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Advanced Computer Networks - MSc

The MSc Advanced Computer Networks is the ideal course for those who intend to pursue/progress in the computer networks / network security industry....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

Course overview

The MSc Advanced Computer Networks is the ideal course for those who intend to pursue/progress in the computer networks / network security industry. Whether you are looking to start a career in networking or to progress in your current career, we have designed this course with the most relevant and state of the art developments to give you practical technical experience in the domain of enterprise network design, penetration testing, network automation and more.

We have also taken an applied approach to incorporating research as part of the course, so for those interested in research careers and PhD studentships, this would be a strong stepping-stone. Throughout the course, you will have access to our advanced labs with racks of networking devices as well as our online NetLab system which gives you the ability to access real networking hardware from anywhere via internet. This gives you flexibility to work and practice around your own schedule.

We take pride in having close links with our industry partners and this course was designed to address the gap between academia and industry when it comes to required technical skills. While on the course, you will have access to a wealth of knowledge base and will have the opportunity to benefit from certification courses such as Cisco CCNA, CCNP, DevNet, JUNOS, PaloAlto PCNSA and many more which are all included as part of our academy courses.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This course intends to develop your competence in using tools and techniques for designing, configuring, and managing Enterprise networks leveraging the latest protocols, technologies and features, and securing these networked systems against networking attacks and exploits.

To prepare you for future careers, the course is designed to cover advanced key topics in computer networks, namely, Advanced Enterprise Networks, Wireless Communications, Network Security and Advanced Ethical Hacking, Network Automation and Orchestration, Applied Artificial Intelligence solutions to networking and network security problems.

In addition, you will receive a solid grounding in research methods and project management before undertaking an individual project that provides an opportunity to demonstrate technical and general employability skills in preparation for career progression. More specifically, the individual project simulates typical graduate workplace tasks that require in-depth knowledge and skills in a specific area of computer science and network engineering. This will include consideration of wider issues and the ability to manage activities and resources, as well as generate, implement, and report on solutions to meet task objectives.

Throughout your studies, you’ll be supported by our expert teaching staff, all of whom have a wide range of research and industrial experience in areas such as intelligent systems, mobile computing, Semantic Web, machine learning and software engineering, which they use to enhance the curriculum.

Why Choose Us?

  • Home to the Centre for Cloud Computing - This houses the Cisco Networking Academy, which has an international reputation for delivering high-quality teaching, training and support across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

  • State-of-the-art equipment and purpose-built facilities - Our industry-standard facilities enable access to forensic software, network security software for penetration testing, and Cloud software. 

  • Opportunities to engage in advanced studies - Use problem-based learning and flipped curricula strategies. You will work in groups and independently to deliver solutions to industry-related problems and scenarios. 

  • Highly employable graduates - Our students have secured roles with companies such as Huawei and JBC Computer LTD. The unique combination of employer-led, research-informed technical knowledge and practical experience on industry-standard resources makes our graduates more employable and sought after. 

  • Opportunities for research - The course encourages critical thinking and problem solving, giving you the opportunities for research. 

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

In order to be considered for a place on this course, you must have passed a relevant honours degree at minimum of 2:2 or equivalent.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

For international students, you should have attained IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £8,690 per year
  • Register interest

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £8,690 per year
  • Register interest

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £17,930 per year
  • Register interest

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £17,930 per year
  • Register interest

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and NVivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Media consumable items (optional)

This course requires the use of consumables.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Professional Placement option*

The Professional Placement option will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Module

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

This module prepares you for the research project that you will undertake towards the end of your master’s course. It equips you with knowledge and transferable skills that will also help you in your subsequent career, for example, when you are asked to write a report or to carry out an IT project. You will become familiar with the research literature in your discipline, research methodology and research ethics, as well as project management tools, methods and techniques.

Advanced Enterprise Networks 20 credits

Wireless Communication 20 credits

Applied Machine Learning 20 credits

The module provides you with an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of Advanced Ethical Hacking and information security within a global context. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for a secure network communication system. 

The module provides you with an opportunity to gain experience and critically reflect on the skills of network automation and orchestration within a global context. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for good network management.  

