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Course content

Our MSc in Communications, Networks and Software covers the key aspects of the changing Internet environment, in particular the convergence of computing and communications underpinned by software-based solutions.

Some of our students undertaking their project are able to work on one of our wide range of testbeds, such as internet technologies, wireless networking, network management and control, and internet-of-things (IoT) applications.

We also have specialist software tools for assignments and project work, including OPNET, NS2/3, and various system simulators.

Read about the experience of a previous student on this course, Efthymios Bliatis.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over 12 months or part-time from 24 to 60 months. It consists of eight taught modules and a project.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Educational aims of the programme 

The taught postgraduate degree programmes of the Department are intended both to assist with professional career development within the relevant industry and, for a small number of students, to serve as a precursor to academic research.

Our philosophy is to integrate the acquisition of core engineering and scientific knowledge with the development of key practical skills (where relevant).

To fulfil these objectives, the programme aims to:

  • Attract well-qualified entrants, with a background in Electronic Engineering, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Computing and Communications, from the UK, Europe and overseas
  • Provide participants with advanced knowledge, practical skills and understanding applicable to the MSc degree
  • Develop participants' understanding of the underlying science, engineering, and technology, and enhance their ability to relate this to industrial practice
  • Develop participants' critical and analytical powers so that they can effectively plan and execute individual research/design/development projects
  • Provide a high level of flexibility in programme pattern and exit point
  • Provide students with an extensive choice of taught modules, in subjects for which the Department has an international and UK research reputation

A graduate from this MSc Programme should:

  • Know, understand and be able to apply the fundamental mathematical, scientific and engineering facts and principles that underpin communications, networks and software
  • Be able to analyse problems within the field of communications, networks and software and more broadly in electronic engineering and find solutions
  • Be able to use relevant workshop and laboratory tools and equipment, and have experience of using relevant task-specific software packages to perform engineering tasks
  • Know, understand and be able to use the basic mathematical, scientific and engineering facts and principles associated with the topics within communications, networks and software
  • Be aware of the societal and environmental context of his/her engineering activities
  • Be aware of commercial, industrial and employment-related practices and issues likely to affect his/her engineering activities
  • Be able to carry out research-and-development investigations
  • Be able to design electronic circuits and electronic/software products and systems

Facilities, equipment and support

We have a full range of software support for assignments and project work, including:

  • Matlab/Simulink, C, C++ and up-to-date toolboxes, systemsview, OPNET and NS2/3 (you will be able to access system simulators already built in-house, including 3GPP, BGAN, DVB-S2-RCS, GSM, UMTS, DVB-SH, WCDMA, GPRS, WiMAX, LTE, HSPA and HSDPA)
  • Our Rohde and Schwartz Satellite Networking Laboratory includes DVBS2-RCS generation and measurement equipment and roof-mounted antennas to pick up satellites (a security test-bed also exists for satellite security evaluation)
  • A fully equipped RF lab with network analyser, signal and satellite link simulations
  • A small anechoic chamber for antenna measurements (a wideband MIMO channel sounder is available for propagation measurements)
  • SatNEX is a European Network of Excellence in satellite communications, and a satellite platform exists to link the 22 partners around Europe (this is used for virtual meetings and to participate in lectures and seminars delivered by our partners)
  • A fully equipped UHF/VHF satellite ground-station facility is located on campus, which is being expanded to S-band and is supported by the ESA GENSO project (at present, the station tracks amateur satellites and CubeSats)
  • Our wide coverage experimental wireless network test-bed is based on IPv4, and IPv6 for testing new networking protocols for mobility, handover, security, cognitive radio and networking can be carried out (most networking protocol projects use this test-bed, with the help of PhD students and staff)
  • We are the only university in the UK that has an IP-Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) test-bed for developing and experimenting with advanced mobile/wireless services/applications – you can use this to carry out your services and application-based projects for mobile multimedia, such as multi-mode user interface, service mobility, service discovery and social networking services
  • Our wireless sensor test-bed is unique; advanced routing protocols, middleware architectures, air interface and networking protocols for wireless sensor networks can be developed and tested

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.


Visit the Communications Networks and Software MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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