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Master in Science High Speed Networks and Distributed Systems

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  • Entry requirements
    You should normally hold a first degree equivalent to at least a British lower second class bachelor’s degree containing a substantial element of computing, telecommunications or microelectronics. If your first degree is not in computing but you have worked in the computing industry you can also be considered. If your first language is not English you must satisfy our English language requirement by providing us with evidence of a minimum TOEFL score of 550, or IELTS score of 6.0.
  • Academic Title
    Master in Science High Speed Networks and Distributed Systems
  • Course description
    Accredited by the British Computer Society

    Demand is increasing for qualified professionals who understand the latest network technologies and who are able to develop distributed applications for use across all sectors of industry. The MSc in High Speed Networks and Distributed Systems will provide you with an opportunity to study the most recent developments in computer networking and to learn the software techniques required for designing and implementing distributed systems. Beginning with a theoretical foundation, the course will allow you to understand, develop and evaluate distributed systems that run on multiple computers co-operating across networks. You will acquire relevant practical skills and experience in computer networking and distributed systems design.

    The course is based at Oxford Brookes’ Wheatley Campus and offers excellent facilities, including Linux and Windows workstations for networking and distributed computing. The department also manages various computer clusters for more advanced distributed programming and project work.
    Course content

    The MSc in High Speed Networks and Distributed Systems has a modular, course-unit design. To qualify for a master's degree you will need to pass the taught modules in the list below, which includes one optional module to be selected from either Optical and Broadband Networks or Database Technology, together with the dissertation and Research and Study Methods modules. Additionally, during the induction period before the formal start of the course, you may take a limited number of primer modules relevant to your course. The modules are:
    Compulsory modules:

        * Network Principles introduces the principles and practice of computer networking with emphasis on data communications and local area network technologies.
        * Distributed Systems involves systems programming and the design and implementation of distributed systems using message passing and concurrency concepts.
        * Multiservice Networks explores the principles of high-speed multi-service network design and technology, illustrated with case studies and state-of-the-art practice.
        * Distributed Application Design looks at the design and implementation of applications in a distributed environment.

    Elective modules:

        * Optical and Broadband Networks examines the design and principles of operation of the individual components in an optical fibre communication system, and examines the performance analysis of complete systems and networks.
        * Database Technology involves the analysis, design, implementation and operation of database application systems. It looks at database system software, query processing, data structures and file organisation.
        * Research and Study Methods is designed to underpin work carried out for the dissertation. The module, delivered in a seminar style, will provide you with research skills, planning techniques, progress management and review, and ability to use ICT support materials.
        * The Dissertation is an individual research and development project of 10,000-15,000 words, based on a topic related to your programme of study. You will benefit from our relationship with the University's Multiservice Systems Research Group. The Group's research interests underpin the communications support required to enable the construction of network and distributed systems and the use of formal methods for system design verification.

    Teaching, learning and assessment

    Teaching methods vary according to the subject and typically include lectures and seminars to provide the theoretical basis, together with practical sessions designed to strengthen understanding by active involvement. Programming forms a key component to practical work. Coursework forms the basis for continuous assessment. The practical sessions also provide an opportunity to discuss your progress and coursework with the lecturers. Assessment is based on a combination of examination, coursework and a dissertation.


    Teaching staff are primarily from the School of Technology as well as from part-time staff employed in the high-speed networks and distributed systems industry. Visiting speakers from business, industry, consultancies and research bodies provide further input. The programme benefits from the rigorous validation and review processes at the University, and the external examiners are very positive about the course.

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