Postgraduate study

MSc Electronic Communications and Computer Engineering

This course is a broad MSc with a large range of options from Software Engineering to hardware electronic system design.
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
A high 2:2 or equivalent in Electrical and/or Electronic Engineering, or other relevant degree, including elements in Signals and Systems, Electronic Circuits and Digital Signal Processing
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology)
University Park Campus



This 12 month MSc in Electronic Communications and Computer Engineering allows for study of a variety of topics including electronic design, communications and software engineering.

The course delivers broad-based understanding of the art of electronic engineering and an in-depth study of topics covering modern technology for electronic engineering and communication systems.

Our objective is to help you develop the confidence to work as a professional, at ease with the conventions of the discipline, and ready to tackle any area of research in electronic engineering.

Key facts

  • Students will gain experience of the type of problems encountered by academic and industrial researchers
  • This course is accredited with the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) to meet the further learning requirements of a Chartered Engineer

Full course details

Applicants must have a high 2:2 degree or equivalent in Electrical and/or Electronic Engineering, or other relevant degree, including elements in Signals and Systems, Electronic Circuits and Digital Signal Processing.

This is a highly flexible course, which gives you the opportunity to choose modules according to your specific interests and requirements.

This course is taught on a full-time basis over 12 months and consists of 120 credits of taught modules and a 60 credit independent research project. Students will take optional modules from three different streams, electronic engineering, communications and software programming.

You will be taught using up to date practices, including the use of electronic resources. Teaching is a mix of lectures, workshops, lab work, tutorials and projects, with assessment usually performed through formal examination and coursework.

After completing the taught components of the course, you will undertake a major piece of advanced independent research over the summer, under the supervision of a specialist in your chosen area. We will provide you with advice and guidance while you select and refine your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research and your MSc.

Planning and preparation for the project is undertaken during the spring semester. 

Learning outcomes

Key learning outcomes of the course are for students to: 

  • develop problem solving skills
  • become competent users of relevant equipment and software
  • develop ability to think logically and critically
  • develop a thorough understanding of current practice and its limitations and appreciation of likely new development
  • develop design skills and methodologies relevant to a variety of electrical and electronic systems, circuits and models and gain experience of dealing with the challenges encountered by academic and industrial researchers.


Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




Some of these modules are available in two versions, one 10 credit and another 20 credit (which includes a substantial piece of coursework).

Core Modules

Electrical and Electronic Fundamentals for Masters

The module expands students lifelong learning skills by developing their proficiency in self- assessment of their knowledge. This will be achieved by asking students to identifying gaps in their knowledge in the core areas of electrical and electronic engineering, development and implementation of an improvement plan.

To supplement, the student self-learning, problem/project based learning will be used to reinforce the fundamental skills of an electrical and electronic engineer. These problems will be introduced in student led small group seminars where students will discuss the problem and discuss what background knowledge is required and suitable resources. A member of academic staff will aid the students identify appropriate learning material where students finds it difficult to do so.  As part of the learning experience, students will keep a weekly online log detailing the learning activities undertaken, what they have learnt and the areas they still need to develop.

To provide formative feedback during this learning period, there will be 4 compulsory on-line tests. Although the mark attained is not used in the calculation of the module mark, failure, without good cause to complete 3 of the 4 tests within the given time window, will result in a zero module mark.

Research Project Organization and Design

A project-oriented module involving a review of publications and views on a topic allied to the chosen specialist subject. The module will also involve organisation and design of the main project. Skills will be acquired through workshops and seminars that will include:

  • Further programming in MATLAB and /or MSExcel Macros
  • Project planning and use of Microsoft Project
  • Measurement and error analysis
  • Development of laboratory skills including safety & risk assessment

Students will select a further set of specialist seminars from, e.g.:

  • Meshing for computational engineering applications
  • Modelling using CAE packages
  • Use of CES Selector software
  • Specific laboratory familiarisation
  • Use of MSVisio software for process flow
  • Use of HYSYS process modelling software
  • Use of PSpice to simulate analogue and digital circuits

The specialist seminars will be organised within the individual MSc courses.

MSc Project

In this module a student will be assigned to an individual supervisor who will be a staff member in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The student will carry out a practical or theoretical project chosen from the current interests of the staff member concerned. The student will be expected to conduct a literature survey, undertake practical or theoretical work and write a dissertation on this work.

Examples of available optional modules are listed below:

HDL for Programmable Logic

This course will be divided into two: taught material and a hands-on lab exercise. TAUGHT MATERIAL This will contain the following: 

  • HDL overview and latest developments
  • Latest relevant software from Xilinx and Mentor Graphics
  • VHDL syntax
  • VHDL testbench design
  • Combinational and sequential circuit design
  • Finite State Machine VHDL design

LABORATORY EXERCISES The lab classes will be tightly integrated with the lecture sessions. The lab exercises, directly related to the lecture material will be implemented on a pre-prepared FPGA development board. 

