Railway Systems Integration MRes

Postgraduate combined research and teaching degree programme Railway Systems Integration MRes:

Railway businesses rely on advanced technical and operational systems to carry vast numbers of passengers in densely populated areas and large quantities of goods over long distances. The Master of Research (MRes) programme in Railway Systems Integration prepares postgraduates for careers in research and development (R&D) in railway businesses and companies supplying railways with advanced technical and operational systems. The programme can also serve as a stepping stone to doctoral studies by developing candidates’ analytical skills and research know-how. 

The MRes offers a unique opportunity for students to undertake a research-based Masters degree together with technical study in a relevant railway systems or engineering subject. Students benefit from participating in both the fundamental and applied research carried out within the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, and from the world-leading educational programmes offered by the Centre. The programme comprises 3 classroom taught technology oriented modules and a research skills module that consists of three main elements, namely, reviewing literature, analysing data and modelling the behaviour of technical systems. Two thirds of the period of study are devoted to independent research that is documented in a substantial thesis. Part-time students follow the same syllabus as full-time students but complete the taught modules and the thesis in a sequence that best suits their work commitments.

This is an interdisciplinary programme that combines a major research project with technical studies that build on prior academic study or industrial experience in a relevant subject area. It gives students the opportunity to benefit from the fundamental and applied research being conducted in the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. The programme allows students to research a technical, social or economic problem associated with the railway industry. Projects are usually undertaken in collaboration with industry, making them highly attractive for applied R&D projects. At the same time, students learn more about specific technical and management issues relevant to the railway industry.

As a result, students will gain an understanding of the most recent developments in railway research; the industry’s needs for new and emerging technologies; and techniques in which to apply these developments. 

Programme content

In addition to the research project, worth 120 credits, all students study topics related to Research Skills and the Research Environment for 30 credits. The remainder will be a selection of one or two technical modules from the following list (each worth 10 credits):

  • Railway Rolling Stock Systems Design 
  • Railway Traction Systems Design 
  • Railway Infrastructure and Track Systems 
  • Train Control Systems Engineering 
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors for Railways

Additionally, students must choosend either one or two management modules from the following list (each worth 10 credits) to complement the choice of technical modules: 

  • Strategic Management of Railway Operations
  • Systems Engineering and Integration for Dependability 
  • Railway Economics and Technology Management

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Related staff

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees 2016 academic year:

  • £4,121 FT UK/EU students
  • £2,061  PT UK/EU students
  • £17,910 International students

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Several research council studentships, bursaries and postgraduate scholarships are available, most of which provide full funding and some of which are enhanced by industrial funding, where the topic has a specific industrial relevance. Other sources of funding are the EPSRC, the BBSRC, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the European Union and industrial funding for UK and EU students. 

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or email sfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

The normal entrance qualification for MRes study is at least an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent

Learn more about entry requirements

International entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements

Standard English language requirements apply

How to apply

Learn more about applying

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When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education is a cross-disciplinary centre, mainly involving staff from the Schools of Civil, Electrical and Materials Engineering, and also staff from a number of other Schools across the University. Its purpose is to carry out fundamental and applied research in railway science and technology and to provide high level educational opportunities in these fields.

The centre’s research activities include high speed railways, traffic management and operations simulation, power and energy, railway data integration, climate change resilience and extreme weather response, smart conditioning monitoring and railway aerodynamics. It also offers MSc programmes in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration, and in Railway Risk and Safety Management, and provides high level CPD programmes for the railway industry.

The MRes in Railway Systems Integration is an exciting programme that combines technical study with training in research methodology and a major research project. The aims of the programme are:
to develop students' understanding of the specific requirements of complex technologies and concepts that are applied in the context of the railway industry;

  • to develop students' research skills and their knowledge of research methods applicable to the specific issues arising in railway-related research;
  • to ensure that students are aware of state-of-the-art developments in railway research in specific technical and operational topic areas;
  • to allow students to develop the understanding necessary to identify new and emerging research needs in today's railway industry;
  • to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake independently a significant research project of relevance to the railway industry.

Graduates from the programme will be able to follow a number of career paths:

  • Doctoral studies in railway-related fields;
  • Employment as research staff either within railway businesses or in organisations supplying the railway industry;
  • Management of high-level technological developments in railway companies and administrations;
  • Strategic development of policy and technology in railway companies and administrations in the UK and overseas.

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