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MSc International Innovation (Telecommunications)

35 industry-focussed 2 year MScs with £16,000 bursary and 6 months in China

The Telecommunications pathway provides a unique blend of broad, contemporary academic modules and the professional training and practical experience needed to succeed in industrial and academic careers.

As on all other pathways on this programme, you have the opportunity to practise the knowledge and skills you have learned through organised industrial placements and projects.

Year 1


Michaelmas Term: October-December

After Welcome Week, all MSc International Innovation (Telecommunications) students take the following core modules:

Digital Communications

This module will provide a comprehensive introduction to the theory of point-to-point communication systems from a physical layer perspective. The following topics will be covered:

  • Signal representation in the time and frequency domains and introduction to Fourier analysis
  • Advantages of digital communications over analogue communications and presentation of a generalised communication system
  • Aspects of source coding, line coding and forward error correction
  • Modulation and demodulation of digital information
  • Sampling and quantisation of communication signals

It has been designed to bring students from diverse backgrounds to the same level of knowledge, which is required for the understanding of more advanced modules that follow in the MSc course.

Digital Signal Processing

In this module we explore the fundamental principles, techniques and technologies in the area of digital signal processing. It introduces the fundamentals of discrete signals and systems, linear systems, and various discrete linear transforms. Advanced topics, such as spectrum estimation and analysis, and digital filter design, will be also discussed. The module also reviews state-of-the-art thinking regarding the application of digital signal processing to mobile and satellite communications. It covers linear systems and transform theory, filters and spectral estimation, as background knowledge in support of following modules (Advanced Filters and Systems) as well as the Application modules (Wireless Broadband and Speech and Image Coding)

Broadband Communications

This module covers all aspects concerning the provision of existing mobile phone systems (both 2G and 3G), and emerging fourth generation (4G) mobile systems (WiMAX and LTE). It also discusses system features and applications for future generation mobile systems and emerging new technologies, such as ad-hoc mesh, software defined radio and heterogeneous networks.

You also take a module in design where you will be studying with students from the other programme pathways:

Design-driven Innovation

This module introduces design-driven innovation as a mind-set that has the ability to close the innovation loop, from user-centred research to commercially viable innovations. It presents a variety of frameworks that help you to gain a comprehensive understanding of design thinking, methods and concepts and of how these can be applied to design-driven innovation. Theoretical material delivered in lectures and seminars is tested and evaluated through workshops. These will be aligned to appropriate external drivers, such as competition briefs or 'live' projects, allowing you to put theories and methods into practice in order to address a real-world design problem.

Lent Term: January-March

You take another three core specialist modules:

Advanced Communication Systems

Building upon previous modules, students will learn about established communication techniques. Among these are advanced error-correcting coding, which involves the encoding and decoding of Hamming. Convolutional and cyclic codes will be explained and analysed, and coded-modulation and turbo-coding techniques will also be briefly discussed. Sessions in channel equalisation will focus on the impact of intersymbol interference (ISI) on system performance, and will explore solutions including zero forcing (ZF) and minimum mean square error (MMSE) equalisers. In addition, students will be exposed to diversity methods, such as temporal and spectral methods. Spatial diversity techniques for multiple antenna systems, also known as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems will be analysed and described in detail.

Emerging techniques will also be introduced, including fountain coding and network coding, green communications, cooperative networks, cognitive radio and dynamic spectrum sharing.

Students will be expected to demonstrate a deep knowledge of concepts, mathematical tools and theories related to advanced communication methods, such as low parity check coding, equalisation, diversity combining and multiple access protocols. Students will gain the ability to develop software scripts that implement state-of-the-art communication methods and demonstrate their impact on the performance of communication systems. Additionally, students will be provided with the level of knowledge that is required to discuss recent emerging technologies, explain their underlying principles and provide examples of potential future services and applications.

Speech and Image Coding

This course examines signal compression in general and speech/audio/image/video coding in particular. It covers Waveform and Hybrid coders for speech and audio signals and Noiseless and Noisy coding techniques for image and video signals. In addition to an in-depth examination of the state of the art compression technologies, the course reviews all the main speech, audio, image, and video coding international standard algorithms. Various coursework will be provided to reinforce the understanding of DCT and LPC based signal analysis techniques and their effect on the performance of image and speech compression techniques respectively.

Advanced Filtering and Systems

This module will provide a comprehensive coverage of the various types of optimal, adaptive, self-learning filters and processing systems including linear (optimal and adaptive) and non-linear (self-learning). It has been designed to deepen the level of knowledge of the students to this specific aspect of digital signal processing and communications systems which is in close links with the other advanced module, Advanced Communication Systems, as well as the application modules Broadband Communications and Speech and Image Coding.

Participation and completion of this module will provide students with the skillset required to demonstrate a solid knowledge of concepts and supporting theories related to optimal and adaptive filters, self-learning and evolving systems and their applications to communication and other industries. The module requires students to analyse, synthesise and model effective recursive filters and systems for onine and real-time processing, prediction and filtration. Additionally, students will gain the ability to develop software scripts that implement advanced filters and systems and demonstrate their impact on the performance, and will be able to list, explain and generalise the trade-offs of performance and complexity in designing practical advanced processing systems.

You also take the following entrepreneurship module:

Corporate Entrepreneurship

This module illuminates the entrepreneurial strategies of large companies. This includes the challenges of setting up and managing corporate spin-offs as well as 'intrapreneurship' strategies where employees are empowered and enabled to act as entrepreneurs within the company in pursuit of competitive edge and new business fields.

Summer Term: April-July

During this term you apply your knowledge and skills to the first of your company projects:

UK Project

Students will work on behalf of an industry partner or partners in the UK. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in the UK.

Non-Chinese speakers will also take the following module:

Chinese Language and Culture for Business

This module is designed as a breakthrough into Mandarin Chinese in its standardised spoken form and in simplified characters as used in mainland China, particularly the language used in the business context, for beginners with no or little knowledge of Chinese. The intensive mode of learning on the module, in the short term, provides an immersive learning environment for preparing students linguistically and culturally for their half-year industrial project in China, while the long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences and to develop their linguistic and intercultural competence of communicating with the Chinese appropriately and effectively in their future career.

Those already fluent in Chinese will take the following modules:

Chinese Culture for Business

Students will examine Chinese culture, particularly that of business, from a Western perspective. The long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences

Business Ethics and Society I & II

The objective of this course is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations. The course will be concerned with morality in action, as it happens, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics. The course will aim to show that ethics in action is diffused and difficult. Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to ‘work it out’ for themselves. It is this ‘how to work it out’ that the course will keep as its focus. The course will use a number of case studies as a basis to develop this moral sensibility so that managers will be able to act in a morally appropriate manner as part of their ongoing organisational action.

Year 2

Michaelmas & Lent Terms: October-March

You will spend six months working in China on an in-depth project for an industry partner. It is anticipated that most of the projects will be based in or around the city of Guangzhou. This project work provides a great chance for you to put your skills to use in genuine business situations, learn first-hand practical lessons about the business world, and exchange ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in both the UK and China.

See Company projects for more detail

Summer Term: April-July

During this term students return to Lancaster University to write up their company project assignment, reflect on their experiences in China and may attend career-focused seminars and workshops.

More information

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