School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MSc Cyber Security

Cyber security is essential for all organisations, with hacking, malicious code and social engineering ever present threats to data. This programme provides holistic coverage of cyber security, from governance and policy, to cryptography, penetration testing and digital forensics. Grounded in core computer science, the programme develops the knowledge and skills to design, develop and manage secure systems to produce highly employable cyber security professionals.

Being very applied in nature, you will spend a significant proportion of your time in our Security and Forensics Laboratory putting theory in practice whilst working alongside world-leading academics.

Postgraduate open evening: Wednesday 9 October 2019

Discover how this masters-level degree can help your future career by talking with us at our postgraduate open evening.


Register for postgraduate open evening

Key features

  • Be confident studying a degree accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT*. The University has been awarded Academic Partner status by the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), in recognition of the significant base of security-related expertise within the institution. This link encourages and enables a dialogue between academia and the wider community of security practitioners.
  • Pursue industry recognised certifications, such as AccessData Forensic Examiner (ACE), and EC Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
    Learn from research-active staff at the forefront of knowledge, conducting research within the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research.
  • Put your skills into practice in our high specification security, networking and digital forensic laboratories.
  • Active Computer and Information Security Society (CISS) provide opportunities for networking, problem solving, speakers from industry as well as a valuable source of contacts.
  • Build on the foundation which this course offers and take the opportunity to progress onto a research degree at MPhil or PhD level.
  • Benefit from the courses extensive links with major professional bodies and societies such as the BCS, ISACA, IFIP Technical Committee 11 and the Institute for Information Security Professionals (IISP).
  • Take the opportunity to make career inroads through strong industrial links with major organisations such as Kaspersky Labs, Symantec, Orange, France-Telecom, and various UK government departments.
  • Engage with the Secure South West branch programme, who hold many of their sessions at the University of Plymouth. The branch has a rich programme of events that contributes to broadening the knowledge and experience of the students.
  • Continually under review to ensure all content is relevant and timely the programme has recently begun to offer AccessData Certification as a part of the cybercrime and investigation module, enabling you to achieve professional recognition as well as academic credit.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • During your year of study you will gain an understanding of key topics such as security management, cryptography, network and system security, computer forensics, and protection in application scenarios. You'll also benefit from being taught a wide variety of hands-on skills, which enable you to implement, configure and manage many of the typical controls you will encounter in practice - including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, authentication and access mechanisms, and forensic case management tools. The project will enable you to explore and develop in-depth knowledge on a particular area of security. You'll become a subject expert and push the boundaries of the current understanding.

    Core modules
    • MATH501 Modelling and Analytics for Data Science

      This module gives students an understanding of modelling and analytics techniques for Data Science. It supplies modern data modelling tool boxes for making strategic decisions in a broad range of Business related practical situations. It offers a hands-on introduction to Bayesian inference and machine learning. It provides additional practice in making professional presentations.

    • PROJ513 MSc Project (September)

      The student will complete a research project of their choosing (from a Project Catalogue - or self-proposed), and communicate their motivation, methodology, and conclusions through a formal dissertation and presentation of a paper summarising their dissertation.

    • SEC501 Information Security Management and Governance

      This module looks at the issues surrounding the management and governance of information security within an organisational context. Consideration is given to the need for related policy, analysis of risk, and the management of organisational assets. Coverage also includes legal and personnel aspects of security, giving an overview of the wide range of laws and regulations governing systems and information security.

    • SEC502 Network Security and Penetration Testing

      This module looks at the defensive techniques used in protecting network systems in contrast with the offensive techniques used in Penetration Testing (the use of security tools and techniques to identify and demonstrate the exploitability of weaknesses in IT systems security). The module also considers the related ethical/legal issues.

    • SEC503 Intrusion Analysis and Incident Management

      This module will examine the field of intrusion prevention, detection and response and the role it plays within modern information security systems. It will introduce key concepts in the analysis of network traffic for signs of intrusions, as well as the process of responding to computer incidents.

    • SEC504 Secure Systems Architectures and Mechanisms

      System security addresses protection mechanisms appropriate to various IT systems and architectures, focusing upon technologies that are appropriate regardless of whether a system is implemented as part of a network. These mechanisms and cryptographic protocols help to provide confidentiality, integrity of data as well as authentication and authorisation.

    • SEC505 Digital Forensic Investigation

      This module examines the procedures, tools and techniques utilised within the field of digital forensics. It will introduce a fundamental understanding of the volatility of data, the procedural steps taken to ensure the integrity of data and how to undertake an investigation.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Cyber Security programme specification 6566

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

A good first degree in computing or a computing-related discipline. A lower degree classification may be considered if you can demonstrate a significant level of experience in the security area, with competence in computer programming. Professional experience may also be taken into consideration.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is 6.5.

English language requirements

No graduates of BSc (Hons) Computer and Information Security from Plymouth University will be accepted.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,500 £9,800
International £14,400 £14,800
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Dedicated laboratory facilities

As well as accessing our standard computing laboratories, you’ll be able to make extensive use of a 42-seat dedicated security and digital forensics laboratory, purpose-built to represent a range of network topologies and monitoring conditions.

Practical activities and tools used include: Webgoat, secure coding, analysis of honeynet challenges, scapy, nmap, metasploit, Snort, and FTK.

Computer and Information Security Society (CISS)

You’ll get the chance to join the active student-led Computer and Information Security Society (CISS), which organises additional seminars and other activities in order to further enhance your experience at Plymouth.

Previous activities have included a trip to the historic WWII code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park.

Pursue industry-recognised certification

Benefit from the University’s agreement with the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) to provide courseware scholarships for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification.

You can also get access to the AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE) courseware, to improve your proficiency with Forensic Toolkit FTK.

Find out more about the industry recognised certification

Industry participation and endorsement

Plymouth's security degree provides a really strong foundation for those looking for a career in the industry.

Ram Herkanaidu (Kaspersky Lab’s UK Education Manager)

Find out more industry participation and endorsement

Watch our podcasts

An extensive range of podcasts are available on the Plymouth University iTunes U site.

Including segments from our lectures, invited presentations, interviews and other activities linked to our teaching, research and industry engagement.

Watch the iTunes U collection of videos

Jean-Paul Fizaine - current student quote

I initially chose to study at Plymouth as the University has a partnership agreement with my engineering school in France. Now I have been here a few months I have seen for myself the good facilities at the University.

Jean-Paul has relished the experience of meeting and speaking to people from all over Europe and the rest of the world.

ESIEA (Ecole Superieure d’Informatique Electronique Automatique, France

Research in computer and information security

This programme is closely linked with research activities within the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research (CSCAN).

Find out more about our research in this area

People

*The BCS accreditation renewal process took place during 2017-18 academic year and the outcome will be confirmed during 2018.