The University of Southampton

MSc Mobile Communications and Smart Networking (1 year full-time)

This course was formerly known as Wireless Communications.

Our one year MSc Mobile Communications and Smart Networking programme prepares you to become a capable wireless engineer, building core areas of expertise, from understanding the fundamentals of wireless transmission and coding and signal processing to building wireless transceivers as well as designing and analysing intelligent wireless networks.

We are the top-ranked university for Telecommunication Engineering in Europe - ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019

Introducing your degree

Wireless communications has played a key role in creating the world as we know it, with its enormous social impact. In the near-future, it is expected that everything will be connected and hence, there is a need for more wireless engineers with advanced skills to design the future wireless networks. These future wireless networks will have to support and intelligently manage a massive number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in real-time, within a highly dynamic environment.

This programme prepares you to become a capable wireless engineer with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and practical applications, which involve generating, transmitting and processing signals as well as designing networks. You will gain advanced knowledge in areas such as transmission and coding, signal processing, transceiver design and network design.


This programme prepares you to become a proficient wireless engineer with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and practical applications, which involve generating, transmitting and processing signals as well as designing networks. This is crucial for mastering the communications landscape, which is essential for attaining the ‘connected society’. The key strength of this programme is that we place an emphasis on fundamental concepts and how they relate to recent advances in wireless system and network design and we use real-world examples to emphasise the relevance and importance of these concepts.

In the first semester you start with a review of key topics in wireless communications and signal processing. The course will introduce the core theoretical and fundamental knowledge for digital coding and transmission and signal processing combined with the principles and techniques needed to design a wireless transceiver. You will also cover the important research skills and practices, which covers the skills and fundamentals to simulate and analyse wireless systems.

You will be exposed to more advanced topics in wireless systems and network design in the second semester, including multimedia communications and future wireless techniques, which includes some of the technologies proposed to the fifth generation mobile standard, the 5G.

Finally, during the summer the MSc project enables you to demonstrate your mastery of specialist techniques, relevant methods of enquiry and your ability to design and deliver advanced systems and solutions to a tight deadline, including the production of a substantial dissertation.

The teaching and the project are supported by Matlab and C/C++ projects as well as by using the National Instruments USRP for experimental work in the Lab. 

View the 2020/21 programme specification document for this course


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

Programme Structure

Twelve months, full-time.

The programme has been designed to maximise student choice by allowing you to tailor the structure to suit your own strengths and interests. You can choose areas that reflect your personal interests and work on an individual project. You will also take a number of compulsory modules to ensure you are exposed to key topics in all areas. The modules cover state-of-the-art techniques, technologies and supporting tools and will expose you to their applications in designing the next-generation wireless network.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. Visit our how to apply pages for more information. Please note that we belong to the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (FPSE).

The deadline for new applications to this course is 31 July each year.

Key Facts

We have pioneered many of the most important advances in electronics and microelectronics over the past 30 years

We lead the UK for the volume and quality of Electrical and Electronic Engineering research (REF 2014)

97% of our Electrical and Electronic Engineering research outputs are rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)

The Guardian University Guide 2019 shows the University of Southampton second in the UK for Electronics and Electrical Engineering

We are ranked second equal for graduate prospects in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the Complete University Guide 2019

Southampton is ranked in the top 100 universities for Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the 2018 QS World Rankings, and top 10 in the UK

We are Europe’s top-ranked university for Telecommunication Engineering – ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2018

We have outstanding experimental research facilities, including our world-class high-voltage laboratory and our £110m interdisciplinary clean room

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Honours Degree:

A UK bachelor’s degree with a minimum (2:1) degree (or equivalent) in Communication Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or in a closely related subject, and 2:1 in the required modules*.  

See international equivalent entry requirements. This is a list of the international qualifications that are recognised by the University of Southampton. If you are not sure that your qualifications meet the requirements of this course please contact our Admissions Teams.

*The required modules are: digital signal processing, communication principles (communication engineering/wireless communications), maths, probability theory.

English Language Requirements:

All applicants must demonstrate they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency: Band C, IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in all components. Find out more about the University’s English Language requirements.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office website

Selection process:

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.


The program consists of six compulsory modules spread across two semesters, each worth 7.5 ECTS credits and an individual project worth 30 ECTS credits. The compulsory modules cover fundamentals of theory and practice of wireless transceivers and mobile networks.

You can also choose from a range of optional topics, including advanced wireless communications and future wireless techniques that cover the potential technology proposed for the next-generation wireless network as well as advanced systems and signal processing and cryptography and Quantum technology.

Career Opportunities

This programme provides an excellent platform for a career in academia or industry sectors related to generating, transmitting and processing signals such as transceiver design and wireless network design and optimisation.

Graduates from our MSc programmes are employed worldwide in leading companies at the forefront of technology, such as Huawei and Samsung. As well as for larger multinationals, many students also go on to work for small to medium enterprises, including start-ups. ECS runs a dedicated careers hub which is affiliated with over 100 companies including IBM, Arm, Microsoft Research, Imagination Technologies, Nvidia and Google to name a few. Visit our careers hub for more information.

Through an extensive blend of networks, mentors, societies and our on-campus startup incubator, we also support aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build their professional enterprise skills. Discover more about enterprise and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

Approved CalculatorsCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
TextbooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.

Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and Photocopying CostsIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

In some cases you’ll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Pre-course Reading List

The following is a list of subjects that are closely related to the course of MSc Wireless Communications. Some of these subjects are covered explicitly in lectures; other subjects are considered pre-requisites for units on the course. If you are unable to obtain the recommended books, similar books may be used instead.

Matlab Programming
There are many suitable books available. For example, Mcmahon, D., MATLAB Demystified, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007.

Signal Processing
Proakis J. G. and Manolakis D., Digital Signal Processing: Principles, Algorithms and Applications, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1996

Digital Communications
Sklar, B., Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications (2nd Ed.), Prentice Hall PTR, 2001.
Read: Chapters 1-4, 6, 7, 12.

Wireless Communications
1) Rappaport, T. S., Wireless Communications: Principles and Practice (2nd Ed.), Prentice Hall PTR, 2002.
Read: Chapters 1-5.
2) Goldsmith, A., Wireless Communications, Cambridge University Press, 2005.


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