Communications Networks and Software MSc

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.

Why Surrey?

During your time here you will receive access to a wide range of testbeds available for projects, 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.

Programme overview

We are placing ever greater demands on the internet, and traditional telecommunication infrastructures are migrating to internet-based architectures and protocols. 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.

Why not read about past and present student experiences of our electronic engineering programmes, including Christopher Lord, Christos Merkouris and Prashant Butani?

Module overview

Programme structure

C - Compulsory, O - Optional (totalling 60 credits)
Modules Credits MSc
Data and Internet Networking 15 C
Network and Service Management and Control 15 C
Object-Oriented Design and C++ 15 C
Principles of Telecommunications and Packet Networks 15 C
Advanced Signal Processing 15 O
Advanced 5G Wireless Technologies 15 O
Internet of Things 15 O
Applied Mathematics for Communication Systems 15 O
Mobile Applications and Web Services 15 O
Fundamentals of Mobile Communications 15 O
Advanced Mobile Communication Systems 15 O
Operating Systems for Mobile Systems Programming 15 O
Speech and Audio Processing and Recognition 15 O
MSc Project 60 C

Compulsory modules

  • Data and Internet Networking

This module provides you with an in-depth treatment of current and evolving internet standards. On the course you will be taught about principles, algorithms, protocols, services and standards used for internet-based networked communications.

  • Network and Service Management and Control

On this module, you will look at basic and advanced management/control principles and technologies for modern communication networks. On successful completion of the course you will be able to illustrate network and service management control principles, evaluate basic network management technologies and understand how network configuration for resource optimisation can be used to satisfy quality of service guarantees of contracted services to customers.

  • Object-Oriented Design and C++

You will get to grips with the concepts of object-orientated-design on this module, and become familiar with applying these considerations in the C++ programming language.

  • Principles of Telecom and Packet Networks

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the principles of modern telecommunications and packet networks. You will also learn about analytical modelling concepts as a basis for quantitative analysis of network performance.

  • MSc Project


Optional modules

  • Advanced Signal Processing

On this module, you will be taught about the concepts of statistical and adaptive techniques in the detection, filtering and matching of signals in noise. By the end of the course, you will be able to manipulate mathematical models to solve problems and predict effects, and appreciate how these techniques apply to machine perception.

  • The Internet of Things

On this module, you will find out about cyber-physical systems, smart devices, sensors and actuators as well as wireless sensor networks, intelligent data processing and semantic technologies.

  • Applied Mathematics for Communication Systems

You will learn to appreciate the relevance of statistical and deterministic signal processing methods for communications, telematics and related engineering areas on this course.

  • Mobile Applications and Web Services

This module’s main aim is to introduce you to the basics of mobile web service development, discussing web service technologies and exploring the mechanisms for representing, manipulating and querying structured data (XML).

  • Fundamentals of Mobile Communications

Mobile Communications A will equip you with knowledge of mobile and personal communications engineering fundamentals. By the end of the module, you will be confident finding solutions to possible problems, and familiar with the currently operational digital mobile communication systems in Europe, North America, Japan and the rest of the world.

  • Advanced Mobile Communication Systems

Mobile Communications B builds on the knowledge you will have gained from Mobile Communications A. You will focus on the practical limitations of current wireless systems, exploring real-life engineering scenarios to identify solutions both in cellular and in other mobile environments.

  • Operating Systems for Mobile Systems Programming

This module looks at operating systems and programming for mobile devices, such as mobile phones and smartphones. The course covers the tools used for software development such as SDK, IDE and Device Emulators.

  • Speech & Audio Processing & Recognition
  • Advanced 5G Wireless Technologies

Dissertation and projects

The projects are a major part of the programme. They are designed to enable you to demonstrate your skills and ability to solve real-life problems while gaining more detailed knowledge of a particular topic.

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, SSTL, Vodafone, Huawei, Hutchison, O2, Orange, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, Nokia, Aircom, OFCOM and a number of small, local companies.

Projects 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.

Teaching and assessment

Taught Masters programmes in the Department of Electronic Engineering utilise our research-active staff in conjunction with state-of-the-art facilities to provide a range of learning experiences – lectures, tutorials, directed study, practical laboratories and project work – which prepare graduates for their professional life.

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, provides a flexible study environment whilst maintaining the academic rigour and quality expected of one of the UK’s top-rated departments.

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. In addition, we have 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

Professional recognition

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Our full-time and part-time programmes are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 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.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Professional development

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Ning Wang

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 60 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

A good 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.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Sep 2016 £900 per 15 credits £2,000 per 15 credits

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed 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.

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