Electrical and Railway Engineering MEng

The railway industry around the world is growing with more journeys than ever before being made, meaning new and improved railway lines, systems and services introduced.

In the UK alone, passenger numbers are expected to grow by around 50% in the next ten years. New and upgraded lines, new urban services and significant investments in maintenance all mean that electrical engineers who understand railway infrastructure and railway systems are in high demand.

Unique in the UK, this programme ensures that upon graduation you will have the skills and knowledge to benefit from the excellent career prospects in an industry experiencing significant growth.

Building on the global reputation of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), you will obtain a thorough Electrical Engineering education alongside a specific focus on the railway industry.

   

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Kat Austen

Kat Austen

DipHE Electronic Engineering

“I was torn between two universities when deciding on UCAS and I chose Birmingham on a gut instinct and have never regretted it. Even on my worst days, with three lab reports and a cold, I am still certain I chose the right place. Although obviously you have to work hard (like in any degree) I always felt that the staff understood there was more to university than just the academic courses. In welcome week, instead of being just through straight into lectures and induction talks about plagiarism, we had quizzes and treasure hunts to get us talking to other students. This way, we made friends and had someone to sit by when the lectures did start. ”

This course is a four-year Masters of Engineering (MEng) degree, we also offer a three-year Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) version of this degree too.

Electronic, electrical and systems engineers are involved in the design and development of technology that has become vital to all aspects of modern living – from the telecommunications networks that keep us connected 24/7 to the computer and digital networks that send billions of bits of data streaming around the globe.

It is thanks to engineers that the stuff of science fiction films – robots, drones, satellites and smart cars – is now a reality, and it will be engineers like you who continue to drive us into a future we can hardly envisage.

The Electrical and Railway Engineering programme gives you a solid grounding in the underlying physical and mathematical principles of the subject, along with a thorough overview of electronic technology and its applications. Whilst studying all the major electrical engineering subjects, you will also gain experience in a range of railway system issues and disciplines to bring your studies to life within the railway industry.

For the first two years of the degree, all of our undergraduates follow an integrated BEng or MEng route. Once you’ve finished your second year, you’ll then choose whether to complete the Electrical and Railway Engineering MEng (52H1) or switch to study for a BEng degree (71H9). Progression to the MEng will require excellent second year examination results. All students will have the opportunity to take a full year in industry after the second or third year, to gain extra experience and make a head-start on a rewarding career in the railway engineering industry.

First year

Our first year has been designed to provide a contemporary and flexible educational model that builds upon essential engineering fundamentals to develop students’ broader understanding of behaviour, policy, entrepreneurship, and global perspectives and kindles the passion necessary to address the societal challenge agenda. The first year is shared across the disciplines of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.

Second year

You’ll extend your technical understanding and learn how to apply your knowledge and creativity to solving electrical and railway engineering problems. You’ll focus on designing real control systems and embedded systems. You will come to understand power transmission, railway infrastructure and traction systems.

Optional industrial placement year

During your second or third year you will have the opportunity to apply into a number of companies who are seeking electrical engineering students to work in engineering consultancies, construction and manufacturing organisations. Taking a paid placement for a year allows you to apply your classroom learning and embed engineering knowledge and skills. It usually also means a head-start into a career with your placement host or, at the very least, an informed choice of future career direction. Upon successful completion of your industrial year, you will go on to complete the MEng Electrical and Railway Engineering with Industrial Year degree. 

Tuition fees for placement years

There is a tution fee for the academic year spent in industry or whilst studying abroad (where available). Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

Third year

During your third year you will solve real-world problems through a challenging individual design project in the railway sector. You will study railway operations and management and train control.

Fourth Year

The highlight of the fourth year is a challenging individual research project. You will, in addition, study a range of advanced railway engineering topics, with significant input from practicing railway engineers.

Related links

Why study this course

Because in terms of teaching and research, we are among the very best. Our track record speaks for itself: it was our research that enabled the development of radar and the microwave oven; we were the first UK university to run a fleet of hydrogen cars to exploit greener fuel, and thanks to us, the global digitalisation of the railways is going full steam ahead. It’s fair to say our graduates are in huge demand.

We are benefitting greatly from ongoing and substantial investment in new teaching spaces. Labs are kitted out with brand new, hi-tech equipment – supplied by multinational companies like National Instruments – and extensive key software through our partnership agreement with Microsoft.

