Computer Science (Cyber Security) - MSc

In a world with more smart devices than people and an increasing reliance on connectivity across the Internet, cyber threats are a growing concern for organisations, governments and individuals. Acquiring skills in Cyber Security has, therefore, become an advantage for a range of professions and roles across different sectors and disciplines.

Overview

The Computer Science (Cyber Security) conversion course will give you the opportunity to establish a foundation in cyber security from technical and multidisciplinary perspectives. This course is designed for graduates from any discipline who wish to start a career in cyber security.

Cybercrime is a growing threat to society, democracy and organisations with increasing high profile cyber security cases in the news. This conversion course has been designed to meet the demands of organisations seeking to protect valuable data. This course will provide you with the key skills and knowledge in computer science and systems security to enhance your career prospects in identifying and solving complex security problems.

The University of Kent is recognised by the British Government as being an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, meaning you will be taught by staff who are top researchers in this area.

This programme is available with an optional industrial placement of between eight and 50 weeks. The industrial placement provides an opportunity to work in real-world, technical, and business roles, enhancing your study experience and having a dramatic impact on your choices after graduation.

About the School of Computing

Our world-leading researchers, in key areas such as cyber securityprogramming languagescomputational 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, The Shed, 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.

Think Kent video series

Computers are good at mechanical tasks but can they be creative? In this talk, Dr Anna Jordanous looks at why we would want to study computers being creative and what we can learn from this work.

*The University of Kent's Statement of Findings can be found here

The assessments they help me understand and practise everything that I have learned during the lectures.

Ruksar Kachchhi - Computer Science MSc

Entry requirements

A first, 2.1 or good 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject. You should also have mathematical skills equivalent to a grade C or above in GCSE Mathematics.

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.

English language entry requirements

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. 

Need help with English?

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.

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Course structure

Duration: 1 year full-time

Each of our taught MSc courses is available in several formats to accommodate students from different backgrounds and to provide maximum flexibility.

Modules

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.

Compulsory modules currently include 

CO823 - Introduction to Digital Forensics (15 credits) 

CO834 - Information Security Management (15 credits)

CO883 - Systems Architecture (15 credits)

CO880 - Project and Dissertation (60 credits)

If you are appropriately experienced in programming, you must take CO871, otherwise you will be required to take CO881 and CO882. 

CO871 - Advanced Java for Programmers (15 credits)

CO881 - Object-Oriented Programming (15 credits)

CO882 - Advanced Object-Oriented Programming (15 credits)

Optional modules may include 

CO582 - Computer Interaction and User Experience (15 credits)

CO841 - Cyber Law (15 credits)

CO874 - Networks and Network Security (15 credits)

PO691 - Governance and War in Cyber Space (15 credits)

SO760 - The Sociology of Cybercrime (15 credits)

CO664 - Secure Programming (15 credits)

CO832 - Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery (15 credits)

CO838 - Internet of Things and Mobile Devices (15 credits)

CO884 - Algorithms and Logic (15 credits)

CO886 - Software Engineering (15 credits)

CO887 - Web-Based Information Systems Development

ENLA6001 - Advanced English for Academic Study in the Applied Sciences (15 credits)

Teaching and assessment

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.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • enhance the career prospects of graduates seeking employment in the computing/IT sector
  • prepare you for research and/or professional practice at the forefront of the discipline
  • develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of one or more areas of computing/IT and their applications (according to your degree title)
  • develop a variety of advanced intellectual and transferable skills
  • equip you with the lifelong learning skills necessary to keep abreast of future developments in the field.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • how to engineer software systems that satisfy the needs of customers, using a state-of-the art methodology and an industrially-relevant programming language
  • a broad variety of advanced topics relating to computing/IT (the specific topics will depend on the optional modules you chose and may vary from year to year in response to developments in the field, staff changes etc)
  • the theoretical foundations of computer science
  • the architecture of computer systems including hardware components and operating systems in terms of their functionality, performance and interactions
  • security vulnerabilities of computer systems and networks and the countermeasures used to address them
  • the motivation, design, operation and management of modern systems for encryption, authentication and authorisation, including quality of service issues
  • professional, legal, social, cultural and ethical issues related to your chosen field of computing
  • information security management and information assurance methodologies
  • information risk management, incident response, and business continuity planning and management
  • pattern analysis and forensics. 

