School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Cyber Security

UCAS tariff 112 - 120
UCAS course code I103
Institution code P60
Duration 3 years (+ optional placement)
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

Cyber security is an ever-increasing demand within every organisation across the world. This course explores the biggest threats to our data from hackers, malicious coders and social engineers to crackers, viruses, trojans, worms, botnets, zombies, phishing and pharming. Develop the knowledge and skills to design, develop and manage secure systems.

Put theory into practice in our Security and Forensics Laboratory alongside world-leading academics on the way to gaining opportunities for careers with intelligence services, large consulting firms and defence contractors like L3, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.

Cyber Security
Careers with this subject

A wide variety of career opportunities exist within the field of cyber security in private and public sectors. As technology moves forward, and the threats evolve, the marketplace for cyber security jobs grows every year.


Typical career profiles can include:

  • secure software developer
  • penetration tester
  • digital forensic examiner
  • intrusion analyst
  • information systems auditor
  • vulnerability assessment analyst
  • SOC Security analyst
  • security compliance analyst
  • cyber security risk auditor


Every year, there are students who get into big companies. Our cyber security students go into a number of intelligence services, large consulting firms and defence contractors. I’ve supervised students at Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Nathan Clarke, Professor of Cyber Security & Digital Forensics


Key features

  • Become an industry-recognised professional
    Pursue certifications such as EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), forensics ACE (AccessData Certified Examiner) and Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). Make use of our links to professional and industry bodies, including academic partnerships with the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.  

  • Benefit from our strong industry connections
    Secure a high-quality placement and jobs at large companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, GlaxoSmithKline and many more. From year one, we support you to find and prepare for a placement year at a leading company.  
  • Learn to solve real problems
    Even without completing an optional placement year, there may be opportunities to make a difference to real businesses by creating useful applications or by providing consultancy for clients.   
  • Join our community
    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.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • We introduce you to the world of information security: hackers, crackers, viruses, trojans, worms, botnets, zombies, phishing and pharming. You underpin your computing knowledge in programming, computer systems, networks, and systems analysis and design.

    Core modules

    • Stage 1 Computing Placement Preparation (BPIE111)

      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.

    • Software Engineering 1 (COMP1000)

      This module exposes students to the principles of software design and construction. The basics of constructing source code to solve a problem will be introduced, exposing students to common control structures alongside concepts such as types and generics. Major programming paradigms such as object orientation and functional programming are introduced. Additionally, key software development tools and methods are explored.

    • Computer Systems (COMP1001)

      This module provides students with an underpinning knowledge of how computers work. Topics include low-level systems and representation of data, operating systems, and an introduction to subjects such as virtualisation, parallelism, state and communications. Students will learn how operating systems manage processes and scheduling, and how memory management works.

    • Cyber Security & Networks (COMP1002)

      Modern computing relies upon networking and robust cyber security. This module provides an appreciation of their core enabling technologies, discussing how they can be applied. Key networking topics include routing and switching, as well as wireless networks. Key areas of security include underlying concepts and threats, and exploring security technologies that can be applied to enable defence in depth.

    • Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics (COMP1003)

      Data structures and algorithms lie at the heart of Computer Science as they are the basis for an efficient solution of programming tasks. In this module, students will study core algorithms and data structures, as well as being given an introduction to algorithm analysis and basic Mathematics for Computer Science.

    • Computing Practice (COMP1004)

      This module applies problem-based learning to provide students with the ability to identify problems and derive appropriate and considered solutions. A focus will be given to the early stages of the software development lifecycle to develop the skills of eliciting requirements whilst considering operational and technical trade-offs. The module will culminate in the creation of a simple yet complete software solution.

  • Year 2

  • Explore topics in the development of secure systems: access control, authentication, biometrics, trusted computing, secure coding, cryptography, vulnerability management and malware analysis. The security project draws on your studies so far and enables you to design, develop and evaluate security software and prepare you for placement.

    Core modules

    • Stage 2 Computing Placement Preparation (BPIE211)

      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.

    • Software Engineering 2 (COMP2000)

      Students’ understanding of software engineering is expanded by introducing a range of topics that instil best practice. Students will learn how to implement faster software using parallelism and consider aspects of human-computer interaction. Object-orientation and functional programming are revisited, while event-driven programming is introduced. Common design patterns used in the construction of software are introduced.

    • Information Management & Retrieval (COMP2001)

      This module introduces students to the fundamental concepts for graphical representation, information management, database systems and data modelling. The capture, digitisation, representation, organisation, transformation and presentation of information is explored using conceptual and physical data models.

    • Artificial Intelligence (COMP2002)

      This module provides students with an introduction to the principles of artificial intelligence and the methods used in that field. Topics covered include search and optimisation, knowledge representation and reasoning, and machine learning. Students will gain experience of modelling and simulation, and will apply analytical tools to evaluating results, and will consider the ethical implications of the introduction of AI.

    • Computing Group Project (COMP2003)

      Knowledge gained in earlier stages of the computing programmes is consolidated and integrated into a substantial project. Students work in teams, champion professional roles, design and develop a software solution for a given scenario. The project integrates and expands upon software development stages covered on the course (project management, analysis, design, construction, communication, security and/or networking).

    • Security Architectures & Cryptography (COMP2006)

      The ability to design secure systems is critical to the successful operation of any system. This module will develop the knowledge and understanding of security architectures, design principles (such as least privilege, default deny) and elicitation of security requirements to enable the design of secure systems. Core to this knowledge is the role cryptography can have in addressing these requirements.

  • Optional placement year

  • We strongly recommend that you take a placement year to develop your professional experience and significantly enhance your CV.

    Core modules

    • Computing Related Placement (Generic) (BPIE330)

      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 digital forensics. Master all the varying elements of security by studying information security management, and gain an appreciation of the human, legal and regulatory aspects involved in the design and implementation of information security. A substantial project also helps you to develop specialised skills and expertise, resulting in a showcase of your skills that will help you to stand out when applying for jobs.

    Core modules

    • Computing Project (COMP3000)

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

    • Information Security Management & Governance (COMP3009)

      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.

    • Security Operations & Incident Management (COMP3010)

      This module will examine the incident management 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 including the identification and analysis of malicious code.

    • Ethical Hacking (COMP3011)

      Understanding the security and vulnerabilities of IT systems is critical in their protection. This module seeks to develop the knowledge and skills to undertake penetration testing of systems. A range of passive and active offensive techniques will be taught, alongside an in-depth understanding of the legal and ethical issues surrounding such activity.

    • Digital Forensics & Malware Analysis (COMP3012)

      This module examines the procedures, tools and techniques utilised within the field of digital forensics. It will introduce an understanding of the methodology deployed in the handling of digial evidence, the volatility of data and mainting the integrity of data. Knowledge and skills will be developed of tools and techniques to examine and analyse forensic data across differing computing platforms.

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 Hons Cyber Security Programme Specification_6894

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

Applicants exceeding our entry requirements may be eligible for an offer under our Computing Excellence Scheme.

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 112-120 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 – science 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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

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

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

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.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

The Plymouth Computing Scholarship

Students can obtain a Computing Scholarship of up to £1,000 by gaining two A grades at A level - that is £500 for each of the two A grades at A level. This is awarded to home applicants who put us as their firm choice before 1 August 2022. The full Computing Scholarship can also be obtained by students who have put us as their first choice by that date and have acquired three D* grades at BTEC level (this needs to be an IT and Computing-related BTEC). The scholarship is paid during your first year.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

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