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This popular GCHQ-accredited Masters degree delivers modern enterprise Cybersecurity, coupled with Digital Forensics and incident response.

Computer security is one of the key challenges in contemporary computing. You will gain critical knowledge within the cybersecurity and digital forensic domains, combining academic principles and industrial practice.

The course is informed by current research in security and digital forensics and is underpinned by our experience with external partners in law enforcement, the cybersecurity industry, financial institutions and other knowledge transfer activities.

Course specialisms include network security, penetration testing, incident response, malware analysis, cryptography, audit and compliance, and host and mobile digital forensics.

The specialisation you gain in the taught modules is further developed through an extensive research-based MSc dissertation project, leading towards a mastery of a subject area and enhancing your particular specialism.

This course is eligible for a SFC funded place for Scottish and EU students – please see theSFC funding page for more information on how to apply. The deadline for applications for a January 2019 start is the 30th of November 2018

This course is eligible for a limited number of DCMS funded bursaries for Scottish and EU students – please see the DCMS bursary funding page 

GCHQ Certified Training

This MSc is one of a very small number of courses certified by GCHQ, recognising UK universities which are excellent in Cyber Security and accredited by the British Computing Society, the Chartered Institute for IT.

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Course details

Computer security is a growth industry and is vital in modern computing environments. You will gain foundation knowledge in all the key areas of cybersecurity, both defensive and offensive, as well as post-incident response and malware analysis.

The digital forensic aspects of the course include network and computer forensics, allowing you to develop the knowledge required to conduct computer-related investigations across networks, systems, and other digital devices.

The School of Computing has developed close ties with industry, law enforcement, and the public sector, through partnerships with organisations such as Cisco Systems, Guidance Software, Symantec, NCC Group, NCA, Police Scotland, and many others.

This helps inform the course, and provides guest lecturers by industry experts. Innovative research is also carried out in key domains by academics and PhD students in our dedicated cybersecurity and forensic research group.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

  • Computer Penetration Testing ( CSN11127 )
  • Host-Based Forensics ( CSN11125 )
  • Incident Response and Malware Analysis ( CSN11128 )
  • Masters Dissertation ( SOC11101 )
  • Network Security ( CSN11111 )
  • Security Audit & Compliance ( INF11109 )
  • e-Security ( CSN11102 )

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

How you’ll be taught

Our industry-informed course combines thorough coverage of academic theory aligned with extensive hands-on practical activities, supported by online and blended materials with virtualised lab environments that complement our on-campus specialist cybersecurity and forensic labs and facilities.

This is a full-time course and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September.


  • September starts: 12 months
  • January starts: 18 months with a three-month break over the summer (after the first taught trimester)


Your knowledge of the information security taught subjects on the course is assessed via a variety of different assessment mechanisms including exams, written reports and essays, and practical scenario-based assessments.


The course is taught at the Merchiston campus, in our specialist cybersecurity and digital forensic practical labs. You will have access to extensive online and blended materials with virtualise lab safe environments for authentic scenario-based practical work such as malware analysis and offensive network security exercises.


The continued growth in the current requirement for cybersecurity and digital forensics professionals means there are a wide range of careers which can be followed after graduating from the course, such as:

  • Security Consultant/Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Network Security Analyst
  • Forensic Investigator
  • Audit/Compliance Consultant
  • Security Certification Engineer
  • Incident Response Analyst
  • Sys Admin
  • Network Engineer

The programme develops a range of key skills currently needed in industry, covering areas such as network security, penetration testing, security monitoring, incident response, malware analysis, operating systems, network and computer forensics, virtualisation and malware analysis. Materials from many professional courses are integrated into the curriculum, towards helping students prepare for sought after professional certification such as:

  • Cisco Security Certifications
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST)

Visit the MSc Advanced Security and Digital Forensics page on the Edinburgh Napier University website for more details!