Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Mobile Application Development - MSc


This advanced Master's programme in Mobile Application Development combines technology, interface design and application development for mobile platforms.  The programme puts particular emphasis on the mobile platforms of Android, iOS and mobile Web and creating apps with usability and reliability.



The programme prepares you to develop applications for these devices, equipping you to become a highly skilled professional for the Mobile Industry with the latest skill set. On completion of the course, you will have gained skills in the latest technologies in this rapidly expanding and developing field.

About the School of Engineering and Digital Arts

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts successfully combines modern engineering and technology with the exciting new field of digital media.

Established over 40 years ago, the School has developed a top-quality teaching and research base, receiving excellent ratings in both research and teaching assessments.

The School undertakes high-quality research that has had significant national and international impact, and our spread of expertise allows us to respond rapidly to new developments. Our 30 academic staff and over 130 postgraduate students and research staff provide an ideal focus to effectively support a high level of research activity. There is a thriving student population studying for postgraduate degrees in a friendly and supportive teaching and research environment.

We have research funding from the Research Councils UK, European research programmes, a number of industrial and commercial companies and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence. Our Electronic Systems Design Centre and Digital Media Hub provide training and consultancy for a wide range of companies. Many of our research projects are collaborative, and we have well-developed links with institutions worldwide.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts was ranked 21st in the UK for research intensity.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Course structure

The MSc begins in late September and finishes in September of the following year, and consists of approximately six months of coursework followed by a short period reserved for examinations and a four-month project.

Student profiles

See what our students have to say.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Modules may include Credits

Lecture Syllabus

Introduction to mobile and ubiquitous computing

Human computer interaction and user centred design

Contextual user research: persona, scenario analysis, contextual inquiry, logging, diary analysis

Information architecture: process and practice

High and low fidelity prototyping techniques for mobile applications

User and expert evaluation techniques: cognitive walkthrough, user testing

Mobile design principles and guidelines

Sociability design in a mobile context

Accessibility and inclusive design

Future developments of mobile interface technologies


ESSAY (20%):

An assessed 2000 word essay critically reviewing literature on a specific aspect of mobile interface technologies.


Design document of a handheld mobile interactive system, which includes user research (methods and analysis/results) (25%), low and high fidelity prototype (30%), user testing (methods and analysis/design recommendations) (25%).

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Lecture Syllabus

This module is concerned with the design, implementation and testing of applications for the Android operating system. Students will work at all stages of the development life-cycle from inception to testing, whilst considering usability and device capabilities for a mobile application capable of meeting a functional specification. Key topics include:

Android SDK: frameworks, classes and design patterns. MVC.

User interface elements: activities, fragments, views, UI design patterns.

Data persistence: Android SQLite, preferences, file storage.

Multitasking: AsyncTask, Services

Networking: HTTP communication, use of web services.

Mobile Sensing: location and sensing framework.

Multimedia: audio, image, and video handling.

Ubiquitous and mobile computing: concepts and challenges.


Two-hour scheduled workshop sessions provide students with the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of the concepts introduced in the lectures and to practice using the SDK.

Students also develop an app of their own choosing as a mini-project. This together with a report on the development process is assessed.

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Lecture Syllabus

This module is concerned with the design, implementation and testing of applications for the iPhone. Students will work at all stages of the development life-cycle from inception to testing, whilst considering usability and device capabilities for a mobile application capable of meeting a

functional specification. Key topics include:

iOS programming: frameworks, classes and design patterns. MVC.

IPhone SDK: XCode IDE, iPhone simulator, Interface builder, Welcome App

User interface elements: views, scrolling, labels, alerts, toolbars, text, web views. Example apps.

View controllers, navigation controller, tab bar controller, table views.

Dealing with Data: CoreData.

Gesture and Touches.

Audio, video and the MediaKit.

Device APIs: location, accelerometer, compass, battery life.

E-commerce with the iPhone.


Two-hour scheduled workshop sessions provide students with the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of the concepts introduced in the lectures and to practice using the SDK.

Students also develop an app of their own choosing

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A mobile application will be developed for a platform agreed between the student and the supervisor either in an industrial context or within the School.

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Surveys using networked electronic information sources, on-line databases, inter-library loan facilities, private

communications, etc. Identification of a technical area worthy of research, definition of the state-of -the-art in a given field, definition of the research project, and research proposals. Patent search.


Choosing the field of interest. Concept of originality. Research theories: background theory, focal theory, data theory. Contribution towards knowledge. Types of research project (blue sky, basic, applied and experimental research). Research uncertainty. Risk management. Research approaches.


Time management. Resources management. Project management software (MS Project). Use of logbooks. Data management. Data security. Team working skills.


MSc research projects. MPhil/PhD research projects. Academic research and industrial R&D. Project planning, proposals and budgeting. Design of experimental tests. Modelling and simulation.


Structure, content and procedures. Project reports and theses. Journal and conference papers. Technical

presentations. Use of references. Writing up of abstract, introduction and conclusions. Submission, refereeing and

amendments. Effective use of figures, drawings and tables. MS WORD, ENDNOTE and LATEX.


