Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters

MSc / Diploma / Certificate

Start date
55 weeks full-time. On a part-time basis, typically over 24–36 months
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Taught

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2023/24:
£17,010 - UK students
£24,750 - International Students
Further fee information is available.

Our programme in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters provides an all-round level of knowledge and education and equips the next generation of industry leaders. A major benefit of this course is that it enables you to consider the broader aspects of railway systems and how they interact.

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.

This taught postgraduate programme in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration has a strong focus on developing your railway engineering knowledge and know-how, your expertise in systems engineering and systems integration skills, and your understanding of the complex interactions between subsystems. It develops your ability to work in multi-disciplinary project teams and is strongly supported by railway practitioners.

This fully-accredited programme prepares you for your professional engineering status and for your career as a current or future leader in the rail industry. The full-time programme is made up of classroom taught modules supplemented by reading, seminars and laboratory work, scheduled over two academic semesters. Part-time students follow the same syllabus as full-time students but complete the taught modules over two academic years. The MSc is completed with a dissertation based on independent research, chosen by you and which suits your specific personal or professional preference.

Many participants are experienced railway engineers and managers, sponsored by their employers, but the programme also allows new entrants to the rail industry to familiarise themselves with the specialist disciplines involved in railway systems engineering, while also gaining an insight into the complex interactions between subsystems. Graduates of the programme design, build, operate and successfully manage all aspects of railways and railway systems.

This programme is also available as a fully-funded Level 7 degree apprenticeship for eligible participants.

Distance-learning Study Mode

The distance-learning mode is equivalent to part-time study and involves attendance in Birmingham only for the taught weeks over a period of 2-3 years. This means you can combine work with study and visit Birmingham 6-7 times to complete the degree.

Distance learning is available for UK and International students; we are proud to have alumni from Australia, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore who have successfully completed the programme on this basis.

Why study Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters at Birmingham?

  • 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 spaces in our new £16.4M UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems (CEDS) facility with the opportunity to work alongside leading industrial collaborators
    • Provides an opportunity to work on your specific sponsored projects and network globally
  • The Railway Systems Engineering and Integration programme provides an all-round level of knowledge and education and equips the next generation of industry leaders.
  • A major benefit of this course is that it enables you to consider the broader aspects of railway systems and how they interact.  Many major projects fail at the interdisciplinary interfaces, and this is precisely the area where the MSc course can assist.
  • It allows you to work at a more senior level, on major projects, and to understand when the ‘technical experts' were not fully appreciative of the interfaces with other disciplines and the latent problems that were developing.
  • We’re Europe’s largest and most diverse railway research & education group with extensive links into industry. What this means is that students benefit from learning about rail and rail systems from the fundamentals which everyone needs to know, through to the latest research and industrial applications.
  • We have extensive laboratories and facilities both on and off our campus for carrying out research in railway engineering. Facilities include railway system simulators, wind tunnel, electronics laboratories, pantograph testing rig, robotic arms, a railway track foundation rig, plus other equipment.  We also have an aerodynamic moving-model testing facility for high-speed trains.

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.

Zoltan David, MSc Railway Systems Engineering and Integration


This programme provides 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. This course comprises taught and research elements.

The programme starts with the optional* Terminology and Communication for Railways primer course, at the start of September. You then complete six taught modules during the Autumn and Spring semesters and carry out your research project over the summer to complete the MSc.
*we will discuss and advise you to attend this primer course, based on your academic and industry experience.

Introductory modules

Core modules

If you choose the PG Cert you will take three modules to achieve 60 credits. The Railway Operations, Management and Planning module is compulsory and you can choose two of the other modules, according to your personal and professional preference.

If you study the PG Cert on the distance learning option you would typically choose modules which spread out your learning across two academic years, selecting your programme of study according to the semesters in which the modules are taught, aiming for one module per semester so you take two modules in one academic year and one in another.

Each module offered within this programme is also available as a one-off Continuing Professional Development (CPD) option, allowing you to study according to your specific needs. If you take a CPD module and successfully complete the assessment, you will be awarded with academic credit which will allow you to be exempt from taking the same module again within a formal programme of study (subject to the programme requirements and current university regulations).

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.


Annual Tuition Fees 2023/24

UK students

  • MSc full-time £17,010
  • PG Diploma full-time £11,340
  • PG Certificate full-time £5,670

International students

  • MSc full-time £24,750
  • PG Diploma full-time £16,500
  • PG Certificate full-time £8,250

Distance Learning (part-time)

  • UK students MSc - £8,505
  • UK students PG Diploma - £5,670
  • UK students PG Cert - £2,835
  • International students MSc - £13,250
  • International students PG Diploma - £8,880
  • International students - £8,250

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

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.


How To Apply

  • Application deadline for full time study is 31st May
  • Application deadline for part time study is 30th June

International applicants requiring visas

Applications to this programme from students who are international for fees will close 01 July 2023. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK and non-Tier 4 applicants

Applications will close 31 August 2023. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

Application routes

Please note that the duration of this programme is one year full-time, while part-time study can be up to three years.

However, part-time programmes are only eligible for Government Masters Loans if they are no more than twice the length of the full-time version. Therefore any UK part-time students wishing to apply for Government Masters Loans must complete the programme within two years.

If you plan to study over two years and/or would like to apply for a Masters Loan, please select the fixed part-time application route shown. If you would like the flexibility to study over up to three years, and are not seeking funding, please select the standard part-time application route.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Engineering, Physics, Economics or Mathematics).

Practical experience will also be taken into account. If you have no or limited industry experience you will be required to attend the introductory course. 

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 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education boasts experts in railway engineering and systems, meaning you will be taught by lectures at the leading edge of their subjects.

The Terminology and Communications for Railways module provides those with less experience with key information and prepares them for their forthcoming studies.

The rest of the course is taught in intensive, week-long blocks so it is possible to combine work and part-time or distance-learning study from anywhere in the world. Individual modules may be also taken for continuous professional development.

Each taught module takes place over an intensive week-long block and comprises classroom lectures, tutorials, team exercises, visits and assignments to embed and draw each element of the subject together.  

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.


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.

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