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MSc Satellite Communications Engineering

Course Description

A unique MSc, equipping students with the necessary background to enter the satellite industry.


Surrey’s satellite and space technology programmes are renowned internationally and our graduates are highly regarded.

Our course in Satellite Communications Engineering is designed to give you the specialist multidisciplinary skills required for careers based on working in the satellite and space industries and their applications. Our programme will therefore make you very attractive to the relevant space-related industries that employ over 6,500 people in the UK alone.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/satellite-communications-engineering

Programme overview

Surrey is at the forefront of satellite communications research and training. This MSc is unique in Europe in equipping students with the necessary background to enter the satellite industry or to continue on to a research degree.

We have a unique concentration of academic staff experienced in the satellite area, as well as developed contacts with all the major satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers. Industry participates in the MSc programme in both lecturing and projects, and facilitates excellent engagement for our students.

Our own spin-out company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, is situated close by on the Surrey Research Park (http://www.surrey-research-park.com/) and provides ready access to satellite production and industrial facilities. In addition, we have a strategic relationship with EADS Airbus Europe-wide and several other major communications companies. Graduates from this MSc are to be found in key positions in the satellite industry (Inmarsat, Airbus, SSTL, SES, Eutelsat etc) and continue to be much in demand.

Programme structure

Our MSc programmes are made up of eight taught modules. Each module is worth 15 credits. A project, worth 60 credits, runs over the year. This brings the total to 180 credits for the programme.

Your project is chosen in Semester 1 and work on it begins in Semester 2 on a part-time basis. Over the summer (project) period you will be working on your project on a full-time basis, with final report and a viva voce assessment conducted at the end of the academic year.

Compulsory modules:

• MSc Project
• Satellite Communications Fundamentals
• Space Systems Design
• Advanced Satellite Communications Techniques
• Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms

General Optional modules:

• Antennas and Propagation
• Digital Communications
• Principles of Telecom and Packet Networks
• RF Systems and Circuit Design
• Space Dynamics and Missions
• Data and Internet Networking
• Advanced Guidance, Navigation and Control
• Launch Vehicles and Propulsion
• Network and Service Management and Control

Specific optional modules:

These specific optional modules allow the student to customise the MSc to their personal interests or orientate to a particular job market. Thus a communications route would take Data and Internet Networking and Network and Service Management and Control to incorporate satellite networks. Alternatively, if your interest is in satellite/spacecraft production and manufacturing, then modules on Advanced Guidance, Navigation and Control, Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, and Space Robotics would be preferred.

These modules are detailed and state of the art in each area.

The above gives you a wide range of possibilities for personalising an MSc that suits your individual needs.

- Project:

The project is a major part of the programme. It is designed to enable you to demonstrate your skills and ability to solve real-life problems, while gaining more detailed knowledge of a particular topic. It can be theoretical, simulation-based or experimental. In all cases, you are expected to show innovation and an ability to come up with your own solutions.

Projects can either be carried out within a research group or, when the project is based on a practical problem suggested by industry, at the partner organisation’s premises. Participants have worked with INMARSAT, Logica, BT, Astrium, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and a number of small local companies.

Teaching and assessment

Taught Masters programmes in the Department of Electronic Engineering combine world-leading staff with state-of-the-art facilities. We provide a range of learning experiences – lectures, tutorials, directed study, practical laboratories and project work – which will prepare you for your professional life. The academic staff who teach on this programme are all research-active, and the specialist space modules are delivered by staff recognised as world leaders in small satellite technology.

We are particularly keen to develop in all our students a broad range of generic skills to complement the core technical or scientific competencies of their chosen subject area. Our modular programme format, coupled with the increasing use of innovative teaching and learning strategies such as e-learning and industrially focused short courses, provides a flexible study environment whilst maintaining academic rigour and quality.

All modules are assessed by a combination of formal written examinations, taken at the end of each semester, and coursework assignments. For example, in the Satellite Communications A module, satellite systems design work, incorporating link budgets, is assessed as 40 per cent of the overall module work. Satellite Communications B assignment involves practical measurements on state of the art satellite terminal equipment.

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will help you to monitor your progress. Very often this tutor will also be your project supervisor, who will guide you through your project work.

Professional recognition

Our full-time and part-time programmes are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) (http://www.theiet.org/). They can be used in partial fulfilment of the requirements for gaining Chartered Engineer (CEng) status, and are countable under the continuing professional development (CPD) scheme.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Satellite Communications Engineering page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)


I wanted to study Satellite Communications Engineering at Surrey because I was impressed by its reputation and satellite engineering infrastructure - Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd - on campus. I also saw coming here as my chance to improve English as a working language even further.

My strongest memory is of taking long walks around the beautiful football field and cathedral on the hill, Guildford high street and spending afternoons on the mound near the library. I also loved the fact that Surrey was building satellites on campus that would be eventually sent into Space!

I received an offer of employment just three months into my MSc course to work on satellite technologies, just like that, which I wasn’t expecting. Surrey opened up the world for me and it was great being here.

I am now Senior Analyst at Northern Sky Research, and I still continue to work with satellite communications markets. It is the blurred line between science fiction and fact that keeps me going in this field. Satellites were a concept introduced in 1945 by Dr Arthur C Clarke yet they have taken off so quickly. Today, you can connect to almost any device, whether you’re in the desert or on top of a mountain. I love being a part of this industry and Surrey gave me the ultimate kick-start.


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

An honours degree in electronic engineering, mathematics, computing or physical sciences. Our minimum entry level is a 2.2 from a good UK university, or overseas equivalent. Relevant industrial experience will also be considered.English language requirements-IELTS minimum overall: 6.5-IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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