Qualification level
Study type
2 years full time, 3-5 years part time
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About the course

Course content

The digital revolution is increasing the power, scope and importance of computer systems at a rapid pace. Software-enabled systems are everywhere, with Distributed and Networked Systems underpinning the economy, society and infrastructure. Study Distributed and Networked Systems with a Year in Industry at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll gain detailed knowledge of the principles, methods and techniques required for developing systems including sensor and actuator networks, cyberphysical systems, patient-centred healthcare and disaster recovery systems.

This flexible programme has been developed for graduates with a background in Computer Science or Engineering, giving you the chance to further hone your knowledge and skills. A wide range of optional modules lets you tailor your learning to your own strengths and interests, including Information Security, Data Analysis and Online Machine Learning to choose from.

You’ll study in a department renowned for the quality of its research and you’ll have the chance to contribute to this leading research culture through your Individual Project. Your studies will help to develop transferable skills and knowledge including open source and cloud tools for scalable data storage, contemporary network management technologies, relational databases and microcontroller devices.

The skills you’ll develop as a student of Distributed and Networked Systems will make you a highly employable candidate in a number of different fields. You’ll graduate in a strong position to progress to PhD study, while Royal Holloway’s proximity to the M4 corridor – also known as ‘England’s Silicon Valley’ – offers excellent opportunities to enjoy a rewarding year in industry with one of the country's top tech organisations.

  • Study in a highly-regarded departments, ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of research publications (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Develop your skills and gain invaluable connections and experience during your year in industry.
  • Benefit from strong industry ties, with close proximity to ‘England’s Silicon Valley’.
  • Graduate with a Masters degree with excellent graduate employability prospects.
  • Tailor your learning with a wide range of engaging optional modules.

Course structure

Core modules

Year 1

  • Interconnected Devices
  • Advanced Distributed Systems
  • Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks

Year 2

You will spend this year on a work placement. You will be supported by the Department of Computer Science and the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to find a suitable placement. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme and you will be asked to complete assessed work. The mark for this work will count towards your final degree classification.

  • Individual Project

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

  • Introduction to Information Security
  • Data Analysis.
  • Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
  • Computation with Data
  • Semantic Web
  • Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
  • Advanced Data Communications
  • Machine Learning
  • Large-Scale Data Storage and Processing
  • On-line Machine Learning
  • Network Security
  • Computer Security (Operating Systems)
  • Security Technologies
  • Security Testing - Theory and Practice
  • Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
  • Software Security
  • Introduction to Cryptography and Security Mechanisms

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation. The placement is assessed as part of your degree.

Your future career

Graduates in Distributed and Networked Systems with a Year in Industry at Royal Holloway, University of London can expect excellent employability prospects in a variety of expanding fields. You’ll gain a desirable Masters qualification from a highly-regarded department, and develop a range of transferable skills to take into the workplace. A year in industry also provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience and to develop industry connections to take into your future career.

Our proximity to the M4 corridor – also known as ‘England’s Silicon Valley’ – provides excellent networking opportunities with some of the country’s top technology institutions. The Department of Computer Science is also located close to Royal Holloway’s on-site College Careers Service, providing you with help, support and advice on your future career and further postgraduate study. 

  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Strong industry ties help to provide placement and networking opportunities with some of the country’s leading institutions.
  • On-site College Careers Service provides help and support for students. 

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