MSc(Eng)
2022 start September 

Data Communications

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering

You'll be taught about all aspects of data communication systems, from transmission methods and hardware to information coding, with a focus on the latest advances in technology.
EEE student

Course description

Study the dynamic field of efficient information transfer around the globe. We teach this course jointly with the Department of Computer Science so you get up-to-date knowledge and understanding.

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Accreditation

Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. You must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

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

Research project - one from:

Industrial Research Project

The aim of this module is to provide a structured individual project to enable you to carry out practical and/or theoretical work that underpins your academic studies and allows for the acquisition and demonstration of a wide range of practical skills.

60 credits
Dissertation Project

For your individual project, you can choose from a wide range of possibilities in many different environments both within and outside the University. The project is completed during the summer, and you will have a personal academic supervisor to guide you during this period. The individual project is examined by both a dissertation based on the project work and by an oral examination. 

60 credits

Core modules:

Network and Internetwork Architectures

This module introduces the principles of computer networks and internetworks, together with relevant background material on computer architecture. The emphasis of the module is on the concepts and design issues related to layered communication protocol architectures, local area networks and internetworking (especially the internet protocol suite), with a particular focus on the issues of network security, capacity and reliability, and the mathematical models underlying these.

15 credits
Network Performance Analysis

This module considers the performance of computer networks from a statistical aspect, using queuing theory. It is shown that the performance of a computer network depends heavily on the traffic flow in the network, and different models of traffic and queues are used. These include single-server queues, multiple server queues, and the concept of blocking is discussed. Although the analysis is entirely statistical, all the relevant background is provided in the lectures, such that the course is entirely self-contained. Problem sheets are provided in order to assist you with the course material. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module.

15 credits
Data Coding Techniques for Communication and Storage

Processing techniques to enable transmission and storage of data, in a reliable and secure fashion, are a key element in nearly all modern communication systems. This module deals with data-coding techniques required for reliable and secure data transmission and storage. It covers various aspects of digital communication combining elementary communication theory with practical solutions to problems encountered.

15 credits
Principles of Communications

This course considers the mathematical foundations and the derived theories and techniques used by a wide range of communication systems, particularly the more recent digital systems. The aim is to provide the very mathematical foundation for understanding modern communication systems, present the structure of modern communication systems and the basic issues at each stage in the system, and create a theoretical background that applies to all communication systems and is not affected by any particular technology.

15 credits
Mobile Networks and Physical Layer Protocols

This module aims to provide an overview of how mobile communications networks operate and descriptions of the radio technology used over the air interface and the physical layer protocols used in GSM, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile networks. More specifically, the syllabus will cover: the description and demonstration of current UK cellular mobile networks with a historical perspective; antenna design for the radio-frequency interface, including handset, vehicle and base station antennas; multiple antenna arrays; health related issues of mobile handsets; radio propagation issues, diversity gain, Rake reception; link budgets; cellular network design and deployment strategies; modulation schemes; and GSM/3G/4G/5G physical layer protocols.

15 credits

Optional modules - one from:

Foundations of Object Oriented Programming

This module introduces the foundations of object-oriented programming using the language Java. The emphasis of the module is on software engineering principles, and concepts underpinning object-oriented design and development are introduced from the outset. By the end of the module, you will be able to design, implement and test moderately complex Java programs.

15 credits
Object Oriented Programming and Software Design

This module presents the object-oriented approach to building large software systems from components in the Java Programming Language. It assumes prior knowledge of imperative programming. Large scale program design and implementation issues are covered, using the Java Application Programmer's Interface, including the AWT, Swing and the Java Collections Framework. Topics include: data and procedural abstraction, collection interfaces and implementations, the event-driven model of computation, user interface components, streams and files, documentation styles with the Unified Modelling Language (UML).

15 credits

Optional modules - two from:

Computer Security and Forensics

This module provides, in general, an introduction into computer security and forensics. In particular, this module focuses on approaches and techniques for building secure systems and for the secure operation of systems.

