Daniel Lawrence - Advanced Computer Science MSc
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On this UK government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) fully certified programme, you learn the essential skills to support cyber security within commercial and government organisations. This includes the technical side of encryption, authentication, biometrics, network security, etc as well as information security management and cyber security risk.
This MSc is aimed at computing graduates with strong programming skills seeking careers as cyber security professionals or careers that need a systematic and deep understanding of the subject. It would also be an excellent starting point for those wishing to carry out further research in cyber security.
You gain work experience through our industrial placement scheme. We have strong links with industry including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Our dedicated placement team help you gain a suitable paid position and provide support throughout.
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 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF); 100% of our Computer Science and Informatics research was classified as either 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' for impact.
Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Cisco Systems Inc, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Nvidia, Erlang Solutions, GCHQ and Google.
Our courses 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.
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.
This degree has been partially accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
A first, 2.1 or good 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in computing or a related subject with a strong background in programming.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
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: 2 years full-time
Each of our taught MSc courses is available in several formats to accommodate students from different backgrounds and to provide maximum flexibility. See more about Taught Master's course formats.
You undertake a work placement of between eight and 50 weeks. For Tier 4 students, the placement is available for a year only. You work in real-life technical and business roles, utilising your skills and gaining new ones. The experience you gain on your placement gives you an extra edge when applying for jobs in the future.
You are responsible for finding your own placement but are supported by the School’s Placement Team. Dedicated to helping you get the right job, the Placement Team offer lots of practical support.
It is possible to take your placement locally in Kent, elsewhere in the UK or perhaps overseas.
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.
This module aims to familiarise students with general concepts about privacy, privacy issues in selected application contexts of privacy enhancing technologies (e.g., Internet and web, mobile computing, online social networks, IoT), selected privacy enhancing technologies including data anonymisation (e.g., k-anonymity and differential privacy), anonymous communication (e.g., Tor), web and mobile privacy tools, and socio-technical related topics aspects of privacy (e.g., privacy behaviours, privacy policies, usability, and relevant legal issues).
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. Selected socio-technical topics that are important for information security management will also be covered. These shall include AAA (authentication, authorisation and accountability), important legal aspects especially data protection and privacy laws, data protection impact assessment, usability analysis and management, wider human factors in cyber security such as social engineering attacks and the importance of a positive cyber security culture for encouraging secure behaviours of employees and users.
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.
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.
This module starts with the fundamental mathematical concepts to build cryptographic primitives. A key objective is to learn to implement the primitives without using programming libraries, learn the formal security notions and models for the primitives, and the use of the primitives in practical applications like blockchains.
The second part of the module covers the key application areas of authentication, authorisation and accountability (AAA). Included here are foundational topics of user and non-user authentication (including issues with password and biometric authentications), as well as access control and authorisation, along with matters related to accountability.
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 usually preceded by an exploratory stage in which students review and summarise relevant literature or other technical background, and gain specific skills relevant to their project via a series of taught workshops. 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.
A synopsis of the curriculum:
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:
The module focuses on teaching the foundations of language-based security including but not limited to the use of formal logics, type systems, process calculi and proof carrying code for reasoning about the security properties of programs.
This module will give students an overarching introduction to quantum information processing (QIP). At the end of the course the students will have a basic understanding of quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum cryptography; as well as the implications to other fields such as computation, physics, and cybersecurity.
We will take a multi-disciplinary approach that will encourage and require students to engage in topics outside of their core discipline. The module will cover the most essential mathematical background required to understand QIP. This includes: linear algebra, basic elements of quantum theory (quantum states, evolution of closed quantum systems, Born's rule), and basic theory of computing. The module will introduce students to the following theoretical topics: quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, quantum communication & information. The module will also address experimental quantum computation & cryptography.
This module will aim to familiarise students with core concepts (e.g. Locard's exchange principle, and legal admissibility of digital evidence) and best practices (e.g. the ACPO Good Practice Guide for Digital Evidence, Contemporaneous Notes taking, and the SWGDE guidelines) underpinning digital forensic investigations. It introduces methodologies that guide the digital investigative process (i.e., collection, interpretation, analysis and reporting), and key techniques that can be applied for interpretation and analysis of digital evidence in the context of digital forensics in general (e.g., hashing, and file carving), computer forensics (e.g., windows registry analysis and metadata analysis), and multimedia forensics (e.g., multimedia source analysis for device identification, and multimedia content analysis for forgery detection).
The module also discusses challenges faced by digital forensics due to the increasing volume and diversity of data sources involved in investigations.
Assessment is through a combination of unseen written examinations, written and practical coursework, student presentations, individual and group projects.
The substantial research project is assessed by 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:
Should you choose to take the Placement Year the fee is currently £1,385 for a 12-month placement, reduced pro-rata for shorter placements.
The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:
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.
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In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Computer Science and Informatics research was classified as either 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' for impact.
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 centre achieved EPSRC/GCHQ accreditation as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) from 2015-2017 and 2018-2022.
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. This MSc Course in Cyber Security has been certified by GCHQ. The group is also involved in undergraduate modules in this area, postgraduate programmes in other schools and UK activities to define curricula in Cyber Security.
Members are engaged in the following areas of research (research areas in more detail) .
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 batteryoperated 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.
We provide an extensive support framework for our research students and encourage involvement in the international research community. We have strong links with industry including Cisco, 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, 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. The School also owns specialist equipment for Internet of Things and media steganography.
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.
Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Agilent Technologies, Erlang Solutions, Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Ericsson, Nvidia 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 application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.