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MScSignal Processing

Why this course?

Signal processing is recognised as a core technology in rapidly growing areas such as sensor networks, medical devices and renewable energy, audio, image and video systems. It’s the underpinning technology of all communication including the internet, wireless and satellite.

We’ve been carrying out research and development in signal processing for more than 30 years. Many of today’s industry leaders are alumni of the University and this industry awareness and experience underpins this specialised degree.

This MSc aims to address the growing skills shortage in industry of engineers who have an understanding of the complete signal processing design cycle. It’s also essential preparation if you’re considering advanced research in applied signal processing.

What you’ll study

There are two semesters of compulsory and optional classes, followed by a three-month practical research project in a specialist area. There’s the opportunity to carry this out through the department's competitive MSc industrial internships.

The internships are offered in collaboration with selected department industry partners. You'll address real-world engineering challenges facing the partner, with site visits, access and provision of relevant technical data and/or facilities provided, along with an industry mentor and academic supervisor.


You'll have exclusive access to our extensive computing network and purpose built teaching spaces such as our Hyperspectral Imaging Centre and the DG Smith Radio Frequency laboratory, equipped with the latest technologies.


The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) - this programme is CEng accredited and fulfils the educational requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer when presented with a CEng accredited Bachelors programme.

Course content

Compulsory classes

(September to May)

Digital Signal Processing Principles

You'll develop the necessary tools that will allow you to design, analyse and simulate (Matlab/Simulink) DSP systems by introducing core mathematical concepts, algorithms and fundamental properties of discrete signal and systems with applications.

Advanced Digital Signal Processing Principles

The objective of this class is to ensure you develop the necessary skills that will allow you to analyse, design, implement and simulate advanced DSP techniques and algorithms for a variety of communications and general engineering problems.

Embedded Systems Design

This class provides hands-on experience in translating Digital Signal Processing concepts into real-time embedded systems applications.

Through a combination of lectures, up-to-date technical discussions and hardware programming, you'll learn to design and implement real-time embedded systems through familiarisation with Digital Signal Processors and FPGAs. 

Image & Video Processing

This class will provide an introduction to the techniques relevant to digital images and video. This includes techniques both to process images and video and also to efficiently compress and communicate them.

The class will give you a comprehensive understanding of various image and video processing and coding standards. You'll also study some key applications of these standards.

Assignment & Professional Studies

The aim of this class is to provide you with support for your general academic and professional development.

You'll undertake an advanced investigation of an electronic or electrical engineering topic of your choice, to enhance your learning, and develop presentation and communication skills.

Elective classes

Choose at least one from this list

Power Electronics, Machines & Applications

You'll develop an understanding of the principles of common power electronic systems. You'll gain familiarity with the techniques required to analyse common power electronic circuits and learn about the basic principles behind the design of rotating electrical machines. The techniques required to analyse basic DC and AC machines will also be investigated.

You'll learn to recognise that disturbances exist within a power system substation, appreciate that these disturbances may affect electromagnetic compatibility and become competent in dealing with the implications of those disturbances.

You'll gain an understanding of the use of power electronic devices, drives and machines for given applications, specifically for electric vehicles. You'll examine the range of energy sources capable of powering ‘independent’ EVs, how these sources work, their performance and degradation issues and how to charge/fuel them.

Power System Design, Operation & Protection

The objective of this class is to enable you to appreciate the principles of analysis, design and protection of electrical power systems including:

  • the design and operational approaches in power systems including electricity generation, transmission and distribution
  • the analysis and design of transmission and distribution networks
  • power flow, fault and stability calculations
  • power system control including load frequency control and economic dispatch
  • generation technology implications on power system design and operation.

You'll also study the main concepts related to the requirements, functions, design and operation of protection schemes for power system transmission and distribution systems. You'll gain an advanced understanding of selected protection schemes used in transmission and distribution networks.

High Voltage Technology & Electromagnetic Compatibility

This class will introduce you to the fundamentals of high voltage electrical insulating systems and the principles, mechanisms and characteristics of high voltage discharges in vacuum and condensed media. It will also provide you with a basic understanding of the behaviour of dielectric materials stressed with electric fields and their use in high voltage systems. You'll also gain an understanding of the principles of high voltage generation and impulse testing of the high voltage systems.

Information Transmission & Security

The aim of this class is to develop an understanding of the principles by which information can transmitted with varying levels of security and the techniques by which communication systems can be analysed and designed.

Communications Networks

This class will provide you with an understanding of the principles and key transport technologies which underpin high-speed heterogeneous broadband communications networks and architectures while giving an insight to the technical and strategic challenges associated with the provision of a Quality of Service (QoS)-based integrated future-network platform.

Control Principles

This class will introduce you to the basic concepts, mathematical tools and design methods of classical control theory. It will enable you to use analysis and design tools used in control engineering and appreciate the industrial applications of control systems.

You'll also learn to analyse and design closed loop control system specifically using industrial three-term (PID) controllers. Through an introduction to advanced control methods, you'll gain a basic understanding of a time-domain approach to control analysis and design of industrial processes.


Advanced Power System Analysis & Protection

This class will allow you to understand, critically analyse and assess technical requirements for power system operation, management and planning. It will enable you to carry out advanced types of power system analysis as well as understand and use results from these analyses in power system operation and planning. You'll also develop an advanced knowledge of the main concepts related to the function, design and operation of protection schemes for distribution, transmission and generation applications.

