MSc Telecommunications Systems

This programme is designed to develop or update a wide range of technical understanding, engineering “know-how” and professional skills that are needed to contribute effectively to the design and development of telecommunications systems for national and international networks, or to enter telecommunications research.
Telecommunication systems of the future image - researcg feature

Why choose this course?

  • Provides students with a thorough grounding in the principles and the requisite specialist knowledge and skills to develop, manage and adapt current systems
  • Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • An industrial advisory group reviews the programme on a continual basis
  • Guest lectures presented by acknowledged experts drawn from industry
  • Free student membership of the IET

Key information & fees

Duration of programme: 1 year full-time: six months taught modules on campus and a six month individual project, which may be carried out in industry or on campus).

Part-time: Two or three year part-time on-line distance learning (with obligatory summer schools and examinations on campus) followed by a one to two year project preferably carried out in industry.

CPD: Individual modules may be studied by distance learning for continual professional development purposes.

Start date: October
Intake: Up to 25 per year

Fees (Full Time):
UK/EU students  - £5,100 (2014 fee)
International students  - £14,750 (2014 fee)

Fees (Part Time):
UK/EU students  - From £1,750 per year for 3 years.

Distance Learning is available for UK-based students only - for further information please contact the School.

A limited number of scholarships are available for this programme, subject to the fulfilment of academic and other eligibility criteria. For up-to-date information please visit EAS Fees & Scholarships page.

Application details:
Apply for this course online

Information on visas for international students

Telecommunications Technology

Aston’s long-established MSc in Telecommunications Technology programme is organised by the Electronic Engineering subject group in cooperation with the telecommunications industry via an industrial steering committee. The programme is designed to develop or update a wide range of technical understanding, engineering “know-how” and professional skills that are needed to contribute effectively to the design and development of telecommunications systems for national and international networks, or to enter telecommunications research. The programme is involved in the ERASMUS exchange scheme with a well established link with ENST Brest. Graduates of this programme are highly regarded; many of our past students have risen to senior posts within the telecommunications sector.

Taught modules and examinations/assessments are completed during the six months October to March. After successful completion students may then progress to the six month individual research project during April to October.
We endeavour to place students with industrial sponsors for the duration of their projects, with all other projects being undertaken at the University.


Past Project Titles

  • Advanced WDM hybrid transmission based on CWDM plus DWDM - Aston University
  • PROTAGON Research Project
  • Assesment & Development of Embedded Control for Standardised Converged Network Elements - Ericsson, Coventry
  • Personal Response System (PRS) - Aston University
  • An Improved Outdoor MIMO Channel Model with Real Data Analysis - BT, Ipswich

Entry requirements

  • A first or good second class Honours Degree from a UK academic organisation in a relevant engineering field, science or closely related discipline.
  • Qualifications from outside the UK or a combination of qualifications and/or experience will also be considered. The course administration office can provide advice on whether these qualifications are the equivalent of the level of Honours Degree required.
  • We will consider that completion of 2 years (full time equivalent) of relevant postgraduate work experience will enhance a first degree by one step (five years experience by two steps, etc).
  • Employment is considered relevant either to the first degree or to the proposed course of postgraduate study. For example, a graduate in computer studies who has been employed as a computer programmer will have relevant employment experience. (Employment undertaken before the commencement of undergraduate study will not normally count for the purposes of enhancement).
  • International students whose native language is not English will also need to demonstrate English Language ability: A TOEFL score of at least 100 (internet-based) with a minimum score of 23 in Speaking, 22 in Reading and 21 in Writing and Listening; OR an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in each band.
The taught section of the programme is assessed by formal examinations, course work and case studies. The project is assessed through a dissertation, an oral presentation (viva) and an assessment by the project supervisor. Further details are available on the individual module specifications.
The MSc in Telecommunications Systems is fully accredited by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
IET logo
The programme will be of interest to students in technical careers related to the design and development of telecommunications systems for national and international networks, or to those wishing to enter telecommunications research. The programme provides a means whereby graduates from non-telecommunications technical degrees can move into this high demand area. Many of our past students are now senior managers in telecommunications companies in the UK and around the world.

Our programmes provide a means where graduates from non-telecommunications technical degrees can move into this high demand area. The programme is an “Advanced Vocational Course” postgraduate degree in Telecommunications Systems its theory, practice and applications.

Some of the subjects make full recourse to a range of mathematical topics that should be familiar to the honours graduate of an accredited Undergraduate Degree in Electronic Engineering. Any student who may not possess this familiarity, will be expected to achieve it by private study.

In addition to the usual wide range of facilities expected in a University we have the following local facilities available for to our Masters programmes.

