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Smart Contracts

Module description

The module provides the tools needed to understand, build, and deploy smart contracts, introducing the world of blockchain development. The module addresses two core areas in smart contract development:

Theory: Why are smart contracts interesting? What problems do they solve / applications do they have? We will look at decentralised consensus, blockchains, the double spending problem, hacks, the DAO, development environments, defi, translating real world events into electronic signals.

Practice: Students will learn how to build and deploy their own smart contracts on live public networks, through tutorials and with industry guest events.

On completion of this module, you will be adept at deploying smart contracts, and knowledgeable in the wider blockchain, DLT and smart contract arena.

Full module specification

Module title:Smart Contracts
Module code:BEEM161
Module level:M
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Christopher Carr - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:




Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The module introduces students to the world of smart contracts, and smart contract development. The module builds from a focus on blockchain/cryptocurrency foundations to describing smart contracts from in abstraction, to deploying concrete instantiations.

The overarching objective is to provide a fundamental understanding of smart contracts and their associated technologies, as well as practical experience with design and development. The aims of this module are:

1)     To instil and develop a greater comprehension of blockchain technologies;

2)     to give experience with smart contract development;

3)     to create awareness of the broader uses and issues of these technologies.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Examine approaches to smart contract construction
  • 2. Critically compare different public blockchain systems for effective use of smart contracts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Analyse the workings of blockchain systems
  • 4. Programme and deploy smart contracts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Apply general programming skills
  • 6. Blockchain programming skills and theoretical understanding

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours11 hours11 x 1 hour lectures
Contact hours10 hours5 x 2 hour tutorials
Guided Independent Study129 hoursPre and post session reading. Assignment preparation.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in group workSeminars and 20 minute report back1-6In class verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exam7020 multiple choice questions plus 2 long form questions (2 hours)1-6Feedback sheet provided with written comments
Group project - development of a smart contract 3015 minute in person group presentation including questions1-6Verbal feedback in presentation session, plus feedback sheet

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExamAssignment 1-6Next re-assessment period
Smart contract development projectIndividual presentation on ML specific topic1-6Next re-assessment period

Syllabus plan

A summary of the chronological structure of the module follows:

  • Introduction to the general area of smart contracts, including Blockchain and DLT
  • Introduction to tools that will be used in the module, including AWS, PuTTy, Bash, Scripting, Github and Git
  • Basics of smart contracts
  • Basics of smart contract development with EVM
  • Use of smart contracts to solve a real-world problem
  • Development techniques for smart contracts
  • Deployment of smart contracts
  • Guest speaker events that explore current best practice across different blockchain systems
  • Delivered in person group presentation
  • Exam

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies - A Comprehensive Introduction. by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward W. Felten, Andrew Miller and Steven Goldfeder. ISBN = 978-0-691-17169-2

Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. by Satoshi Nakamoto. Available online

  Mastering Ethereum. by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood. available:

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