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School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Digital Communications Networks MSc (Eng)

Digital Communications Networks


The communications sector has changed dramatically in the past 5 years, as mobile internet, smartphones and associated apps such as social media, commerce and digital media have spurred an information revolution.

This programme responds to the growth of networks and mobile internet applications, allowing you to study traditional communications theory alongside modules dealing with network security and the protocols for high-speed switches and routers.

You’ll build your knowledge of new developments in data-centric networking and the growing trend in cloud computing and online services, such as web-search, video content hosting and distribution, social networking and large-scale computations. Optional modules will allow you to specialise in topics appropriate to your interests and career plans.

It’s a chance to gain specialist knowledge and skills that will be in demand over a wide range of disciplines, from the traditional communications industries to banking, finance and commerce.

Specialist facilities
Our School is an exciting and stimulating environment where you’ll learn from leading researchers in specialist facilities. Depending on your research project, these may include our Keysight Technologies wireless communications lab, as well as labs for embedded systems, power electronics and drives, ultrasound and bioelectronics.

There’s also a Terahertz photonics lab, class 100 semiconductor cleanroom, traffic generators and analysers, FPGA development tools, sensor network test beds. We have facilities for electron-beam lithography and ceramic circuit fabrication – and a III-V semiconductor molecular beam epitaxy facility.

The Faculty is also home to the £4.3 million EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems, set to make us a world leader in robot design and construction.

Find out about our MSc programme managers by visiting our staff profiles page

Course duration: 12 months (full-time)
Start date: September
Course fees (full-time): UK/EU: £10,000; International: £19,000
Scholarships: Scholarships worth up to £3,000 available.

Course content

The programme is built around a set of core modules that develop your knowledge across both semesters. You’ll build your understanding of topics like communication network design, high-speed internet architecture, optical communications networks, data communications and the issues surrounding network security.

If you have no experience of C programming, you’ll also take a module that will equip you with these skills. However, if you do, you could choose to take a specialist module on software development instead. In addition, you’ll choose from optional modules on topics such as digital media engineering, cellular mobile communication systems and even applications of this technology in the medical sector.

To build your understanding of the global electronics industry, you’ll also complete a dissertation. This could take the form of a business, manufacturing or outsourcing plan, a proposal for research funding or an essay on a specific aspect of the industry.

Over the summer months you’ll also work on your research project. This gives you the chance to work as an integral part of one of our active research groups, focusing on a specialist topic in computer science and selecting the appropriate research methods.

Course structure
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

You’ll take six compulsory modules including your project, and either Programming or Software Development. If you have no experience of C programming you’ll be expected to take Programming. Then you’ll select three more optional modules.

Compulsory modules Credits
Industry Dissertation 15
Communication Network Design 15
Optical Communication Networks 15
High Speed Internet Architecture 15
Data Communications and Network Security 15
Research Project 45
Optional modules (choose one)  
Programming 15
Software Development 15
Optional modules (choose three)  
Wireless Communications Systems Design 15
Cellular Mobile Communication Systems 15
Digital Wireless Communications Principles 15
FPGA Design for System-on-chip 15
Digital Media Engineering 15
Medical Electronics and E-Health 15


Careers options

Career prospects are excellent. There is a wide range of career opportunities in all aspects of the communications industry, and the skills learned here will also be generic to allow employment in other sectors such as finance, banking, general manufacturing, etc.

Graduates from our School have pursued careers with organisations like Cisco Systems, General Electric, Huawei, Ericsson Telecommunications, Intel Corp., Technology and Strategy Board, Wabtec Rail UK, AECOM and Orascom Telecom.

Some graduates also choose the path of academic research and therefore subsequently undertake a PhD.

Careers support
You’ll have access to the wide range of engineering and computing careers resources held by our Employability team in our dedicated Employability Suite. You’ll have the chance to attend industry presentations book appointments with qualified careers consultants and take part in employability workshops. Our annual Engineering and Computing Careers Fairs provide further opportunities to explore your career options with some of the UK’s leading employers.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in electronic/electrical engineering, computing, mathematics or physics.

Applicants with a 2.2 will also be considered if they can demonstrate specific competence in communications theory or practice.

We also welcome and accept students with a wide range of international equivalent qualifications.

English language requirement: GCSE English Language grade C (or above) or an equivalent recognised English Language qualification e.g. IELTS: 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in listening, reading, speaking and writing.

Our Language Centre provide a range of English for Academic Purposes Pre-sessional courses, which are designed to help international students develop their language and academic study skills.

How to apply

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. This will allow you to track your application at each stage of the process. For assistance please view our postgraduate taught guidelines.

If you require any further information please contact our admissions team,
e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 2035.