Postgraduate study
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Sensor and Imaging Systems MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Programme website: Sensor and Imaging Systems

This industry-focused programme - run jointly by the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow - focuses on the principles, methods, techniques and technologies that underpin a vast range of needs in applications spanning from research to industry to medicine.

The programme is designed for students looking to develop the skills and knowledge that will open up opportunities in the many companies developing sensor and image based solutions.

Sensing and sensor systems are essential for advances in research across all fields of physics, engineering and chemistry and can be enhanced when multiple sensing functions are combined into arrays to enable imaging.

Industrial applications of sensor systems are ubiquitous: from mass-produced sensors found in modern smartphones and cars to the state-of-the-art, specialist high-value sensors routinely used in oil and gas recovery, scientific equipment, machine tools, medical equipment and environmental monitoring.

The SIS programme is delivered and awarded jointly by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The degree certificate is issued by the University of Glasgow, but with text and signatures from both universities to confirm the joint award.

​The MSc programme in Sensor and Imaging Systems lasts 1 year and contains a minimum of 180 credits.

​You will take a minimum of 60 credits at the University of Glasgow in Semester 1 and 60 credits at the University of Edinburgh in Semester 2.

​The remaining 60 credits will consist of an extended MSc project, carried out on a specific theoretical, computational or experimental aspect of Sensor and Imaging Systems.

​You will conduct your project at either the University of Glasgow or the University of Edinburgh while embedded within a research group or groups, and under the direct supervision of a member of academic staff.

How you will be taught

​This programme is both flexible and interdisciplinary. The curriculum will be tailored to your prior experience and expertise and your particular research interests. It will also be tailored to the nature of your research project topic, which you will choose at the start of the programme.

​The courses you will take in Semester 1 will focus on the fundamental skills understanding and knowledge you will need to complete an MSc in Sensor and Imaging Systems. In Semester 2, you will take courses that provide training in more specialist aspects.

​Semester 1

​In Semester 1 you will study your courses at the University of Glasgow.

​You must take 30 credits of core courses and select 30 credits of optional courses.

Core courses (30 credits)

  • ​Fundamentals of Sensing and Measurement (20 credits)
  • ​Research Methods (10 credits)

Optional courses (30 credits)

  • ​Detection and Analysis of Ionising Radiation (10 credits)
  • ​Circuits & Systems (10 credits)
  • ​Digital Signal Processing (20 credits)
  • ​Microelectronics In Consumer Products (10 credits)
  • Waves & Diffraction (10 credits)
  • ​Lasers and Electro-Optic Systems (10 credits)
  • ​Nanofabrication (10 credits)

​Semester 2

​In Semester 2 you will study your courses at the University of Edinburgh.

​You must take 20 credits of core courses and select 40 credits of optional courses.

​Core courses (20 credits)

​You must take:

  • ​Applications of Sensor & Imaging Systems (10 credits)

​You must also take one of the following as a core course:

  • ​Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (10 credits)
  • Technology and Innovation Management (10 credits)

​Optional courses (40 credits)

​You must select a further 40 credits of optional courses from the following:

  • ​Lab-on-Chip Technologies (10 credits)
  • ​Microfabrication Techniques (10 credits)
  • ​Bio-Inspired Engineering (10 credits)
  • ​Solar Energy & Photo Voltaic Systems (10 credits)
  • ​Advanced Analogue IC Design (10 credits)
  • ​Sensors and Instrumentation (10 credits)
  • ​Data Convertor Design in Simulink (10 credits)
  • ​Radio Frequency Engineering (10 credits)
  • ​Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (10 credits)
  • ​Technology and Innovation Management (10 credits)

​Semester 3

In Semester 3, you will undertake a project worth 60 credits.

You will conduct your project at either:

  • University of Glasgow (School or Physics or School of Engineering)
  • University of Edinburgh (School of Chemistry or School of Engineering)

​Your project may involve an industry placement an​d you will be allocated an academic supervisor from the appropriate School and University.

​Some project options may not be available if your academic background is not suitable.

Sensor and imaging systems (SIS) underpin a vast range of societal, research and industrial needs.

Sensing is essential for advances in capability across all fields of physics, engineering and chemistry and is enhanced when individual sensing units are configured in arrays to enable imaging and when multiple sensing functions are integrated into a single smart system.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in engineering, physics, chemistry or another relevant physical science. Entry is competitive, so we would prefer a UK first class honours degree, or a UK 2:1 honours degree supported by an MSc degree, or their international equivalents.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or experience, or a background in another field; please contact us to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Further information

  • School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB