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MSc in Advanced Networking

This masters degree course consists of a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking and either a research project by itself or professional project combined with study of a module on digital forensics. This final stage of your study draws together the knowledge and skills you have gained, in either a research or professional-based project. Professionals in network engineering and related fields will benefit from the completion of a project, helping them to develop the skills required for systematically addressing problems in their own organisations. The MSc is also relevant as a basis for further studies at doctoral level or for those working professionally requiring knowledge and experience of advanced networking and research methods.

The postgraduate diploma consists of four professional vocational modules, which include the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) materials. It will provide you with the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to install, configure and maintain local and wide area networks. If you complete the diploma you will be able to go on and gain the industry recognised certification by taking the CCNP examinations.

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
3–7 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking (E51) 

And 60 credits from either the Research route or the Professional route:

Research route

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

60 01 Oct 2015

Professional route

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Digital forensics (M812)

This module will help you understand how to conduct investigations to correctly gather, analyse and present digital evidence to both business and legal audiences.

See full description

30 01 May 2016
The MSc professional project (T847)

This highly intensive research based module enables you to design, conduct, analyse and report on a research project of your own choosing.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2015

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is not permitted for this MSc except for any awarded as part of the postgraduate diploma.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Advanced Networking entitling you to use the letters MSc (Adv Netw) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

You will be awarded the degree with distinction if you obtain:

  • a distinction grade in the 60-credit dissertation or project module
  • 30 credits at distinction grade and at least a further 30 credits at merit grade or higher in the Postgraduate Diploma taught modules required for the degree.

You will be awarded the degree with distinction if you obtain:

  • a distinction grade in the compulsory 30-credit project module
  • a distinction grade in a 30-credit compulsory module
  • 30 credits at distinction grade and at least a further 30 credits at merit grade or higher in the Postgraduate Diploma taught modules.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

Entry requirements

To gain the MSc you must first obtain the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking (E51)

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

This MSc offers you the choice of a research or professional route.

If you prefer a rigorous research route you can carry out research and study in a specialist topic by taking the 60-credit research module, where the production of a dissertation will develop your academic research skills.

If you are interested in a more discipline-oriented qualification, you can take the 30-credit professional project combined with a 30-credit module in digital forensics. You will need to select a topic for investigation in your project that is in the area of advanced networking.

Time limit – you must complete your MSc within seven years of starting the first module for the diploma.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you. Note, in particular, you can only count the credit from one of the following modules towards a single qualification: Research project (T802) or MSc professional project (T847).

Career relevance

Cisco Systems are the market leader in the supply of networking equipment for the internet. They also have a well-established Academy programme aimed at educating network professionals. Cisco qualifications are highly regarded in the networking industry and their position at the leading edge of network development means that their Academy programme is up to date. If you complete this MSc you will be able to go on and gain the industry recognised certification by taking the CCNP examination.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.