Postgraduate Course

MSc Advanced Communication Systems

MSc Advanced Communication Systems

Overview

The details
Advanced Communication Systems
October 2018
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Our graduates work in major telecommunications companies around the world. We have run this course for over 25 years and, in that time, educated over a thousand communications specialists.

Starting from the concept of a signal, we cover the fundamentals of how signals are acquired, processed and transmitted over a wide range of media — electronic, optical and radio. Our laboratory work shows how these principles are put into practice and your software development skills are improved through a series of lectures, exercises and assignments.

Building on this, we explore a number of state-of-the-art topics in detail, including:

  • Modern digital transmission systems
  • Wireless communication systems
  • Computer security and cryptography
  • Complex electronic circuits
  • Networked systems

Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s telecommunications engineers are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top engineers, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence. More than two-thirds of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Why we're great.
  • Acquire robust software development skills through a number of learning methods
  • Through laboratory work explore the fundamentals of signals – electronic, optical and radio
  • Our Employability and Careers Centre is on hand to help with careers advice and planning. You will also have opportunities to present your research and travel to international conferences

Our expert staff

We have been one of the leading electronics departments in the country throughout our history, and in recent years, our prolific research staff have contributed to some major breakthroughs.

We invented the world's first telephone-based system for deaf people to communicate with each other in 1981, with cameras and display devices that were able to work within the limited telephone bandwidth. Our academics have also invented a streamlined protocol system for worldwide high speed optical communications.

Specialist facilities

We are one of the largest and best resourced computer science and electronic engineering schools in the UK. Our work is supported by extensive networked computer facilities and software aids, together with a wide range of test and instrumentation equipment.

  • We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
  • All computers run either Windows 7 or are dual boot with Linux
  • Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
  • Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OPNET)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors

Your future

Our recent graduates have progressed to a variety of senior positions in industry and academia. Some of the companies and organisations where our former graduates are now employed include:

  • Elitecore Technologies Ltd
  • Juniper Networks
  • Cisco Systems
  • Incendio Technologies

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“As an international student, I found it very easy to adjust to the new lifestyle as everyone is very friendly and helpful. My Masters degree has provided me with a very strong platform for career development, opening new research horizons and pathways that will help me achieve my goals.”

Naveed Syed, MSc Telecommunications and Information Systems

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2.2 degree in Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Networks, Telecommunications or Physics.

At least 50% of undergraduate academic modules must include electronic engineering, mathematics or physics. Applicants from undergraduate courses who do not have a substantial covering of engineering mathematics should contact us.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Theory of Signals and Systems

This module provides a mathematical foundation for the study of communication systems and understanding their operation. It covers at depth the relevant mathematical concepts, such as Fourier transforms, theory of probability and stochastic processes and noise, as well as fundamentals of information theory and coding. The key feature of the module is that all relevant mathematical concepts are considered together with practical demonstration of their direct applications to the related area of electronic engineering and communication. In order to provide both good theoretical knowledge and strong applied skills, in addition to the lectures the module is supported by the problem solving classes. The module uses these theoretical tools to examine the operation of modern communication systems, such as analogue and digital signal processing and applications of information theory to data coding. The module also covers analysis of fundamental performance bounds, and identifies how close commercially important systems are to these bounds.

View Theory of Signals and Systems on our Module Directory

Digital Communications

In modern digital communications voice, image and data are integrated. The module will provide an understanding of the principles and practices of modern digital transmission systems. After covering the essentials of electronic communications, the module examines and compares cable, broadcast, satellite and mobile communications systems.

View Digital Communications on our Module Directory

Networking Principles

This module provides an introduction to the architecture and services of modern telecommunication networks. A general introduction illustrates the major features of a network, how they interact and introduce the concept of an intelligent network. Switching is an essential requirement and the ideas behind circuit, packet and cell switching are presented. The basics of the TCP/IP protocol suite are described. Optical transmission and networking, key features for future networks, are discussed. To present the main concepts involved in current and future telecommunication and information networks, the concepts presented will be supported by the other core courses.

View Networking Principles on our Module Directory

Mobile Communications

What are the main challenges when using wireless connections? And what are the higher-layer techniques for exploiting wireless physical links? Study the technology underlying current and future wireless communications systems. Understand the concepts of radio transmissions and the different types of multiple access techniques.

