Cyber Security Masters/MSc

Start date
September/October
Duration
1 year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21: 
£9,250 (UK/EU students) 
£24,120 (International Students)
Further fee and scholarships information is available.

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 and practices that underpin secure computer systems are in great and ever-growing demand.

Please note that applications to this programme from mainland China are now suspended, due to high volumes of applications to date. Please check back on this website for further information.  All applications that have already been submitted for this course, prior to Saturday 16 November 2019 (0.01am GMT), will continue to be considered as normal.

We are accepting applications for MSc Computer Science on our Dubai campus.

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. 

This Cyber Security Masters/MSc programme will give you the skills you need to deal with current and future cyber security threats. It provides a solid foundation for graduates to pursue a career in the software industry or research.

This is a one-year full-time degree programme for graduates in a computing-related discipline. It will allow you to obtain the knowledge and expertise to evaluate, design and 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.

Why study Cyber Security Masters/MSc at Birmingham?

  • The programme has received full certification by GCHQ and the University has been officially recognised by NCSC-EPSRC as an ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ (ACE-CSR) by the UK government; an accolade that is a testament to the School’s first rate research and work.
  • 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 through guest lectures and project supervision.
  • Companies including Microsoft, Vodafone, Siemens, IBM and Hewlett Packard come onto campus to talk directly to our students.

Hear from Georgios about the course

Modules

The MSc programme offers a broad range of modules with which to tailor your course to your own specific interests. 

 Non-GCHQ pathway GCHQ pathway

 Core modules

  • Project - 60 credits
  • Network Security and Cryptography - 20 credits
  • Designing and Managing Secure Systems - 20 credits

Optional modules - choose 80 credits.
Example modules:

  • Computer-Aided Verification - 20 credits
  • Individual Studies (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Programming Language Principles, Design, and Implementation (Extended) - 20 credits
  • Computer Science - 20 credits
  • Forensics, Malware, and Penetration Testing - 20 credits
  • Secure Software and Hardware Systems - 20 credits

 Core modules

  • Project - 60 credits
  • Network Security and Cryptography - 20 credits
  • Designing and Managing Secure Systems - 20 credits

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

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

  • UK/EU students: £9,250
  • International students: £24,120

Learn more about fees and funding.

 

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

For further information about scholarships for our postgraduate taught programmes visit www.cs.bham.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate-taught/scholarships/


For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

How To Apply

Please note that applications to this programme from mainland China are now suspended, due to high volumes of applications to date. Please check back on this website for further information.  All applications that have already been submitted for this course, prior to Saturday 16 November 2019 (0.01am GMT), will continue to be considered as normal.

We are accepting applications for MSc Computer Science on our Dubai campus.

International applicants requiring visas

Please note that applications to this programme from students who are international for fees will close on 1 July 2020. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK/EU and non-Tier 4 applicants

Applications will close on 10 September 2020. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

Before you make your application

You will need to provide a transcript of your studies to date. This should include details of modules and subjects studied, and grades already obtained. We are unable to proceed with your application without this information, and if it is not provided, your application could be made unsuccessful.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

If you are made an offer

If you are made an offer, you will have 28 days to accept the offer via the online portal, or it will automatically be declined by default.

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

Our Standard 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 Requirements



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

International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with 5.5 minimum band score
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • PTE Academic: 51 in all four skills

Further information about postgraduate English language requirements, including alternative qualifications considered and Pre-Sessional English.

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 appropriate 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.

A dynamic, fast-moving sector that offers exciting careers and excellent rewards.

The term computing covers every kind of digital technology that we use to create, store, communicate, exchange and use information. This makes it the foundation for small and large businesses to build their strategies and grow. It is also the key to making our personal lives easier and more fun: mobile phones, online shopping, social media – we owe them all and a lot more to computer science.

What can I do with a postgraduate degree in Computer Science?

Our graduates find themselves in a variety of environments within academia, research, industry, government and private organisations. The following is a short list of research and vocational areas:

  • Software Engineering: developing methods for producing software systems on time, within budget and with few or no defects
  • Software Applications: applying computing and technology to solving problems outside the computer field, eg, in education or medicine
  • Computer/Cyber Security: covers all the processes and mechanisms by which computer-based equipment, information and services are protected from unintended and unauthorised access, change or destruction
  • Artificial Intelligence: developing computers that simulate human learning and reasoning ability
  • Information Technology: developing and managing information systems that support a business or organisation
  • Theoretical Computer Science: investigating the fundamental theories of how computers solve problems and applying the results to other areas of computer science
  • Operating Systems and Networks: developing the basic software computers use to organise themselves or to communicate with other computers

Where can I work?

You could join a technology consultancy firm like Accenture, PwC, CHP Consulting, LogicaCMG, BAE Systems, PA Consulting or Capgemini, or one of the global IT giants, such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Cisco Systems and Apple, amongst many others.

There are a huge number of IT-focused UK companies, not to mention opportunities in investment, retail banking and financial computing and analytics (such as Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of England, Bank of America, HSBC, Barclays, RBS); telecommunications companies (such as BT, Vodafone, Orange, AT&T); IT for retail businesses (such as eBay, Amazon, Tesco, Argos, Expedia) and public sector organisations (such as NHS, GCHQ, Home Office).

Some students choose careers in teaching, research or technology development at universities both in the UK and overseas. There is a great deal of potential for postgraduates looking to put their computing skills to good use.

What does the future hold?

Your career prospects are great and computing graduates with a good degree are in demand. Plus, with the number of computer science graduates from the UK diminishing at the same time as jobs are increasing, students with a postgraduate degree have an excellent chance of securing employment. 

 

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.

Professional Accreditation

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.