Digital Technologies for Smart Cities MSc

Gain a comprehensive knowledge of how to use digital technologies to shape the future of sustainable cities.


This course is uniquely tailored to the demands of the global market, with a curriculum that's in sync with advancements in AI, cloud computing, 4G/5G communication technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This ensures you'll be learning the most relevant and up-to-date content, preparing you for a successful career in this dynamic field. One of the key highlights of our program is the opportunity for specialization in high-demand areas such as robotics, sustainable energy, and cybersecurity, so you can tailor your learning journey to align perfectly with your career aspirations.

This programme is also enriched with practical sessions, facilitated by renowned professionals and experts in the sector. You'll have the opportunity to collaborate with foreign institutions and companies, gaining hands-on experience and real-world insights that are invaluable in today's job market. Our strong ties with internationally renowned industrial partners open a world of possibilities for networking and potential job opportunities.

At Edinburgh Napier University, we believe in supporting our students every step of the way. That's why we offer comprehensive support in academic skills, language skills, and mathematics skills, ensuring you have all the tools you need to excel in this course.

Our MSc in Digital Technologies for Smart Cities isn't just a degree - it's a launchpad for a rewarding and impactful career in shaping the sustainable urban futures. Apply today and take the first step towards becoming a leader in the smart cities of tomorrow.

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Mode of Study:



1 years

Start date:


Course details

The MSc in Digital Technologies for Smart Cities program offers a comprehensive set of modules that are designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the field. Here are the modules included in the program: 

  1. Automation and Robotics (MEC11107): This module focuses on the principles and applications of automation and robotics, which are key components of smart cities.
  2. Modelling and Computation for Smart Places (ELE11117): This new module is designed to equip students with the skills needed to model and compute data for smart places.
  3. IoT and Autonomous System (ELE11118): Another new module, this focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous systems, both of which are integral to the functioning of smart cities.
  4. Distributed Generation Systems (ELE11113): This module covers the principles and applications of distributed generation systems, which are crucial for the energy management of smart cities.
  5. Communication Electronics (ELE11515): This module delves into the electronics that enable communication within smart cities.
  6. Sustainable Energy Technologies (MEC11123): This module focuses on the sustainable energy technologies that power smart cities.
  7. Digital Signal Processing (ELE11101): This module covers the principles and applications of digital signal processing.
  8. Network Security (CSN11111): This module focuses on the security aspects of network systems, a crucial aspect of maintaining the integrity of smart cities.
  9. MSc Project (ENG11100): This module allows students to undertake a project that showcases the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout the program. students will be supervised by academics and will undertake projects focusing on the development of solutions to digital technologies and smart cities problems, within industry environment. The students will be encouraged to focus on academic or business-related topics showing their overall understanding of the degree material. Each student’s project topic will be individually established dependent on their professional interests or background. The aim is for students to gather requirements from industry, business, or research to ensure their project is relevant to current practices.

In addition to these modules, the program offers comprehensive support for students in academic skills, language skills, and mathematics skills.

All the Module Leaders (and the Programme Leader himself) are research-active and committed to delivering research. The program also offers work placement opportunities and industry projects for students to gain practical experience. This includes the possibility for students to contribute to active research and teaching activities, such as the Housing Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway program, funded by the Scottish Government.

The program aims to utilize the experience of professionals (with backgrounds as industrialists, entrepreneurs, consultants, or innovators) to enhance teaching and learning as well as students’ employability and skills, while strengthening external partnerships with the industry. Examples of industry players involved in this program include Leonardo UK, Catapult, Thales Group, Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth, Curvalux, PtlElectronics, NCR, Engineered Foam Products, Elite Controls, Peacock Technology, and many more. 

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    How you’ll be taught

    This full-time course will take up to a year (18 months if you are a January start) to complete and will be structured to support the student through their journey. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, guest lectures, tutorials and independent study.
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    The MSc in Digital Technologies for Smart Cities program offers a dynamic and engaging approach to assessments, designed to challenge you and help you apply your knowledge to real-world situations. Here are some of the key features of the assessment process:

    1. Diverse Assessment Methods: The program uses a variety of assessment methods to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of your understanding and skills. These include case studies, participation, class tests, portfolios, dissertations, digital exams, practical exams, essays, presentations, reports, and more. This variety not only keeps the assessment process interesting but also allows you to showcase your strengths in different areas.

    2. Feedback and Improvement: After each assessment, you will receive individual feedback via Moodle, based on the marking criteria for that assessment. This feedback, provided within three working weeks of the hand-in date, will help you understand your performance and identify areas for improvement. In addition, general feedback will be issued to the class, enabling you to compare and contrast your performance with that of your peers.

