MSc Cyber Security

Course summary

Overview
Cyber security is a key issue in the provision of services, from the application layer through to the basic building blocks of computer and network systems.

This masters degree course in Cyber Security is being offered by the School of Computing and Engineering and has been developed in response to a high demand for cyber security professionals with systematic understanding of the principles and technologies underpinning today's IT systems.

The School of Computing and Engineering has partnered with leaders within the security industry to provide you with a course which will enable you to gain comprehensive knowledge and critical skills in computer security. This course will enable you to pursue a  career as a cyber security professional in either the public or the private sector.

Why choose this course?
As well as learning how industry professionals secure cyber systems and their supporting technologies, on this course you will come to recognise the importance behind the management and delivery of content and services through to users.

Building on from undergraduate computing courses, you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills around cyber security by discovering how cyber security systems are designed and constructed and of the impact technology has on organisations. 

Cyber Security - classroom



The course aims to develop your ability to analyse the legal, social, ethical and professional issues involved in the human aspects of cyber security and be guided by the adoption of appropriate professional, ethical and legal practices. 

It also aims to develop your critical skills and techniques to appropriately solve typical cyber security problems, enabling you to choose from a range of security related jobs/roles in a rapidly evolving and diverse environment.

This course provides routes into a diverse range of career opportunities in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry and in organisations that are data and knowledge intensive. Employers require information security officers at all levels including:

  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Network and Computer Security Engineers
  • Security Managers and Consultants
  • Penetration Testers
  • Cybersecurity Analysts
  • Security Investigators
  • Security Researchers.

You will have access to laboratories and dedicated ICT suites with specialist networks and software as well as excellent resources for study space and meetings.


Tutor Information
This course is run by the School of Computing and Engineering to provide you with both the high-quality teaching and the personal attention you need to make the most of your University education. A strong supportive culture exists amongst the course tutors which enables our students to achieve their potential. Many of our staff members have specialist research expertise.

The School/College teaching staff includes: 

Dr Junaid Arshad is a Lecturer in cyber security. He has developed strong expertise in cyber security emphasising impact of novel and emerging technological paradigms such as distributed systems, cloud computing and big data.

His PhD research was focused at investigating the novel challenge of determining the impact of an intrusion on cloud based systems and developing a novel method to achieve this.

He has also worked as distributed systems security specialist for a number of EU funded projects focusing on mitigating specific security threats to the project partners. 

Dr Liang Chen is a Lecturer in cyber security. He completed his PhD in the Information Security Group at the Royal Holloway, University of London. After completing PhD, he joined the University of Aberdeen as a research fellow working on a number of interdisciplinary research projects s in the area of trust, privacy and personal data.

Dr Liang Chen’s research mainly focuses on the use of AI techniques in data security and privacy, in particular the topics of risk-aware access control, securing data provenance, sharing personal data, etc. 

Dr Wei Jie is an Associate Professor in Computing. His research interests in cyber security include security architectures and system development, Grid and Cloud security, Web and distributed application security. He was the principal investigator for UK national security project. Dr Wei Jie has published approximately 50 papers in international journals and conferences.

Career and study progression
The security industry includes government and law enforcement as well as providers of equipment and services, such as the:

  • anti-virus, security software vendors (such as McAfee, Kaspersky, Symantec, Sophos)
  • network and computer vendors (such as Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto, HP, Barracuda)
  • network and service providers (such as British Telecom, Vodafone, Rackspace, Amazon)
  • consultancies (such as KPMG, IBM, Fujitsu, HP)

The School of Computing and Engineering also has a growing research and enterprise culture with thirty PhD students as well as a diversity of research groups.

Outstanding graduates can continue their studies at the level of MPhil and PhD at UWL.

Course detail

The course aims to equip students for professional careers in cyber security. It provides a practical understanding of the issues relating to the design, analysis and implementation of modern secure IT systems. This course is suitable for all students with a background in ICT and who want to specialise in cyber security. The course builds skills that are necessary to tackle modern secure systems in an industry context. It develops an appreciation of commercial and open source cyber security equipment, software and services based on industry standard technologies.

Teaching consists of lectures, seminars and laboratory work to provide a basis for the intensive individual study you need to undertake to maximise your achievements and the potential outcomes from taking the course. This course consists of the following

Modules:

  • Fundamentals of Cyber Security
  • Security Management
  • Network and Systems Security
  • Research Methods
  • Learning and Professional Development 
  • Employability Skills and Employment
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules:

  • Distributed Application Development 
  • Mobile Web Component Development 
  • Principles of Project Management 
  • Consultancy and Technical Innovation 
  • Programming Support 
  • Security Operations and Assurance 
  • Data Architecture
  • Knowledge Management

Fundamentals of Cyber Security
This module provides an introduction to key techniques and technologies used in cyber security. The security landscape is discussed with emphasis on the CIA of security which leads into cryptography which is the basis of confidentiality, integrity and authentication systems. The module covers symmetric and asymmetric encryption, steganography, principles of cryptanalysis, message confidentiality, message authentication, security protocols and security in distributed systems as well as the application of cryptographic techniques to authentication and identity management.

