Networking & Data Communications MSc

Why choose this course?

This course offers the knowledge and skills for designing, developing and operating secure IP-based networks. It offers practical skills in the specification, design, modelling and implementation of software and hardware. You will gain specialist knowledge of digital communications, multimedia communications, wireless networks and security issues. You will study the technologies of LTE and 5G wireless networks and the Internet of Things. 

You can combine this course with management studies. The Management Studies pathway is ideal if you aspire to a management position in the industry.

The aims of the course are to:

  • Provide knowledge, skills and a critical appreciation of the principles of data communications.
  • Enable you to analyse a system and design an appropriate, custom solution.
  • Develop subject-related practical skills.
  • Provide you with the opportunities to develop written and oral communication skills;
  • Prepare you for employment, research, further study and lifelong learning by developing your intellectual, problem-solving, practical and key (transferable) skills.
Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year MSc Networking & Data Communications January 2023 and September 2023
Full time 2 years including professional placement MSc Networking & Data Communications January 2023 and September 2023
Part time 2–3 years MSc Networking & Data Communications January 2023 and September 2023
Full time 1 year MSc Networking & Data Communications with Management Studies January 2023 and September 2023
Full time 2 years including professional placement MSc Networking & Data Communications with Management Studies January 2023 and September 2023
Part time 2–3 years MSc Networking & Data Communications with Management Studies January 2023 and September 2023
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Laboratories include test Local Area Network (LAN) and several types of wireless networks and enterprise scale networking technologies, including equipment for testing Internet of Things communication and a mobile edge computing testbed. There is equipment for quality testing and immersive environments, including professional ultra high definition, high-dynamic range (HDR) and light field (plenoptic/holographic) cameras and displays, VR/AR equipment.
  • There are opportunities to carry out a project, or dissertation, in collaboration with industry and research fellowships after your MSc.
  • You will have the opportunity to take a one-year professional placement (on request).

Accreditation

British Computer Society

British Computer Society

British Computer Society

The British Computer Society (BCS) accredits this course. This means that you can gain some exemption against BCS professional examinations, leading to Chartered membership and CEng, IEng or CSci status. For full details of exemption and accreditation levels, please check the BCS course search.

Please note: The programme delivered at our partner institution overseas is not currently accredited by the BCS.

The Faculty is a long-time member of BCS. For many years we have hosted meetings of the local BCS Kingston and Croydon Branch, contributing to members' continuing professional development programmes.

What you will study

The full MSc course consists of an induction programme, four taught modules, and project dissertation. Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments. It is the responsibility of individual students to find a suitable paid placement. Students will be supported by our dedicated placement team in securing this opportunity.

Networking & Data Communications MSc

Networking & Data Communications with Management Studies MSc

Core modules

Data Communications

30 credits

This core module provides a working knowledge of data communications covering TCP/IP networks and digital communications. Topics covered include transport layer services, multiplexing, TCP congestion control, network layer – network service models, IP addressing and IP network design, routing principles, dynamic routing, digital transmission, modulation, multiplexing and channel coding.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Compare computer network architectures.
  • Evaluate the performance of TCP under varying flow control and congestion conditions.
  • Design an IP addressing scheme for a network.
  • Define and calculate transmission performance over a communication link.
  • Study and analyse characteristics of modulation methods.
Wireless Communications and Networks

30 credits

The module addresses theory and practice of wireless communication systems and networks, including the most recent wireless communications standards.

The first part will focus on the propagation characteristics of wireless channels and the main techniques for efficient communication, including modulation and channel coding. Characteristics and performance limits of wireless systems, techniques and tools to analyse them and methods for their design will also be covered.

The second part of the module will cover real-world wireless systems and networks, including wireless broadband systems and wireless sensor networks. It will provide practical and useful knowledge that can be readily applied in the wireless industry.

It covers the real-world, practical knowledge needed to understand, design, evaluate, deploy, test, validate and debug WLAN, WMAN and WPAN, as well as GPRS/ UMTS/ 3G and 4G and beyond networks and systems and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). Advanced technologies such as ultra-wideband communications and cognitive radio will also be addressed.

Network and Information Security

30 credits

This module provides an overview of a wide range of security aspects and techniques of computer networks, both cabled and wireless. It will introduce basic aspects of Information Security, comprising Security and Risk Management as well as Policies and Standards. It also covers Ethical and legal aspects of security and hence addresses the employability of the students in their future career. The module then goes on to the topic of Network Security, both from a theoretical and practical aspect: network attacks, vulnerabilities and controls are introduced and examined in practical lab sessions. Finally, cutting-edge topics such as Web and Cloud security complete the picture.

Multimedia Communications

30 credits

The module addresses theory and practice of multimedia communication systems and networks, with a special focus on multimedia signals (audio, images and video) and relevant compression and transmission techniques.

The first part of the module focuses in particular on the representation of multimedia sources and on lossless and lossy compression methods for data, audio, image and video signals.

The second part of the module focuses in particular on the transmission of multimedia sources over communication systems and networks and on the strategies adopted to protect multimedia content from channel and network errors and losses.