    3. Project-Based Learning: The MSc Project (ENG11100) is a significant part of the assessment process. In this project, you will focus on developing solutions to digital technologies and smart cities problems. The project topic will be individually established based on your professional interests or background. The project incorporates elements such as a literature review, a research methodology, development of the solution using appropriate tools and techniques, evaluation of the solution, and a face-to-face viva-voce.

    4. Real-World Application: The assessments are designed to reflect real-world scenarios, enabling you to apply your learning in practical contexts. This approach not only enhances your understanding of the subject matter but also prepares you for the challenges you may face in your future career.

    5. Continuous Learning: The program encourages continuous learning and improvement. The assessments are not just about grading your performance but also about helping you develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of digital technologies for smart cities. 

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    Work placement

    A supervised work experience, as part of final year MSc project, with our industrial partners is available: i.e. Thales, Catapult, DSTL, Leonardo, Celestia, and many more. The experience is intended to develop overall graduate skills/expertise and employability. The School has committed resources to developing employment opportunities in conjunction with Student and Academic Services. This experience takes place in Trimester 3, conditional upon the student being accepted by an employer on an approved work-based placement. This must be established in Trimester 1 by consultation with the academic supervisor and the employer. Students on this pathway are given an enhanced MSc experience through the provision of additional personal and professional development focussed on a successful placement application.

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    Academics at Edinburgh Napier have developed a range of innovative teaching environments for students, including vSoC, SOCLAB, and LinuxZoo.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Automation and Robotics ( MEC11107 )

The work covers the various aspects of automation and application of robots in industry in particular in the area of automatic assembly.
Dedicated and Flexible automation systems; criteria for selection of automation systems;
Robotics : Mechanical elements ; co-ordinate systems; drive mechanisms.
Robot programming and control; software function; interfaces to controller; position /motion/ hybrid control.
Programming robots: On -line using proprietary robot programming languages e.g. VAL3 directly and using the teach pendant emulator; Off - line programming languages e.g. GRASP.
Applications: choice of robot; robot tooling; ancillary equipment; performance specifications.
Use of sensors in automation; sensor types contact, proximity, force, vision systems.
Dedicated automation systems: materials handling; analysis and control functions.
Assembly: Part feed systems; orienting devices e.g. vibratory bowl feeder; tooling; Materials handling devices e.g. indexing devices; conveyors.
Placement devices: Pick and place;
Workheads: Fixing methods
General: Line balance of assembly systems; Reliability in automation; Cost justification of automation; Job analysis; Implementation of automated systems

Further information

Communication Electronics ( ELE11115 )

Free space propagation calculations appropriate to satellite and line of sight links (FSPL and noise); design of high gain and low noise amplifiers using Smith Charts; Typical system components in microstrip and waveguide; Optical fibre as a waveguide; Practical aspects of optical fibre communications: protecting fibres, connections, white noise, calculating noise and error of an optical fibre link; Dispersion and dispersion compensation schemes; Power budgeting; Optical/electrical interfacing; Optoelectronic devices.

Further information

Digital Signal Processing ( ELE11101 )

Fundamental aspects of digital signal processing: mathematical principle of discrete-time signals and processing, signal domains and transforms, digital filtering, filter design, filter implementation, hardware/software tools and applications.
Advanced digital signal processing: adaptive signal processing, wavelet transform spectral estimation, model-based spectral estimation and applications.

Further information

Distributed Generation Systems ( ELE11113 )

Synchronous and induction generators and their control. Power conversion equipment.
Distribution Networks: Technical issues such as voltage changes, fault levels and calculations, earthing, power quality, stability and protection. Regulations and Codes of Practice.
Smart Grids: Network Operations, Energy Management, Information & Control Interoperability and Electrical Energy Storage.

Further information

IoT and Autonomous Systems ( ELE11118 )

Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging network of physical objects that connects various sensors, software, and other technologies to the Internet. The aim of this module is to learn about design and development of IoT systems, including embedded architecture of IoT, technologies and autonomous systems. On this module you will learn concepts, practical aspects and applications of sensors, wireless technologies, robotic systems, data collection (and related processing technologies) for remote control of objects. The following topics will be covered: Introduction to Internet of Things, basic concepts and the state of the art technology used in IoT systems. Transducers and sensors Drones and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) Autonomous systems sub-components : Sensors, motion control and intelligent decision making (i.e. an introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Techniques).

Further information

MSc Project ( ENG11100 )

The student will learn about important elements of project management, such as planning, control, cost, problem solving skills, report writing and defend the outcome during a viva session. The project is normally completed during 13 weeks of full time research or part time equivalent, 26 weeks.

