Cyber Security Masters/MSc

Masters/MSc postgraduate degree course in Cyber Security:

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.

UK Government acknowledges the importance of cyber security with £500k investment in bursaries for GCHQ-accredited master's degree

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are providing £500k investment in bursaries to help adults retrain for a job in cyber security. Under the scheme students can apply for a bursary to cover the tuition fees for the GCHQ-certified MSc Cyber Security. 
Contact us for further information

The programme has received full GCHQ accreditation and the University has been officially recognised as an ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ (ACE-CSR) by the UK government.

The recognition of Birmingham as an ACE-CSR signifies the consistently high-quality research being conducted in the Security and Privacy group at the University. The group has expanded greatly in recent years, reflecting the University's continued commitment to supporting world-leading research into cyber security issues affecting industry, government and society.

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Cyber security is about designing systems that resist attack. As computers become ever more prevalent and ever more connected with each other, the opportunities for attackers become even greater, and the need to resist them becomes more urgent. Computing infrastructure is now vital for communication, government, commerce, and control of our physical environment, and is a potential target of terrorist and criminal attacks. Graduates who understand the technologies that underpin products and practices to secure it will be in great demand.

Hear from Dr David Oswald

This is a one-year full-time degree programme for graduates in a computing-related discipline. It will allow students to obtain the knowledge and expertise to evaluate, designand build secure computer systems, processes and people that are involved in cyber security. It covers the theory and practice of designing and building secure systems and gives you a firm grounding in cryptography, network security and secure programming, as well as optional modules in topics such as hardware and embedded system security, operating systems and incident management and forensics.

The programme also gives you practical experience with technologies and toolkits for building internet-based software. All students undertake a large, personally supervised project in the final months of the course.

Our curriculum has been developed with the involvement of key individuals in the cyber security industry. As well as advising us on the skills they seek when recruiting graduates, they also contribute directly to the MSc programme through guest lectures and project supervision. In recent years, we have had guest lecturers from Microsoft, Vodafone, Siemens, IBM and Hewlett Packard.


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • UK/EU students: £8,190 
  • International students: £20,250

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships 

UK Government acknowledges the importance of cyber security with £500k investment in bursaries for GCHQ-accredited master's degree

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are providing £500k investment in bursaries to help adults retrain for a job in cyber security. Under the scheme students can apply for a bursary to cover the tuition fees for the GCHQ-certified MSc Cyber Security. 
Contact us for further information

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.  For further information contact the School directly or email

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Computer Science or a closely related discipline) or international equivalent in Computer Science or a closely related discipline. 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.

Learn more about entry requirements . 

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements.
Standard English language requirements apply.

Additional information:

We want to recruit students with intellectual curiosity who want to develop their skills in analysing the security vulnerabilities of systems and designing secure systems. 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
  • have good communication skills and be able to explain your ideas in presentations and in writing

How to apply

International students requiring visas

Monday 3 July is the close date for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Applications will reopen for 2018 entry on 15 September 2017.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The programme includes lectures, tutorials, exercise classes, practical work, projects and independent study.

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to computer security
  • appropriate theory, practices and tools for the design, implementation and evaluation of secure computer systems
  • appropriate theory, practices and processes for the management and governance of cyber security in industry

You will also attain the following skills and attributes:

  • the ability to apply the knowledge and understanding noted above to the analysis of a given information handling problem
  • the ability to specify, design and construct secure computer systems, using appropraite tools, and to document all stages of this process
  • the ability to discover vulnerabilities in implementations
  • the ability to evaluate internet-based software systems in relation to given computer security requirements
  • the ability to work independently on a substantial software project
  • management of learning and development, including time management, organisational skills and the ability to pursue independently further development of your IT education

The MSc in Cyber Security is a new programme, but graduates of the MSc in Computer Security have gone on to work
for companies including Accenture, IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, BT and Delcam. 

Our students 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.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.