MSc Communication Networks and Signal Processing

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Faculty Faculty of Engineering
Awards available MSc
Programme length One year full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

This is a challenging one-year taught Master’s degree programme that provides students with a range of advanced topics drawn from communication networks (fixed and wireless) and related signal-processing, including associated enabling technologies. It provides an excellent opportunity to develop the skills needed for careers in some of the most dynamic fields in communication networks.

This programme builds on the internationally recognised research strengths of the Communications Systems and Networks, High Performance Networks and Photonics research groups within the Smart Internet Lab. The groups conduct pioneering research in a number of key areas, including network architectures, cross-layer interaction, high-speed optical communications and advanced wireless access.

There are two taught units related to optical communications: Optical Networks and Data Centre Networks. Optical Networks will focus on Wavelength Division Multiplexed (WDM) networks, Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) networks including SDH/SONET and OTN, optical frequency division multiplexed networks, and optical sub-wavelength switched networks. Data Centre Networks will focus on networks for cloud computing, cloud-based networking, grid-computing and e-science. There is a further networking unit: Networked Systems and Applications, which provides a top-down study of networking system support for distributed applications, from classical web and email to telemetry for the Internet of Things.

The programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology until 2018, one of only a handful of accredited programmes in this field in the UK.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2017/18

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

Your course will cover the following core subjects:

Semester One (40 credits)

  • Communication systems
  • Digital filters and spectral analysis
  • Mobile communications
  • Networking protocol principles

Semester Two (80 credits)

  • Data centre networking
  • Advanced networks
  • Broadband wireless communications
  • Networked systems and applications
  • Engineering research skills
  • Optical communications systems and data networks
  • Optical networks

Project (60 credits)

You will carry out a substantial research project, starting during Semester Two and completed during the summer. This may be based at the University or with industrial partners.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class degree from a UK university (or an international equivalent) in a numerate physical science or engineering discipline. Candidates with a lower class of degree, equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience may be admitted if they can demonstrate their potential for higher degree work.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


This one-year MSc programme gives you a world-class education in all aspects of current and future communication networks and signal processing. It will prepare you for a diverse range of exciting careers - not only in the communications field, but also in other areas such as management consultancy, project management, finance and government agencies.

Our graduates have gone on to have rewarding careers in some of the leading multinational communications companies, such as Huawei, China Telecom, Toshiba, China Mobile and Intel. Some graduates follow a more research-oriented career path, with a number of students going on to study for PhDs at leading universities.

How to apply
Application deadline:

18 August 2017. Early application recommended; places may fill before our deadline.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 38% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 55% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 6% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

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