Instrumentation and Measurement

This module is an introduction to the principles and practice of instrumentation and measurement systems in an engineering context. The module will cover the generally applicable basic principles and then look at specific classes of instrument and associated electronics and signal processing methods. Topics covered include:

  • Basic principles and instrument characteristics.
  • Measurement errors, basic statistics, noise and its control.
  • Dynamic characteristics of instruments, time and frequency domain responses.
  • System identification using correlation techniques.
  • Amplifiers, filters, ADCs and DACs.
  • Position, strain, pressure and motion sensors (resistive, capacitive, inductive, optical).
  • Flow sensors.
  • Electronic and optical measurement instrumentation.
Optical Communications

This module provides an introduction to optical communication systems and networks. Topics covered include:

  • Optical fibres (light propagation in fibres, attenuation, chromatic dispersion, PMD, fibre nonlinearities)
  • Optical components overview (transmitters, detectors, optical amplifiers (SOA, EDFA, Raman) and optical regeneration, multiplexers, filters, couplers, isolators, circulators, wavelength converters, optical switches etc.)
  • Modulation and demodulation (signal formats, noise, BER, Q)
  • Optical networks (WDM network elements, topology design, routing and wavelength allocation, network survivability, access networks)
Applied Computational Engineering

This module covers the development of advanced engineering software projects, spanning a range of application areas. Generic Topics to be discussed include: Large-scale software management, robust design and coding techniques, accurate and efficient numerical computing for technological simulations, parallel computing techniques applicable to several classes of parallel computer e.g. multicore, distributed and graphics processing unit (GPU) based systems, database design and implementation; distributed network based computing; hardware interfacing. 

Mobile Technologies

To provide of knowledge of the fundamentals of mobile communications and its application to real systems. Typical subjects might be 3rd and 4th generation systems, OFDM and MIMO and how 5th generation systems are likely to develop.

Digital Signal Processing for Telecommunications, Multimedia and Instrumentation

This module focuses on applications of digital signal processing. The module covers: 

  • Revision of continuous signals, linear time-invariant systems and Fourier transform 
  • Sampling of analogue signals, discrete time-invariant systems and discrete Fourier transform 
  • Signal enhancement techniques 
  • Digital spectral analysis 
  • Design of digital filters 
  • Adaptive signal processing 
  • Image processing 
  • Implementations of digital signal processing

Use of MATLAB for signal processing 

RF Microelectronics

This module covers the topics of high-speed circuits and devices. The main module topics are:

  • RF circuits (transmission lines, impedance matching, directional couplers)
  • Amplifiers (concepts of bandwidth, wide bandwidth amplifiers, travelling wave amplifiers)
  • Active devices (diodes, BJTs and MOSFETs their operation, frequency limitations and high frequency equivalents) 
Digital Communications

This module is an introduction to the operation of modern digital communication systems. Topics covered include: 

  • Communication systems 
  • Information content and channel capacity 
  • Digital modulation techniques 
  • Data compression techniques 
  • Error-correcting and line coding techniques 
  • Digital signal regeneration techniques 
  • System examples, telephone, digital television and CD technologies. 
Integrated Circuits and Systems

The module introduces CMOS integrated circuit design and internal operating mechanisms of semiconductor electronics and opto-electronic devices.

Embedded Computing

Architectures for embedded programmable digital electronics; operation of a microcontroller and its programming; assembly language directives and instructions; interfacing of microcontrollers; embedded peripherals and interrupts in microcontrollers; communications for embedded computing; special features of microcontrollers (the above items are based on the PIC16 microcontroller family); various microcontroller families; introduction to larger scale embedded systems.

Robotics, Dynamics and Control

This module gives and Introduction to electromechanical fundamentals in robotics, and introduces students to: Direct Kinematics, Inverse Kinematics, Workspace analysis and trajectory planning, Manipulator Dynamics (Lagrange, Lagrange-Euler, and Newton-Euler) and Robot Control.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Postgraduate Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Further funding may be available through the Faculty of Engineering, details can be found on the Faculty website.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

This programme equips graduates with the skills suitable for a wide range of careers in UK and international organisations and for the pursuit of a research path in electrical and electronic engineering.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94.2% of postgraduates in the faculty who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £31,959 with the highest being £100,000.

*Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career destinations for our graduates in the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering include IT business analysts, systems designers, programmers, software development professionals and production technicians, as well as electrical engineers and engineering professionals.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



Related courses and downloads


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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