School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

PhD on the Basis of Prior Published Works in Cyber Security

Cyber security is a fundamental requirement for all users of technology – helping to protect organisations and people from a significant, wide variety and constantly evolving threat. This ever-changing threat landscape requires constant innovation in the technologies that provide protection.

The PhD on the Basis of Prior Work in Cyber Security is an opportunity for experienced researchers with a proven track record in innovation within cyber security – typically evidenced through publications and patents. Supported by the Centre for Cyber Security, Communications and Network Research (CSCAN) and our internationally recognized academics, candidates will work closely with a Director of Studies to curate and frame their research into a research portfolio for examination.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • Prior to acceptance onto the programme, an applicant will be asked to produce a report providing an overview of the publications/contributions they have made (hereafter referred to as the prima facie case). This will be independently reviewed to ensure the applicant broadly has an appropriate background and experience for acceptance onto the programme. 

    Once accepted onto the programme, the programme is part-time with a maximum duration of 12 months. Candidates will work towards producing a research portfolio that will evidence they have: 

    • personally made a systematic study
    • shown independent, critical and original powers; and
    • made a distinct contribution to knowledge. 

    In addition to the research outputs, the research portfolio must also include an integrative summary written by the candidate of between 7500-15000 words. The purpose of the integrative summary is to provide a critical overview and synthesis of the research outputs submitted and their contribution to the discipline. 

    In preparing the research portfolio, the candidate will be advised and assisted by a Director of Studies (DoS) who is experienced in the subject area, and who has successfully supervised at least two doctoral level degrees to completion.

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

The entry requirements for this programme of study are vary considerably and applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, the programme is only open to experienced professionals with a proven track record in innovation within the domain.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

For initial enquires or questions, please contact Professor Nathan Clarke who will liaise with you and the appropriate member of academic staff to discuss your background and work towards producing the prima facia case.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Dr Jeff Crume

Distinguished Engineer, CTO IBM Security - North America

"I met Professor Steven Furnell through our common book publisher and later attended a conference in Montreux, Switzerland, where we shared a panel session. Ever since that time I cultivated a desire to pursue a PhD under his tutelage. Concurrently, I had been working on a series of patents in the area of Identity and Access Management, which, when taken together, formed a body of work commensurate with the research of a PhD by publication candidate. All the pieces came together when I learned that Plymouth was offering a PhD by Prior Publication path, which required that I write an integrative summary tying all my patent work together into a substantive whole along with an oral defense. I could not have found a more dedicated and supportive advisor in Professor Furnell or in my examiners — Professors Nathan Clarke (Plymouth) and Bill Buchannan (Edinbrough Napier Univ) — who helped me achieve my dream of a PhD in Cybersecurity."

Centre for Cyber Security, Communication and Network Research (CSCAN)

Improving emergency service incident responses. Sharing space-data. Fighting cybercrime. The Centre for Cyber Security, Communication and Network Research (CSCAN) is driving technological advances that are changing our world for the better.

Find out more about CSCAN

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.