Security Management
This module provides an introduction to assuring the security of systems, networks, data and user identities, which is an essential aspect of organisation and information systems. New threats are emerging as digital technologies permeate into most aspects of work and social life and in transactions between parties opening potential for fraud, deception and corruption.

Network and Systems Security
This module provides an introduction to network and systems security by firstly discussing security threats, vulnerabilities and attack patterns. This leads onto firewalls, intrusion detection and protection systems for networks and computer systems through to security management, such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems. Topics also include anti-virus systems, system hardening and security testing.

Research Methods
This module gives you the skills to acquire and distil knowledge, preparing you to carry out applied research in the area of cyber security, and in computing in general. You will learn to use appropriate research methodologies and tools to support your research ideas. 

Learning and Professional Development
This is a preparatory module for all students enrolling on the master courses. Learning and Professional Development (LPD) is designed to orientate new master students and especially international students to masters level study.

Employability Skills and Employment
This additional learning support module aims to provide students with an opportunity to prepare for employment and further develop skills proportionate with postgraduate study and industry requirements in preparation for a professional career.

Dissertation
With this module, you have the opportunity to carry out an original piece of research, adding to existing knowledge and demonstrating an ability to select, define and focus on an issue at an appropriate level. You will also develop and apply relevant methodologies to analyse your topic areas, and to develop recommendations and logical conclusions in the context of existing work in the area.

Distributed Application Development (option)
In this module, you will learn how to apply software engineering skills, using mainly Java as the programming language, to develop distributed applications. You will cover both Java programming and distributed application architecture content. There is a particular focus on emerging technologies, such as service orientated architectures and business process management toolsets.

Mobile Web Component Development (option)
This module introduces the concepts and techniques required to support Component Based Development for Mobile Web. Modern distributed architectures rely increasingly on the use of software components to construct and deploy applications. This module describes the conceptual framework underpinning application assembly from components and outlines the supporting software processes. Students are provided with practical experience in modelling component specifications as well as an indication of future development in this area.

Principles of Project Management (option)
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the fundamental concepts, principles and techniques needed for effective project management. It will cover the roles, responsibilities and competencies of those involved in dynamic project-based environments, how these relate to effective project management, and the methodological factors that can be used for selecting, defining, planning, controlling, monitoring and delivering projects.

Consultancy and Technological Innovation (option)
This module gives you the skills to understand, and work in, the complex multi-sourced environment that supports business change, applying global technologies to a real-life case study using programme management concepts. Focusing on the strategic management of leading-edge technology, you will examine the organisational structure of IT, including systems integrators and consultancy, and gain an overview of the IT consulting world, its principles and practice.

Security Operations and Assurance (option)
This module provides an introduction to security operations and assurance of systems, networks, data and user identities, which is an essential aspect of organisation and information systems. This module provides an introduction to security operations and assurance of systems, networks, data and user identities, which is an essential aspect of organisation and information systems.

Data Architecture (option)
Data Architecture describes how Big Data is processed, stored, and utilised in an information system. The aim of this module is to cover some of the developments in the broad range of Big Data problems. The module will give a student hands on experience with various types of large-scale data and information handling, and start by providing a solid understanding of the underlying technologies.

Knowledge Management (option)
In this module, you will explore the widely accepted theories and frameworks for knowledge management - and their application in technologies and learning organisations. On completion, you will understand the way knowledge from these diverse disciplines is used within the development of Decision Support Systems (DSS). Knowledge management techniques can be widely used in cyber security to analyse log files through to the creation of situational awareness systems.

Entry requirements

A degree (at least 2:2) in a computing subject. A business or an engineering degree with a significant level of computing content may also be considered.

Applicants with equivalent professional qualifications, or a relevant Higher National Diploma (HND) will be considered, provided they can demonstrate significant, relevant work experience and the ability to benefit fully from the course. Such applicants will be considered on an individual basis by interview. Some optional modules may not be available to students without a first degree in computing.

International students need to meet our English language requirement at either IELTS at 6.5 or above, and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

Fees

Fees for home and EU students

Main fee
£7,200

Fees for overseas students

Main fee
£11,500
Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

Funding

A range of loans, bursaries and scholarships are available to help you fund your studies.