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed Level 7 project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

All the modules are practice-based and learning is carried out in the labs. Each 20-credit module will have two hours contact, and you are expected to undertake approximately six additional hours of learning, research and assessment preparation for each module.

Assessment is carried out through presentations (both group and individual), timed tests and exams, written reports, research activity and publication of findings, and practical-based time assessments.

At the start of the course, there will be a three-week, full-time induction tool kit, comprising of a review of CCNA and associated technologies.

The course also provides the base knowledge for students to undertake the CCNA certification, and with an additional boot camp to undertake the individual CCNP certification exams.

International opportunities

It is possible for you to undertake the project or placement overseas related to the IT industry.

Upon successful interview, there are possibilities for you to support classes in India at our partner universities.

Assessment methods

Emphasis is placed upon the development of a broad range of relevant skills. Assessment methods will vary according to the particular knowledge skills being assessed.

Assessment is through a combination of:

  • coursework
  • examinations
  • presentations
  • practical assignments
  • vivas
  • online activities
  • project work.

Student stories – Michael Goodwin

Security engineer Michael Goodwin was so impressed with his undergraduate experience, he decided to come back for his MSc.

He especially enjoyed working with knowledgeable and experienced staff and using industry-standard equipment, that he uses everyday.

“It helped having this hands-on experience, and not just being taught theory in a classroom,” he says.

Additional costs

  • USB drives for loading configurations
  • Purchase of certification books

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

The University is eager to recognise students have made the effort to gain industry experience and stand out from the typical graduate. Thus, we offer a range of options for you to get extra awards and recognition for your work in industry.

We also have our Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.

Placements

There are a range of opportunities for you to gain industrial relevant experience, either as part of the course, the project or placements. Typical roles during and after this course include:

  • Network administrator, design or architect
  • Network security design
  • Network implementation
  • Network optimisation
  • Network and security support
  • Network operations and support
  • Industry-based placement
  • Industry-based projects
  • KTPs
  • PhD research

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Students are attracted by our strong industry links and the unique combination of high-quality practice-based learning with a strong and challenging academic curriculum that equips them with the relevant skills that employers are looking for.

Facilities and Staff

Our Facilities

The course is taught in one of the six purpose-built rooms that house £500,000 of computer networking and communications equipment, together with more than £200,000 of web-based equipment and resources with bookable access 24x7. Other vendor resources include Juniper and HP.

As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.

Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming
laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities

Our staff

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

Senior lecturer Ron Austin is the Associate Professor of the MSc Data Networks and Security course and teaches all network-related courses.

His expertise and areas of interest include: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security technologies, and forensic and ethical hacking.

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Ron spent 17 years in network management systems for companies including Telewest and Cable & Wireless. 

More about Ron

Michael Clarke

Senior Lecturer

Michael has 20 years' industrial experience with Lucas Aerospace Lt and British Telecom.

More about Michael

Dr Peter Bull

Lecturer

From 2007-2012, Peter worked as a Research Engineer, on a collaborative doctoral project with BAE Systems and Loughborough University. This research focused on the development of a “Quality of Service Framework for Dynamic and Dependable Systems”. 

Following on from this, Peter was employed as a Research Associate within the Department of Computer Science at Loughborough University.  His research projects included a Knowledge Transfer Account project developing a test-bed to incorporate the previously proposed Quality of Service framework, with an industrial software architecture emulator.  Other projects included: a feasibility study of “Quality-of-X” for the provision of network resilience in heterogeneous, dynamic systems, and an Industrial sub-contract for BAE Systems investigating the application of a safety critical Ethernet concept to an OpenFlow based switch. 

From October 2013 to August 2014 Peter worked as a University Teacher, taking on teaching responsibilities and supervising PhD students in a range of topics including Software Defined Networking, Cloud Computing Security, Stochastic Network Modelling, and Real-Time System Non-Functional Requirement Modelling.

In August 2014, Peter took up a position as Lecturer in the School of Computing, Telecommunications, and Networks at Birmingham City University.

More about Peter