Broadcast Engineering - MSc

Full Time, Part Time
September 2019

This course will prepare you for a career in Broadcast Engineering, supporting you to continually improve your skills and the quality of service you provide. Through the programme, you will demonstrate technical, research, analytical, planning, design and organisational skills which are highly transferable and can be used in a wide variety of disciplines.

What's covered in the course?

Broadcast technologies are continually evolving and converging with other information and media distribution formats, including the web, games and virtual environments. The UK traditionally has a high calibre of recognition in the TV production and technology industries. Our course aims to capitalise on and maintain the UK expertise in this area, whilst continually evolving the delivery of technology in this rapidly changing area.

Our course is designed both to prepare you for a technical or commercial career and provide a route to the specialisation needed for a research career. It is also suitable for graduates of internet and communications related courses who have worked for several years and wish to update your knowledge at the forefront of the discipline.

The programme is designed to enable you to develop a thorough technical and theoretical understanding, focusing on vocational and practical skills directly relevant to industry. Alongside the development of technical and analytical skills, you will also expand your team and professional development skills through group work, peer review and reflective evaluation, as well as consideration of legal and ethical issues.

We are committed to supporting the broadcast industry and continue to work with and support key stakeholders. We also aim to act as a broker between industry, universities and students to place students in appropriate research positions and placements.

The University is actively involved in SMPTE and we host SMPTE regional meetings at Birmingham City University.

Why Choose Us?

  • The School’s pursuance of excellence is recognised by its sole provider status of academic programmes to the BBC’s engineering schemes.
  • Our staff are actively involved in professional associations and societies including the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Royal Television Society (RTS), International Association of Broadcast Meteorology (IABM) and Audio Engineering Society (AES).
  • The University has been instrumental in working with the IABM to set up the IABM Universities’ Forum to link universities across Europe that deliver broadcasting programmes, with the aim of spreading best practice in broadcast training and supporting students from university into industry.
  • Staff are active in research in the School’s Digital Media Technology Lab, which is internationally recognised for its publications in conferences and journals and its engagement with industry.

This course is open to International students

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Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Andy White.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

New £10,609 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,609 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

We would normally expect you to hold at least a Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline such as Digital Broadcast Technology, Broadcast Engineering, Computer Science, Electronic Engineering or Networking.

However, we can also consider your application without standard entry qualifications if you can provide evidence of the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully complete the course.

International students

International applicants are required to offer equivalent qualifications to the above. The Faculty applies the NARIC guide to determine equivalence.

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months
Register your interest
PT 24 months £4,050 per year Register your interest

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months
Register your interest

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Course duration

Please note, there are no taught classes over the summer months (June to August) for postgraduate courses, so the total time spent in University for this course is:

  • September start (full-time) 12 months
  • September start (part-time) 20 months

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements


Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


IP Network Technology
20 credits

This module examines IP network technology, applications and protocols to enable you to gain a thorough understanding of the developments in this area. It will look at established and future network technologies, and discuss the role of the various applications that are commonly found in a networked broadcast environment.

There is an emphasis on the investigation of relevant technologies within a laboratory environment, and your research and design skills will be developed via an incremental case study.

The module content provides a working knowledge of network infrastructure technology sufficient to support related course modules covering areas of broadcasting reliant on IP infrastructures.

Broadcast Workflow
20 credits

Broadcast distribution and services are increasingly converging with web platforms. As a broadcast practitioner, you will need to be conversant with these foundation technologies in the broadcast industry, e.g. workflow, interactive content, etc. It is therefore important for you to have an understanding of web technologies and standards and a strong appreciation of future directions in the industry.

The signal chain from camera (and microphone) through to the end viewer is complex as it passes through the production processes including storage, editing, archiving, and then on to the viewer by cable, satellite, terrestrial transmission, etc. This module considers the requirements for coding, compression and transcoding in the various processes, the standards in the industry for wrapping the content and re-wrapping for final delivery.

The module presents the web technologies and workflow methods used in the broadcast industry. Workflow is an evolving and essential process in the management of assets and the production of programmes. Workflow, content description and asset management are production processes related to the content distribution covered in the other themes of this course.

Studio and Broadcast Technology
20 credits

This module focuses on the technologies required for broadcast in the studio and on location. It will develop your knowledge of the key concepts and techniques used in planning and designing a studio and, provide detailed knowledge of the technology underpinning the acquisition and presentation of media created for broadcast.

You will get access to a wide range of industry standard broadcast and production equipment and facilities to ensure you gain relevant technical skills.

The module content will centre on the hardware and software technologies used when producing and broadcasting content and will also investigate the signal workflow from capture to broadcast.

