Railway Systems Integration MRes

Start date
55 weeks full-time or 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25:
UK students - £6,466
International students - £29,040
Further fee information is available.

Our Railway Systems Integration MRes programme prepares you for a career in research and development in railway businesses and companies supplying railways with advanced technical and operational systems. By developing analytical and research skills, the course can also serve as a stepping stone to doctoral studies.

The Railway Systems Integration 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 (BCRRE), and from the world-leading educational programmes offered by the Centre.

Two-thirds of this course comprises a major, individual research project, carried out in any aspect of railway research relevant to the activities of the Centre, and often in collaboration with an industrial partner. One-third consists of taught modules. As a result, you will gain a thorough understanding of recent developments in railway research and of the industry’s needs for new and emerging technologies. You will also acquire the skills to apply these developments in your research project.

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. Key benefits include the broad range of research topics available, from highly-technical projects to those focusing on business/policy issues.

Why study Railway Systems Integration MRes at Birmingham

  • BCRRE is Europe’s largest Railway-focussed research and education group. Projects involve fundamental and applied research in railway science, technology and business. BCRRE is privileged to work with many colleagues from the railway industry who regularly contribute seminars and talks. Not only do these enrich and embed your learning, they provide excellent opportunities for networking with others in the industry. 
  • We have extensive laboratories and facilities both on and off our campus for carrying out research in railway engineering. Recently we have commissioned a wind tunnel and a loading rig of three half-sleepers for undertaking near full-scale investigations into railway track foundations. We also have an aerodynamic moving-model testing facility for high-speed trains.
  • Gain a unique opportunity to carry out valuable research alongside high-level education in a relevant railway systems, business or engineering subject
  • Benefit from participating in the fundamental and applied research carried out within the BCRRE, and from the world-leading educational programmes offered by the Centre
  • For applicants with limited railway experience the three-week introductory course in Terminology and Communication for Railways sets the scene and familiarises you with the components and terminology of the railway system.
  • The major research project makes this programme ideal for company sponsorship in order to establish or continue a research and development programme
  • The course is designed for new graduates and practising railway professionals who have an interest and desire to take part in research and development
  • Study in our state-of-the-art new School of Engineering building which includes
    • 160 drop in study spaces for flexible learning and 20 flexi bays for staff and student interaction
    • Study in our new £16.4M UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems (CEDS) with the opportunity to work alongside leading industrial collaborators
    • Provides an opportunity to work on your specific sponsored projects and network globally

Dr Hemida talks about the course


Core modules

Optional modules

Select three 20 credit modules from the following list, to include at least one railway management module and at least one railway technical module. All modules 20 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.


Tuition Fees 2024/25 academic year

  • £6,466 UK students, full-time with Integrated Presessional Programme (55 weeks)
  • £4,786 UK students, full-time 
  • £29,040 International students, full-time with Integrated Presessional Programme (55 weeks)
  • £27,360 International students, full-time 

Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Loans (PGL) for Masters students

UK and EU students (with settled or pre-settled status) looking to pursue a Masters programme in the UK can apply for a non-means-tested loan from the British government via the Student Loans Company (SLC).

The loan will be paid directly to you, into a UK bank account. It is intended to provide a contribution towards the costs of Masters study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs is at your own discretion.

Learn more about applying for PGL 



We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

 Scholarships Available for MRes Railway Systems Integration 

How To Apply

Learn more about applying. 

International students applying for this programme will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before the University can issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive an offer from us.

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

Our Standard Requirements

The normal entrance qualification for MRes study is a 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, physics, engineering, mathematics or economics). Learn more about entry requirements. 

International Requirements

International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications is required:

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

International students applying for this programme will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before the University can issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive an offer from us.

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.

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. Part-time study allows for work and research to take place alongside each other, contextualising research research activities directly into the employer's organisation.

Graduates of this programme are in demand to implement new technologies and policies within the railway or related industries. They are also sought-after by academic and commercial institutions for further research and development.

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.