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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Communications Engineering (MSc)

MSc Communications Engineering

Work at the cutting edge of emerging knowledge where the internet and mobile phone technologies meet

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Communications is one of the most exciting and rapidly-expanding subjects in all of engineering, with the internet and mobile phones revolutionising life for many people over the last few decades. 

Increasingly, the internet and mobile telephone networks are converging, and an understanding of both systems, and the diverse information they carry, is required to fully appreciate the issues in modern digital communications.

This course will equip you with the ability to fully appreciate these complex systems. It is taught by internationally leading experts from our well-established Communication Technologies who will draw on their wealth of experience to ensure you gain the skills you need to be an effective engineer.

You will cover the latest techniques and issues in modern communications systems, along with a thorough grounding in the required technical and mathematical backgrounds, with an emphasis on wireless communications, signal processing, and cutting-edge technologies. You will be exposed to a balanced picture of modern communications technology and networks to obtain a sound theoretical and practical knowledge of radio communication techniques, signal processing and network protocols. You will have the opportunity to design and optimise communication networks and learn about new techniques and technologies as they are developed.

The course will enable you to become an attractive candidate for employers throughout the field of modern communications. You will leave with experience in designing and building industry-standard tools, managing projects and teams, and conducting innovative research working at the cutting edge of communications. 


Accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering CouncilSome employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Research excellence

In the latest REF assessment (2014), 87% of our work was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent

Course content

You'll study a total of 120 credits spread over the year, as well as undertaking a project worth an additional 60 credits. All the modules are compulsory. 

As a taught MSc student in the Department of Electronic Engineering, you will also gain access to our carefully designed Professional Development Framework which has been developed in consultation with our Departmental External Advisory Board and key contributors from industry, research and academia. The aim of the framework is to equip you to graduate as a more effective, better prepared and well rounded potential employee, ensuring that you will stand out from the crowd. 


Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Research project

You will undertake a 60 credit group MSc Communications Engineering project as part of this course. For the project you will typically be working in a group of three to five students. You will apply professional skills in communications theory, programming, and modelling, combined with an understanding of engineering and communication systems and components, to independently solve technically challenging problems. The groups are supervised by academics, but you and your peers will be responsible for managing the project. You'll write a joint report in the middle of the project and then individual reports at the end. Usually, you will attend weekly project meetings with the academic supervisor, but in practice you can contact the supervisors at any time.

Recent examples of projects undertaken include:

  • Cognitive Radio for 5G Small-Cell Communication
  • Implementation and Investigation of the LTE Uplink Transmission
  • MIMO-OFDM Simulation and Demonstration
  • Resource Allocation Techniques for Massive MIMO Networks

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Conduct research into communications engineering theory and practice, advancing the state of knowledge in wireless communication techniques and systems.
  • Extract and critically evaluate literature and other data about complex communication systems through analytical and computational methods and modelling.   
  • Design innovative industry relevant engineering solutions for research-based problems in communications software and/or hardware.
  • Apply professional skills in communications theory, programming, modelling, combined with an understanding of engineering and communication systems and components, to independently solve technically challenging problems.
  • Debate, defend and contextualise information in a succinct, professional and technically accurate manner to key stakeholders including engineers, and non-technical audiences. This will include the ability to interpret and write technical documentation to international industry standards.
  • Proficiently manage themselves, teams and complex projects in preparation for future careers as leaders in wireless communications.


Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,580£21,640

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

All course text books and materials are available in the library or via the VLE. Depending on how you work, you may wish to print off notes and other material. You receive a free, £15 credit for printing and photocopying when you join the department, but any printing you do beyond this you will have to pay for. 

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

We offer some departmental scholarship opportunities for our taught MSc courses.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You will be taught via a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practicals.


You'll have access to the cutting-edge facilities in the department. In addition, you will get access to a dedicated MSc project room which provides computing equipment and study space for students on this course. If the group project involves special electronics designs, you'll be able to use the electronics labs in the Department or acoustics facilities.  

Teaching location

The Department of Electronic Engineering is based on Campus West. The majority of teaching takes place within Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed via a combination of exams, coursework (eg assignment reports or lab reports), and presentations.

The course covers mostly practical and also mathematical aspects of novel technologies: mobile communications, internet protocols, satellite communications and advanced wireless communications which gives you practical knowledge of different communication systems. Along with practical and theoretical modules, MATLAB lab sessions help you to understand all the materials very well.
Mohamad, MSc Communications Engineering, 2018-19

Careers and skills

Typical career paths might include: mobile communications industry (research and development, RF system design, coding, software radio, multiple access and networking, test and evaluation procedures, test-bed development, analogue and digital component design), information technology (signal processing, protocols, security, coding, hardware design), and in many industries applying communication technologies.

Skills you will gain which will make you more attractive to employer include

  • Undertaking group projects which simulate project work within a company - you'll be working and problem solving in a team
  • Experience of working with industry standard tools
  • Training in research methods and project management
  • Opportunities to develop your presentation skills and report writing
  • Exposure to cutting edge methods from acknowledged experts

You will also receive:

  • Visits and careers talks from our industrial contacts
  • Lifetime support from the University Careers Service

Career opportunities

  • Apple
  • Aircom International LDT
  • Asia Investment Nigeria
  • Beijing Starpoint Technology Company
  • Capgemini
  • China Mobile
  • CMCC
  • Densitron technologies PLC
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • HP
  • Huawei
  • KPMG
  • LETV
  • Nokia Siemens Networks
  • Samsung
  • Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority
  • Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority


Transferable skills

  • Teamwork
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Writing skills
  • Time management and planning
  • Academic integrity
  • Digital literacy

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
  • Equivalent of a 2:1 honours degree or above from a university recognised by the University of York. This degree should be either in electronics, or other engineering or computing courses with a significant mathematics and signal processing content. We are willing to consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules or appropriate industrial experience.
  • As a minimum, students are expected to be familiar with concepts such as complex numbers, calculus, Fourier analysis, decibels and statistics. Offer holders without sufficient background knowledge of electronic communication systems will be given access to some online preliminary reading before starting the course. The preliminary reading is intended to give a detailed summary of the knowledge we will expect you to have before you come to York, as well as providing an introduction to some of the subjects that you'll be studying here. Some background reading before you arrive will enable you to make the best use of your time at York.
Other qualifications

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component 
  • PTE Academic: 55, with no less than 51 in each component 
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 169, with no less than 162 in each component 
  • TOEFL: 79, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing 
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Electronic Engineering

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