The module complements the mathematics module MAS345 and requires a solid understanding of mathematical concepts (e.g., modulo-arithmetic, complex numbers, group theory) and logic (set theory, predicate logic, natural deduction) as, e.g., taught in the modules COM365, COM1001, and COM2003). Moreover, the module requires a solid understanding of a programming language (e.g., Java, Ruby, or C), basic software engineering knowledge and an understanding of database and Web systems, as, e.g., taught in the modules COM1003, COM1008, COM1009, COM2001, COM6471, and COM6102).

Students should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

15 credits
3D Computer Graphics

This module is an introduction to the techniques used in modern 3D computer graphics. It deals with fundamental techniques that are the basis of work in a range of industries, e.g. entertainment and computer-aided design. Both basic and advanced topics concerned with the production of images of abstract 3D objects are covered, including: 3D representations and manipulations in graphics, light reflection models, realism techniques such as shadows and textures, ray tracing and 3D animation. Students should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

10 credits
Software development for mobile devices

This module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the principles of software development for mobile devices. The Android platform will be used as an example, although the modules emphasises general principles that are common across all mobile platforms. An important aim of the module is to demonstrate the real-world application of object-oriented programming principles and design patterns in software for mobile devices. You will undertake a substantial software implementation project, working in pairs. The module will be taught primarily using Java and Swift languages. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module.

15 credits
Advanced Signal Processing

This module focuses on introducing advanced signal processing methods and technologies and their applications. Topics include multi-rate filtering and filter banks; signal transforms; random signals; adaptive filtering and array signal processing.

15 credits
Antennas, Propagation and Satellite Systems

Review and application of electromagnetic theory for antenna analysis. Radiation pattern, gain, input impedance. Half wave, full wave dipole antennas, monopole antennas. Image theory. Antenna arrays. Polarization: linear, elliptical, axial ratio. Aperture theory: Fourier analysis, Huygens-Kirchhoff formula, rectangular and circular aperture, effective aperture. Microstrip antennas. Propagation in a plasma: critical frequency, refractive index. Ionospheric/tropospheric propagation of HF/VHF radio waves: MUF, ionosonde. Satellite communications systems. Earth stations - types and performance. Satellite transponders - amplifiers, redundancy, transmitters, frequency translation. Multiple access systems. 

15 credits
Optical Communication Devices and Systems

The course examines the behaviour of the components in a communications system and the way in which their design and individual performance is determined by that of the system requirements.

15 credits
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 based on OFDM technology such as WiFi, WiMAX and LTE. The module will explore the physical (PHY) layer, medium access control (MAC) and radio resource management functionalities of broadband wireless systems. It will also include an introduction to broadband wireless systems; the principles of OFDM, OFDMA and TDD/FDD multiple access; bit interleaved convolutional and turbo channel coding/decoding for OFDM systems; adaptive coding and modulation; frequency selective fading, channel estimation and equalisation; MIMO techniques; and network architectures.

15 credits
Wireless Packet Data Networks and Protocols

The aim of this module is to give an understanding of the functionality of packet switching protocols at different layers of a wireless system and to appreciate how these protocols achieve reliable data delivery in wireless communication systems. The module also includes an introduction to packet switching in wireless networks; radio link protocols, CRC, ARQ and hybrid-ARQ; MAC protocols; packet scheduling and differentiated quality of service; routing, IP protocol, mobile IP, wireless TCP and end-to-end quality of service; radio resource management, network planning and optimisation; network examples - WiFi, HSPA or LTE.

15 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

We deliver research-led teaching with individual support for your research project and dissertation.

Assessment

Assessment is by examinations, coursework and a project dissertation with poster presentation.

Duration

1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree in electronic and electrical engineering, physics, maths and other branches of engineering involving significant mathematical competence and relevant technical modules.

We will need evidence of relevant work/practical experience or strong performance in a major individual project during your degree.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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Contact

eee-mscrec@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 5442

msc-compsci@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 1800

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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