Project Dissertation

60 credits

This module constitutes the major individual piece of work of the Masters Programme where the student carries out a project involving independent critical research, design and implementation (where applicable).

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Select, justify and use effectively the research methods and techniques appropriate for particular cases in order to carry out a literature search and an independent work of research
  • Critically identify the need to position their research in the wider academic or business context and structure the dissertation format to agreed conventions
  • Plan, manage and critically evaluate the project using the techniques and tools needed in order to bring it in successfully on time and within resourcing limits
  • Identify and critically analyse real-world problems or knowledge gaps to which academic concepts and methods can be realistically applied to improve or resolve the problem situation
  • Apply skills to show an ability to engage in academic and professional communication with others in their field through report and presentation
  • Present critical awareness in applying appropriate legal, social or ethical obligations and when required, respond to the financial and other constraints of a corresponding business environment.

Core modules

Data Communications

30 credits

This core module provides a working knowledge of data communications covering TCP/IP networks and digital communications. Topics covered include transport layer services, multiplexing, TCP congestion control, network layer – network service models, IP addressing and IP network design, routing principles, dynamic routing, digital transmission, modulation, multiplexing and channel coding.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Compare computer network architectures.
  • Evaluate the performance of TCP under varying flow control and congestion conditions.
  • Design an IP addressing scheme for a network.
  • Define and calculate transmission performance over a communication link.
  • Study and analyse characteristics of modulation methods.
Wireless Communications and Networks

30 credits

The module addresses theory and practice of wireless communication systems and networks, including the most recent wireless communications standards.

The first part will focus on the propagation characteristics of wireless channels and the main techniques for efficient communication, including modulation and channel coding. Characteristics and performance limits of wireless systems, techniques and tools to analyse them and methods for their design will also be covered.

The second part of the module will cover real-world wireless systems and networks, including wireless broadband systems and wireless sensor networks. It will provide practical and useful knowledge that can be readily applied in the wireless industry.

It covers the real-world, practical knowledge needed to understand, design, evaluate, deploy, test, validate and debug WLAN, WMAN and WPAN, as well as GPRS/ UMTS/ 3G and 4G and beyond networks and systems and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). Advanced technologies such as ultra-wideband communications and cognitive radio will also be addressed.

Network and Information Security

30 credits

This module provides an overview of a wide range of security aspects and techniques of computer networks, both cabled and wireless. It will introduce basic aspects of Information Security, comprising Security and Risk Management as well as Policies and Standards. It also covers Ethical and legal aspects of security and hence addresses the employability of the students in their future career. The module then goes on to the topic of Network Security, both from a theoretical and practical aspect: network attacks, vulnerabilities and controls are introduced and examined in practical lab sessions. Finally, cutting-edge topics such as Web and Cloud security complete the picture.

Business in Practice

30 credits

This postgraduate module covers the theory and practice of the business and management needs of students from different academic contexts such as, but not limited to Science, Engineering, Computing and Health Services who are aspiring team leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs in business within the context of the commercial, public, voluntary, or academic sector.

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Investigate business topics ranging from finance, accounting, budgeting, and marketing, to organisational management by developing the leadership skills to meet business challenges and to cope with their complexity.
  • Explain and put into context business concepts to graduates from a variety of sectors including those encompassed by Science, Engineering, Computing and Health Services.
Project Dissertation

60 credits

This module constitutes the major individual piece of work of the Masters Programme where the student carries out a project involving independent critical research, design and implementation (where applicable).

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Select, justify and use effectively the research methods and techniques appropriate for particular cases in order to carry out a literature search and an independent work of research
  • Critically identify the need to position their research in the wider academic or business context and structure the dissertation format to agreed conventions
  • Plan, manage and critically evaluate the project using the techniques and tools needed in order to bring it in successfully on time and within resourcing limits
  • Identify and critically analyse real-world problems or knowledge gaps to which academic concepts and methods can be realistically applied to improve or resolve the problem situation
  • Apply skills to show an ability to engage in academic and professional communication with others in their field through report and presentation
  • Present critical awareness in applying appropriate legal, social or ethical obligations and when required, respond to the financial and other constraints of a corresponding business environment.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. You may find securing a professional placement difficult as they are highly competitive and challenging, but they are also incredibly rewarding. It is very important to prepare and apply yourself if this is the route you wish to take. Employers look for great written and oral communication skills and an excellent CV/portfolio. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Student Route visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A 2:2 or above honours degree or equivalent in computer science/IT or substantial relevant work experience.

Please note: each application is assessed on an individual basis and may be subject to additional requirements, such as undertaking short course(s), work experience and/or English language qualification(s). Meeting particular minimum entry requirements does not automatically guarantee a place.

International

In order to complete your programme successfully, it is important to have a good command of English and be able to apply this in an academic environment. Therefore, if you are a non-UK applicant* you will usually be required to provide certificated proof of English language competence before commencing your studies.

