Accessibility statement

MSc by Research


Programme Overview


Apply now

The Department offers the MSc in Electronic Engineering by Research and the MSc in Music Technology by Research degree programmes.

The MSc by Research is a one year full-time programme (two years part-time) based on a research project which may be in any area of staff expertise. As a member of one of the Department’s research groups you will be supervised on a one-to-one basis by a member of academic staff.  Progress of all research students is continually guided by a supervisor and a thesis advisory panel.  The award of the degree is made following the submission and successful examination of a thesis (which is usually around 15,000 to 20,000 words).

Research Projects

As part of any application for a research degree you have to name one or more academic staff who could supervise your research. Have a look through the staff list which gives a brief description of staff research interests and use this along with the example projects to identify a potential supervisor(s). Some of the PhD projects listed may also be suitable for the MSc by Research – please contact the member of academic staff involved to find out if the project can be adapted for an MSc by Research.

MSc by Research students are also encouraged to take advanced taught courses in Electronic Engineering to help fill any gaps in the background knowledge required for the research project. The choice of courses taken will be made together with the supervisor, at the beginning of the programme.

Transfer to PhD degree programme

A student studying for the MSc by Research may be permitted to transfer to the first year of the PhD programme instead, if their project is of a sufficient standard and is considered to show potential for the PhD programme.  The transfer request would be considered by the Thesis Advisory Panel in the first instance.

To find out more about what it's like to undertake the MSc by Research degree programme, have a look at one of our graduate student profiles.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

The MSc by Research degree programme provides an introduction to scientific research, and is suitable for those candidates with a 2:1 honours degree or above from a university recognised by the University of York in:

  • Electronics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Music Technology

or equivalent.

For applicants whose native language is not English, the minimum University English language requirements of IELTS 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each of the four language components) or the equivalent are expected.



All full-time postgraduate research students are allocated a desk space in the department with a PC for the duration of their full-time programme. Dependent on their project, students might also use some of the department's other facilities, including NAMAS-accredited EMC measurement facilities, Clean Room, well-equipped music and media technology suites, anechoic chambers, BioWall, Robot Lab and specialised software for FPGA design.

Research or Taught MSc?

MSc by Research or Taught MSc?

The table below compares the MSc by Research with our Taught Masters degrees.  Please take a look to see which is the most suitable type of degree for you.


MSc by Research Taught MSc degree
What is it? A purely research degree. It requires you to concentrate on learning about one specific topic in great depth for 12 months. A degree which includes both taught modules and a research project. Has a clear, well-defined timetable and programme structure.
How is it taught? You will have a supervisor who will help you with your research. You need to be able to work independently: although discussion with other students, researchers and academic supervisors is frequent and encouraged, you will be the only one working on your project. Taught by conventional lectures, workshops, self-teaching exercises and supervisions with other MSc students. You will be taught by a range of staff within the department.
How is it assessed? An MSc by Research is assessed only on the basis of a final written thesis, which must be written to a standard comparable to leading research in the chosen field.
You can attend some taught MSc lectures to gain background knowledge, but these will not form part of your assessment.
Taught Msc degrees are assessed by examinations, short written articles and presentations, held throughout the programme. Details of how modules are assessed can be found in the course content tab of the MSc you are interested in.
What experience do I need? You need to have a strong interest , and relevant background knowledge in the specific field of electronic engineering which you want to research. You will be specialising in an area you already know something about.
You need to be able to be able to define your own problems, manage you own work and set your own timescales.
See our entry equirements for each MSc on the programme pages. Generally you do not need as much specific knowledge for a taught degree. An MSc can deepen your knowledge across a wider field, such as Communications Engineering, or you can choose to broaden your knowledge (for example choosing MSc Engineering Management after an Engineering based degree).
Do I need to do anything before I apply? You need to identify projects that you are interested in and potential supervisor(s) before submitting an application for a place. Have a look at the PhD Projects to get ideas, as many of these can be adapted for an MSc by Research. No, as long as you have transcripts, personal statement and referee details you can submit an application straight away.
What are the advantages? An MSc by Research......
provides the opportunity, if progress is very good and funding permits, to be converted into the first year of a PhD.
You have the opportunity to participate in leading research for one year.
You can study an MSc degree in areas which we don't cover in any of our taught MSc programmes.
A taught MSc degree....
Gives you a defined path with clear goals from the start.
Provides a broader knowledge base and range of skills, you are not just focused on one topic.
You do not need to know details of your research project before you apply.
Gives experience of working with industry standard tools in situations which can simulate industry working practices.

