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Course content

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.

Programme structure

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.

Educational aims of the programme

The programme will:

  • Provide students with advanced knowledge and understanding of information security theory and concepts
  • Teach foundations and methods from several information security disciplines such as data security, network security, cryptography, formal security analysis, secure systems and web applications, multimedia security, digital forensics, privacy-enhancing technologies, and human-centred security
  • Teach students to apply their knowledge of scientific methods and gained information security skills in practice through lab sessions and individual dissertation projects where students will be offered an opportunity to analyse, evaluate and interpret existing information security mechanisms and/or carry out their own research activities
  • Support students in carrying out their own scientific investigation under the guidance and advice of their supervisor. Students will be able to identify information security problems and find suitable information security protection mechanisms based on their skills and relevant literature sources

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Students will gain:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the general information security aims and challenges
  • Knowledge and understanding of technical and mathematical concepts and mechanisms for the protection of digital data and information
  • Knowledge and understanding of technical concepts and mechanisms for securing network communications and infrastructures
  • Knowledge and understanding of technical concepts and mechanisms for digital forensics
  • Knowledge and understanding of technical concepts and mechanisms for the development of secure computing systems and applications
  • The ability to critically evaluate information security mechanisms and technologies with respect to their functionality, security properties and application challenges
  • The ability to implement or apply existing information security mechanisms and technologies in practice
  • The ability to design, develop and analyse secure systems and applications by taking into account both technical and non-technical perspectives
  • The ability to critically evaluate new ideas, develop own ideas and conduct supervised research in information security

Intellectual / cognitive skills

Students will leave the programme with the ability to:

  • Analyse and solve problems of technical nature under consideration of various risks and constraints
  • Make effective and efficient decisions in an environment of conflicting interests
  • Think strategically 
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate the work of others
  • Apply fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies
  • Carry out an independent research investigation aiming to improve the state-of- the-art knowledge in the field

Professional practical skills

Students will gain the ability to:

  • Come up with technical solutions to a range of problems
  • Use concepts and theories to make judgements on the suitability of solutions, their advantages and disadvantages
  • Implement mechanisms and apply them in a wider context of more complex systems
  • Present their opinions and findings and to produce a high-quality report

Key / transferable skills

Students will have:

  • The ability to communicate concepts and results in a clear and effective manner
  • The time and resource management planning
  • The ability to work with available resources, to collect and analyse research-oriented material

Global opportunities

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.


Visit the Information Security MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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