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This programme provides a broad coverage of computer networks, computer security and mobile device technologies. It looks in depth at some of the security issues that fixed and wireless networks are subject to, and the current solutions employed to address these problems.
This course will appeal to computing graduates seeking careers in the network or network security industries, or those who wish to carry on with this topic as an area of research. All taught Master's programmes are available with an optional industrial placement.
Our world-leading researchers, in key areas such as cyber security, programming languages, computational intelligence and data science, earned us an outstanding result in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF). Our submission was ranked 12th in the UK for research intensity, with an impressive 98% of our research judged to be of international quality.
Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Cisco Systems Inc, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Nvidia, Erlang Solutions, GCHQ and Google.
Our programmes are taught by leading researchers who are experts in their fields. The School of Computing at Kent is home to several authors of leading computer science textbooks. Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework*
While studying with us, you can gain work experience through an industrial placement. Our dedicated placement team can help you gain a suitable paid position and provide support throughout your placement.
We have a large range of equipment providing both Linux and PC-based systems. Our resources include a multicore enterprise server and a virtual machine server that supports computer security experiments.
The School also has a makerspace,, which offers exciting teaching and collaboration opportunities. Among other equipment it contains a milling machine, 3D printers, laser cutter and extensive space for building and making digital artefacts.
This talk describes why identity theft is so easy to enact today over the Internet, and how it can be prevented by utilising the latest research in verifiable credentials.
*The University of Kent's Statement of Findings can be found here
You are more than your grades
For 2021, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
A first, 2.1 or good 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in computing or a related subject.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: 1 year full-time
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
Introduction, including a review of network techniques, switching and multiple access. High speed local area networks. Network protocols, including data link, network, transport and application layers and their security issues. Problems of network security and mechanisms used to provide security such as firewalls and network security protocols. Real time data transmission and quality of service. Naming and addressing and related security concerns. Security of IEEE 802.11 networks.
• Nigel P. Smart. "Cryptography Made Simple", 2016, Springer. Available at: https://link-springer-com.chain.kent.ac.uk/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-319-21936-3.pdf
• Jonathan Katz and Yehuda Lindell. "Introduction to Modern Cryptography", 2nd edition, 2015, CRC Press.
• Alfred J. Menezes, Paul C. van Oorschot and Scott A. Vanstone. Handbook of Applied Cryptography, 1997, CRC Press. Available at: http://cacr.uwaterloo.ca/hac/
• Charles P. Pfleeger and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, "Security in Computing", 5th ed., 2015,
• Dieter Gollmann, "Computer Security", 3rd Edition. 2011. John Wiley and Sons.
The crowning piece of most Masters degrees is the Masters Project in which you apply a wide range of skills learned in the taught modules to an interesting research problem or practical application of your choice. The Project Research module provides useful transferable skills for doing the project, and supports you in some preparatory tasks such as literature study and project planning.
A synopsis of the curriculum
• Network security and cybercrime.
• Analysis of real world network security incident (IoT botnet).
• Email security issues (spam and phishing attacks; spam filtering systems).
• Spyware (system vulnerabilities; stealth techniques; detection and removal).
• Network-related data security (data breaches; data loss prevention; remote sniffer detection).
• Security of WiFi networks.
• Network forensics and incident response.
• Emerging network protocols
• IPv6 security.
• Honeypots and honeynets.
• Software-defined networking.
This module provides an introduction to object-oriented programming using the popular Java language. It is designed for beginners who have not studied computer programming before. By the end students will be able to develop simple programmes using Java.
Building upon Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, this module covers the design and implementation of high-quality software using OO techniques. Systems are modelled as configurations of objects communicating with one another. Techniques (e.g. inheritance) are introduced which allow objects to play different roles within a system. These two concepts are key to the support for adaptation and reuse that OOP provides. Much emphasis will be placed on gaining a deep understanding of these concepts and applying them in practice by developing programs in Java. The remainder of the module will explore software component frameworks, specifically those that come packaged with Java, placing most emphasis on the frameworks to support the structuring and manipulation of data (data structures and algorithms).
