course page main image

Advanced Computer Networks - MSc

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

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

  • 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

This course is:

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 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.

STEAMhouse building exterior

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking, prototyping and business development. Our brand new £70 million pound building is the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

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. 

OPEN DAY

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person, hear from our trailblazing academics and explore our innovative £340m facilities.

Next Event: 26 November 2023

Book your place

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,250 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £10,175 in 2023/24
  • £1028 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 Months
  • £9,250 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £10,175 in 2023/24

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £16,870 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £18,557 in 2023/24

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 Months
  • £16,870 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £18,557 in 2023/24

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.

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

You’ll need to submit a personal statement as part of your application for this course. This will need to highlight your passion for postgraduate study – and your chosen course – as well as your personal skills and experience, academic success, and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Not sure what to include? We’re here to help – take a look at our top tips for writing personal statements and download our free postgraduate personal statement guide for further advice and examples from real students.

Course in Depth

Module

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

Professional Placement (optional)

In order to qualify for the award of MSc Advanced Computer Networks with Professional Placement, a student must successfully complete all of the Level 7 modules listed above as well as the following Level 6 module

Download course specification

Download now

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

International

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 & Staff

[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello and welcome to the computing tour for Birmingham City University.

[00:00:05] I'm Alex, a second year Computer Science student sitting here today, and I'll be taking you around the facilities here at BCU.

[00:00:11] Right now we're in STEAMhouse. If you're coming on to a computing course, you may be spending time here doing your Innovation Fest project, where you'll be presenting your project that you worked on to industry professionals. So STEAMhouse is a £72 million conversion of the old bike factory that used to be here.

[00:00:31] This is one of the larger learning spaces that we have here at STEAMhouse, completely built around computing. The entire building is modular. All these walls can be opened up and these classes can be made gigantic.

[00:00:43] So here's another space here at STEAMhouse for, sort of like, breakout rooms or for independent learning places you can go as a group to work on projects. To the left of us, there is the business space where visitors come in and they can work on projects there and also allows for students and staff members to integrate with the tech industry. If you'd like to learn more about STEAMhouse, the video link in description. And now I'm going to take you over to Millennium Point.

[00:01:13] Here we are at Millennium Point. This is the level four project space, the space you'll be using in term time to work on things such as the Innovation project. It is also the home of the Maker's Lab, which I'll be showing you in a little bit. It's a completely transformative and modular space.

[00:01:28] Recently, Birmingham City University has spent six and a half million pounds in revamping their Millennium Point building. It's also the area where we will be holding industry events. One of the things that I want to show you very quickly is the Lapsafe here. So Birmingham City University has one of the largest collections of Lapsafes in Europe. And they're not just here in the Millennium Point building. There's also ones over in Parkside and Curzon as well as STEAMhouse. You're allowed to take a laptop out if you haven't got one personally, and you can use it while you're at university for about six or so hours at a time. We also not only have Windows laptops, but also MacBooks.

[00:02:10] So here we are in the Makers Lab, and this is where you'll be spending time as a first year student working on the Innovation facilities there. Basically, this is where the magic happens, right? So in this room is a bunch of component parts and things to work with your systems such as 3D printers.

[00:02:24] So what you can do is you build a schematic up in the software. We send it to the machines and they can print out component parts for your project. It's also a bunch of different other components here at the university that it offers to students that they can use for their projects, such as Arduino, Mark Controllers, and Raspberry Pi is sort of like the heart of your system. You write some code, you flash onto the microcontroller, then it can control the system that you've attached it to. Over here, we've also got a bunch of component parts even using such as light sensors and motion sensors and buttons and keypads and things like that as well.

[00:02:59] So we've got a bunch of previous projects here as well. Here's Sign Genie which is a sign language interpreter, you sign in front of it and it will send back the sign language on the screen here. You can find out more about this project in description below, showing you how they built it from start to finish.

[00:03:16] We also have laser cutting services at University, so if you need, you know, a frame cut out for your project, for example, that we've got here, you can use the laser cutter and cut out little component parts that all fit together as a housing for your project. Okay, So now I think we're going to head down to level one, which houses the network labs and the games lab.

[00:03:42] This is one of the games labs here at BCU. This is more of a high spec facility to help with rendering animation and, you know, running the games that you create as a games development students as well as that. We've also got the different component parts. You need to build a project VR here so you can experiment with VR within the game called events such as Games Jam where students from across Birmingham City University come together to create a game within 24 hours or 48 hours and present it to a panel.

[00:04:14] So this is one of our networking labs here at BCU. It is a Cisco networking lab. All the hardware in here is industry standard and the majority of it is Cisco related. This entire room and several other rooms on this floor are complete separate LAN network from the rest of university. And you can, you know, run tests and simulations and try and configure and connect to of computers within the labs. The software that we use here is called Cisco Packet Tracer or Nethercutt. This is what we use to prototype our networks. And then you can actually physically build them using the hardware in the room to see how it works in practice.

[00:04:55] So this is one of our many computing labs here at Birmingham City University at the College of Computing. We have about 20 computing labs here at the University of all kinds of different software. And then depending on the course that you're doing, we have experts here from industry working as lecturers to have that real world experience and incredibly helpful with helping you to complete your coursework as well as get any additional advice and sort of guide you in the right direction.

[00:05:22] This is one of the big open communal spaces where you can come and catch up on work, but New Macs here that you can work on as well as Windows PCs out at the back can also see that there's more lab space here. So if you want to use a laptop, you can get those as well. Along with that, there's also the main I.T help desk here where you can come in and ask questions if you've got any issues.

[00:05:43] That was just a taste of computing at BCU. If you'd like to experience it yourself, come along to one of our Open Days or applicant taster days in the future. As well as if you'd like to know more about the computing experience. You can watch this video right here.

[00:06:03] You still here? Go watch the video.

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 Advanced Computer Networks 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.

More about Ron

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...

More about Peter