In this work we present the electrical properties of sputter-deposited ferromagnetic (FM) Schottky diodes and MgO-based tunnelling diodes to n-doped (0 0 1) silicon. The effective Schottky barrier height (SBH) has been evaluated as a function of the FM electrode (Co70Fe30, Co 40Fe40B20 and Ni80Fe20), the silicon doping density (1015 to 1018 cm-3), the MgO tunnelling barrier thickness (0, 1.5 and 2.5 nm) and post-deposition annealing up to 400 °C. The ideality factors of the Schottky diodes are close to unity, indicating transport by thermionic emission and the absence of an interfacial oxide layer, which is confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The effective SBH is found to be approximately 0.65 eV, independent of the FM material and decreasing with increasing doping density. The changes induced by high temperature annealing at the current-voltage characteristic of the Schottky diodes depend strongly on the FM electrode. The effective SBH for the tunnelling diodes is as low as 0.3 eV, which suggests a high density of oxide and interface traps. It is again independent of the FM electrode, decreasing with increasing doping density and annealing temperature. The inclusion of MgO leads to higher thermal stability of the tunnelling diodes. The measured contact resistance values are discussed with respect to the conductivity mismatch for spin injection and detection.