Why study MSc(Eng) Data Communications?

MSc Data CommunicationsThe efficient transfer of information around the world is a vital part of today’s global economy and there is a huge demand for engineers with skills in data communications.

This course draws upon the expertise of both the Departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to ensure students have the range of skills and knowledge needed to make an impact in this rapidly developing field.

You will be taught about all aspects of data communication systems, from transmission methods and hardware, to information coding, focusing on the latest advances in technology.

What you will do

The MSc(Eng) in Data Communication is offered on a full-time basis over a year, starting in September. It requires completion of eight modules and a major research project dissertation.

You will be allocated an academic supervisor who will provide advice and guidance throughout the period of study.

The MSc(Eng) consists of:

  • 6 compulsory modules
  • optional modules (choose 2)
  • a major research project

Teaching and Assessment

We deliver research-led teaching with individual support for your research project and dissertation.  Assessment is by examinations, coursework and a project dissertation with poster presentation.

Core modules

Network and Inter-Network Architectures

This module introduces the principles of computer networks and inter-networks, together with relevant background material on computer architecture, focusing on issues of network security, capacity and reliability.

Network Performance Analysis

The performance of a computer network depends heavily on the traffic flow in the network. This module will teach you how to monitor the performance of computer networks using statistical analysis.

Data Coding Techniques for Communications and Storage

Processing techniques that enable the safe and reliable transmission and storage of data are a key element in nearly all modern communication systems. In this module you’ll learn about data coding techniques required for reliable and secure data transmission and storage.

Advanced Communication Principles

You’ll cover the theory and techniques used by a wide range of communication systems, particularly the most recent digital and cryptographic systems, gaining an understanding of the structure of modern communication systems and the relevant issues at each stage in the system.

Mobile Networks and Physical Layer Protocols

This module examines the specifications of present and future mobile communication systems, including the antenna designs required, commonly used protocols, cell sizes, and future issues such as satellite communication capability and health issues.

EITHER Foundations of Object-Orientated Programming

This module introduces the foundations of object-oriented programming using the language Java. By the end of the course, students will be able to design, implement and test their own Java programs.


Object-Oriented Programming and Software Design

For those with experience of programming, this module presents the object-oriented approach to building large software systems using Java.

Optional modules

Computer Security and Forensics

This module addresses computer security and forensics issues central to the smooth running of modern industry.

3D Computer Graphics

This module covers the fundamental techniques of modern 3D graphics production, including 3D representations and manipulations in graphics, light reflection models and 3D animation.

Software Development for Mobile Devices

You’ll gain a thorough grounding in the principles of software development for mobile devices and get the opportunity to work on your own software implementation project.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers virtual, scalable shared computing resources via a network. This module introduces the key concepts of cloud computing, focusing on platform architectures, programming languages and tools for developing software services ecosystems.

Advanced Signal Processing

You will learn about advanced signal processing methods and technologies and their applications including multi-rate filtering and filter banks, signal transforms, random signals, adaptive filtering and array signal processing.

Antennas, Propagation and Satellite Systems

This module provides an understanding of electromagnetic theory for use in antenna analysis.

Optical Communication Devices and Systems

In this module you will examine the behaviour of components in a communications system and the impact of system requirements on their design and individual performance.

Computer Vision

You will be introduced to current approaches to computer vision, and taught to use hardware and software tools to solve practical computer vision problems, including detection and recognition tasks.

Broadband Wireless Techniques

This module will give an understanding of the most up to date communication techniques used in the design and operation of broadband wireless systems.

Wireless Packet Data Networks and Protocols

The aim of this module is to give an understanding of packet switching protocols and how they can be used to achieve reliable data delivery in wireless communication systems.

System Design

To learn the basics of structured approach to design of complex systems, you’ll undertake a design project using state of the art design tools to create error free design structures.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Major research project

Opportunities exist for dissertation studies to be carried out in collaboration with other university research centres or with industrial organisations. Examples of previous research projects include:

  • The vision system of soccer robots.
  • Design, construction, testing and evaluation of a set of transmission line loudspeakers for a home cinema application.
  • Design and analysis of nano-laser structures.
  • Remote monitoring for patients with Cystic Fibrosis.
  • Use of Gabor filter for generic object recognition in images.

This degree is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements for student entry up to and including September 2016. The department is being visited by the IET in December 2016 for the purposes of re-accreditation for student entry from September 2017 onwards (this happens every 5 years).

Is this course right for you?

This course is designed for students with a 2:1 honours degree in electronic engineering, computer science or a similar field from a good UK university or an equivalent international degree qualification.

If you have a 2:2 or equivalent, or industrial experience, we'll give your application individual consideration.

Students must have an overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

If you are an International student please follow this link for entry requirement information.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact eee-mscrec@sheffield.ac.uk.


The Department has large industrial contracts with several industries. The skills you will gain will be of use for a range of employers as well as providing an ideal background for PhD research.

Our graduates work across the globe in a variety of roles including:

  • Digital signal processing engineer
  • System engineer
  • Software engineer

Employers include Airbus, ARUP, Ericsson Communications, Intel Asia Pacific, Rolls Royce, Shanghai Automotive Industry Company and Siemens Energy.


Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.