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Course Content

Course content

The creation, transmission and storage of huge volumes of electronic data is one of the defining features of our age. Whilst these technologies bring us untold benefits, they also expose businesses, governments and individuals to repeated threats, such as fraud through data manipulation, deliberate sabotage and blackmail. As a result, businesses, governments and individuals around the world rely on the expertise and innovations of information security specialists, without which global communications systems would grind to a halt.

Want to join this expanding field and learn from the very best? Our flagship Information Security programme was the first of its kind in the world. It is certified by GCHQ, the UK Government Communications Headquarters, and taught by academics and industrial partners in one of the largest and most established Information Security Groups in the world. We are a UK Academic Centre of Excellence for cyber security research, and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in cyber security. We work closely with industry, and much of our curriculum and research is informed and audited by the industry itself. Our teachers are specialists in the field, with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, mathematics, statistics and the social sciences.

Our broad curriculum encompasses cryptography, fraud detection, system security, network security, device security and the study of how security itself should be managed. You will learn about the technical, legal and commercial aspects of the industry and have the chance to complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. In a typical year you could benefit from lectures and seminars given by as many as 50 different guest speakers. You will also have access to our virtualisation software, for experimenting with network security settings and ideas, as well as to our Penetration Testing Laboratory and industry-sponsored Smart Card Centre.

We offer a friendly, supportive learning environment and you will have a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies. The skills you gain will open up a range of high-level career options and provide a solid foundation if you wish to progress to a PhD. Our graduates are in demand for their cutting-edge grasp of the field as well as their technical expertise and transferrable skills such as data handling, analysis, problem solving and research. The programme can be completed in one year full-time, two years part-time, three to seven years through Continuous Professional Development (CPD), or two to four years through distance learning.

  • Join a world-class Information Security Group, recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence by the UK Government.
  • Learn from an interdisciplinary team of renowned information security specialists who are involved in pioneering research in the field.
  • Benefit from our close ties with the information security industry.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to tailor your degree to your particular interests and complete a supervised research project of your own.

The programme can be completed in one year full-time, two years part-time, three to seven years through Continuous Professional Development (CPD), or two to four years through distance learning.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Security Management
  • Introduction to Cryptography and Security Mechanisms
  • Project
  • Network Security
  • Computer Security (Operating Systems)
  • Security Technologies
  • Secure Business Architectures

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Information Security
  • Advanced Cryptography
  • Database Security
  • Cyber Crime
  • Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
  • Software Security
  • Digital Forensics
  • Security Testing - Theory and Practice
  • Cyber Security

Teaching & assessment

We use a range of teaching methods, including seminars, lectures and practical lab work. There is a strong focus on small group teaching. The programme has a flexible, modular structure, combining a sueprvised dissertation and mandatory courses that together make up 120 of the 180 credits required to pass, with a range of optional modules on specialist topics, worth 20 credits each.

During your studies you will be invited to attend an intensive, two-day revision course to prepare for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exams, which you will then be able to sit on campus, through an established arrangement with (ISC)2.

Assessment is through a combination of end-of-year examinations sat in May or June and the written dissertation, which has to be submitted in September.

Your future career

By the end of this programme you will possess the knowledge and skills to pursue a career as a cyber security professional, and an ideal basis for moving on to further postgraduate research if you prefer. You will have an advanced knowledge and understanding of the latest breakthroughs and techniques, as well as key challenges and opportunities in the field. This programme will also give you valuable transferable skills such as advanced IT skills, data handling, analysis, research, communication, problem solving, time management, adaptability and self-motivation.

Our graduates are highly employable and in recent years they have gone on to forge successful careers in a wide range of sectors, including: banking, telecommunications, security consultancies, the civil service, public utilities and the retail sector.

You will be assigned a personal advisor to guide you through your studies and advise you on further postgraduate opportunities. The campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on your chosen career and the University of London Careers Advisory Service runs regular sessions on finding summer internships or vacation employment and securing employment after graduation.


Visit the Information Security - MSc page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

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