Here you will be taught by staff who are global experts in their fields and with strong links to industry, who will provide you with the creative, problem-solving and technical skills needed to undertake your final-year individual project. As well as specialised labs with state-of-the-art facilities such as simulators, you will also get to work with internationally leading research groups. Also, opportunities to work in industry provide real-world experience.

We have been an academic partner of the IET for over a quarter of a century, providing employers with the assurance that our graduates have the qualities they seek. A good degree from Birmingham opens doors across all areas of industry. From Jaguar Land Rover and Network Rail to Siemens and the Ministry of Defence, national and international companies and organisations value the fact you will have been trained to work in a future we can’t yet see.

Modules


Year 1
Title Credits Semester
Electrical Engineering 1
In this module, the fundamentals of electronic and electrical engineering are covered. It will begin with analogue circuits describing the fundamentals of circuit analysis and the design of analogue devices. The fundamentals of digital systems will then be covered using Boolean algebra and related techniques to analyse digital circuits up to an introduction to flip flops. Finally electrical power and machinery systems will be introduced.
20 1 & 2
Engineering Materials
The aim of the module is to introduce the range of materials and their key properties used in engineering in order to allow them to select the appropriate materials for a given application. The module also introduces fundamental science that determines the electrical or mechanical properties of materials, such as atomic / molecular structures. In addition students will also be introduced to software which will allow them to model the properties and behaviour of engineering materials and analyse the results of experiments.
10 2
Engineering Mathematics 1
The module aims to enhance student knowledge and understanding of the mathematics used in engineering and to develop the skills of its use.
20 1 & 2
Fluid Mechanics and Energy Transfer
In this module, the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and energy conservation, and introduce associated engineering applications.
20 1 & 2
Integrated Design Project
The aim of the module is to introduce students to the design process and the skills employed therein, within an engineering context.
20 1 & 2
Computing for Engineers
The aim of this module is to introduce engineers to computers and computer programming using an important modern programming language which has applications from small embedded systems to supercomputers.
10 1
Mechanics 1
In this module, the mathematics and scientific principles related to mechanics in the context and application in engineering. The module covers: general principles, the mechanical properties of material and the basic principles of analysis, all underpinned with essential mathematics. Where relevant, historical examples are embedded into the module in order to provide context for the taught material.
20 1 & 2


Year 2
TitleCredits
Digital Systems and Embedded Computing 20
Engineering Mathematics 2 20
Electronic Circuits and Devices and Electromagnetics 20
Electrical Energy Systems and Control 20
Railway Traction 20
Railway Infrastructure Engineering 20

Year 3
TitleCredits
Electrical Power 2 20
Individual Project 40
Railway Design Project  20
Railway Management and Control 20
Options. Example optional modules may include:
Engineering Mathematics A+B 20
Electrical Engineering 2 20

Year 4
TitleCredits
Individual Project 40
Sensing and Control for Autonomous Systems 20
Options. Example optional modules may include:  
Computer and Communication Networks 20
Machine Learning 20
Human Factors and Interactive Systems Integration 20
Power Systems Economics 20
HVDC and FACTS 20
Renewable Energy Systems Integration 20
Power Systems Stability Control and Protection 20
Power Systems Operations and Control 20

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. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:
£9,250 (UK/EU)
£22,260 (International)
Funding opportunities are available.

Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering Scholarships

Please view scholarships and awards offered by Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering .

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAA
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics. You must also pass the practical element of any reformed science A levels which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015.

General Studies not normally accepted as one of the three A levels, but a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of an offer marginally.

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate Diploma

6,6,6 at Higher Level to include Mathematics with a minimum of 32 points overall. 

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma
MEng; not considered unless A level Maths also taken.

BTEC Diploma considered in combination with A Level. 
Grades: MEng; D*D* plus A-level Maths grade A.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma considered in combination with 2 A Levels
Grades: - MEng; D*plus A,A including Mathematics.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

You will need to submit an application through UCAS to be considered for study using the UCAS code for this course. Demand for places is high and we advise applicants to apply early. Please remember to provide full information on your education history when you apply www.ucas.com.

Learn more about applying.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

The learning and teaching methods adopted in the Electrical and Railway Engineering programme will include large group lectures, tutorial classes, small group tutorials, laboratory classes, design classes and supervised self study for design and research projects. In the fourth year of the programme, many of the lectures will be delivered by engineers working within the railway industry.

You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.

