This programme helps equip students to engage with complex, challenging problems and real-world issues. It will give students the intellectual and technical skills they need to deal with current and future cyber security threats. The degree programme considers all the layers at which security must be considered, from low-level security attacks on software implementations, through to more abstract design principles underlying secure systems, to strategies for management of processes and people.
The minimum entry requirement is an upper second-class degree or overseas equivalent in Computer Science or a closely related discipline and a solid foundation in programming and knowledge of data structures and algorithms. In particular, knowledge of object-oriented programming will be a strong asset. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test.
The programme requirements are listed next to the programme entry in the course finder. To find out what the grade requirements would be for a qualification that you have studied in your own country, please see your individual country page information
English language requirements
In order to undertake a programme of study here at the University, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English. You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS/TOEFL/PTE or alternative qualifications. The sections below will tell you what grades you need in these qualifications for the subject area you want to study
To join this programme, you should:
enjoy thinking about systems the way an attacker would
be capable of logical thinking, to design systems that avoid security flaws
enjoy programming (preferably in object-oriented languages)
be capable of working hard on difficult projects
be willing and able to contribute to group work
have the ability to set your own goals and manage your time
be self-critical and be able to evaluate your own performance fairly
Secure System Management - 10 credits
This module will cover the fundamental security concepts (assets, threats, risk analysis and adversarial thinking), security management systems such as ISO 27001 and security professionalism.
Designing Secure Systems - 10 credits
This module will introduce the fundamental concepts involved in designing systems that are secure, with examples and counter-examples.
Anonymity, Privacy and Cybercrime - 10 credits
This module will describe to students what kinds of cyber-crime are most common. It will also look at how cyber-crime can be stopped and people can protect themselves. This will include privacy protection and anonymity systems.
Network Security - 10 credits
The means to secure networks at different layers of the IP stack are described. IPSec, web security, PGP, wireless security and security at the application layer are covered in depth. The module includes assessed work.
Cryptography - 10 credits
This modules describes cryptographic systems in depth. The theory and practice of the main symmetric and public-key systems are covered, and more advanced topics like zero-knowledge proofs and quantum cryptography are introduced. The module is accompanied by assessed exercises.
Secure Programming - 10 credits
This module covers software-based attacks and countermeasures, including SQL inject attacks, buffer overflows and exploitation of race conditions. There are assessed practical exercises accompanying the module.
Project - 60 credits
The summer project is the culmination of the degree programme. Here, you will work intensively on a topic of your choice, while benefiting from regular meetings with your project supervisor. The project can be development of software to solve some problem in cyber security, or it can be investigation and analysis of existing designs and solutions. The topic can be any area of cyber security.
Optional Modules (students will choose 60 credits):
Incident Management and Forensics - 10 credits
This module will teach students how to investigate and respond to cyber security incidents. This will include developing technical skills such as disk image and network log analysis, as well as high-level skills such as knowing what to do when investigating a system that might have been attacked.
Penetration Testing - 10 credits
This module will look at ways of assessing the security of computer software and hardware, for example websites, smart phone apps and other programs. It will introduce the students to methods and tools they can use to analyse systems with practical examples.
Hardware and Embedded System Security - 10 credits
This module teaches the constructive and destructive sides of hardware security. In the first part, students learn to efficiently implement cryptography on embedded devices (using an 8-bit microcontroller). It includes an implementation assignment, which is solved during the lab time. In the second half, techniques to attack embedded systems (e.g. side channel analysis) are presented. The implementations from part one are practically attacked with the introduced methods. Students will learn to use oscilloscopes and other tools used for security analyses. The module concludes with an overview of countermeasures for securing embedded cryptographic algorithms.
Compilers and Languages (Extended) - 10 credits
The module describes the structure of a typical compiler. The phases of compilation, from the front end to analysis and code generation, as well as the main techniques used in each phase will be covered.
Individual Study 2 - 10 credits
This module exists to allow particularly strong students to study, at their own initiative, material that is outside what can be found in other Level M modules that are available in the School of Computer Science. Learning is by self-managed study under the direction of a supervisor (a member of the academic staff of the School). The topic for a particular student is by negotiation between the student and supervisor early in the semester.
Networks (Extended) - 20 credits
The aims of this module are to:
introduce the basic terminology, technologies and standards in computer networks
introduce the principles and underlying theory of data communication systems
provide an understanding of the fundamental concepts of networks and associated protocols (in the context of the OSI and Internet layered reference models)
Operating Systems (Extended) - 20 credits
The aims of this module are to:
explain the role and function of an operating system
show how resource management is done in an OS
examine the additional complexities of distributed OS
evaluate security mechanisms in OS
Intelligent Data Analysis (Extended) - 10 credits
Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing (Extended) - 20 credits
Security Research Seminar - 10 credits
Enterprise Systems (Extended) - 20 credits
Graduates of this degree gain the knowledge to become leaders in the field of cyber security and to shape the technologies that will be developed in the future. They are equipped to work on secure software development within the software and IT industry, or to become cyber security consultants. They may also choose to move on to PhD research.
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