Mobile and Satellite Communications MSc

Satellite communications, broadcasting, terrestrial mobile networks and the internet are essential components of communication and information infrastructures. Surrey is a world leader in these two technologies, and our course is delivered by academics and industrialists with many years of experience, so you can rest assured you will receive quality teaching here.

Why Surrey?

Surrey’s offering is unique in the world in the sense that all these topics are delivered in one university and by lecturers with extensive theoretical and practical experience and expertise.

Programme overview

Mobile communications provide terrestrial coverage in densely populated areas, while satellite communications enable wireless communication in regions where mobile networking is not cost-effective. The programme gives you an in-depth understanding of the engineering aspects of these important current and future technologies.

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 45 credits)
Modules Credits MSc
Digital Communications 15 C
Fundamentals of Mobile Communications 15 C
Advanced Mobile Communication Systems 15 C
Satellite Communications Fundamentals 15 C
Advanced Satellite Communication Techniques 15 C
Advanced Signal Processing 15 O
Data and Internet Networking 15 O
Applied Mathematics for Communication Systems 15 O
Mobile Applications and Web Services 15 O
Network and Service Management and Control 15 O
Operating Systems for Mobile Systems Programming 15 O
Principles of Telecommunications and Packet Networks 15 O
RF Systems and Circuit Design 15 O
Advanced 5G Wireless Technologies 15 O
MSc Project 60 C

Module descriptions

Compulsory modules

Digital Communications

This module deals with the three important processing stages of modern digital communications: source coding for signal compression, channel error control coding for robust transmission, and modulation for efficient digital interface with the available channel.

Fundamentals of Mobile Communications

Fundamentals of Mobile Communications 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 Communications Systems

Advanced Mobile Communications Systems builds on the knowledge you will have gained from Fundamentals of Mobile Communications.

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.

Satellite Communications Fundamentals

You will be taught about the basics of satellite communication systems, and how to design a complete system.

The course covers earth stations, satellite types, regulation of the spectrum and interference, the propagation channel, air interfaces, and fixed and mobile applications. A key element of the module is the assignment: a real system design, replicating those within industry.

Advanced Satellite Communications Systems

This is a more advanced communications module building on Satellite Communications Fundamentals.

You will learn about state-of-the-art aspects of air interface (modulation/coding) and inclusion in DVB and ETSI standards; satellite broadcasting to fixed and mobile terminals; and broadband access and vsats.

You will also be taught on:

  • Non-geostationary constellations and operations with mobile terminals
  • Networking issues of IP over satellite and security
  • Radio resource management and MAC
  • Advanced payload design including multibeam antennas and on-board processing
  • Inter-satellite links

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 this module, you will be able to manipulate mathematical models to solve problems and predict effects, and you will appreciate how these techniques apply to machine perception.

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.

Applied Mathematics for Communications 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).

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.

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.

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.

RF Systems and Circuit Design

The design of RF systems and their circuits underpins the production of mobile communications, satellite communications, radar and intelligent wireless devices, to name just a few.

This module focuses on state-of-the-art applications and demonstrates the importance of underlying theoretical and design concepts.

Advanced 5G Wireless Communication Technologies

The purpose of this module is to provide students with knowledge about some of the key concepts that will shape the next generations of mobile and wireless communications systems, ie 5G mobile radios.

The students completing this module will gain the necessary knowledge and ability for starting to work on 5G technology in industry or furthering their understanding via a research degree.

Dissertations and projects

Projects are an important 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.

Our projects are based on real-world problems and are either conducted on campus or, when the project is based on a problem, suggested by industry, at the partner organisation’s premises.

Participants have worked with INMARSAT, Logica, BT, Astrium, SSTL, Vodafone, 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.

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

Professor Rahim Tafazolli

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

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* £2,000*

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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