 

Collaborative Teaching Laboratory

The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL), planned to open in 2018/19, will become a hub for science & engineering teaching, with multifunctional labs suitable for subject-specific and cross-disciplinary teaching and team working.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

What you can expect
Throughout your degree, depending on module choice, you can expect about 20 hours of contact time per week on average. This consits of approximately 14 hours of lectures and 6 hours of tutorials/labs. During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in the field of electronic and electrical engineering. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself.

Personal tutor
At the start of your degree, you'll be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.

Contact hours
In your first year the course is delivered via lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory classes. As you proceed through your course the number of structured hours decreases and there's a strong emphasis on project work in your final year.

Learning settings:

Laboratory-based work is an integral part of our Electronic & Electrical Engineering degree programme, vital not only to develop your experimental practical skills, but also to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures. Practical sessions typically last two to three hours, although more advanced experiments and activities may span over several sessions.

Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and graphics, to record lectures and to interact with 'ask the audience' style electronic voting systems.

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Project Work. All of our undergraduate programmes feature a significant level of project working in each year of study, with individual and group projects designed to prepare our graduates for teamworking, problem solving and project management. To support this the entire second year goes on a team-building trip in the Lake District before starting their group project. For many of our students these trips help to build skills and friendships which last long beyond their project work.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.

Assessment methods

The course modules are taught through lectures, tutorial problem classes, and laboratory and/or project work, and you'll be assessed through a mixture of written exams and continually assessed coursework. As your degree progresses, you will attend fewer lectures and perform more practical work in preparation for your final-year project. Around half of the total course marks are assessed through formal examination, and half through coursework or continuous assessment.

A personal tutor, who is based in your School or Department, can help with any academic issues you encounter. Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as written feedback on your assessments, class feedback sessions and discussions with your tutor. You'll receive feedback on each assessment, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you fail an exam we will ensure that you receive particularly detailed feedback to enable you to learn for the future.

Related research

The railway sector is extremely buoyant, with a wide range of significant projects underway or planned. The degree programme will give students an insight into the railway industry and knowledge of the technical disciplines that are involved, ensuring that all students will be very employable within the industry. However, graduates will also have a solid grounding in Electrical Engineering and will be able to find employment in organizations across the Electrical Engineering industry.

Do you know where you’ll be in five, ten, 20 years' time? Your degree will equip you with the creative, professional and technical skills to lead change and innovation in a future that we know little about for certain, other than that the technologies and systems we use will not be the same as they are today.

The reputation Birmingham has worldwide for the impact and quality of its research means that the people you meet will value your qualification as much as you do. That we have been an academic partner of the IET for over a quarter of a century provides employers with assurances that our graduates have the qualities they seek. You may be running your own business and recruiting graduates and partners yourself in the not too distant future

We have staff engaged in industrial liaison as well as academic staff with a wealth of connections to industry. Our student society organises a careers fair in the autumn, which is attended by recent graduates. We help you to meet employers, to gain an insider-view of the application process and to find career opportunities.

From the very beginning of your degree, we will provide guidance in giving presentations, technical writing, preparing your CV and gaining the professional skills expected of a graduate engineer. As well as helping you find your graduate job, we’ll also help you with summer placements and year in industry.


Example employers

  • Arup
  • Defence Science And Technology
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • IBM
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • National Grid
  • Network Rail
  • Wessex Water
Employability quote from the Director of Arup


Example careers

  • Analyst
  • Design engineer
  • Electrical power engineer
  • Client engagement
  • Lead software engineer
  • Automotive reader manager
  • Electrical engineer
  • Project control engineer

University Careers Network

We provide a wealth of opportunities to develop your career. From your first day at Birmingham to after you graduate,  Careers Network  is here to help you identify and achieve your individual career aspirations through its wide range of services.

Our dedicated careers team brings you information, advice and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Careers advisers offer one-to-one advice appointments where you can discuss your career plans and explore your options. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning  Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Our multi-award-winning work experience team has dedicated internship officers to help find the right work experience for you. Make the most of these opportunities and apply for our Work Experience Bursary Scheme, the Birmingham Undergraduate Internship Programme or one of our successful mentoring schemes. 

The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:


Professional accreditation

Application will be made to the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) for accreditation of the programme for the education of Chartered Engineers

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Electrical Engineering Society is an active society within our department. You may also be interested in the Autonomous Robotic ClubUB Robotics Club and UB Racing.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.