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to identify, analyse and formulate criteria and specifications appropriate to a given problem
  • the ability to model problems and their solutions with an awareness of any tradeoffs involved
  • the ability to evaluate systems, processes or methodologies in terms of general quality attributes and possible tradeoffs
  • the ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively
  • the ability to work with self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • the ability to make sound judgements in the absence of complete data
  • the ability to review a research paper or technical report critically and to present your findings to a group of peers
  • the ability to plan and execute a substantial research or development-based project and to report the work in the form of a dissertation.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to specify, design, implement and test computer-based systems
  • the ability to deploy effectively the tools used for the construction and documentation of software
  • the ability to undertake practical work that explores techniques covered in the programme and to analyse and comment on the findings.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to plan, work and study independently and to use relevant resources in a manner that reflects good practice
  • the ability to make effective use of general IT facilities, including information retrieval skills 
  • time management and organisational skills, including the ability to manage your own learning and development
  • an appreciation of the importance of continued professional development as part of lifelong learning
  • the ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • the ability to communicate technical issues clearly to specialist and nonspecialist audiences
  • the ability to present ideas, arguments and results in the form of a well-structured written report
  • the ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at professional or equivalent level.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Computer Science (Cyber Security) - MSc at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £9100
  • EU full-time £15400
  • International full-time £20500

Computer Science (Cyber Security) with an Industrial Placement - MSc at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £9100
  • EU full-time £15400
  • International full-time £20500

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 information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

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.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

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.

Complete University Guide Research Intensity

Independent rankings

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.

Research areas

Computational Intelligence Group

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:

  • bio-inspired computing including neural networks, evolutionary
  • computing and swarm intelligence
  • application of computational simulations in biology and medicine
  • systems biology including gene expression modelling
  • theory and application of diagrammatic visualisation methods
  • data mining and knowledge discovery
  • construction of computational models of the human cognitive and neural system.

Programming Languages and Systems Group

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:

  • theoretical and architectural questions concerning designs for both hardware and software
  • abstractions and implementations of concurrency in programming languages
  • formal specification of systems and their architecture
  • design patterns and tools for enabling the safe and scalable exploitation of concurrency
  • compilers, memory managers and garbage collectors
  • lightweight multi-threading kernels and highly concurrent operating systems
  • refactoring of functional and concurrent languages
  • applications of formal methods to provably correct, secure systems
  • model checking and abstract interpretation, including applications to discovering security vulnerabilities
  • program verification and theorem proving

Cyber Security Research Group

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. A new (from September 2017) MSc Course in Cyber Security has been provisionally certified by 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.

Areas of Research Activity

Members are engaged in the following areas of research (research areas in more detail) .

Data Ethics and Privacy

  • Identity Management
  • Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology
  • Human Aspects of Security
  • Cloud Security
  • Self-Adaptation applied to Security and Privacy
  • Tools for Vulnerability Analysis
  • Trust Management and Metrics and Reputation Systems
  • Steganography and Steganalysis
  • Formal Methods for Cryptography
  • Quantum Computation and Information, with Security Applications 
  • Authentication
  • Internet Of Things Security and Privacy
  • Cybercrime
  • Authorisation Infrastructures

Data Science Research Group

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:

eHealth

  • Dr Caroline Li gathers and analyses EEG data for the study of seasonal affective disorder.
  • Dr Palani Ramaswamy has worked on biological signal analysis, brain-computer interfaces and biometrics. He has applied machine learning techniques to these and other fields.

Systems

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • software engineering
  • mobile applications development
  • systems analysis
  • consultancy
  • networking
  • web design and e-commerce
  • finance and insurance
  • commerce
  • engineering
  • education
  • government
  • healthcare. 

Recent graduates have gone on to develop successful careers at leading companies such as:

  • BAE Systems
  • Cisco 
  • IBM
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Citigroup 
  • BT.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

You have access to a dedicated Employability Coordinator who is a useful contact for all student employability queries.

Industrial placements

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:

  • Accenture
  • BT
  • GSK
  • IBM
  • Kent Police
  • Microsoft
  • Morgan Stanley
  • The Walt Disney Company.

You can take your work placement abroad. Previous destinations include Hong Kong and the US.

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.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

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 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.

Dynamic publishing culture

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.

Links with industry

Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Agilent Technologies, Erlang Solutions, Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Ericsson and Nexor.

Global Skills Award

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.  

Apply now

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.

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E: information@kent.ac.uk

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Telephone: +44 (0)1227 764000

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