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 Wednesday 31st May 2017
  • Application deadline for part time study is Friday 30th June 2017

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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. 

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.

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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.


This course comprises 8 assessed taught modules and 2 assignment modules which consolidate the taught learning. MSc students also undertake a research project attracting the final 60 credits.

  • Strategic Management of Railway Operations – 10 credits (compulsory for PGCert)
  • Railway Rolling Stock Systems Design – 10 credits
  • Railway Traction Systems Design – 10 credits
  • Systems Engineering & Integration for Dependability – 10 credits
  • Railway Infrastructure and Track Systems – 10 credits
  • Railway Control Systems Engineering – 10 credits
  • Railway Business Management – 10 credits
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors for Railways – 10 credits
  • Railway Systems for Synthesis assignment based modules – 2 x 20 credits (one module is compulsory for PGCert)
  • Individual research project – 60 credits

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees and funding

Fees 2017/2018


  • MSc (180 credits) full-time: £13,950 
  • MSc part-time: £6,975 per year for two years
  • MSc distance learning: £6,975
  • Diploma (120 credits) full-time: £9,300
  • Diploma part-time: £4,650 per year for two years
  • Diploma distance learning: £4,650
  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) full-time: £4,650
  • Postgraduate Certificate part-time: £2,970
  • Postgraduate Certificate distance learning: £4,650


  • MSc full-time: £18,540
  • MSc distance learning: £9,270 per year
  • Diploma full-time: £12,360
  • Diploma distance learning: £6,180 per year
  • Postgraduate Certificate: £6,180


Mathematics Module 

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

Continuous Professional Development ( PG Affliate Programme Code 6542) 

    See CPD pages for further information

Further funding information

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available, further information is in our funding database.

Learn more about fees and funding.

For further information contact the department directly or email financialsupport@bham.ac.uk

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Engineering, Physics, Economics or Mathematics). Practical experience will also be taken into account.

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

International students requiring visas

Monday 3 July is the close date for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Applications will reopen for 2018 entry on 15 September 2017.

Making your application

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.

Our graduates go on to design, build, operate and successfully manage the sophisticated subsystems and complex interfaces characterising existing and new railways. Many of our graduates now occupy senior positions around the world in the railway industry.

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