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Computer Networks with Security (MSc)

Course Description

Today there are high level tools easily available to perform sophisticated attacks on computer and network systems. As a result computer network security is a very important consideration in every organisation using computer networks. Without proper implementation, businesses could suffer financial losses. There are excellent opportunities in this area with excellent rewards. At present there are skills shortages globally in some areas of security which is an indicator of the demand for highly skilled security professionals.

The MSc in Computer Networks with Security aims to produce postgraduates with an advanced understanding of modern networks with the integrated need of security. The course aims to prepare the student with specialist knowledge and skillset in key areas such as threat analysis, network security systems, cryptography, cybersecurity, penetration testing, wireless security and information security. Students will develop skills to critically evaluate the threats and vulnerabilities of network systems and to implement and integrate security strategies. They will also be able to develop the ability to critically evaluate and implement principles and practices used in modern day cryptography used to secure data and communication in computer network systems. There will be an opportunity to explore current security tools used in penetration testing and get hands on experience at configuring enterprise level security appliances such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and VPNs.

Course structure

Each MSc course consists of three learning modules (40 credits each) plus an individual project (60 credits). Each learning module consists of a short course of lectures and initial hands-on experience. This is followed by a period of independent study supported by a series of tutorials. During this time you complete an Independent Learning Package (ILP). The ILP is matched to the learning outcomes of the module. It can be either a large project or a series of small tasks depending on the needs of each module. Credits for each module are awarded following the submission of a completed ILP and its successful defence in a viva voce examination. This form of assessment develops your communication and personal skills and is highly relevant to the workplace. Overall, each learning module comprises approximately 400 hours of study.

The project counts for one third of the course and involves undertaking a substantial research or product development project. For part-time students, this can be linked to their employment. It is undertaken in two phases. In the first part, the project subject area is researched and a workplan developed. The second part involves the main research and development activity. In all, the project requires approximately 600 hours of work.

Further flexibility is provided within the structure of the courses in that you can study related topic areas by taking modules from other courses as options (pre-requisite knowledge and skills permitting). Prior to starting your course, you are sent a Course Information and Preparation Pack which provides information to give you a flying start.

MSc Computer Networks Suite of Courses

The MSc in Computer Networks has three distinct pathways:
- Security
- Communications
- Cloud Technologies

The course structure is quite flexible, affording industry-based students an opportunity to attend and accumulate module credits over an extended period of time. It also simultaneously serves the full-time student cohort which generally progresses through the MSc pathway in a single calendar year.

The MSc programmes are short course based and feature assessment through sequentially submitted result portfolios for the work packages, ie the ILPs. These are assigned immediately on each short course module where the students are able to concentrate their study efforts just on the most recently-taught subject material. This greatly promotes efficient focused learning. The individual oral examination administered for each ILP furnishes valuable experience in oral defence, and frees students from written examination burdens.

The technical tasks undertaken in ILPs, along with the required major project, thoroughly exercise the concepts covered in the course modules and give scope for originality and industry-relevant study. Team-working activities encouraged within modules, along with the all-oral individual examination regimen employed in this Networks MSc Suite, have proven solidly beneficial in refining the communication and employability-enhancing skills that are strongly valued by industry.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Computer Networks with Security (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You are expected to have a good Honours degree (at least a Lower Second) from a UK university (or overseas equivalent) in computer engineering, computer science with a knowledge of computer hardware, or in electronic engineering with some programming experience. Relevant work experience will be taken into account. An IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent will normally be required from applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not studied their secondary and bachelor's degree education in English.

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