Further information

Modelling and Computation for Smart Places ( ELE11117 )

• Mathematical modelling, the scientific method and programming• Applied linear algebra• Differential equations• Engineering Applications of Numerical Methods

Further information

Network Security ( CSN11111 )

The aim of the module is to develop a deep understanding of advanced areas related to security and digital forensics that will allow graduates to act professionally in the design, analysis, implementation, and reporting of network security strategies. An outline of the main areas includes:

• Introduction. Networking Concepts; Network Security Concepts; Network Threats and Attacks; Network Defense - Perimeter, Defence in Depth

• Firewalls. Concepts; Types - Host, Network; Technologies - Static packet filtering; Stateful packet filtering; Multilayer firewall; Architectures; Polices; and Implementation and Deployment.

• Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS). Concepts; Types; Alert Monitoring and Sensor Tuning; behavioural analysis, in-line/out-of-line.

• Access Control and Authentication. Concepts: Trust and Identity; Attacks; Models - Access Control Models; Network Device Access Control; AAA, Layer 2; Device Hardening.

• Remote Access and VPNs. Concepts; Cryptography; Types - L2, L3 and L4/5; Technologies; IPSec and SSL.

• Wireless Security. Wireless Overview; Attacks; Encryption; Authentication.

• CCNA Certification - Concepts. CIA; Attacks on CIA; Data Classification; Law and Ethics; Network policies; Risk Management and Secure Network Design; Security in the SDLC; Cisco self-defending network; Secure Administration.

• CCNA Certification - Secure Infrastructure and Extending Security. Cisco Layer 2 Security; Cisco IOS Firewalls. Cisco IOS IPS; Cisco VPN and Cryptographic Solutions; Digital Signatures and PKI.

Further information

Sustainable Energy Technologies ( MEC11123 )

This module will review the field of sustainability. Firstly, we will conceptualise sustainability, its history and the challenges to sustainable development. Methods of estimating life cycle carbon emission and ecological impacts will be critical analysed. The process of risk assessments in the context of the renewable energy industry, will also be discussed.

Next the module will consider the topic of energy consumption and usage, most notably in the heating of buildings and transportation (both of which represents the bulk of final energy consumption). This shall include estimating the energy consumption of buildings depending on climate conditions and the options for improving building performance and estimating of heat load, boiler requirements, etc. Transportation shall also consider the environmental impact of transportation as well as the design of urban areas, public transport, its benefits and limitations.

Finally, we will review the application of renewable energy resources for the design of appropriate renewable energy systems; including autonomous off-grid systems, as well as the methodology and rationale for grid connection. Systems control and energy storage on both a micro and macro scale will be considered next. This shall include Economic and environmental impact of energy systems. Hydro electric systems design, including water turbine selection and Flow Duration Curve analysis for optimisation of energy yield will be presented. Wind energy design shall also be considered, including the site selection and estimation of performance.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Digital Technologies for Smart Cities?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above. We look for applicants to have a background in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics or computer science in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Digital Technologies for Smart Cities based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £7,280 £tba
Overseas and EU £18,800 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


What can you do with a MSc Digital Technologies for Smart Cities degree?

In the era of urbanization, cities are the epicenters of innovation and growth. Graduates from the MSc in Digital Technologies for Smart Cities program are equipped with a unique set of skills that make them highly desirable in a variety of sectors. Here are some potential career paths:

  • Smart City Planner
  • IoT Solutions Architect
  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sustainable Energy Consultant
  • Data Analyst
  • Automation and Robotics Engineer
  • Researcher
  • Project Manager
  • Policy Advisor
  • Entrepreneur

Throughout the course, you'll delve into a diverse array of topics, from IoT and Autonomous Systems to Modelling and Computation for Smart Places. Through interdisciplinary projects and collaborative initiatives, you'll gain practical experience applying digital technologies to tackle real-world challenges in automation, energy, and networking.

Upon completion, you'll emerge as a visionary leader, equipped to shape the future of urban living through the strategic application of digital technologies. Whether you aspire to work in city planning, urban development, or technology consultancy, our MSc in Digital Technologies for Smart Cities will provide you with the knowledge and skills to make a lasting impact in the evolving landscape of urban innovation.

What does a Smart City Planner do?

As a Smart City Planner, you will utilize your strategic vision and technological expertise to shape the cities of tomorrow. In this role, you will be tasked with designing and implementing innovative solutions to enhance sustainability, efficiency, and livability in urban environments.

Your responsibilities will span from conceptualizing smart infrastructure projects to coordinating with various stakeholders, including government agencies, urban planners, and technology providers. You will find yourself leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and artificial intelligence to create connected ecosystems that optimize resource usage, improve public services, and foster economic growth.

As a Smart City Planner, you will tackle complex challenges such as traffic congestion, energy consumption, and waste management, using data-driven insights to inform decision-making and drive positive change. Whether it's implementing smart transportation systems, deploying sensors to monitor air quality, or designing sustainable urban landscapes, your role will be instrumental in creating cities that are more resilient, equitable, and inclusive.

Your passion for urban innovation and commitment to sustainability will drive you to explore new possibilities and collaborate with stakeholders to realize the vision of a smarter, more livable future.