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MSc in Advanced Networking

Please note that the final enrolment date for this qualification will be 11 April 2019 after which it will no longer be available to new students. You must complete your study by 31 December 2022. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

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.

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 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


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

Stage 1

120 credits from:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing – CCNP 1 (T824)

This module provides the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy and manage internal and external routing protocols for large scale inter-networks using Cisco equipment.

See full description

30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Network security (T828)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing a secure communication across a large-scale inter-network using Cisco equipment.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Multilayer switching – CCNP 3 (T826)

This module will give you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy reliable, scalable and secure multilayer-switched campus LANs using Cisco equipment.

See full description

30 01 May 2019
Optimising networks – CCNP 4 (T827)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and skills to optimise communication on large-scale data networks using Cisco equipment.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019

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)

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 2019

Professional route

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 2019
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 2019

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).

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

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.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is not available for this qualification.

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.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

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.

Our badged open course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, will introduce you to the nature of Master's level study. It offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level – and is free.

How long it takes

Stage 1 is studied over two years: four 30-credits modules (T824, T828, T826 and T827) studied consecutively and in order.

Stage 2 is studied over one year: either a 60-credit project module; or a 30-credit module (M813) and a 30-credit project module, studied consecutively.

Unless you’ve already started this qualification, you won’t be able to take any breaks between modules.

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.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.