Royal Holloway, University of London
Distributed and Networked Systems MSc
Royal Holloway, University of London

Course modalities offered

Key Course Facts

Course Description

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 at Royal Holloway and you’ll gain detailed knowledge and of the principles, methods and techniques required for developing systems including sensor and actuator networks, cyber-physical systems, patient-centred healthcare and disaster recovery systems.

This course is aimed at graduates who already have a background in computer science or engineering and who wish to acquire the depth of knowledge and the skills required to help design, deploy and use the technologies through which systems can operate in networks and in a distributed way. You will be able to tailor your degree according to your interests, with optional modules available in cybersecurity, large-scale data storage and processing, and artificial intelligence.

Skills that you will acquire include the ability to:

  • analyse complex distributed systems in terms of their performance, reliability, and correctness

  • design and implement middleware services for reliable communication in unreliable networks

  • design and implement reliable data communication and storage solutions for wireless, sensor, and ad-hoc networks

  • work with open source and cloud tools for scalable data storage (DynamoDB) and coordination (Zookeeper)

  • design custom-built application-driven networking topologies

  • work with modern network management technologies (Software-Defined Networking) and standards (OpenFlow)

  • work with relational databases (SQL), NoSQL databases (MongoDb), as well as with Hadoop/Pig scripting

  • work with low-power wireless and mesh networking standards and technologies, such as IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee and XBee

  • work with state-of-the-art microcontroller devices and kits, such as Arduino and Tessel, and miniature computing technologies, such as RaspberryPi

You will be taught by world-leading academics. We carry out research in all aspects of distributed computing and systems – including design and analysis of algorithms, large-scale and cloud-based systems, fault-tolerance, distributed storage, cloud computing, peer-to-peer, concurrency control, and multi-core computing – and in artificial intelligence, including cognitive and autonomous agents, automated planning, scheduling and domain-independent search control, and applications in surveillance operations, disaster response missions, space operations.

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.

  • Benefit from strong industry ties, with close proximity to ‘England’s Silicon Valley’.

  • Graduate with a Master's degree with excellent graduate employability prospects.

  • Tailor your learning with a wide range of engaging optional modules.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

    • 6.5
    • Graduate Degrees
    • (minimum 7.0 in Writing)
    • 6.5
    • Undergraduate Degrees

With almost a third of our students joining us from outside the UK, Royal Holloway is a diverse community with a strong international spirit. Ranked highly in the UK and the world for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Ra

Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still study Distributed and Networked Systems, MSc, if you do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language requirements.

2:1 Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, or other subjects that include a strong element of both mathematics and computing. Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘good 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.


Tuition Fees Distributed and Networked Systems MSc

Ireland £12200 year 1
EU £22000 year 1
England UK £12200 year 1
Northern Ireland £12200 year 1
Scotland £12200 year 1
Wales £12200 year 1
Channel Islands £12200 year 1
International £22000 year 1

Additional fee information

These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator. Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

Average student cost of living in the UK

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of Royal Holloway, University of London in top UK and global rankings.

See all 26 university rankings of Royal Holloway, University of London

About Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London, was founded in 1886, and is located in the suburban setting of Egham, South East England. The campus is home to an impressive Victorian era Picture Gallery, which serves as a museum for a collection of highly-valued art. The Royal Holloway Founder’s Building, the main feature of the campus, is where students will find their on-site accommodation, as well as the old style but extensively equipped library.

List of 328 Bachelor and Master Courses from Royal Holloway, University of London - Course Catalogue

Student composition of Royal Holloway, University of London

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Where is this programme taught

Main Site - Royal Holloway, University Of London
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