Media Distribution Solutions and Architectures
20 credits

Broadcast distribution is characterised by DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) technologies and IP distribution. The increased amount of video data has led to increased requirements in terms of resolution, dynamic range and frame rates from both these modes of distribution recently. This in turn places increased expectations on supporting platforms. Further to this, personalisation and interaction, VR and AR services are adding complexity.

In this module, you will consider all of these problems and complexities. In addition, the fundamental service of radio remains important. In this module you will also consider the installed and evolving DAB platform. While the industry is rapidly advancing its platforms, there is still much legacy equipment and many services to be supported, and current standards carry the characteristics of historical standards with them. You will consider these standard as part of this module.

The module looks at how to manage the system-level aspects of media delivery.  You will learn about specific media network implementations, building on the Network Technology module which precedes it.

You will consider the architectures utilised in media distribution systems with a focus on topicality as well as looking ahead to evolving technologies, trends and the requirements of commercial media markets.

Research Methods
20 credits

The key focus of this module is the development of higher level research skills. You will explore the research methods and tools to enable you to define methods for research, translate technical theory to a reasoned test methodology, interpret your results and distinguish trends leading to reasoned and informed findings.

The module will also support interdisciplinary working and draw from the fields of computing, numerical analysis, web technologies, broadcast systems and networking.

Signal Compression and Encoding
20 credits

The increasing range of audio and video material available in today’s world is placing additional demands on the requirements for processing the content signal for storage and transmission. The signal chain, starting from acquisition, takes an infinite range of paths through the production processes, including storage for immediate access for editing through to long term archival storage. Different compression regimes are required for these cases. For playout to the audience, the range of distribution technologies will place different demands on the compression of the signal and also on the coupling (i.e. multiplexing and modulation) of the signal to the transmission medium. This module addresses these technologies.

In the module, you will explore the system-level aspects of media delivery.  You will gain knowledge of the details of specific media network implementations and explore architectures utilised in media production, contribution and distribution systems. You will learn how the signal needs to be processed in terms of spectral efficiency and in the face of hostile distribution environments. You will apply these signal processes to developing platforms and implementations, and you will assess the characteristics of the signal in terms of distortion, interference and overall spectral integrity. This will require signal measurement techniques to be appreciated.

Master’s Project
60 credits

This module requires you to synthesise the knowledge and skills developed throughout the degree programme and apply them to an in-depth exploration of a topic appropriate to the course. In particular, you will be expected to demonstrate the ability to develop an appropriate approach to researching an subject, display a critical understanding of relevant literature and the ability to critically appraise research techniques and methods.

The Masters Project is designed to provide you with an appropriate problem to prepare you for the challenges of working in a technical/commercial career and to provide a focal point to develop a specialised area of knowledge needed in developing a research career.

The Masters Project is primarily student led, with the support of individual meetings with an assigned supervisor. You will receive support in developing research in the Research Methods module before you being your Master's Project. You will receive support tutorials to assist them regarding the requirements at each stage of the project.

Course Structure

Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills are acquired through a variety of practical learning and teaching approaches, these may include: formal lectures, interactive tutorial sessions, laboratory sessions, seminars, residential courses and directed independent learning activities.

Analytical skills are developed through coursework tasks that encourage creativity and problem solving using a range of systems and technologies relevant to commercial web service delivery. Group tutorial and practical work are also utilised in programme delivery. Learners are assessed both formatively and summatively by a number of methods.

Formative assessment occurs throughout the programme and involves feedback from peers and tutors and individual reflection. Feedback on work in progress is available prior to the submission of summative assessments.

A range of summative assessment methods are employed involving both individual and group assignments, written coursework assignments and practical project work, laboratory sessions, tests and examinations.

Summative assessment methods for all modules are identified in a module guide and, for coursework, assessment details and criteria are specified in each assignment brief.

As well as developing and applying skills through assignment work, the Research Methods module in the second semester introduces research skills in preparation for the dissertation. Independent learning is encouraged through research tasks for assignments and in the requirement to plan work schedules to meet deadlines for coursework submission.

Transferable and key skills are core to the learning strategy of the programme. They are pervasive, and are incorporated into modules and assessments as appropriate, e.g. team-working skills are fostered via group, task-based practical projects. Reflection and self-awareness are fostered by keeping logbooks and submitting self-evaluation documentation in support of personal performance.


The School can provide opportunities for work placements through its industry partnerships and we encourage the Master’s project to be industry aligned.

