School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computer and Information Security

Cyber security is now widely recognised as an international priority, with hacking, malicious code, and data theft being just three of the many reasons why it's vital in the design, development and implementation of today’s IT systems. This course delivers a view of security threats and solutions, alongside an essential background in wider IT topics. This is particularly important in light of the national Cyber Security Strategy and the current shortage of related skills in the marketplace.

You will enhance your knowledge of a variety of computing disciplines, including analysis and design, programming, networking, information systems. You’ll benefit from links to professional and industry bodies, including IISP Academic Partnership and the ISACA Academic Advocate programme. You’ll distinguish yourself professionally with a degree accredited by the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT*.

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Key features

  • Benefit from outstanding teaching: in the 2018 National Student Survey 100 per cent of our students said that staff were good at explaining things and that the staff made the subject interesting. 100 per cent of our students also said they felt that the course was intellectually stimulating.*
  • Access a wide variety of specialist software, tools and up-to-date facilities, including a dedicated security and forensics laboratory
  • Enhance your knowledge of a variety of computing disciplines, including analysis and design, programming, networking, information systems
  • Benefit from specialised course material covering the legal and regulatory aspects of computing and information security
  • Build an appreciation of the wider role information security plays within an organisational context
  • Benefit from links to professional and industry bodies, including IISP Academic Partnership and the ISACA Academic Advocate programme
  • Learn from a strong team of security researchers and experts with international reputations delivering the course
  • Hone your research skills - we work closely with our Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research
  • Distinguish yourself professionally with a degree accredited by the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT*. A graduate is entitled to membership of the society (MBCS) and can work towards Chartered IT Professional (CITP) or Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration with three years' relevant work experience. 

Course details

  • Year 1
  • We'll introduce you to the world of information security: hackers, crackers, viruses, trojans, worms, botnets, zombies, phishing and pharming. Build your computing knowledge of programming, computer systems, networks and systems analysis and design. Develop you personal and professional skills for a successful career in information security. The course is designed to help you to develop an appreciation of the wider role information security plays within an organisational context.
    Core modules
    • BPIE111 Stage 1 Computing Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • ISAD156 Databases: Analysis, Design and Development

      An introduction to the analysis and design concepts that are essential for developing and implementing database systems. The module will explore design concepts and procedures, such as principles of business rules, specifying requirements, data modelling, relational data modelling and SQL

    • NET106 Fundamentals of Computer Networking

      Networking is at the heart of modern life, providing the infrastructure for all types of communication. This module introduces the students to the fundamental technology of networks and the underlying concepts and protocols. The module has a balanced mix of theory and practice, with the theoretical concepts discussed in the lectures matched by scenarios to design, implement, configure and troubleshoot in the labs.

    • SEC103 Security and Computer Networks

      An introduction to the subject areas of Computer Networks and Computer Security covering the conceptual underpinnings and building foundations in practical networking and security techniques. The networking presentation follows the initial part of the Cisco curriculum. Key areas of security include the underlying concepts and threats, as well as specific issues in security design of host systems and networks.

    • SOFT151 Introduction to Object-oriented Programming

      A comprehensive introduction to Software Engineering (SE) begins with coverage of the core building blocks prior to covering more advanced skills including Object-Oriented Programming. Front-end software development is tackled using interface components with the final part of the module integrating all aspects of SE practice into an individually programmed, moderately sized application.

    • SOFT164 Operating Systems, Data Structures and Algorithms

      The module will provide basic understanding of the role of a typical multi-tasking operating system, and specifically concepts such as concurrency and synchronization, scheduling and dispatch, memory management, file systems, I/O systems, kernel security and reliability. Also, students will study core algorithms and data structures, as well as being given an introduction to algorithm analysis.

    • SOFT165 Programme Introduction and Web Development

      This module provides an introduction for students to the concepts, modes of study and technical content relevant to their programme of study. It also provides a grounding in the basics of web development.

  • Year 2
  • Explore topics in the development of secure systems: access control, authentication, biometrics, trusted computing, secure coding, cryptography, vulnerability management, malware analysis.  You’ll also develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake digital forensic investigation. A security project drawing on your study so far will enable you to design, develop and evaluate a security mobile app and prepare you for placement.

    Core modules
    • BPIE211 Stage 2 Computing Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • ISAD251 Database Applications Development

      To introduce students to the concepts and issues concerning server-side applications interfacing multi-user, networked, relational databases and to providing a solid foundation in SQL.

    • SEC202 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.

    • SEC203 Security Integrating Project

      Consolidates knowledge gained in Stages 1 & 2 of BSc Computer and Information Security. Students work in groups to design, develop and evaluate a security application.

