    • CS 367 Computer Systems and Programming (grade C or better)
    • CS 222 Computer Programming for Engineers (grade C or better)


Integrated Development Environment

  • Code Composer Studio (Windows, MacOS, and Linux).

  • Textbook

    M. Jiménez, R. Palomera, and I. Couvertier, Introduction to Embedded Systems, Using Microcontrollers and the MSP430, Springer-Verlag New York, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4614-3142-8 (Available also online through the GMU library).

    J. H. Davies, MSP430 Microcontroller Basics, Burlington, MA: Newnes, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7506-8276-3.

    Recommended Reading

    B. W. Kernighan, and D. M. Ritchie, The C Programming Language, 2nd Ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall, 1998, ISBN: 978-0-13-110362-7 (paperback) (Available also online through the GMU library, requires Mason e-mail).