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 Monday, Wednesday 3:00 pm -4:15 pm AB 2003Jens-Peter Kaps
Labs Monday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm ENGR 1505Don Hasitha Thalgaswatte, Rupal Gupta
Thursday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm ENGR 1505Don Hasitha Thalgaswatte, Rupal Gupta


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


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

Office Hours

  • Monday 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday 11:00 am to 12:00 am

Office hours are held in-person in my office and using Zoom. Here are the Zoom links to the link Office Hour on Monday or Office Hour on Wednesday. Additional office hours are by appointment only (see the Contact page for how to setup an appointment).

Teaching Assistant

NameE-Mail Office Office Hours
Don Hasitha Thalgaswattedthalgas'at'gmu.eduTBATBA
Rupal Guptargupta25'at'gmu.eduTBATBA


  • ECE 350 Embedded Systems and Hardware Interfaces (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.(Available also online through the GMU library, requires Mason e-mail).

    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).