Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters/MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Postgraduate degree programme Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters/MSc/Diploma/Certificate:

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, economically, safely and in a timely manner. The taught postgraduate programme in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration has a strong focus on developing postgraduates’ railway engineering knowledge and know-how, their systems integration skills and their understanding of the complex interactions between subsystems. It develops participants’ ability to work in multi-disciplinary project teams and is strongly supported by railway practitioners. 

Graduates of the programme design, build, operate and manage successfully the sophisticated subsystems and complex interfaces characterising existing and new railways. The full-time programme comprises 8 classroom taught modules and 2 research-oriented modules, scheduled over a period of 8 months. Part-time students follow the same syllabus as full-time students but complete the taught modules in a sequence that best suits their work-commitments. The MSc strand requires the submission of a dissertation that is based on a significant amount of independent research.

  • Application deadline for full time study is the last Friday in June
  • Application deadline for part time study is the last Friday in July 
Zoltan David

Zoltan David

MSc Railway Systems Engineering and Integration

“Today is a very exciting time to work in railways. With decision makers realising the importance of sustainability, and the significance of railways in achieving a sustainable transportation system, railway projects will most likely be on the rise around the world in the coming decades. The Railway Systems Engineering and Integration course prepares you for a truly global engineering career in railways. ”

Towards the end of the 20th century it became apparent that the ever-increasing demand for the transport of people and goods could not be satisfied by the current transport offer, without creating significant environmental impact through noise, atmospheric pollution and land take. Railways were rediscovered as a potentially sustainable solution for many traffic flows, particularly where volumes are high, while also offering benefits in terms of speed, safety and reductions in congestion. 

Masters Railway Systems Engineering and Integration 

This programme is designed to provide the knowledge, knowhow and skills required to design and manage successfully the highly specialised subsystems and complex interfaces that characterise existing and new railways. The programme has a strong focus on developing your railway engineering knowledge, system integration skills and your ability to work in focused project teams.

Many participants are experienced railway engineers and managers, sponsored by their employers, but the programme also allows new entrants to the railway industry to familiarise themselves with the specialist disciplines involved in railway systems engineering, while also gaining an insight into the complex interactions between subsystems.

The taught part of the programme in RSEI is built around 8 assessed modules of 10 credits each, 2 research modules attracting 20 credits each and four supplementary modules that are not formally assessed, the same for Diploma and MSc candidates. MSc students also undertake an integrating project that leads to a dissertation, attracting 60 credits, all at Masters level. The modules are assessed individually to allow flexible study, including full-time and part-time attendance by both European and overseas-based students.

Technology oriented modules cover the principles of rolling stock design, railway traction systems, infrastructure and track systems, railway control systems, as well as systems engineering principles.

Management focused modules complement the range of subjects taught in the technology-oriented modules and include the strategic management of railway operations, railway technology strategy and economics, as well as ergonomics and human factors.

Modules include lectures, tutorials, team exercises and industrial visits. The programme also features a European study tour.

Part Time Students from the Middle East, Far East, Australia and America

  • To participate in the programme while being based in Hong Kong or another Far East location and wishing to work full-time you only need to visit the UK 5 or 6 times.
  • There are 2 visits of three weeks in the first year (in October and January) and 2 visits of three weeks in the second year (in November and February) each allowing attendance on two taught modules with a week of independent study in between. In the second year there is also a one week visit for the European Study Tour (usually in May) and there is a discretionary visit in the third year to put the final touches to the dissertation.
  • You will have a substantial amount of homework, assessed by means of assignments, and your exams will take place at Hong Kong Polytechnic University or a similar institution.
  • There are a number of people from Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore who have completed the programme on this basis.

Related links

Why study this course

The MSc programme in Railway Systems Engineering is designed to be truly interdisciplinary, with a strong focus on developing individuals’ skills and the overarching objective of creating a thorough understanding of the principles of designing and operating modern railway systems and of interface management.

Most participants are experienced railway engineers sponsored by their employers to study for a specialist qualification which allows them to work on complex projects.

Fees and funding

Fees 2016/2017

UK and EU 

  • Full-time MSc (180 credits): £13,750 
  • Part-time MSc (180 credits): £6,875 per year for two years
  • Full-time Diploma (120 credits): £9,167
  • Part-time Diploma (120 credits): £4,583 per year for two years
  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits): £4,583


  • Full-time MSc: £18,210
  • Full-time Diploma: £12,140
  • Postgraduate Certificate: £6,070
  • Distance Learning MSc: £9,105
  • Distance Learning Diploma: £6,070
  • Distance Learning Certificate: 6,070

Mathematics Module 

  • LMR20 (3 days): £225 including lunches and one evening meal.

Continuous Professional Development (Occasional Programme Code 6542) 

  •  Full time (1 week): £1,140 per 10 credit module, including assessment and feedback, as well as a course dinner.

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. 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 basic requirement is a good Honours degree in an appropriate science-related discipline (for example, Engineering, Physics, Economics or Mathematics) and evidence of a very good knowledge of the English language. However, practical experience may also be an important consideration.

Learn more about entry requirements   

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

Standard English language requirements apply

How to apply

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

Apply now

The Rail Systems programme is built around eight taught modules and four research modules of 10 credits each and an integrating dissertation attracting 60 credits. Each taught module involves about 27 hours of teaching, 10 hours of tutorials, a major team exercise and a minor assignment. Each research module involves about 60 hours of independent study to complete two major assignments.

The assessment of students’ learning is based on class tests, assignments, presentations and end of year examinations. All modules are assessed individually to allow flexible study.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Professional accreditation

The MSc version of this degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng(Hons) or an Accredited IEng (Full) BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree.

See www.jbm.org.uk for further information