Cyber Security - MSc
- Mode of study
- Full time
- Entry months
- Duration of Study
- 1 Year
- Subject Area
- Computer Science, Information Technology
- FEES (2022/23 academic year)
- UK - £9,500
- International - £17,900
IT systems are a vital part of every company's infrastructure and are exposed to an increasing number of threats regarding user privacy, data theft and service vulnerability. Our programme is aimed at enabling graduates from all disciplines to develop an advanced knowledge of underlying principles in cyber security for the protection of such systems. It will develop and extend the practical skills necessary for the designing, building, deployment and evaluation of cyber security countermeasures.
- The School of Computing and Mathematics has assisted graduates with transitioning into a range of science and non-science related careers, including data science, web development, software engineering and computer science, as well as progression to related PhDs
- We have several collaborative projects with industry partners, including a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the global automotive company, Bentley Motors Ltd, and through our close collaboration with industrial partners we continually seek to ensure that our programme provides you with the technical skills and knowledge to succeed in your chosen career
- The School hosts a state-of-the-art CUDA GPU supercomputer Cluster for use for experiments and more computing-intensive tasks
About the course
The course will begin with developing proficient knowledge of computer systems and their vulnerabilities. You will explore programming skills and quickly move onto advanced concepts. You will gain a deep understanding of the principles of cyber security and explore advanced topics, such as cloud computing, cryptography and security management. You will also be able to fully participate in the development of secure internet and web-based systems, and to apply an expert approach to the management and control of such activities.
Our staff will give you the necessary skills to recognise any risks, safety and security aspects that may be involved in the deployment of computing systems within a specific context. With 24/7 access to our fully equipped computer laboratories, you will also learn how to deploy effectively the tools used for the construction and documentation of computer applications, with particular emphasis on solving practical problems.
The School also hosts a state-of the-art CUDA GPU supercomputer Cluster for more computing-intensive tasks. We will focus on a wide range of generic skills to ensure you can demonstrate your expertise in the workplace, for your own benefit, as well as that of your employer and the wider economy.
Depending on your choice of optional modules, you’ll have the chance to focus on a research-oriented project to develop independent active learning, with the supervision of an expert instructor, or to practice your team working and professional skills with a placement in industry.
Throughout the MSc Cyber Security programme you will study a range of both core and optional modules. Indicative modules can be viewed below to provide you with an idea of the modules that may be available to study - we regularly review our teaching to ensure that it is up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. The information presented is therefore not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules available in any given year.
Core Taught Modules
CSC-40044 - System Design & Programming (15 Credits)
This module provides a comprehensive introduction to system design and programming for those who did not graduate from a computer science or related programme. You will be able to develop programs in a major programming language using principles taught on this course. This module covers:
- The principles and practice of system design in the context of an available set of requirements
- Introduction to programming (algorithms, data structures, data storage and manipulation and user interfaces)
- Introduction to object oriented programming
- The development of computer programs using appropriate technology and including accessing data over the internet
- The use of user interfaces to manipulate and display data
CSC-40054 - Data Analytics and Databases (15 Credits)
This module equips you with the knowledge of database operations and a variety of tools and statistical techniques to enable you to make sense of the exponential growth of big data. You will understand big data issues, advanced analytics and statistical modelling techniques and evaluate their applicability for different types of problems.
CSC-40064 - Fundamentals of Computers and Networks (15 Credits)
This module will provide you with an overview of the core concepts of the discipline, and act as a foundation for other modules in the programme. It will enable you to understand the links between different modules on your course, and to understand them in context. The module provides valuable transferable skills in critical thinking and problem solving and the content is applicable to those who are seeking careers in computing research, network security, network management and other digital communication and network areas.
CSC-40104 - Human Factors of Cyber Security (15 Credits)
"Security measures cannot be effective if humans are neither willing nor able to use them" (The Cyber Security Body Of Knowledge, 2019). Since the early 2000's, there has been an increased appreciation of the role that human factors have in the underlying causes of security failures. Security measures are often not adopted because humans are treated as components whose behaviour can be specified through security policies, and controlled through security mechanisms and sanctions. Humans are often described as the ‘weakest link’ in a system but security needs to be usable and acceptable to be effective.
This module, based on the "Human Factors Knowledge Area" of 'The Cyber Security Body Of Knowledge', aims to provide a foundational understanding of the role of human factors in cyber security. This will include an exploration of human strengths and weaknesses, the importance of user research and task analysis (both for security and primary/everyday tasks) and the design of well-fitting security tasks.
It will also cover appropriate strategies and methods for raising security awareness as well as behaviour change within an organisation by education and training e.g. games and simulations. It will also highlight the importance of creating a positive security culture where individuals or groups are encouraged to become more involved in decision-making about security, and being part of delivering it.
CSC-40039 - Cloud Computing (15 Credits)
In recent years many organisations have migrated applications to cloud computing providers. This module explores the underlying technologies, the practical and ethical issues involved, and provides students with the ability to plan design and implement cloud-based solutions to common business problems. Reliability and performance concerns are addressed, together with the crucial issues relating to the security and privacy of data stored and managed remotely. Cloud computing is dominated by global software companies that make claims relating both to the efficacy of their products and compliance with global objectives in environmental impacts. Students will be able to analyse and objectively assess such claims in coming to reasoned and reflective judgements relating to the appropriateness of cloud-based solutions to a range of problem scenarios.