    • SEC204 Computer Architecture and Low Level Programming

      This module aims to provide understanding of computer architecture, low level Assembly programming and software reverse engineering techniques. The operation of computer system components is examined, including how assembly code is generated and executed by the compiler, enabling students to decipher assembly code and understand the principles of software reverse engineering.

    Optional modules
    • NET206 Servers, Datacentres and Cloud

      Modern hardware and software infrastructure has been evolving rapidly and this module describes the present state both within and outside the enterprise by following themes of hardware; services; maintenance, configuration and monitoring; virtualisation and cloud; and finally performance and resilience.

    • SOFT251 Object-oriented Programming

      This module extends students' knowledge of object-oriented programming using a common object-oriented language.

    • SOFT252 Object-oriented Software Engineering with Design Patterns

      This module aims to develop object-oriented software engineering principles and practices in including encapsulation, abstraction, aggregation and inheritance. It will introduce issues such as progression from analysis to design, implementation, testing and documentation and it includes the use of design patterns (proven solutions to common problems) and software quality principles for enhanced software development.

    • SOFT261 Embedded Programming and the Internet of Things

      This module aims to lift the lid of a computer and show how modern computers really work. A simple embedded microcontroller is used because such devices are simpler and feature prominently in the growing IoT sector. This includes issues relating to low level programming, multi-tasking and defensive programming techniques to mitigate against security vulnerabilities and exploits.

  • Optional placement year
  • Enhance your technical know-how, personal and professional skills, business understanding and future employability with a paid year in a professional security role. We'll help you to find a placement using our high-quality company contacts throughout the UK and abroad.
    Core modules
    • BPIE330 Computing Related Placement (Generic)

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich course, undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for you to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two years of study and to prepare for the final year and employment after graduation. Please note this placement is optional but strongly recommended.

  • Final year
  • Deepen your understanding of key network security concepts and develop the skills required to undertake penetration testing, intrusion analysis, and incident management. Incorporate all of the varying elements of security by studying information security management, and appreciate the human, legal and regulatory aspects involved in the design and implementation of information security. A substantial project will also help you to develop specialised skills and expertise.
    Core modules
    • PRCO304 Computing Project

      The Computing Project gives an opportunity to tackle a major computing related problem in an approved topic area relevant to the programme of study.

    • SEC301 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 & information security.

    • SEC302 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.

    • SEC303 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.

    Optional modules
    • PRCO308 Work-based Learning

      With a view to improving student employability, this module provides the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to a real world IT problem within an existing IT company or client organisation.

    • SEC305 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 undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

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

BSc Computer And Information Security programme specification 3384

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

GCSE: English C/4 and mathematics grade B/5. If you have a grade C/4 in mathematics please contact the admissions team.

A levels: A typical offer is 112-20 points from a minimum of 2 A levels in any subject. Excluding general studies.

International Baccalaureate: 27-30 overall – English and mathematics must be included.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DMM- DDM – related subjects: IT, Humanities, Engineering, Software Development, IT Practitioners, Business, Computing, Science (GCSE English C/4 and mathematics grade B/5. If you have a grade C/4 in mathematics please contact admissions team).

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All Access courses: 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 level 3 credits in mathematics with merit. Including a minimum of GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4. If mathematics not included please contact the admissions team at

Other qualifications will be considered individually; please contact us for information.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

No graduates of this course will be accepted onto the Plymouth University MSc Computer and Information Security programme.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

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.

Industry participation and endorsement

Computer & Information Security students have the opportunity to meet and interact with industry speakers and attendees at the Secure South West event series.

You can also enjoy many opportunities to engage with industry practitioners, such as hands-on session about targeted threats run by David Emm (Senior Regional Researcher with Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team) and Ram Herkanaidu (Kaspersky Lab’s UK Education Manager) 

"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

Studying computing at Plymouth

Hear the views of a student and see some of our facilities.

This short film can help you discover what it is like to study computing at Plymouth.

Free eBooks

Your eBook package will cover first year modules and can be downloaded to the computer, iPad, iPhone and Android phone or tablet.

This is in addition to an annual library investment of £100,000 in online access to dedicated materials for computing, electronics and mathematics students.

The Tamar Engineering Project

Funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not otherwise consider higher education as a route to a career in engineering.

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship to study engineering at the University of Plymouth through the Tamar Engineering Project.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £3,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.

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

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.

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics we recognise that our students are the future of the growing computing and electronics industry. We know that our applicants will thrive in the hands-on environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2018, a range of full-time undergraduate courses within the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Meet some of your lecturers

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