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MSc Cyber Security (1 year full-time)

This one year MSc Cyber Security degree offers a multi-disciplinary approach to this critically important topic, embracing not only the technical subjects, but also aspects of criminology, risk management, law and social sciences giving you skills that are highly regarded by leading employers.

Introducing your degree

Cyber security is a topic of critical importance to commercial and academic organisations, as well as to governments and their citizens. Our Cyber Security programme, primarily aimed as a broadening qualification for computer science graduates, offers a multi-disciplinary perspective to the subject, giving students an excellent basis for a future career in the cyber security field.

Programme Overview

There is currently a worldwide shortage of skilled practitioners in cyber security. In the UK, the National Audit Office recently named "addressing the UK's current and future ICT and cyber security skills gap" as a "key challenge", whilst at a time when cybercrime “as-a-service” is on a steep rise, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skill calls for companies to make of cyber security a Board level responsibility. Our MSc is specifically designed to give students a well-rounded, multi-disciplinary view of the subject area, embracing not only the technical subjects, but also aspects of criminology, risk management, law and social sciences.  We believe a broad grounding in cyber security will give our students a key advantage in the marketplace.

View the programme specification document for this course

Accreditation

This is 1 of only 12 cyber security MSc programmes in the UK to be awarded Provisional Certification against the GCHQ Certified Master's degree in General Cyber Security standard, subject to a specific set of modules: see the programme spec for details

We are 1 of only 13 universities recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the UK Government.

Programme Structure

One year, full-time.

The programme is primarily a broadening qualification for computer science graduates, but is also one that may appeal to suitable graduates from other disciplines. The programme features two semesters of taught modules, with a variety of optional modules available to allow students to selectively gain knowledge in some specific subject areas, followed by the MSc dissertation/project, which where possible is conducted in conjunction with an industrial partner.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. Visit our how to apply pages for more information.

Key Facts

Southampton University has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology of the past 10 years

We are in the top 10% in the UK for the volume and quality of our Computer Science research (REF 2014)

100% of our Computer Science research impact is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)

We have been ranked in the UK top ten for Computer Sciences for over ten years by the Guardian University Guide

Southampton is ranked in the top 51-100 universities for Computer Science in the 2016 QS World Rankings

We are one of only 13 universities recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the UK Government and our academics are playing a leading role in establishing a European Data Science Academy

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Honours Degree:

Our normal entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree or higher (or equivalent) in a related discipline, such as mathematics, physics, engineering or computer science.

English Language Requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each competency. For information on other accepted English language tests, please visit www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions_language.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office

Selection process:

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

Modules

Year 1

Year 1, Semester 2
Optional Modules
COMP3217
Secure Systems
COMP6211
Biometrics
COMP6237
Data Mining
ELEC6242
Cryptography
MANG6143
Project Risk Management

Year 1, Modules not in Semesters
Compulsory Modules
COMP6200
MSc Project


Career Opportunities

This programme provides an excellent platform for either immediate employment in the cyber security field or further research in industry or academia. Our graduates should not only understand technical aspects of cyber security, but also the broader context in which these sit.

Our students should be able to seek careers in:

  • Established companies designing and marketing specific off-the-shelf security products (anti-viruses, anti-spam, software analysers, firewalls, etc.)
  • Emerging cyber security professions embedded in companies and business of any sort. These include the expert figures required as companies are urged to take responsibility for the analysis of their cyber-threats and the design of their cyber-defences
  • A growing range of cyber security consultancy companies who study and analyse trends in cyber security and who provide advice to a wide range of clients
  • Professions for which cyber security plays a key role, and for which understanding the broader context is becoming increasingly important, e.g. the military, intelligence agencies, and crime prevention and investigation
  • Government departments, e.g. in the UK the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BiS), who provide analysis and strategy advice for the UK and its businesses

Academic possibilities include further study towards a Ph.D. qualification, or research assistant positions undertaking cyber security related research.

Visit our careers hub for more information.

Costs

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Pre-course Reading List

We expect students to have a background in Computer Science or a related discipline, and thus you should have experience with topics including computer networks and computer programming.

The recommended texts for our cyber security modules include:

  • “Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems”, Ross J Anderson (2008).
  • “Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do about it”, R.A. Clarke, ECCO Press (2012).
  • “Cyber Warfare: Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners”, J. Andress, Syngress (2011)
  • “Security in Computing”, Fourth Edition, C. Pfleeger and S. Pfleeger, Prentice Hall (2006)
  • “Secrets and Lies, Digital Security in a Networked World”, B. Schneier, Wiley (2000).
  • “Handbook of Internet Crime” Jewkes, Y. and Yar, M. (eds), Devon: Willan (2010)
  • “Cryptography Engineering: Design Principles and Practical Applications”, N. Ferguson, B. Schneier and T. Kohno, John Wiley (2010)
  • Private Security. Leicester, Perpetuity Press, B. George and M. Button. (2000)
  • "Project Risk Management: processes, techniques and insights", C. Chapman and S. Ward, Second edition, John Wiley & Sons (2003).
  • “Risk Management: organisation and context”, S. Ward, Witherby & Co Ltd. (2004)

Students may also wish to research commercial white papers, for example:

  • “Cybercrime Exposed: cybercrime-as-a-service”, Rai Samani and François Piaget, McAfee White Paper, 2013

There is a variety of cyber security blogs that should be of interest to students, and highlight topical subjects, including:

We also recommend that students review a range of annual cyber security reports, including:

Location

Highfield Campus

Highfield is our main campus and the heart of the University. Set in beautiful green surroundings, it’s easily accessible from the city centre. University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ.

Find out more

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