Students on some Masters courses may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards their course and living costs. Find out how to apply for a Postgraduate Loan on GOV.UK

Other loans available to postgraduate students include Professional and Career Development Loans, which also allow you to borrow up to £10,000.  Find out more about Loans on GOV.UK

Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as disabled students. Find out more about funding opportunities

Within the university, we offer a range of scholarships and bursaries. In the 2017 - 18 academic year, they included:

  • The William Brake Bursary: a £1,000 award for candidates on undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses
  • The Mollie Clay Scholarship: a £2,500 scholarship awarded to an outstanding student
  • Exclusive alumni discounts: a £2,000 discount on taught postgraduate courses or a 10% discount on research courses, exclusive to students who graduated from the University of West London.

Other scholarships are also available, including awards for specific subjects. Find out more and check your eligibility.


Please note fees are paid for each year of study unless otherwise stated. You will be required to re-enrol and pay fees at the beginning of each academic year. Fees may be subject to government regulations on fee increases. Future inflationary increases will be applied to each subsequent year of the course, subject to government regulations on fee increases.

How to apply

When you submit your application for this course it is very helpful to make a positive statement to help us as we consider your application. It is helpful to show that you have a ‘cyber security’ career in mind. This means aspiring generally to work in the public or private sector organizations in a strategic, service orientated, managerial and professional role in the broad areas of information security, network security, security management, cyber security, law enforcement etc. You might also wish to develop yourself towards self-employment and small enterprises: such as security consultancies.

In the ICT industry the ‘cyber security professional’ role is significant. This signals that you aspire to be involved at both the strategic and operational levels of network and information systems and service provision or in research. You would see yourself being a member of the British Computer Society (BCS), the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), or a similar professional body.

Apply for this course

UK and EU students

You can apply for most of our Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters’ Degree courses using our online application system.  Simply click the red ‘apply now’ button above.

Your application will be dealt with by our Admissions team who will be in touch with you.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

International students

To apply for a Masters’ Degree course, please complete our online application form for international students or you can download the print version (Word, 186kb).

You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

More about the application process for international students.

More about how to apply for postgraduate courses.

 

During the course

Assessment

Coursework

Assessed work is a significant part of the total assessment in the masters. There is practical work, report writing, presentations, critical academic writing and the skills and knowledge gained in these contribute to a capacity to deliver a high quality dissertation.

Exams

There are a number of end of module exams. Course tutors provide appropriate support throughout the module to ensure candidates are well prepared.

Student support

The school and course team are experienced and qualified. The University also offers central support for learning skills. A strong student role is actively encouraged.

What our students say

Maryam Hajebi, MSc Information Systems student

“I have studied for many years, but studying Information Systems at UWL has been my best student experience.
The lecturers are excellent with high expectations, they helped me understand and achieve the skills and professional techniques I needed as well as enhancing my personal growth and confidence; their encouragements helped me demonstrate my abilities and focus my determination. I am a different person since I joined UWL.
Being at UWL is not just about studying; it also involves working in groups, and being involved in different parts of the university.”

Jobs and placements

The School of Computing and Engineering has links with industry, creating opportunities for industry projects, work placements and internships for our best students. We have set up a number of successful knowledge transfer partnerships with industry, where we provide our expertise to real-world projects.

Career and study progression

The course is designed to meet industry needs/job market demands, and produce graduates who are informed and suitably equipped to meet the needs of the industry.

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to pursue a number of routes into employment, including opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and in organisations that are data and knowledge intensive.

Graduates in cyber security have a good record of achieving employment and progressing in their professional work. The security industry is wide, including companies that need to protect themselves, government and law enforcement through to the providers of equipment and services, such as the:

  • anti-virus, security software vendors (such as McAfee, Kaspersky, Symantec, Sophos, EMC/RSA, Entrust)
  • network and computer vendors (such as Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto, HP, Barracuda)
  • network and service providers (such as British Telecom, Vodafone, Rackspace, Amazon)
  • consultancies (such as KPMG, IBM, Fujitsu, HP)
  • services companies and in government and law enforcement.

Cyber security professionals are in demand across all industries where devices are connected to the Internet and there is a potential threat from those wishing to steal information. This includes:

  • web presence – from social media to business marketing
  • electronic commerce – B2B and B2C
  • personal information (eg: the computer and online games industry)
  • critical infrastructure command and control (electricity, gas, water suppliers)
  • services companies, e-government, identity management providers

In the UK there is a huge demand for cyber security professionals and the UK government is investing into the area of cyber security over the next few years.

Typical job titles include:

  • network or computer security technician
  • computer or network security officer
  • penetration tester
  • identity and access management officer
  • threat and incident response analyst
  • data privacy officer
  • network forensics analyst
  • data protection advisor
  • security operations analyst
  • iso27002 lead auditor
  • cloud security architect
  • security consultant
  • it security manager
  • business continuity manager
  • information risk manager
  • information governance manager
  • cryptographer/cryptologist
  • security software developer
  • source code auditor
  • virus technician

Study progression

Outstanding graduates have gone on to further study at the level of MPhil and PhD at UWL and at other institutions.

We actively encourage students with potential for research to make their interest known early on in their course.