School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Cyber Security

Cyber security is essential for all organisations, with hacking, malicious code and social engineering ever present threats to data. This course provides holistic coverage of cyber security, from governance and policy, to cryptography, penetration testing and digital forensics. Grounded in core computer science, the course 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.

Opportunities available...

A course specific scholarship scheme is available: for more information see the 'Fees, costs and funding' section below.

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Excellence Schemes:  we may make you a personalised offer if you are a strong candidate - visit our webpage for details.

Pre-register for Clearing

If you are yet to make an enquiry to study with the University of Plymouth and are interested in securing a place for September 2020, you can pre-register for Clearing to receive priority treatment on results day.

Read our Clearing advice

Careers with this subject

A wide variety of career opportunities exist within the field of cyber security, with the marketplace for jobs increasing year on year. Historically, the demand for security professionals has historically outstripped many IT roles. Typical career profiles include secure software developer, penetration tester, digital forensic examiner, intrusion analyst and information systems auditor. Our graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as: Lockheed Martin, L3, BT, RSA, the Met Office, Apple and Microsoft.

Key features

  • Make use of our links to professional and industry bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Information Security Academic Partnership
  • Pursue industry-recognised professional certifications, such as the EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), forensics ACE (AccessData Certified Examiner). 
  • Access a wide variety of specialist software and up-to-date facilities, including a dedicated security and forensics lab. 
  • Enhance your knowledge of a variety of computing disciplines, including programming, networking, databases, data centres and defensive coding. 
  • Benefit from specialised course material covering the legal and regulatory aspects of cyber security.
  • Seeking accreditation by BCS for 2020. 
  • Academic Partner status by the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec).
  • Hone your research skills - we work closely with our Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research

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
    • 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.

    • COMP1000 Software Engineering 1

      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.

    • COMP1001 Computer Systems

      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.

    • COMP1002 Cyber Security & Networks

      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.

    • COMP1003 Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics

      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.

    • COMP1004 Computing Practice

      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. Security project drawing on your studies so far enables you to design, develop and evaluate security software 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.

    • COMP2000 Software Engineering 2

      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.

    • COMP2001 Information Management & Retrieval

      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.

    • COMP2002 Artificial Intelligence

      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.

    • COMP2003 Computing Group Project

      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).

    • COMP2006 Security Architectures & Cryptography

      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
    • 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 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
    • COMP3000 Computing Project

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

    • COMP3009 Information Security Management & 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.

    • COMP3010 Security Operations & Incident Management

      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.

    • COMP3011 Ethical Hacking

      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.

    • COMP3012 Digital Forensics & Malware Analysis

      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.

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

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

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM – science related subjects: IT, Humanities, Engineering, Software Development, IT Practitioners, Business, Computing, Science (GCSE English C/4 and Mathematics grade C/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

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 2020 2021
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £770 To be confirmed
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.

The Plymouth Computing Scholarship

Up to £1,000.

Students can obtain a computing scholarship of up to £500 by gaining two A grades at A level. This is awarded to home/EU applicants who put us as their firm choice before the 1 August 2020. The computing scholarship can also be obtained by students who have put us as their first choice and have acquired three D* at BTEC level (this needs to be an IT and Computing related BTEC). The scholarship is paid during the first semester of the 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 international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Why choose a computing course at Plymouth?

Graduate view: watch our short film

Hear the views of one of our graduates and see some of our facilities.

Find out what it's like to study computing at Plymouth.

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.

Dedicated laboratory facilities in the Smeaton Building

Industry participation and endorsement

Cyber 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 sessions 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).


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

Having worked with the staff and students, there is clearly an equally strong environment of research and project activity that supports the course.

Ram Herkanaidu, Kaspersky Lab’s UK Education Manager

Benefits for our students

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.


The Tamar Engineering Project

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

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship 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.

Meet some of your lecturers