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 2020/21:
£16,980 (UK/EU students)
£23,280 (International Students)
Includes Integrated Presessional Programme.
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.


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

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 postgraduates’ railway engineering knowledge and know-how, their systems integration skills and their 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. 

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 of classroom taught modules and coursework 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.

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.

Distance-learning Study Mode

The distance-learning mode 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 5 or 6 times for periods of, typically 3 weeks at a time.

  • There are 2 visits of three weeks in the first year (usually in October and January) and 2 visits of three weeks in the second year (usually 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 may be available in your home country.
  • There are a number of people from Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore who have successfully completed the programme on this basis.

Why study Railway Systems Engineering and Integration Masters at Birmingham?

  • 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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs


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. This course comprises taught and research elements.

You will take the three-week Terminology and Communication for Railways course from late August, followed by eight assessed taught modules and two assignment based modules during the Autumn and Spring semesters. Over the summer you carry out your research project to complete the MSc.

Introductory modules

Core modules

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 2020/21

UK and EU

  • with Integrated Presessional Programme (55 weeks) - MSc full-time £16,980
  • without Integrated Presessional Programme - MSc full-time £15,300


  • with Integrated Presessional Programme (55 weeks) - MSc full-time £23,280
  • without Integrated Presessional ProgrammeMSc full-time £21,600

Contact Joy Grey for part-time programme costs.

Mathematics Module 

  • LMR20 (3 days), includes lunches and one evening meal, contact Joy Grey for pricing and details.

Continuous Professional Development ( PG Affiliate Programme Code 6542) 

Individual modules are available for CPD.  See CPD pages for further information or contact Joy Grey.

Learn more about fees and funding.


Scholarships and studentships

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.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.


For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

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 2020. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK/EU and non-Tier 4 applicants

Applications will close in 10 September 2020. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

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

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.

Please contact Joy Grey to discuss entry requirements. 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 are required:


IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • 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): Academic 51 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

The programme is unique, partly because of how well established it is...

Dr Stephen Kent, Teaching Fellow

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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