International opportunities

The School has an international reach providing opportunities to students in a number of ways:

  • Member of the IABM Universities’ Forum
  • A number of partnerships worldwide with our UG programmes including in China (BIFCA ), India (Anna University), America (University of Rochester)
  • Workshop on Perception in Augmented Reality (AR) at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) in Japan

Further study

The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes. Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

Employment Opportunities

This programme aims to enable you to develop specialist and key transferable skills that are essential to a career in broadcast engineering, ensuring that you meet the needs of employers and the standards set out by the Institution of Engineering Technology.

Birmingham City University programmes aim to provide graduates with a set of attributes which prepare them for their future careers. The BCU Graduate:

  • is professional and work ready
  • is a creative problem solver
  • is enterprising
  • has a global outlook.

The University has introduced the Birmingham City University Graduate+ programme, which is an extra-curricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject based skills that you develop through your programme with broader employability skills and techniques that will enhance your employment options when you leave university.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


The course is also suitable for people who are upskilling early in their career in broadcast technology organisations. However you would also benefit from the course if you have relevant qualifications and short experience in an associated discipline.

The course will also be a natural extension to broadcast technology first degree graduates.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Here at Birmingham City University, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is equipped with a multitude of professional, dedicated equipment. With world-class facilities including: two film and television studios, four multi-track recording studios, post-production facilities, and several hundred multimedia stations.

We have cutting edge facilities available to support the course and research that goes on in the School, including the purpose-built Media Centre at The Parkside Building, DMT Lab and Cisco Academy at Millennium Point. We also have several PC and Apple Mac computing suites with the latest industry standard applications and tools for audio, video and multimedia application development and content creation.

As a student of the School of Computing and Digital Technology you will be able to take advantage of a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art technology and equipment to prepare you for working within industry. Our four fully digital, interconnected TV studios can be used within a variety of contexts, including audio-recording. Alongside this with have several broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.

Film and television

You will have access to four fully digital, interconnected TV studios, along with broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.


An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.

Sound and music

Discover the full range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment.

Jerry Foss

Senior Lecturer

Jerry is a Lecturer in the School of Computing and Digital Technology. He joined the University in 2005.

Jerry has 30 years’ experience in telecommunications research and development in intelligent networks, data communications protocols, interactive services, media distribution, broadband access and services development, defence communications contracts, network architectures and infrastructures.

During this time his research involved a number of collaborative projects between industry and universities for UK government funding and also for European framework funding. Research projects included industry/academic collaborative projects on networked virtual reality applications, intelligent agent-based e-commerce markets and adaptive services, information services and infrastructures.

Jerry has presented papers, spoken at a number of highest level international conferences and events, and instrumental in a wide range of international collaborative work programs.

Read Jerry's full profile

Phillip Harris


Phillip has carried out a diverse range of duties within a 22-year career as a Royal Air Force Telecommunication Technician, primarily employed on the maintenance and commissioning of strategic and tactical satellite and HF communications systems.

He was employed as a technical trainer within trade, both in the UK and overseas, before leaving the military and taking on a lecturing role within the BT Apprenticeship training programme at Newcastle-Under-Lyme college. He joined Birmingham City University as a Cisco Academy Trainer in January 2009.

Read Phillip's full profile

Professor Cham Athwal

Associate Head of School (Research)

Cham Athwal is Head of Research in the School of Computing and Digital Media Technology. He teaches on the BSc (Hons) courses for Digital Media Technology, and Sound Engineering and Production.

An experienced lecturer and researcher, Cham has led numerous technology transfer projects, as well as working as an experienced external examiner and course validator. He has skills and knowledge in several areas of IT, including software development, web technologies and multimedia, as well as image and video processing, 3D modelling, animation and virtual reality.

Andy White

Andy White

Programme Leader

Andy joined Birmingham City University 2001 as a Senior Lecturer within the School of Computing and Digital Technology. Following a number of years in course management he has recently been appointed Programme Leader managing a group of courses in the multimedia and broadcast area.

Andy began his career as a postgraduate researcher in 1995 at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. His research in collaboration with the University of Essex and Sony Ericsson led to publications and the development of novel tools which can automatically design and optimise electronic systems.

Moving to the West Midlands in 1999, Andy worked as a consultant developing and implementing technology strategies that were delivered across the region to businesses and organisations.

As a Senior lecturer at Birmingham City University he continues to remain active in research and knowledge exchange through projects funded by various sources, such as DTI, ERDF and EU R&D Frameworks.

Andy holds an BEng(Hons) in Electronic and Communications Engineering and an MSc in Computer Based System Design from the University of Huddersfield and is currently working toward registration of a PhD.