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Presently the design of digital systems as treated in undergraduate engineering programs is restricted to one of two environmental levels, software or hardware, with little pedagogical effort directed at uniting these levels. This paper introduces the concept of a systems level of study at which environmental level considerations become special case treatments of a generalized design procedure. This procedure is called the parse-implement (systems level-environmental level) design approach. The features of this approach are outlined with the presentation of six fundamental considerations of digital system design within the context of the systems level language. The applicability of this approach is demonstrated by means of an example design problem for which both a hardware and a software solution are generated. The usefulness of this approach as a means of teaching design is also demonstrated by these examples.