This module provides for well-qualified computer science students entering the MSc programme from a range of backgrounds. These students will have good programming skills but will not necessarily have used Java or another object-oriented language extensively. This module seeks to ensure that students have the Java and object-oriented design skills necessary for the rest of their programme.
Students undertake several projects for the Kent IT Consultancy (KITC). Each of these will be either a commercial project for an external client, or an internal development project, e.g. developing a future service offering for the KITC.
In addition to project work, students will be expected to engage in ongoing tasks related to the operation of the consultancy, including marketing, sales and mentoring/buddying colleagues.
Each assignment will be carried out under the supervision of KITC management and in accordance with client requirements, with deliverables de?ned by negotiation with the client.
The project consists primarily of an extended period during which students undertake a substantial piece of work and a report on this in the form of a dissertation. It is preceded by an exploratory stage in which students review and summarise relevant literature or other technical background, including in a verbal presentation, and gain specific skills relevant to their project. It may be permitted to undertake the work in groups, particularly for projects with a development focus. However, the dissertations are produced individually. The project examines the student's ability to research technical background, to understand and expand on a specific problem commensurate with their programme of study and relate it to other work, to carry out investigations and development (as appropriate), to describe results and draw conclusions from them, and to write a coherent and well organised dissertation demonstrating the student's individual reflection and achieved learning.
Introduction to software development environments and the facilities they provide. Development of simple applications in these environments, using a broad range of the facilities provided. Software libraries and frameworks, and their use in developing and testing software systems. Use of development frameworks' facilities for project and source-code management, automated testing, refactoring and profiling. Deploying applications across multiple platforms using installers and build-systems, continuous integration and deployment.
The module looks at a number of advanced topics in cyber security that are important for understanding, finding, researching and assessing security solutions. Example topics include:
? Digital steganography and watermarking, and its increasing role in modern malware;
? CAPTCHAs and other mechanisms to distinguish bots from humans remotely;
? AI in security, for example, the role of deep learning and adversarial examples in cyber security;
? Security in AI, for example, the protection of machine learning techniques against cyber threats;
? Random number generators and their relevance in password and nonce generation;
? Advanced malware threats such as ransomware, covering their evolution and providing some insights into likely future trends, including economic aspects.
? Advanced topics in research related to human factors and usable security, e.g., user behaviour and their relationship to cybercrime, positive security, user profiling and
? Quantum cyber security and the development of quantum-resistant cyber security systems based on quantum mechanics;
? Advanced topics in IoT security, covering new developments and trends, threats and mitigations.
Fundamentals of Image Processing
General introduction to digital image processing; image acquisition, quantisation and representation; Affine transforms; image enhancement techniques: contrast manipulation, binarisation, noise removal (spatial and frequency domain); edge detection techniques; image segmentation: edge-based, region- based, watershed; Hough transform; image feature extraction; advanced image processing: morphological operations, colour image processing, various image transforms (Fourier, wavelet, etc).
Fundamentals of Pattern Recognition
Patterns and pattern classification, and the role of classification in a variety of application scenarios, including security and biometrics. Basic concepts: pattern descriptors, pattern classes; invariance and normalisation. Feature-based analysis. Texture analysis. The classification problem and formal approaches. Basic decision theory and the Bayesian classifier. Cost and risk and their relationship; rejection margin and error-rate trade-off. Canonical forms of classifier description. Estimation of class- conditional distributions; bivariate and multivariate analysis. Euclidean and Mahalanobis distance metrics and minimum distance classifiers. Parametric and non-parametric classification strategies. Linear discriminant analysis. Clustering approaches, and relationship between classifier realisations. Practical case studies. Introduction to non-classical techniques such as neural network classification.
Security Applications and Image Analysis
Signature authentication and analysis, Digital watermarking, Content hidden in Images and Video, Steganography. Image forensics.
Programming and data analysis using MatLab and other software tools as appropriate. Introduction to practical work using MatLab. Students not familiar with Matlab programming will be provided with appropriate introductory material before this lecture.
The focus of the module is on the development of the advanced English language competence necessary for post graduate study in scientific disciplines. This includes the ability to interpret and evaluate authentic scientific texts; analyse, discuss and summarise written and visual information both in writing and orally; organise written texts effectively and submit them in grammatically accurate English, and present the results of research orally in a coherent and stimulating way.
