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MSc Embedded Wireless Systems

Cutting edge research and strong industrial links inform this MSc at the vanguard of technological development

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Wireless communication and mobile computing are the largest growth sectors in electronics and are expected to continue to grow in the future, with applications ranging from mobile phones to self-driving cars.

Many everyday objects including vehicles, phones, personal health and fitness items, entertainment systems and even food storage devices now include elements of wireless communication. This is a rapidly expanding field with a wide range of applications and uses.

This course will provide you with all the tools and skills necessary to become a leader in engineering research, design and development across a range of industries. It covers theoretical and practical electronic design, sensors, instrumentation systems, communications and embedded computing from core principles to cutting-edge research.

One of the major features of the course is the teaching of industry standard embedded systems using ARM processors, which are currently in over 90% of all mobile phones.

The course is closely linked with research in the department and often involves collaboration with industry and other university departments. The modules are taught by leading academics specialising in wireless sensor networks, embedded systems, sensors and instrumentation.

The course is ideal if you are seeking a route into industries which utilise wireless sensor network applications, ranging from smart buildings, warehouses, traffic monitoring, patient monitoring, industry 4.0 and the internet of things. After graduating, you will be significantly more attractive to a wider range of employers due to a more comprehensive portfolio of experience.


Accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council.

Some 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 11 modules, 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 project as part of this course. This usually takes the form of developing an idea for a product specification. You will then assign and undertake individual roles within your group. These roles usually involve both technical and managerial aspects so you gain experience of both these different skillsets. The groups you will work within are small, usually four or five students. At the end of the project you will produce an individual project report. Throughout the project, you will receive the support and guidance of an academic supervisor.

Some examples of previous projects include:

Automated Home Appliance System - This project aimed to control the appliances at home from a remote location such as an office. A wifi system, based on XBee, was developed to connect the appliances in the house eg the air conditioner and heater, emergency sensor alert systems such as smoke sensors, home security surveillance monitoring systems and a home entertainment system to the processor board. Data communication between the appliances at home and the remote, off home location were enabled via an internet connection and an app on a portable device eg a mobile phone.

Acoustic Diversity Sensor Network - This project aimed to measure the complexity of sounds in the environment using remotely sited monitors and transmit the data to a base station via a wireless network. Each monitor node had a microphone to record sounds and calculate an audio complexity index (ACI). Each node had temperature, humidity and light level sensors as well as a GPS receiver. The base station gathered the data and passed it to a computer to display ACI in real time on, for example, Google Maps.

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 the theory and operation of wireless systems (communications, embedded systems, sensors) and apply specialist knowledge in their design and implementation.
  • Extract and critically evaluate literature and other data about complex systems through analytical and computational methods, and modelling.
  • Create innovative and optimised designs to address real-world and industry-relevant problems involving wireless and embedded systems by synthesising novel ideas into engineering specifications.
  • Apply professional skills of programming, circuit design and construction, and system integration to independently solve technically challenging real-world research-based problems.
  • Debate, defend and contextualise information in a succinct, professional and technically accurate manner for engineers and non-technical audiences, and write and interpret technical documentation to international industry standards.
  • Proficiently manage themselves, teams and complex projects in preparation for technical careers as leaders in applied electronic engineering.
The best aspect is the fact that the lecturers are both focused on theory and practical experience. What’s more, you get taught by leading professionals in the field you are studying in and they always want to help students achieve the best of their abilities.
“Jingyang Xu, MSc Embedded Wireless Systems (2018)

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 and practicals. 


You will have the use of departmental laboratories equipped with dedicated computing equipment including STMicro development and sensor boards, ARM microprocessors and licences for Keil uVision embedded C compiler. These will be used in a variety of modules including the group project.

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, presentations and reports.

Careers and skills

This course provides a route into industries which utilise wireless sensor network applications, ranging from smart buildings, warehouses, traffic monitoring, patient monitoring, industry 4.0 and the internet of things. After graduating from this MSc, you will be significantly more attractive to a wider range of employers due to a more comprehensive portfolio, experience from running and managing a team project, and system integration skills. 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

Former students have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • Broadcom
  • China Telecom
  • Fidelity Bank PLC
  • Huawei
  • Lenovo
  • Siemens
  • SAP
  • Three Media Tech Co.
  • Zoo Digital Group

Transferable skills

  • The ability to analyse complex problems
  • The ability to design innovative solutions, and have the practical technical ability to bring novel ideas into being
  • Communicate effectively your questions, analysis, findings and solutions to a variety of audiences via a variety of media.
  • Become an effective team-player, adaptable to working alone or in different sized teams for a variety of different purposes
  • Gain technical skills in this field
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Increase management skills
  • Research skills 
  • Digital literacy

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

You will need to have the equivalent of a 2:1 honours degree, or above, from a university recognised by the University of York. This degree should have a significant electronics or computing 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.

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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