Study computer and information systems security on a course that combines academic teaching, industry input and practical skills development.
The course has four main focuses
This course is ideal if you are already working in an information technology environment or if you wish to specialise in the field of information security. After successfully completing it, you gain industry-recognised certifications that will assist you in progressing further in this field.
You focus on both the technical and managerial aspects of information security. The technically-focused modules involve you exploring a range of systems, tools and techniques at the cutting edge of technology. The managerial-focused modules give you an appreciation of the role information security has in an organisation and how it can be implemented and managed.
On this course you
Free training and certification exam
Thanks to our association with BSI Learning, you are entitled to attend the BSI ISO27001 Lead Auditor course and take the official exam which allows you to become accredited as a BSI certified lead auditor.
Our ethical hacking module is aligned with the CREST Practitioner Security Analyst (CPSA) syllabus providing graduates with industry recognised and desired skills.
BSI lead auditor qualification
• ISO27001 Lead Auditor
BSI courses are delivered by approved BSI trainers and qualified ISO27001 lead auditors. As part of the course you receive the same course material as the official BSI training courses.
Guest Speakers from industry
Due to our strong ties with industry we regularly have special guest speakers. Recent speakers have included industry professionals from Mozilla, South Yorkshire Police, RSA and Blackberry.
In 2014 Sheffield Hallam hosted the North of England's first Ethical Hacking Conference Steelcon. This is set to be an annual event with 2015's event already booked.
We developed this course along two main lines.
The first covers the principles and issues of security design concerning systems and systems integration, web and operating system based applications and communication networks.
The second addresses the methodologies and development of skills required to perform security assessments of complex information systems.
Semester one modules
Semester two modules
Semester three modules
You study research methods and do a substantial research project leading to a dissertation.
Group and individual coursework. You also do a range of
On this course, you gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to work in many different positions, from technical to management roles.
The Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP) has highlighted the following specialisms in the area.
Strategy, policy, governance
• strategist • policy manager • information technology services officer (ITSO) • department security officer (DSO) • chief information security officer (CISO)
Risk management, verification and compliance
• risk analyst • risk assessor • business information security officer • reviewer • auditor
Incident and threat management and response
• incident manager • threat manager • forensics (computer analyst, mobile and network analyst) • computer security incident response team (CSIRT) • attack investigator • malware analyst • penetration tester • disaster recovery • business continuity
Operations and security management
• network security officer • systems security officer • information security officer • crypto custodian • information manager
Engineering, architecture and design
• architect • designer • development • secure coding • software design and development • applications development • security tools • implementation
Education, training and awareness
• security programme manager
• security researcher
Successful graduates of this course have gone on to work for companies such as HSBC, Citrix, and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Protecting digital information from unauthorised access and use, and ensuring the resilience of the underlying network infrastructure and systems, are key challenges for the continued technological development of our society.
The science behind our Information Security MSc connects various disciplines; from computer science, electronic engineering and mathematics, to design concepts, mechanisms and technologies for effective protection of digital information, communication infrastructures and computing systems.
Focused on key information security concepts, mechanisms and technologies, our programme examines fundamental and advanced topics in important areas of modern information security, striving to achieve a balance between theoretical foundations and practical experience.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over three academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The programme will:
Knowledge and understanding
Students will gain:
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Students will leave the programme with the ability to:
Professional practical skills
Students will gain the ability to:
Key / transferable skills
Students will have:
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
A world renowned programme; the first of its kind in the world, this Information Security course looks at both technical and management aspects of cyber security and teaches you about technologies including cryptography, computer security, fraud detection, and digital forensics.
- You will gain cyber security skills for senior level careers by focusing on principles and issues, and you will learn how information security can best be managed.
- You will benefit from Royal Holloway’s wealth of research, expertise and practical consulting experience, which ensures that the degree is up to date and commercially relevant.
- You can study most modules on a stand alone basis and earn CPE credits. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from new graduates through to senior security managers in blue chip enterprises seeking a formal qualification in Information Security.
“Achieving the Masters has significantly benefited my career in Information Security; previously, I provided specific technical advice to customers, but now, with the breadth and depth of knowledge gained during the MSc, I also deliver security strategy consulting to senior executives.” Paul Schwarzenberger, MSc Information Security
The programme has been developed by academics within the Information Security Group (ISG) [external link] at Royal Holloway, University of London, one of the foremost academic security groups in the world.
ISG awarded Centre of Excellence status - Royal Holloway, University of London has been recognised for its world class research in the field of cyber security by UK intelligence agencies GCHQ.
The ISG is at the cutting edge of research into the design and evaluation of smart cards, electronic commerce, security management, mobile telecommunications security, and the integration of security techniques into specific applications. The ISG was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 1998 in recognition of it providing "a unique national resource for the training of information security specialists".
"A pioneering course that continues to provide students with the essential knowledge and understanding of information security, with many graduates going on to fill senior roles." Malcolm Marshall, Partner, KPMG.
Graduates of the programme can be found in many organisations, ranging from large financial institutions to technology and research- oriented organisations, as well as security specialists. The MSc is also a foundation for further postgraduate research.
You can study any of the compulsory core modules, plus the optional module 'Digital forensics', on a stand-alone basis and earn CPE credits. On successful completion of each module you will receive a University of London certificate.
This programme is offered online, enabling you to fit your studies around work and family commitments. To complete in the minimum study period you will need to study 24 hours per week during the academic session (September-April). To complete the degree in four years, which is normal for those in full time employment, you will need to study about 12 hours per week over the academic session.
Fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment, you will take part in online tutor-supported seminars and discussions; a virtual student cafe allows you to interact and network with other students.
If you have any questions, please contact our Student Advice Centre.