Photonic Integrated Circuits, Sensors and Networks (PIXNET) MSc – 1 year

Join our masters course in photonics integration and build your career in an area where your skills are in high demand.


Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type


Course format

No placements


12 months full-time

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Why explore PIXNET at Aston University

Head of Group for Electronic Engineering, John Williams, discusses his experiences of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

UK postgraduate loans are nowopen

UK postgraduate loans have now opened. If you’re starting a masters course on or after 1 August 2021, you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with course fees and living costs.

Find out more

Photonic Integrated Circuits, Sensors and Networks (PIXNET) MSc – 1 year
University of the year

Course outline and modules

PIXNET is our masters course where you’ll learn about the design of communications systems, focusing on photonics integration, sensing and switching. 
During this one year course, you’ll benefit from the involvement of industrial partners who will give you the opportunity to see how your academic knowledge can be practically applied. This will be especially helpful as you work on your masters project. 
We also run a two year ERASMUS-funded joint Masters course in partnership with three universities across the world. This course includes spending time at different locations to maximise the expertise across the four universities. 
What you’ll learn 

Our course gives you the knowledge and skills to design, build and evaluate innovative, integrated devices based on photonic technologies. It’s an interdisciplinary initiative to train telecommunications and electrical engineers to investigate the adoption of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) as a central pillar in the evolution of information and communication devices.  
There are five specialisms you can choose as a student on this collaborative course: 

•    Optical switching technologies 
•    Optical transceiver technologies 
•    Design of photonic integrated devices 
•    Photonic integrated devices manufacturing 
•    Theory and techniques for photonic integrated devices. 


Core modules:

•    Radio Systems and Personal Communication Networks
•    Optical Networks
•    Modelling and Characterisation of Fibre Photonic Devices
•    Optical Communications Systems
•    MSc Dissertation

You will need to choose four of the following module options:

•    Machine Learning
•    Introduction to Parallel Programming Techniques
•    Broadband Wireless Networks
•    Strategic Management and Finance
•    Digital Communication and Information Theory
•    5G Signal Processing
•    Project Management
•    Internet of Things
Industrial partners 

We have strong relationships with a wide range of multinational organisations who contribute significantly to the course through their own expertise. These include Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, TIM, Trenitalia, and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana. 

Entry requirements

  • For graduates with a previous qualification in electrical engineering, electronics, telecommunication engineering, physics or a related discipline. 
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor. 

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning will be a combination of formal lectures, seminars, workshops as well as individual and group projects and presentations.   

Assessment will be through a combination of assignments and exams, with a major project contributing to the final grade.  

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Fees and scholarships

Aston University 1 year programme

UK students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £7,700

EU/International students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £16,350

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

UK postgraduate loans are now open

If you’re starting a masters course on or after 1 August 2021, you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with course fees and living costs.

UK postgraduate loans are now open


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship

You can find out more about our Postgraduate scholarships for international students here. If you are a UK or EU student, please email for information on funding. 

Career prospects

As a key technology that plays a vital and growing role within many modern industries, including ICT, biomedicine, sensor technologies and aerospace, this course will equip you with both the theoretical knowledge as well as the transferable skills necessary to forge an exciting career in the field.

There is high demand from industry for graduates with these skills, and those graduating from similar courses have gone onto further study at prestigious European institutions or into senior level roles in industry.

Languages for All

Learn a language for free with Aston University's Languages for All programme...

First year students at Aston have the opportunity to learn one of the following languages for free at beginners, improvers or intermediate level:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish

Fancy learning French?

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Nathalie Mrgudovic...

Click here to find out more

Give German a go!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Stefanie Kreibich...

Click here to find out more

Make the most with Mandarin!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Qiaochao Zhang...

Click here to find out more

Strengthen your prospects with Spanish!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Elena Cancelas-Rodriguez...

Click here to find out more

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study this PIXNET course at Aston?

You’ll graduate with a masters qualification in an area where there is currently a high demand for skills. This will put you in a strong position as you begin to build your career. 

What will I be doing on the PIXNET course at Aston? 

You will be gaining the knowledge and skills you need to develop your career and take on a senior engineering management role. You’ll learn through a series of taught modules and through undertaking a major project. 

Chat with Current Students


The information you provide will be used by Aston University to contact you about the University, courses you may be interested in and events you may wish to attend, for anything outside of this purpose we will obtain your consent. Your data is subject to Aston University’s privacy policy and cookie policy.  For further information, please visit