Objectives and structure. Audience analysis. Rehearsal and delivery. Design of visual aids. Use of

computerized projection facilities. Multi-media approach. Poster design and poster presentation. Handling



Patents, patent rights and know-how. Copyright and copying. Design rights and registered designs. Research

contracts and agreements. Confidentiality agreement.


Ethics in engineering research. Research supervision. Modelling and simulation versus real experimental work. Processing and presentation of experimental data. Obfuscation in writing up research papers.

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A major practical system will be developed either in an industrial context or within the department. There are no formal lectures - students will undertake the work in their own time under the regular supervision of a member of the academic staff and, where appropriate, industrial collaborators.

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Teaching and Assessment

The project module is examined by a presentation and dissertation. The Research Methods and Project Design module is examined by several components of continuous assessment. The other modules are assessed by examinations and smaller components of continuous assessment. MSc students must gain credits from all the modules (180 credits in total). For the PDip, you must gain at least 120 credits in total, and pass certain modules to meet the learning outcomes of the PDip programme.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • educate graduate engineers and equip them with advanced knowledge of the technology required to deliver applications and web content to mobile devices
  • produce high-calibre designers versed in modern interaction design methodology who are able to develop mobile applications with high usability
  • provide you with proper academic guidance and welfare support
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer you an environment where you can develop your potential
  • to strengthen and expand opportunities for industrial collaboration with the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • standards, design principles and practices for the mobile web
  • interface technologies and principles of interaction design and usability for mobile applications
  • current standards, processes and technologies to support mobile communications
  • structured programming techniques for embedded and mobile systems
  • the development of the e-commerce market place and principles
  • project management techniques relevant to the mobile application development industry.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to integrate web and mobile technologies
  • the ability to develop information architectures for the mobile web
  • the ability to take into consideration accessibility, sociability and other issues when designing mobile applications
  • the ability to analyse a problem and develop a system-level specification, based on an understanding of the interaction between the component parts of the system
  • the ability to design and develop software solutions based on a system-level specification, taking into account economic factors, risks and benefits
  • the integration of information and data from a variety of sources to develop new software solutions.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to use software development kits (SDK) to develop mobile and embedded applications
  • the ability to devise tests of a software and/or hardware system through experiment or simulation and to critically appraise the results
  • the ability to design mobile applications with high usability by effective integration of user interface elements in a SDK
  • the ability to carry out user research and technical searches when developing mobile and embedded applications
  • the ability to apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocation and execution of a project
  • the ability to prepare technical reports and presentations.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills, working as a member of a team
  • an ability to communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through drawings)
  • the ability for critical thinking, reasoning and reflection
  • the ability to manage time and resources within an individual and group project
  • the ability to learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development.


We have developed the programme with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students will be in a strong position to build a long-term career in this important discipline.

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has an excellent record of student employability. We are committed to enhancing the employability of all our students, to equip you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive, fast-moving, knowledge-based economy.

Graduates who can show that they have developed transferable skills and valuable experience are better prepared to start their careers and are more attractive to potential employers. Within the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, you can develop the skills and capabilities that employers seek. These include problem solving, independent thought, report-writing, time management, leadership skills, team-working and good communication.

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2015 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to gain worthwhile experience and develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers value.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

All students are provided with a personal MacBook Pro for the duration of the course. Additionally, the School is equipped with leading-edge PC workstations running industry standard software.


As a postgraduate student, you are part of a thriving research community and receive support through a wide-ranging programme of individual supervision, specialised research seminars, general skills training programmes, and general departmental colloquia, usually with external speakers. We encourage you to attend and present your work at major conferences, as well as taking part in our internal conference and seminar programmes.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: IEEE Transactions; IET Journals; Electronics Letters; Applied Physics; Computers in Human Behaviour. Details of recently published books can be found within our staff research interests.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A 2.2 or higher honours degree in engineering, multimedia, scientific, computing or similar discipline. Programming skills are highly desirable.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas


The Group’s activities cover system and component technologies from microwave to terahertz frequencies. These include photonics, antennae and wireless components for a broad range of communication systems. The Group has extensive software research tools together with antenna anechoic chambers, network and spectrum analysers to millimetre wave frequencies and optical signal generation, processing and measurement facilities. Current research themes include:

  • photonic components
  • networks/wireless systems
  • microwave and millimetre-wave systems
  • antenna systems
  • radio-over-fibre systems
  • electromagnetic bandgaps and metamaterials
  • frequency selective surfaces.

Intelligent Interactions

The Intelligent Interactions group has interests in all aspects of information engineering and human-machine interactions. It was formed in 2014 by the merger of the Image and Information Research Group and the Digital Media Research Group.

The group has an international reputation for its work in a number of key application areas. These include: image processing and vision, pattern recognition, interaction design, social, ubiquitous and mobile computing with a range of applications in security and biometrics, healthcare, e-learning, computer games, digital film and animation.