Telecommunications Computing Laboratory:
This has 32 specialist GNU/Linux workstations (Debian distribution) specifically for use by undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It is the main computing teaching laboratory used in the programmes and supports flexible dynamic networking as may be required for some projects.

Telecommunications laboratory:
The laboratory also supports practical classes in Optoelectronics and investigations intoWireless LAN networks and digital transmission systems.

Photonics Research laboratories:
The word “photonics” describes the engineering and science underlying the manipulation of photons of light rather in the way that the word “electronics” applies to electrons. It embraces the modern application of optical techniques to communications, signal processing, sensors, and data storage. The broad aims of the Photonics Research Group are to research new phenomena and devices, and their applications in future fibre optic systems.

The Aston Photonics Research Group has a well-established international track record of innovation in grating devices for applications in telecommunications, signal processing, optical sensing, and many other grating applications including many first demonstrations. The main areas of research are: ultrafast non-linear phenomena in fibres and fibre devices; high-speed communication concentrating on solitons and soliton transmission, processing, generation and control; all-optical switching and processing; ultrafast all-optical networks; fibre gratings fabrication, design and fundamental studies; fibre grating devices and their application in
communication and sensors; and microwave photonics.

The extensive facilities of the group are available for use on Masters projects.

Adaptive Communications Research Laboratories:
This research group focuses on a range of networking architectures from mobile systems to ad-hoc sensor networks. Techniques involve the design of advanced digital systems for application-specific embedded systems and advanced algorithms for improving network efficiency. The group uses state of the art dynamic field programmable gate array hardware to examine physical implementations of these principles.

The future impact of pervasive computing is an area of very active research. We are interested in the applications of dynamic hardware in this area to improve system performance. We are also looking at the applications of advanced coding techniques in the area of mobile third generation networks. The group has links with both the Photonics Research Group and the Neural Computing Research Group. A range of theoretical, experimental and CAD design techniques are used to investigate novel architectures and protocols.

Research interests: Ad-hoc networks, Sensor networks, Mobile networks, Adaptive algorithms, Applications of FPGAs, Dynamic hardware in Internet routers, Concurrent systems design, Coding theory, Cellular architectures for flexible processing, and Architectures for handling high-speed serial data.

The facilities are available for use on Masters projects.
Scholarships for Home/EU students:

Avaliable HERE.
Scholarships for International students:

Avaliable HERE.

Programme director

Programme Director: Dr. Xiaohong Peng

Dr. Peng teaches mobile data networks in this MSc programme. His research areas range from wireless and multimedia communications and networks to sensor networks for healthcare and wellbeing. He has led research projects in both theoretical developments and practical system realisation through collaborations with industry in telecommunications, data storage and mobile communication networks. Dr Peng is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (SMIEEE).

Teaching staff

Prof. Keith Blow

I studied at Cambridge University and then joined the Theory of Condensed Matter Group of the Cavendish Laboratory and received a Ph.D. for studies on Deep Impurities in Semiconductors.

I joined the optics division of BT Labs in 1981 and worked on the theory of non-linear optical propagation effects in fibres, principally solitons . This work developed into optical switching and the first demonstration of soliton switching in non-linear optical loop mirrors. In 1990 I set up a group working on quantum optical properties and non-linear spatial optics as well as continuing work on all-optical processing which is currently concerned with ways of using and manipulating the information that can be sent over the enormous bandwidth of optical fibres.

In 1999 I moved here to the Photonics Research Group at Aston to continue working on optical networks and optical computation. My areas of research interest are: optical communication systems and networks; optical solitons; all-optical signal processing and switching.

Dr. Elena Turitsyna

My areas of researcg interest are: Numerical modelling of fibre Bragg gratings for telecom applications; design of advanced FBG for WDM systems; numerical modelling of signal transmission in optical fiber systems; modelling of advanced signal formats and optical data processing.

Dr. Xiaohong Peng

Dr. Paul Harper

I started my research career at Aston in 1994 as a PhD student studying high speed optical telecommunications in the early days of what would become the world renowned Photonics Research Group.

After graduating in 1997 I continued this work at Aston as a Post Doc. In May 2002 along with co-workers, I left the university to form a spin-out project Marconi-Solstis to commercialise our research work.

Dr. Jianhua He

Dr. Sonia Boscolo 

I studied at the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France where I was awarded the BA and MA degrees in Physics in 1998. I joined the Photonics Research Group at Aston University in 1999, and I received a PhD degree for studies on optical solitons and nonlinear solitary waves in 2002.

Since 2002, I have been working with the Photonics Research Group (now the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies), where I am currently a Senior Lecturer.

MSc Programmes Admissions Officer
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 3668
Fax: +44 (0)121 204 3676
Email: seaspgtaught@aston.ac.uk
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Fees & funding



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