Staff Research Interests

Staff Research Interests

As part of any application for a research degree you have to name one or more academic staff who could supervise your research. This list gives a brief description of staff research interests, which you can use along with the research group pages and example projects to identify a potential supervisor(s).

Eugene Avrutin, PhD (Ioffe), MIET, MIEEE
Theory and numerical modelling and design of photonic devices and subsystems

Alister Burr, PhD (Bristol), CEng, MIET, MIEEE
Wireless communications; turbo codes; MIMO; wireless network coding new waveforms

Kanapathippillai Cumanan, PhD (Loughborough), MIEE, MIET
5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT); Physical layer security; cognitive radio networks; relay networks; non-orthogonal multiple access; MIMO

Helena Daffern, PhD (York)
Singing science and pedagogy; voice and musical performance analysis and perception

John Dawson, DPhil (York), CEng, MIET, MIEEE
Electromagnetic compatibility; shielding; reverberation chambers; computational modelling; circuit effects; antennas

Jeremy Everard, PhD (Cambridge), CEng, MIET, MIEEE
RF/microwaves; compact atomic clocks; low phase noise oscillators;ultra-fast opto-electronics

David Grace, DPhil (York), MIET, Senior MIEEE
Cognitive radio; radio resource management; communications from high altitude platforms

David Halliday, PhD (Glasgow)
Computational neuroscience; spiking neural networks; neural signal processing

Atsufumi Hirohata, PhD (Cambridge), Senior MIEEE
Spintronics; nano-scale and quantum magnetism; nanoelectronics

Steven Johnson, DPhil (York)
Molecular and biomolecular electronics; nanoelectronic devices; nanofabrication

Gavin Kearney, PhD (Trinity College Dublin), FHEA, MAES
Spatial audio; music technology; interactive audio systems; audio for virtual reality

Youngwook Ko, PhD (Arizona), Senior MIEEE
Machine type communications; new waveform designs for 5G and beyond; machine learning-driven communications

Paul Mitchell, PhD (York), MIET, Senior MIEEE, FHEA
Wireless communications; resource management; terrestrial radio systems; underwater acoustic networks

Damian Murphy, DPhil (York), FHEA
Virtual acoustic modelling; auralisation; spatial audio; music technology

Adar Pelah, ScMEE, PhD (Cambridge)
Biomedical engineering; virtual environments; human vision and locomotion; 3D displays

Stuart Porter, DPhil (York), AMIET, MIEEE
Computational electromagnetics; antenna design; RF MEMS bioelectromagnetics

Mark Post, PhD (York, Canada)
Robotics and mechatronics; autonomous systems; sensing and control

John Robinson, PhD (Essex), FIET, Senior MIEEE
Image and video processing; pattern analysis

Martin Robinson, PhD (Bristol), MIPEM, MInstP
Medical applications of electromagnetic waves; dielectrics; interference; shielding

Stephen Smith, PhD (Kent), CEng, FBCS, MIEEE
Evolutionary computation; medical applications; rich media technologies

Gianluca Tempesti, MSE, PhD (EPFL), MIEEE
Bio-inspired hardware; fault tolerance; adaptive and reconfigurable systems; many-core systems

Zion Tse, PhD (Imperial)
Medical robotics; computer-aided surgery; medical devices; image-guided therapy; mobile health; Internet of Things; medical imaging

Martin Trefzer, PhD (Heidelberg), Senior MIEEE
Bio-inspired hardware; fault tolerance; nanodevices; autonomous adaptive systems

Andy Tyrrell, PhD (Aston), CEng, FIET, Senior MIEEE
Evolvable hardware; FPGA/reconfigurable systems; artificial immune systems; microelectronics design

Tony Ward, MBA (OU), CEng, MIET, MIEEE
Engineering education; virtual learning; workforce planning;education and enterprise

Yongbing Xu, PhD (Leeds), MIET, MIoNanotech
Nanotechnology; spintronics; magnetic nanomaterials; nanodevice and nanofabrication

Yuriy Zakharov, PhD (Moscow), Senior MIEEE
Signal processing for communications and acoustics

Careers & Destinations

Careers and Graduate Destinations:

Being a research student in the department isn't just about producing a piece of academic work. It's also about developing skills that will help you succeed in your chosen career whether you choose to stay in academia or move into industry. To find out more visit our Careers and Destinations page.

Any questions?

Postgraduate Admissions Enquiries
Helen Smith - 

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
Professor Stephen Smith - 

+44 (0)1904 324485