Communication Systems Engineering
A course with a strong practical emphasis and extensive lab work
Why take this course?
Communication systems are vital to our modern society for business, personal life, entertainment and leisure.
On this course you will cover the design and analysis of modern communications technologies, telecommunications and data network systems while building the interdisciplinary skills to meet current and future needs of commerce and industry.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Focus on the practical application and design aspects of communications systems rather than intensive analytical detail
- Experiment with our range of control applications including helicopter development kits and walking robots
- Analyse high-frequency signals or measure antennas in our anechoic chamber
What opportunities might it lead to?
This course has been accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). It will provide you with some of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- professional electronics
- terrestrial and satellite broadcasting
- project management
The lecturers here are world class engineers – leaders in their field – so deciding to stay on and do my MSc here was the best decision I ever made.
David Hume, engineering student
- Start date and duration
- 1 year full time (start September), 3 years part time (start September), 16 months full time (start January - International applicants only)
- A second-class honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £6,400 part time: £2,130 p/a* (3 Years)
2016/17 entry: full time: £13,700 part time: £4,570 p/a* (3 Years)
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 2555
- School of Engineering
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
You will study several key topics and complete a four-month individual project in which you apply your knowledge to a significant communications system or network planning problem. Projects are tailored to your individual interests and may take place in our own laboratories or, by agreement, in industry.
Here are the units you will study:
- Data Communications and Networking: The unit provides you with the required foundation and depth of knowledge to comprehensively understand the core principles of data communications and computer network.
- Communications Security: This unit attempts to follow a systematic and rational engineering approach to help you master challenging topics such as cryptography.
- Microwave and Wireless Technology: The unit combines team working via a project based learning activity relating to a significant circuit simulation and design problem with lectures aimed at analysing and applying the characteristics of a range of devices used in the microwave and wireless industries.
- Mobile and Satellite Systems: The main objective of this unit is to discuss the properties and characteristics of fixed and mobile radio channels and to analyse their effects on the design of terrestrial and satellite communication systems.
- Digital Modulation and Coding: Coding and modulation provide the means of mapping information into digital waveforms such that the receiver (with an appropriate demodulator and decoder) can recover the information in a reliable manner. This unit links to many of the most fundamental concepts underpinning information theory.
- Communication System Analysis: This unit focuses on basic principles in the analysis and design of modern communication systems, the workhorses behind the information age. It puts emphasis on the treatment of analogue communications as the necessary background for understanding digital communications.
Teaching and Assessment
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials (personal and academic), laboratory sessions and project work. The course has a strong practical emphasis and you will spend a significant amount of time in our electronic, communications and computer laboratories.
How are you assessed?
A range of assessment methods encourages a deeper understanding of engineering and allows you to develop your skills. Here’s how we assess your work:
- written examinations
- laboratory-based project work
- a major individual project/dissertation
Facilities & Features
We offer you a range of labs such as the Analogue Electronics and Control Engineering Laboratory and the Telecommunications and Signal Processing Laboratory. From Digital Signal Processing (DSP) kits to walking robots, all are well-equipped with industry-standard experimental and computational facilities.
Specialist Software and Equipment
We have an impressive collection of hardware/software development tools for design, development and implementation. With many of our labs fully equipped with numerous benches for testing and measurements of a wide range of electronic systems, you'll have access to all the gadgets you’ll possibly need to explore different networking technologies, study programming languages and apply a wide range of application packages to complete your individual project.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Careers & Opportunities
This course will enable you to develop your career in one of the fastest growing global activities, by giving you a deeper understanding of the principles of communication systems and networks. It is sought-after by a wide variety of employers in telecommunications, data communications, broadcasting and the internet, with interests ranging from overall system design to the more detailed development of RF and data subsystems.
The range of careers is ever widening and includes data network design, wireless networks, mobile, terrestrial and satellite systems and their applications in broadcasting, telephoning, business communications and the internet. As well as design, you will have the option and ability to develop careers in technical management and engineering project management.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- electronics engineer
- acoustics engineer
- broadcasting engineer
- application engineer
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days 2016
- Wednesday 27 April 2016, 1pm – 5pm
Our Postgraduate Information Days are for anyone considering postgraduate study at the University of Portsmouth. It’s your opportunity to learn about the University and the postgraduate opportunities on offer.
Meet with our postgraduate subject specialists and faculty admissions teams who will provide information and guidance on the range of Master's courses and research programmes available at the University. In addition, some of our current postgraduate students will be available to speak to you about postgraduate student life at Portsmouth, alongside staff from our Careers and Recruitment service, Student Finance Team, International Office and Graduate School.
Alternatively, If you would like to visit the campus you can download our free walking tour for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday - Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm. We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look into our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
Find out more information about our self-guided walking tours.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.