Smart Telecom and Sensing Networks (SMARTNET) MSc – 1 year

Join our one-year masters course and be ready to develop your career in telecommunications and networking - a skill set that’s in high demand.


Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type


Course format

No placements


12 months full-time

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Why explore Smart Telecom and Sensing Networks 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

Course outline and modules

Telecommunications plays a critical role in our increasingly technological age. The successful development of 5G networks around the world will enable economic development and drive economies. 
SMARTNET provides unique training in the fields of optical and 5G wireless networking, photonic devices, digital signal processing and big data, and offers you exceptional prospects for career development. 
During this one year course, you’ll benefit from the extensive involvement of a wide range of industrial partners who will provide input during the course, supporting you as you work on your masters project. 
We also run a two year ERASMUS-funded joint Masters course in partnership with two universities in Europe. This course includes spending time at different locations to maximise the expertise across the three universities. 
What you’ll learn 

You’ll study a range of subjects highly relevant to both industry and society. These will include optical and wireless networks, sensing networks, 5G technologies, photonics networks, digital signal processing and big data methods. As well as being of fundamental academic importance, these are critical subjects for the global future of information and communication technologies.  
There are six pathways on our SMARTNET course: 

•    5G broadband infrastructures  
•    Advanced 5G network architectures  
•    Energy efficient smart networks  
•    High capacity 5G network systems  
•    Connectivity technologies for smart network systems  
•    Big data analytics and 5G. 
Our course will also provide you with the skills to develop innovative solutions to difficult problems as well as the opportunity to put your learning into practice as you work on real-world challenges. 


Core modules:

•    5G Signal Processing
•    Radio Systems and Personal Communication Networks
•    Optical Networks
•    Mobile Data Networks
•    Machine Learning
•    MSc Dissertation

You will then need to choose three out of the following modules:

•    Broadband Wireless Networks
•    Modelling and Characterisation of Fibre Photonic Devices
•    Digital Communications and Information Theory
•    Project Management
•    Optical Communications Systems
•    Strategic Management and Finance
•    Internet of Things
•    Introduction to Parallel Programming Techniques
Industrial partners  

We have strong relationships with a wide range of multi-national organisations who contribute significantly to the course through their own expertise. 
These businesses are: Airbus (UK), OTE (Greece), Orange Labs (France), FAZ Technology (Ireland), Coriant R&D (Germany), Yenista (France), Arden Photonics (UK), Keopsys (France), Orange Polska (Poland), CEMENTYS (France), EKINIOS (France), KTN (UK), EPIC (France), Network Rail (UK), Branscan (UK), Thales (France) and Nokia Bell Labs (France). 

Entry requirements

  • For graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, electronics, electrical engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics or similar. 
  • 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.  

Fees and scholarships

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

This course will give you not only the theoretical knowledge but also the necessary transferable skills to play a leading role in the design, operation and optimisation of future telecommunication systems.  
On graduation, you will be a telecommunications engineer with a broad knowledge base and you’ll also have developed other skills you need in industry, including effective communication and an understanding of the importance of collaboration.  
There is a huge demand from industry for graduates with these skills and this course also provides a clear pathway to further study and research. 
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.

More information on post-work visas

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 SMARTNET course at Aston? 

You’ll graduate with a masters qualification in an area where these is currently a high demand for skills. This will put you in a strong position as you enter the market as a telecommunications engineer. 

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

You will be gaining the specialist knowledge and skills you need to be at the forefront of 5G network development. You’ll learn through a series of taught modules and by undertaking a major project. 

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