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Networking - Advanced

This MSc course is ideal for professionals needing knowledge and experience of advanced networking and research methods, and is also an excellent basis for further studies at doctoral level. It consists of four professional vocational modules, which include Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) materials, and either a final research project or a professional project combined with study of digital forensics – drawing together the knowledge and skills you have gained and developing the skills required to address problems systematically.

Key features of the course
• Offers a choice of research or professional routes
• Develops your skill set with the largest Cisco Networking academy in the UK
• Draws on the latest CCNP, CISSP and CCNA-S curriculum
• Provides the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to install, configure and maintain local and wide area networks
• Includes hands-on experience of using online tools and configuring networks.

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

Entry requirements

You must be suitably prepared for study at professional postgraduate level. You are expected to have studied to at least HNC/HND level, or to have had equivalent practical experience. Individual module descriptions will tell you more about the requirements.

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.


How long it takes
3 - 7 years. Most students study this qualification in three years, studying 60 credits a year with Stage 1 modules studied in sequence over two years, 30 credits at a time. The minimum time to complete is three years, the maximum time to complete is within seven years of starting the first module.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

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, CCNA-S and CISSP examinations.

Our postgraduate degrees in computing and IT meet the accreditation requirements of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and have been accorded the highest levels of recognition in the last four accreditation cycles. Graduates from this degree will have fulfilled the Further Learning educational requirements for Chartered IT Professional (CITPFL), and partially fulfilled the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng).

To gain BCS accreditation, you will need to complete your degree within seven years of beginning your study.

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.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Stage 1
Advanced routing – CCNP Route (T824) is the foundation module and should normally be studied first. You can study the remaining modules in any order, but if you are taking one module each presentation, we recommend that you study them in the order shown.

Note: you can take the Cisco components of T824 (Route), T828 and T826 (Switch) in any order. You must successfully complete both Route and Switch (or their predecessors BSCI and BCMSN) before taking the Cisco component of T827 (TShoot).

120 credits from:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing – CCNP 1 (T824) 30 01 May 2018

Network security (T828) 30 01 Nov 2018
Multilayer switching – CCNP 3 (T826) 30 01 May 2018
Optimising networks – CCNP 4 (T827) 30 01 Nov 2018

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module T825.

Completion of Stage 1 will entitle you to claim the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking (E51).


Stage 2
This MSc offers a choice of routes after you have completed Stage 1. The research route involves producing a dissertation to develop your academic research skills; while the professional route is a more discipline-oriented qualification combining study of digital forensics with an investigative project in advanced networking.

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

Research route

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802) 60 01 Oct 2018

Professional route
Compulsory modules Credits Next start

Digital forensics (M812) 30 01 May 2018
The MSc professional project (T847) 30 01 Nov 2018

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 The MSc professional project (T847).

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.


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.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!