For this course you must pass IELTS academic test in English with an overall score of 6.5, with no element below 6.0, or meet the scores listed on the alternative online tests. Please note that we do not accept Standard XII as proof of Academic English.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

* Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Your workload

Year 1 Core Pathway

Year 1 Management Pathway

Year 1 Core Pathway
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 294 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1506 hours
Year 1 Management Pathway
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 284 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1516 hours

 

  • Year 1 Core pathway: 16% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.
  • Year 1 Management pathway: 16% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.
  • Contact hours may vary depending on your modules

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (e.g. test or exam), practical (e.g. presentations, performance) and coursework (e.g. essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Year 1 Core Pathway

Year 1 Management Pathway

Year 1 Core Pathway
  • Coursework: 59%
  • Exams: 40%
  • Practical: 1%
Year 1 Management Pathway
  • Coursework: 65%
  • Exams: 30%
  • Practical: 5%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

­You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes; you may therefore be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Who teaches this course

The course is taught at the School of Computer Science and Mathematics.

The School of Computer Science and Mathematics is driven by the philosophy of 'learning through making'; we focus strongly on facilitating a hands-on experience, student led and owned product portfolios and producing industry-ready graduates.

We utilise a range of innovating teaching and learning approaches in our invigorated and modernised degree programmes; combining studio practices, project-based learning, and context driven lectures to facilitate an informed approach to problem solving.

Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader

Course fees and funding

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MSc full time £9,860
  • MSc part time £5,423

International 2023/24

  • MSc full time £16,200
  • MSc part time £8,910

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MSc full time £9,620
  • MSc part time £5,291

International 2022/23

  • MSc full time £15,900
  • MSc part time £8,745

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost between £100 and £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Placements

If the placement year option is chosen, during this year travel costs will vary according to the location of the placement, and could be from £0 to £2,000.

Field trips

All field trips that are compulsory to attend to complete your course are paid for by the University. There may be small fees incurred for optional field trips such as travel costs and refreshments.

After you graduate

The Networking and Data Communications MSc helps to prepare you for roles such as:

  • technical project manager
  • solutions architect
  • algorithm manager
  • wireless software engineer
  • technical integrations manager
  • test engineer
  • RF test automation engineer
  • Project manager
  • Security consultant
  • 3GPP RAN WG2 standardisation consultant
  • multimedia streaming standardisation consultant
  • communications and signal processing consultant
  • digital and RF field applications engineer
  • RF design consultant
  • business manager
  • IT administrator
  • streaming performance manager
  • lecturer
  • research scientist 

Careers and recruitment advice

The Faculty has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques. Specific advice is also available for international students about the UK job market and employers' expectations and requirements.

The team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs, key speakers from industry and interviews on campus. These events give you the opportunity to hear from, and network with, employers in an informal setting.

Our modern teaching environment at Kingston University

There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including:

  • dedicated postgraduate computing laboratories, fully-equipped with fold-flat LCD screens, data-projection systems and high-spec processors
  • development software and tools, such as Linux, Microsoft.net, Dreamweaver MX, Flash 8, Eclipse, Java 2 Standard and Mobile Editions, tools for Motorola and Nokia phones, UML and CASE tools and NXP Processors Development Kits
  • Digital Signal Processors (dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers)
  • IP Set Top Box development environment (NXP's STB810)
  • Electronics Laboratory
  • a mix of wireless LAN technologies
  • the learning resources centre, offering subject libraries, online database subscriptions and resource materials
  • a postgraduate teaching suite
  • the dedicated Graduate Centre on campus, providing seminar rooms and social spaces.

Our dedicated team of IT technicians supports the labs and is always on-hand to provide assistance.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey from central London, where you can access a wealth of additional libraries and archives, including the British Library and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Industrial Advisory Board

To ensure your studies are kept up to date and answer the needs of business, our courses are created and reviewed in consultation with an advisory board of key industry experts and senior academics. The Board also provides input and advice on our research portfolio.

With members from Google, Microsoft, Easyjet, games developer Colossal and Chief Information Officers from local government – our Advisory Board represents the diverse spectrum of industries and public sector organisations that make up the jobs market for our graduates.

Links with the British Computer Society 

The Faculty is also a long-time member of the British Computer Society (BCS). For many years we have hosted meetings of the local BCS Kingston and Croydon Branch, contributing to members' continuing professional development programmes.

Current research in this subject

Many of our staff in the Faculty are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Computing research activities are focused around two main research centres:

  • Digital Imaging Research Centre – offering expertise in computer vision, medical imaging, visual surveillance, ambient intelligence, machine learning and computer graphics; 
  • In particular, research in the area of Networking and Data Communications is performed within the Wireless Multimedia and Networking (WMN) Research Group.

Extra activities for this course

The range of events and lectures in the Faculty enhances your studies and adds an extra perspective to your learning.

For example, the Digital Information Research Centre (DIRC) runs seminars which have recently covered:

  • How social media affects police operations
  • Dimensionality issues in weighted differential entropy
  • Link quality based routing framework for wireless sensor networks
  • Data integration for smart urban transport
  • HTTP video streaming adaptation

Changes from 1 August 2022

Up until 31 July 2022, this course was taught in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing. For students enrolling from September 2022, the course will be delivered by the Faculty of Engineering, Computing, and the Environment. There will be no impact on the teaching or the award of the degree.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.