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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full time, 2 years part time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    30 January 2018

Course content

Railway businesses rely on advanced technical and operational systems to carry vast numbers of passengers in densely populated areas and large quantities of goods over long distances. The Master of Research (MRes) programme in Railway Systems Integration prepares postgraduates for careers in research and development (R&D) in railway businesses and companies supplying railways with advanced technical and operational systems. The programme can also serve as a stepping stone to doctoral studies by developing candidates’ analytical skills and research know-how. 

The MRes offers a unique opportunity for students to undertake a research-based Masters degree together with technical study in a relevant railway systems or engineering subject. Students benefit from participating in both the fundamental and applied research carried out within the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, and from the world-leading educational programmes offered by the Centre. The programme comprises 3 classroom taught technology oriented modules and a research skills module that consists of three main elements, namely, reviewing literature, analysing data and modelling the behaviour of technical systems. Two thirds of the period of study are devoted to independent research that is documented in a substantial thesis. Part-time students follow the same syllabus as full-time students but complete the taught modules and the thesis in a sequence that best suits their work commitments. Part-time study allows for work and research to take place alongside each other, contextualising research research activities directly into the employer's organisation.

Course details

This is an interdisciplinary programme that combines a major research project with technical studies that build on prior academic study or industrial experience in a relevant subject area. It gives students the opportunity to benefit from the fundamental and applied research being conducted in the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. The programme allows students to research a technical, social or economic problem associated with the railway industry. Projects are usually undertaken in collaboration with industry, making them highly attractive for applied R&D projects. At the same time, students learn more about specific technical and management issues relevant to the railway industry. Key benefits include the broad range of research topics available, from highly-technical projects to those focusing on business/policy issues.

As a result, students will gain an understanding of the most recent developments in railway research; the industry’s needs for new and emerging technologies; and techniques in which to apply these developments.

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Learning and teaching

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education is a cross-disciplinary centre, mainly involving staff from the Schools of Civil, Electrical and Materials Engineering, and also staff from a number of other Schools across the University. Its purpose is to carry out fundamental and applied research in railway science and technology and to provide high level educational opportunities in these fields. 

The centre’s research activities include high speed railways, traffic management and operations simulation, power and energy, railway data integration, climate change resilience and extreme weather response, smart conditioning monitoring and railway aerodynamics. It also offers MSc programmes in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration, and in Railway Risk and Safety Management, and provides high level CPD programmes for the railway industry. 

The MRes in Railway Systems Integration is an exciting programme that combines technical study with training in research methodology and a major research project. The aims of the programme are: 

to develop students' understanding of the specific requirements of complex technologies and concepts that are applied in the context of the railway industry;

  • to develop students' research skills and their knowledge of research methods applicable to the specific issues arising in railway-related research;
  • to ensure that students are aware of state-of-the-art developments in railway research in specific technical and operational topic areas;
  • to allow students to develop the understanding necessary to identify new and emerging research needs in today's railway industry;
  • to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake independently a significant research project of relevance to the railway industry.


Graduates of this programme are in demand to implement new technologies and policies within the railway or related industries. They are also sought-after by academic and commercial institutions for further research and development.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Visit the Railway Systems Integration - MRes page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!





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