CSC-40046 - Web Technologies and Security (15 Credits)
The module provides an understanding of contemporary web technologies used for both server and client side development of web applications, with particular focus on mobile applications. The module will consider technology and its application as well as a critical evaluation of when and where to apply specific approached. The module will provide an understanding of security aspects of such web and mobile applications and of the defence methods and techniques employed to defend against security threats.
CSC-40120 - Cryptography (15 Credits)
This module will cover the various types of cryptography and the fundamental security goals achieved through the different cryptographic algorithms, protocols and major cryptographic analysis techniques, as well as possible countermeasures for each technique. Significant emphasis is placed on how algorithms are attacked and the characteristics of these attacks that make them effective. You will also cover the properties that an algorithm must have in order to resist such attacks.
CSC-40122 – Cybersecurity (15 Credits)
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of advanced topics in cyber security and explores the key aspects of the different areas of cyber security. You will cover recent and emerging advances in cyber security, including cryptography, encryption, network security and distributed systems security. You will also explore human factors in cyber security and privacy at an advanced level. The module will be assessed with a group project that aims to develop your critical analysis and academic writing skills.
How the course is taught
You will explore a variety of learning methods during this course. The principle method for teaching is formal lectures, which are complimented by smaller group tutorials and practical sessions, dependent on the topics covered in the module.
Our lectures will introduce you to concepts and topics, whilst the group tutorials enable you to consolidate and understand its application to a modern business environment. For example, you may have the opportunity to apply these taught concepts to real world problems, and monitor your individual progress. Both self-study and your indpendent research will contribute to your learning outcomes.
Our teaching is informed by our internationally recognised research. More information about the Computer Science staff is available here.
How you'll be assessed
The type of assessment will depend on the specific modules you take.
Assessment methods may include:
- Unseen examinations
- Class tests
- Short reports
- Oral presentations
Teaching staff pay particular attention to specifying clear assessment criteria and providing timely, regular and constructive feedback. This helps to assist your understanding, knowledge and performance as well as skill development.
Academic entry requirements
2:2 undergraduate degree in any subject or an international equivalent.
We will also consider students with equivalent industrial work experience.
English Language Entry Requirement for International Students
IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. The University also accepts a range of internationally recognised English tests.
If you do not meet the English language requirements, the University offers a range of English language preparation programmes.
During your degree programme you can study additional english language courses. This means you can continue to improve your English language skills and gain a higher level of English.
Pre-Master's in Computing
The Keele University International College offer a one semester Pre-Master's in Computing programme for international students who do not meet the traditional entry requirements for a postgraduate computing degree at Keele University.
Please visit the Keele University International College for more information on how to apply, entry requirements and course details.
Scholarships and Funding
We are committed to rewarding excellence and potential. Please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries webpage for more information.
It's important to plan carefully for your funding before you start your course. Please be aware that not all postgraduate courses are eligible for the UK government postgraduate loans and, in this case, you would be expected to source alternative funding yourself. If you need support researching your funding options, please contact our Financial Support Team.
The School has a range of research areas including machine learning and computational intelligence, computational neuroscience and biomedical engineering and evolutionary systems, as well as software and systems engineering.
We have previously won funding from the leading UK research funding agencies, ESPRC and BSRC as well as prestigious funding bodies such as the Leverhulme Trust.
In addition, the School hosts monthly research seminars where we invite experts from outside the School to present their latest research to our students and staff.
The School also has several collaborative projects with industry partners. For example, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the global automotive company, Bentley Motors Ltd. The partnership aims to develop an innovative data mining processes that will allow Bentley to exploit the value hidden in the data it owns and collects.
At Keele, we have a MakerSpace, a multi-purpose research lab equipped with a variety of robots and a Vicon motion-tracking system. Alongside this, we have an exciting, brand-new Gaming Lab and a perception lab with virtual reality equipment.
You will be taught in dedicated teaching and laboratory space, equipped with computer systems.
Through our close collaboration with industrial partners we continually seek to ensure that our programme provides you with technical skills and knowledge. This involves developing a range of skills that will assist you in your employment where computer systems security is a priority.
As a professional in cyber security, you may work as an analyst, to protect the business/company's IT infrastructure, detect threats and manage intrusion attemps as well as alarms and reports. This may also involve team and project management. There's a wide range of career opportunities such as consultancy, and working for private and public organisations. You may offer advisory services to clients or work in-house for larger institutions. Whichever path you are interested in, the Careers and Employability team can provide advice and guidance about your future career prospects.
The team offers specialist workshops, 121 support as well as hosting careers fairs on campus and informal events where you can meet employers. You will also have access to our database of job opportunities and digital resources such as online psychometric testing.
The Athena SWAN Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment, the Charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
Over the past years, we have developed our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda and this is now embedded throughout all levels and activities. In September 2020, the School of Computing and Mathematics successfully renewed the Athena SWAN Bronze Award. The School is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture in which students are able to thrive, regardless of their gender. You will have the opportunity, if you wish, to attend the annual BCS Women Lovelace Colloquium, LMS Women in Mathematics Day and other Women in STEM events.