Power Electronics for Energy & Drive Control

Modern energy conversion systems rely on the integration of range of technologies including power electronics, electromechanical actuators and energy storage elements. This class will build knowledge of the building block technologies and show their application to modern energy conversion systems.

Power System Economics, Markets & Asset Management

This class will present and give an understanding of the economics, trading and pricing of electricity supply and how it is shaped by technical, commercial and regulatory considerations.

It will give you an understanding of power system economics under an environment of multiple suppliers and users, and present the challenges, technologies and value of asset management within an electricity supply industry context. You'll gain a deep appreciation of factors affecting security of supply and how it might be quantified.

Wind Energy & Distributed Energy Resources

This class will provide an understanding of the principles of wind turbine power generation with attention to the wind resource, rotor aerodynamics, structural design, power conversion and control.

It will also examine the socio-economic issues relating to wind power and provide an underpinning in distributed energy resources including small scale generation, energy storage and demand management and their integration and management within power networks.

Control Techniques

Through an introduction to the concepts and tools of modelling, simulation for control of dynamical systems, and computer control engineering, you'll develop the skills required to understand and analyse digital control systems for real time engineering applications. You'll also appreciate the design of estimation and its use in control design.

Software Engineering

This class will introduce you to the software engineering process through the development and application of C++ programming skills. You'll become competent in specifying, designing and developing software and in writing and testing programs of moderate complexity.

Summer (June to September)

MSc Research Project / Internship

The aim of the research project is to provide you with an opportunity to bring your knowledge and skills together and deploy them in a significant practical investigation, using relevant engineering literature, and where relevant, initial experiments or simulations.

Learning & teaching

We use a blend of teaching and learning methods including interactive lectures, problem-solving tutorials and practical project-based laboratories. Our technical and experimental officers are available to support and guide you on individual subject material.

Each module comprises approximately five hours of direct teaching per week.  To enhance your understanding of the technical and theoretical topics covered in these, you're expected to undertake a further five to six hours of self-study, using our web-based virtual learning environment (MyPlace), research journals and library facilities.

The teaching and learning methods used ensure you'll develop not only technical engineering expertise but also communications, project management and leadership skills.

Industry engagement

Interaction with industry is provided through our internships, teaching seminars and networking events. The department delivers monthly seminars to support students’ learning and career development. Xilinx, Texas Instruments, MathWorks, and Agilent are just a few examples of the industry partners you can engage with during your course.


A variety of assessment techniques are used throughout the course. You'll complete at least six modules. Each module has a combination of written assignments, individual and group reports, oral presentations, practical lab work and, where appropriate, an end-of-term exam.

Assessment of the summer research project/internship consists of four elements, with individual criteria: 

  1. Interim report (10%, 1,500 to 3,000 words) – the purpose of this report is to provide a mechanism for supervisors to provide valuable feedback on the project’s objectives and direction.
  2. Poster Presentation (15%) – a vital skill of an engineer is the ability to describe their work to others and respond to requests for information.  The poster presentation is designed to give you an opportunity to practise that.
  3. Final report (55%) – this assesses the communication of project objectives and context, accuracy and relevant of background material, description of practical work and results, depth and soundness of discussion and conclusions, level of engineering achievement and the quality of the report’s presentation.
  4. Conduct (20%) - independent study, project and time management are key features of university learning. The level of your initiative & independent thinking and technical understanding are assessed through project meetings with your supervisor and your written logbooks.

Entry requirements

A first or good second-class UK Honours degree or equivalent overseas qualification in electronic, electrical or communications engineering, or a related subject from a recognised academic institution.

Candidates whose first language is not English or who have not undertaken their undergraduate course in the UK must possess a recent UKBA-recognised English qualification.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £5,500

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £9,000


  • 2017/18 - £18,000

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Students are eligible for a range of scholarships offered by the department, University and external organisations. View our Electronic & Electrical Engineering Scholarships brochure for more information.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students starting in 2017 may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England can apply for Postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Wales can apply for support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland can apply for support from Student Finance NI. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


With Signal Processing being a core technology in high-growth areas such as sensor networks, medical devices, renewable energy and communications, this course enables you to capitalise on job opportunities across all of these sectors, as well as in electronics design, IT, banking, and oil and gas.  

Almost all of our graduates secure jobs by the time they have completed their course. They've taken up well-paid professional and technical occupations with multinationals such as Google, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Motorola Mobility, Intel, as well as Wolfson Microelectronics, Agilent, Freescale and Thales in the vibrant national UK arena. 

Where are they now?

88% of our graduates are in work or further study.*

Recent job titles include:

  • Software Engineer
  • Control Engineer
  • Plant Control Engineer
  • Lecturer

Recent employers include:

  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Texas Instruments
  • Motorola Mobility
  • Intel
  • Wolfson
  • Microelectronics
  • Agilent
  • Freescale
  • Xilinx
  • MathWorks
  • Selex
  • Thales

*Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (2010/11 and 2011/12).

Contact us


Applications should be made online by selecting the correct 'Apply' button.

You will need to supply various documents to support your application. These include:

  • a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts
  • proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English)
  • references from two academic sources
  • a copy of the photo page from your passport - this is only required if you are an international students who requires a visa to enter the UK

All UK, EU and international direct applicants should use the first 'Apply' option. Applicants on the Joint Education Programme from the department’s strategic partner in China (Beijing University of Chemical Technology) should select the second 'Apply' option.

Signal Processing

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Signal Processing - BUCT

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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