RF and Microwave Engineering MSc

Covering a range of modern theories and techniques, accompanied by modules which consider communication systems allied to your interest.

Why Surrey?

Surrey is one of very few institutions with the expertise and facilities to give you hands-on experience in RF and microwave devices, backed and informed by cutting-edge research in wireless communications, space technology, advanced gigahertz and terahertz microwave technologies. We place an importance on radio and microwave communications in 5G and beyond, so you will become familiar with these concepts when you study this programme.

Programme overview

There is a great shortage of skilled radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineers in industry at the present time and the demand for the implementation of conceptually new wireless systems is growing.

You will learn about a range of modern theories and techniques, accompanied by topics on wireless frequencies and sizes of RF and microwave devices, from the lowest frequencies used in radio frequency identification (RFID) systems through to systems used at mm wave frequencies that can have applications in satellite communication systems and fifth generation wireless communication systems demanding high spectrum bandwidth. Theoretical concepts including radio design and radio systems are established in the lectures, which are complemented by practical implementation in laboratory sessions. Computer-aided design (CAD) is an essential feature of modern RF and microwave systems, so you also have direct experience of industry-standard software. A wide range of facilities and expertise is available that is accessed via student projects.

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

Programme structure

You will study the two compulsory modules, RF Systems and Circuit Design and Microwave Engineering Principles, in the first and second semester respectively. The work is supported by a course in Agilent ADS (Advanced Design System), which provides all of the fundamental information for using this software for circuit design and simulation. It takes you from the basics of login and circuit layout through to field simulation, so that you are in a position to employ the software for practical design in the second semester. You will also attend practical laboratories to gain hands on experimentation with concepts covered in the module.

Finally, in the project element, you will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge in realistic design situations and make use of the extensive range of facilities available in the Department.

Module overview

In common with many MSc courses, this programme is taught over twelve months and split over two semesters. A dissertation project is carried out which is concluded during the final semester.

A range of optional modules is offered as part of this programme, which you will choose each semester. Please enquire for further information.

C - Compulsory, O - Optional
Modules Credits MSc
Semester 1
RF Systems and Circuit Design 15 C
Antennas and Propagation 15 O
Fundamentals of Mobile Communications 15 O
Fundamentals of Satellite Communication Systems 15 O
Principles of Telecommunications and Packet Networks 15 O
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 15 O
RF and Microwave Fundamentals 15 O
Semester 2
Microwave Engineering 15 C
Advanced Mobile Communications Systems 15 O
Advanced Satellite Communication Techniques 15 O
Nanoelectronics and Devices 15 O
Semiconductor Devices and Optoelectronics 15 O
Semester 3
MSc Project 60 C

Compulsory modules

RF Systems and Circuit Design

This module extends basic knowledge of RF engineering to consider the design and application of practical circuits. Supported by practical and CAD laboratory sessions, the module discusses the design of RF circuits as well as concepts for reliable, efficient and low cost/complexity RF systems. The various techniques are put into a practical context through case studies, including digital broadcasting, wireless communications, radio frequency identification (RFID) and fast-emerging near field communication (NFC) systems.

Microwave Engineering

This module provides an introduction to the special techniques that apply to circuits and devices operating at very high frequencies in the GHz range. The module focuses on the use of these techniques to produce practical printed microwave components and discusses the influence that the fabrication processes have on the high-frequency performance of microwave circuits. Commercial applications of microwave technology, including radar, packet microwave links and microwave ovens, are used to broaden your understanding and appreciation of the design of microwave devices.

Optional modules

Antennas and Propagation

You will gain all there is to know about the design of antennas and propagation of radio for a wide range of applications in satellite and terrestrial communications, from simple fixed links through to complex mobile links.

Fundamentals of Mobile Communications & Advanced Mobile Communication Systems

Should you wish to apply your skills to subsystem design in cutting edge fifth generation communication technologies using RF and microwave, then these modules are a excellent complement.

Fundamentals of Satellite Communication Systems & Advanced Satellite Communication Systems

RF and microwave communications have been essential in satellite communications and will continue to for years ahead. If you intend to take such skills into this career pathway then these modules will provide expert knowledge in the field.

Principles of Telecommunications and Packet Networks

Analytical modelling concepts form an important base for quantitative analysis of network performance, which in addition to wireless system design are a useful additional skill set.

RF and Microwave Fundamentals

For those requiring an additional firm foundation in RF and microwave, this module is a useful option.

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology & Nanoelectronics and Devices

Carbon nanotubes, graphene, emerging semeconductor materials, all these state of the art materials create small devices of the future in microwave. These two modules will give cutting edge insight. 

Semiconductor Devices and Optoelectronics

This module will provide you with an understanding of optical communications at an engineering level, so that you are aware of the fundamental building blocks of an optical communications system, as well as some of the limitations. The course provides you with detailed descriptions of some of the devices, both in terms of their physical operation as well as their geometry and construction.

MSc Project

In this element of the programme, you will complete a project that will involve either the design of or undertaking measurements with RF or microwave devices.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is primarily through lectures, supported by some assessed laboratory activities. Since practical design is a key feature of the programme, the lectures are supplemented by tutorial problems that enable you to apply your theoretical knowledge to practical situations.

The primary means of assessment is through two-hour written examinations, where the theme of practical design is reflected in the format of the questions. Some of the modules involve assessed coursework, where 20 per cent of the marks for the module are given for reports on the directed laboratory activities.

Academic support

We provide solid academic support through the taught modules and into the project period. You will be assigned a personal tutor with whom you can discuss both academic and general issues related to the programme. When you move into the project phase of the programme, you will be assigned a project supervisor who you will meet, usually on a weekly basis, to discuss the progress of your project.

The individual taught modules also feature strong academic support, usually through a tutorial programme. All of the RF and microwave modules have tutorial sheets to support the lectures. Although completing the tutorials is not part of the formal assessment, you have the option of using the tutorials to receive individual feedback on your progress in the modules.

Facilities and equipment

The combined facilities of the RF teaching laboratories and the Advanced Technology Institute provide MSc students with an exceptionally wide range of modern fabrication and measurement equipment. Furthermore a wide variety of RF test and measurement facilities are available through Surrey Space Centre and the 5G Innovation Centre, which also involve work in the RF and microwave engineering domain. Equipment includes access to CAD design tools, anechoic chamber, spectrum analysers, network analysers, wideband channel sounder, circuit etching and circuit testing.

Industrial and overseas links

The 5G Innovation Centre and Advanced Technology Institute within the Department have a range of active links with industry, both in the UK and overseas. During the past few years we have had students taking the MSc through the part-time route and completing their projects in industry. Examples of industrial projects range from looking at new microwave measurement techniques at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to antenna design and construction at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

We have also sent students overseas to complete their projects, funded through the Erasmus scheme, which is a European programme that provides full financial support for students completing their project work at one of our partner universities in mainland Europe. Students taking advantage of this opportunity not only enhance their CVs with a European perspective, but also produce excellent project dissertations.

Professional recognition

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

As an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)-accredited institution, our programmes are countable under the continuing professional development (CPD) scheme.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Professional development

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Tim Brown

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

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

Start date:

Sep 2016

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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