The module will explore existing and emerging legal issues in cyber security, cybercrime, privacy and data protection, including the domestic and cross-boundary legal regulatory frames and their associated ethical dimensions. Topics covered include cybercrime, privacy and data protection, Internet and cyber surveillance, cross-border information flows, and legal structures. Students will be challenged to critically examine the ethics and management of cyber data. It will require students to assess emerging legal, regulatory, privacy and data protection issues raised by access to personal information.
This module introduces students to the functional programming paradigm, using at least one modern functional programming language to put the core concepts into practice. The module will develop both the foundation and theory of this paradigm, as well as the practice and application of the paradigm to solve problems and build systems. The module will core topics, including:
• Functions as first-class language constructs and as a central organising principle;
• Higher-order functions and compositional programming;
• Basic semantics of functional languages;
• The role of types in programming;
• Algebraic data types and pattern matching;
• Recursion and recursive data types;
• Differences with imperative and object-oriented programming paradigms;
• Properties of programs, (e.g., purity, side-effect freedom, totality, and partiality).
• The lambda-calculus as a programming model and foundation.
• BNF grammars for representing context-free syntax, and its relation to ADTs and language manipulation.
• Testing and issues of building correct software.
The module will develop practical skills in programming and problem solving using functional programming. There will also be a chance to apply functional programming to help understand better concepts in logic and mathematics.
Later parts of the module will then consider concurrent programming in the context of functional programming, including concurrent programming models and primitives (e.g., message-passing concurrency), parallelism, synchronisation and communication, and properties of deadlock, communication-safety, and starvation.
This module explores a range of different data mining and knowledge discovery techniques and algorithms. You learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different techniques and how to choose the most appropriate for any particular task. You use a data mining tool, and learn to evaluate the quality of discovered knowledge.
This module investigates the whole process of information security management and associated activities including the concepts used and practices prescribed by relevant standards, such as those defined by ISO/IEC. A holistic view of information security management is taken, including risk management, the formulation of security policies, business continuity and resilience.
Technical subjects include a description of the various security models, and showing how authorisation policies can be automatically enforced. The legal and data protection issues associated with information management are also addressed, as are the usability issues of security technologies.
Neural networks will be placed into a historical perspective related to neuro-biology and in the context of the artificial intelligence hypothesis. Students will familiarise themselves with the Leabra/Emergent environment.
There is an increasing use of nature-inspired computational techniques in computer science. These include the use of biology as a source of inspiration for solving computational problems, such as developments in evolutionary algorithms and swarm intelligence. It is therefore proposed to allow students the opportunity to become exposed to these types of methods for use in their late careers.
Assessment is through a mixture of written examinations and coursework, the relative weights of which vary according to the nature of the module. The final project is assessed by a dissertation.
This programme aims to:
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
You develop intellectual skills in:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You gain the following transferable skills:
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
Networks and Security - MSc at Canterbury
Networks and Security with an Industrial Placement - MSc at Canterbury
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com.
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Computing was ranked 12th in the UK for research intensity.
An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality, with 81% of this judged world-leading or internationally excellent. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
Security - of information, systems, and communications - has become a central issue in our society. Interaction between people's personal devices (far beyond just phones and computers) and the rest of the connected world is nearly continuous; and with the advent of the Internet Of Things its scope will only grow.
In that context, so much can go wrong - every communication can potentially be intercepted, modified, or spoofed, and surreptitiously obtained data can be commercially exploited or used for privacy invasions. In fact, data flows in society are such that many people already feel they have lost control over where (their) data goes.
The cyber security research group operates within that context. All members bring a particular technological emphasis - the analysis of particular classes of security problems or their solutions - but are fully aware that it all fits within a wider context of people using systems and communicating data in secure and insecure ways, and how external pressures beyond the mere technology impact on that. The topic of computer security then naturally widens to include topics like privacy, cyber crime, and ethics and law relating to computing, as well as bringing in aspects of psychology, sociology and economics.