View Mobile Communications on our Module Directory

Mathematical Research Techniques Using Matlab

Mathematics is a tool used in many fields of research, and this module introduces students to techniques and ways of thinking designed to enable them to carry out their own mathematical investigations, or to apply mathematical ideas to an investigation of their own (typically for most students on this module, this will be their Dissertation project). We use the industry standard mathematical software Matlab, although the techniques introduced can also be applied using other software, and we study a range of techniques for numerical computation and processing of data.

View Mathematical Research Techniques Using Matlab on our Module Directory

MSc Project and Dissertation

What fascinates you? Apply your learning in computer science or engineering to solve a problem. Design, implement and evaluate a solution, producing a dissertation on your investigation and giving an oral presentation of your work. Test your knowledge, while gaining practical experience and building your project management skills.

View MSc Project and Dissertation on our Module Directory

Professional Practice and Research Methodology

This module aims to prepare students for conducting an independent research project leading to a dissertation and to provide them with an appreciation of research and business skills related to their professional career. As a precursor to their project students, individually select an area of Computer Science, or Electronic Engineering, or Computational Finance and perform the necessary background research to define a topic and prepare a project proposal under the guidance of a supervisor. The module guides them by a) introducing common research methods b) creating an understanding of basic statistics for describing and making conclusions from data c) helping to write a strong proposal including learning how to perform literature search and evaluation and d) giving an in-depth view into the business enterprise, financial and management accounting and investment appraisal.

View Professional Practice and Research Methodology on our Module Directory

Converged Networks and Services (optional)

We are living in a world of multiple networking technologies, either wired or wireless. There is a need for these network technologies to converge in order to provide seamless services to end users. This course is to look into the fundamentals towards this goal. This course will begin with the motivation behind network and service convergence and then introduce the network architectures that are being deployed today. Then quality of service (QoS) metrics such as delay, jitter, packet loss, etc. and QoS mechanisms will be introduced. The course will go on into various types of service and network convergences covering wireless + wireless convergence and wired + wireless convergence. The course will then describe fundamentals of a key issue that is common for any type of convergence: mobility. Finally the course will finish by introducing a clean-slate future Internet technology called ICN (Information Centric Networking).

View Converged Networks and Services (optional) on our Module Directory

Creating and Growing a New Business Venture (optional)

Acquire critical and transferable skills associated with the creation and growth of new business ventures. You focus on the development process from start up to early stage growth of new ventures, new small businesses spin offs from large firms, and especially innovative, technology-based firms. You study opportunity identification, self-efficacy, ideas generation, bricolage and bootstrapping, developing business models, networking, marketing, and finance.

View Creating and Growing a New Business Venture (optional) on our Module Directory

Data Science and Decision Making (optional)

The aim of this module is to familiarise students with the whole pipeline of processing, analysing, presenting and making decision using data. This module blends data analysis, decision making and visualisation with practical python programming.Students will need a reasonable programming background as they will be expected to develop a complete end-to-end data science application.

View Data Science and Decision Making (optional) on our Module Directory

IP Networking and Applications (optional)

This module introduces the Internet and computer networking from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It is the module where computers are merging with communications to create a fundamentally new system  - the World Wide Web. The design, organisation, and operation of networks and the Internet are the subject of this module. The areas which are covered in the module are at the heart of modern network-connected world. In brief - the module will provide you as a future computer network specialist with a comprehensive knowledge of design, organisation, and operating principles of modern computer networks. The module first examines the architecture and operation of the Internet protocols (IPs), and shows how information is processed and routed across the Internet. The operation and configuration of routers is discussed alongside the details of protocol operation. The module then discusses the rationale behind the next generation internet protocol IPv6, in particular regarding addressing architecture, header functions, and novel protocol concepts. A comparison between the current IPv4 and the future IPv6 protocols and transition to the next generation protocol are discussed in depth. The function and implementation of its main support protocols are also covered. The application of these new networking ideas is illustrated by the application of IPv6 to problems in network layer services, especially security, and the Internet of Things (IoTs).  In order to provide both good theoretical knowledge and strong applied skills, in addition to the lectures the module is supported by the problem solving classes.

View IP Networking and Applications (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Courses provide a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the theory, methods and applications of computer science
  • Core components combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding
  • Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars, as well as engage with the wider research community

Assessment

  • Courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

Dissertation

  • Your research project allows you to focus in depth on your chosen topic from April
  • Close supervision by faculty staff

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,560

International fee

£16,225

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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