  • Social and Affective Computing
  • Assistive Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Mobile, Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing
  • Sensor Networks and Data Analytics
  • Biometric and Forensic Technologies
    Behaviour Models for Security
  • Distributed Systems Security (Cloud Computing, Internet of Things)
  • Advanced Pattern Recognition (medical imaging, document and handwriting recognition, animal biometrics)
  • Computer Animation, Game Design and Game Technologies
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Digital Arts, Virtual Narratives.

Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems

The Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems Research Group comprises a mixture of highly experienced, young and vibrant academics working in three complementary research themes – embedded systems, instrumentation and control. The Group has established a major reputation in recent years for solving challenging scientific and technical problems across a range of industrial sectors, and has strong links with many European countries through EU-funded research programmes. The Group also has a history of industrial collaboration in the UK through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

The Group’s main expertise lies primarily in image processing, signal processing, embedded systems, optical sensors, neural networks, and systems on chip and advanced control. It is currently working in the following areas:

  • monitoring and characterisation of combustion flames
  • flow measurement of particulate solids
  • medical instrumentation
  • control of autonomous vehicles
  • control of time-delay systems
  • high-speed architectures for real-time image processing
  • novel signal processing architectures based on logarithmic arithmetic.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Jim Ang: Senior Lecturer in Multimedia/Digital Systems

Human computer interaction; usability and playability design; computer game studies and interactive narrative; social computing and sociability design; virtual worlds; online communities and computer-mediated communication.

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Professor John Batchelor: Professor of Antenna Technology

Design and modelling of multi-band antennas for personal, on-body and mobile communication systems; passive RFID tagging/sensing and skin mounted transfer tattoo tags; reduced-size frequency selective structures (FSS and EBG) for incorporation into smart buildings for control of radio spectrum.

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Ania Bobrowicz: Senior Lecturer in Digital Arts

Human-computer interaction; computer-mediated communication; feminism and art history.

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Mr David Byers Brown: Senior Lecturer

Animation; digital visual effects; directing.

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Professor Farzin Deravi: Professor in Information Engineering, Head of School

Pattern recognition; information fusion; computer vision; image processing: image coding; fractals and self-similarity; biometrics; bio-signals; assistive technologies.

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Professor Michael Fairhurst: Professor of Computer Vision

Image analysis; computer vision; handwriting analysis; biometrics and security; novel classifier architectures; medical image analysis and diagnostics; document processing.

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Professor Steven Gao: Professor of RF/Microwave Engineering

Space antennas; smart antennas; microwave circuit and systems.

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Professor Nathan Gomes: Professor of Optical Fibre Communications

Optical-microwave interactions, especially fibreradio networks; optoelectronic devices and optical networks.

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Dr Richard Guest: Reader in Biometric Systems Engineering, Deputy Head of School

Image processing; biometrics technologies including usability, cybermetric linkages and standardisation; automated analysis of handwritten data; document processing.

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Dr Sanaul Hoque: Lecturer in Secure Systems Engineering

Computer vision; OCR; biometrics; security and encryption; multi-expert fusion and document modelling.

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Professor Gareth Howells: Professor of Secure Electronic Systems

Biometric security and pattern classification techniques especially deriving encryption keys from operating characteristics of electronic circuits and systems.

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Dr Benito Sanz-Izquierdo: Lecturer in Electronic Systems

Antennas and microwaves.

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Dr Peter Lee: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Embedded systems; programmable architectures; high-speed signal processing; VLSI/ASIC design; neural networks; optical sensor systems and applications; image processing using VLSI.

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Dr Gang Lu: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Instrumentation

Advanced combustion instrumentation; visionbased instrumentation systems; digital image processing; condition monitoring.

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Dr Gianluca Marcelli: Lecturer in Engineering

The understanding of complex systems, in particular, biological and financial systems; using mathematical modelling such as molecular simulation, Brownian dynamics and network theory.

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Mr Robert Oven: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Modelling of ion implantation processes and ion diffusion into glass for integrated optic applications.

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Dr Konstantinos Sirlantzis: Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Systems

Pattern recognition; multiple classifier systems; artificial intelligence techniques; neural networks, genetic algorithms, and other biologically inspired computing paradigms; image processing; multimodal biometric models; handwriting recognition; numerical stochastic optimisation algorithms; nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory; Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods for sensor data fusion.

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Dr Les Walczowski: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

The development of dynamic web applications, mobile applications and e-learning technology.

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Winston Waller: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Design for test; analogue and digital VLSI design; medical applications of VLSI and low power voltage circuit design.

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Dr Chao Wang: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Systems

Optical communications; microwave photonics; biophotonics.

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Professor Jiangzhou Wang: Professor of Telecommunications

Modulation; coding; MIMO; mobile communications; wireless sensor networks. 

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Dr Xinggang Yan: Senior Lecturer in Control Engineering

Nonlinear control; sliding mode control; decentralised control; fault detection and isolation.

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Professor Yong Yan: Professor of Electronic Instrumentation; Director of Research

Sensors; instrumentation; measurement; condition monitoring; digital signal processing; digital image processing; applications of artificial intelligence.

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Dr Paul Young: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering

Design and modelling of microwave and millimetrewave devices and antennas, especially substrate integrated waveguides and smart antennas.

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The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Mobile Application Development - MSc at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7940 £19000

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

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