From that perspective, the Cyber Security research group played a key role in setting up, and continues to be a core contributor to, the University's Interdisciplinary Cyber Security Research Centre, see www.cybersecurity.kent.ac.uk.
The group has a strong involvement with postgraduate teaching in this area. It teaches most of the core modules in MSc programmes in Computer Security, and Networks and Security. Our MSc Course in Cyber Security has been certified by the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ. The group is also involved in undergraduate modules in this area, as well as postgraduate programmes in other schools such as the MSc Information Security and Biometrics, and in UK activities to define curricula in Cyber Security.
Members are engaged in the following areas of research (research areas in more detail) .
Data Ethics and Privacy
Our research involves all aspects of programming languages and systems, from fundamental theory to practical implementation. The Group has interests across a wide range of programming paradigms: object-oriented, concurrent, functional and logic. We research the links between logic and programming languages, the verification of the correctness of programs, and develop tools for refactoring, tracing and testing. We are interested in incorporating safe concurrent programming practices into language design.
The Group is also interested in practical implementation of programming languages, from massively concurrent parallel processing to battery-operated mobile systems. Particular research topics include lightweight multi-threading kernels, highly concurrent operating systems, memory managers and garbage collectors.
Research areas include:
This Group brings together interdisciplinary researchers investigating the interface between computer science and the domains of bioscience and cognition. In terms of applying computation to other domains, we have experts in investigating the modelling of gene expression and modelling of human attention, emotions and reasoning. From the perspective of applying biological metaphors to computation, we research new computational methods such as genetic algorithms and swarm intelligence.
The Group also develops novel techniques for data mining, visualisation and simulation. These use the results of interdisciplinary research for finding solutions to computationally expensive problems.
The Group has strong links with other schools at the University of Kent, as well as with universities, hospitals and scientific research institutes throughout the country and internationally.
Areas of research activity within the group include:
Data Science is about developing new techniques to better understand data and draws on many areas within and outside of computer science. Our research group develops and applies methods to interpret rich information sources.Our research comes under three themes:
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Our programmes of study are designed to equip our graduates with the skills and knowledge that make them highly attractive to potential employers, providing a good balance between theoretical studies and real-life applications. The recent REF indicated that the School's research was in the top quartile of 89 Computing departments across the UK. Our graduates therefore benefit from a first-rate academic experience as well as being prepared to face the demands of the economic environment.
Our graduates have gone on to work in:
Recent graduates have gone on to develop successful careers at leading companies such as:
The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
You can gain practical work experience as part of your degree through our industrial placements scheme - we have a dedicated Placement Team who can give advice and guidance. All our placements are in paid roles.
In previous years, students have worked at a wide range of large and small organisations, including well-known names such as:
You can take your work placement abroad. Previous destinations include Hong Kong and the USA.
An industrial placement gives you invaluable workplace experience, which greatly enhances your employment prospects and also helps put your academic learning into a real-world context.
While studying on a taught Master’s, you can gain work experience. We have strong links with industry including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
The School of Computing has a large range of equipment providing both UNIX (TM) and PC-based systems and a cluster facility consisting of 30 Linux-based PCs for parallel computation. New resources include a multi-core enterprise server with 128 hardware threads and a virtual machine server that supports computer security experiments.
All students benefit from a well-stocked library, giving access to e-books and online journals as well as books, and a high bandwidth internet gateway. The School and its research groups hold a series of regular seminars presented by staff as well as by visiting speakers and our students are welcome to attend.
The School of Computing has a makerspace "The Shed", which offers exciting new teaching and collaboration opportunities. Among other equipment, it contains milling machines, a 3D printer, laser cutter and extensive space for building and making digital artefacts.
Our taught postgraduate students enjoy a high level of access to academic staff and have their own dedicated laboratory and study room. Students whose course includes an industrial placement are supported by a dedicated team which helps them gain a suitable position and provides support throughout the placement.
Staff and research students publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Artificial Evolution and Applications; International Journal of Computer and Telecommunications Networking; Journal of Visual Languages and Computing; Journal in Computer Virology.
Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Agilent Technologies, Erlang Solutions, Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Ericsson and Nexor.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.