Cyber Security - MSc
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking
Our brand new £70 million pound building, STEAMhouse, will become the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year.
What's covered in this course?
This MSc Cyber Security course provides a broad foundation for Cyber Security concepts while delivering advanced knowledge and skills in key technical areas. Designed to meet the growing demand from global business and industry for robust cyber security systems, this course underpins the principles and practical professional skills you’ll need to meet the future challenges faced by organisations, particularly when it comes to strategic security planning.
This course provides future Cyber Security professionals with the knowledge and skills needed by the employers. Our strong links with industry enable us to teach the most demanding
topics. You will develop state of the art technical knowledge, intellectual know-how, management capabilities and hands-on practical skills to succeed in meeting the Cyber Security challenges faced by modern organisations.
Our academic staff members are actively engaged with government and industry to help solve their complex problems. These strong links provide you with plenty of professional opportunities that will help you to acquire valuable exposure to the real life challenges of Cyber Security.
This course is accredited by:
Why Choose Us?
At the forefront of advancing information security - Our Centre for Cyber Security is at the forefront of advancing information security.
Research-led, practice-driven teaching - Our teaching is underpinned by our versatile research projects and strong industry links.
Experienced academic staff - Our teaching staff have rich professional experience and are engaged with government and industry, helping to solve complex problems.
State-of-the-art equipment and laboratories - Our industry-standard facilities enable access to forensic software, network security software for penetration testing, and Cloud software.
Home to Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft Academies - We are one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies and we are a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. We are also a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and one of only 10 Cisco Instructor Training Centres (ITC) in the UK.
- Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT - The course meets standards set by the profession.
We would normally expect you to hold at least a Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Computing, Engineering or Information Management.
Applicants without standard entry qualifications but with extensive industrial experience could be considered if they provide evidence of the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully complete the course.
Additional information for EU/International students
International applicants are required to have IELTS overall band of 6.0 or equivalent.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Jan 2022
- Full Time
- 12 months
- £8,800 per year
- Full Time
- 18 months with Professional Placement*
- £9,700 per year
Starting: Jan 2022
- Full Time
- 12 months
- £13,200 per year
- Full Time
- 18 months with Professional Placement*
- £14,520 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and NVivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Media consumable items (optional)
This course requires the use of consumables.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Professional Placement option*
The Professional Placement option will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.
You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.
Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
Security measures for adequate protection of valuable information assets are essential not only to guard business success and reputation but also because it is an obligation to comply with legal requirements, appropriate standards and relevant domain regulations. This module provides students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the concepts, methods, processes, tools and practices underlying good information security management.
This module provides guidance on how to secure Operational Technologies of which Industrial Control Systems (ICS) take a central position. It covers includes Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distributed Control Systems (DCS), Internet-of-Things, and otherwise Embedded-devices especially those used in Critical Systems. The module addresses their unique performance, reliability and safety requirements. The module provides an overview of OT and typical system topologies, identifies typical threats and vulnerabilities to these systems, and provides recommended security countermeasures to mitigate the associated risks, along with codes of practice and standards used in different industries such as Manufacturing, Power, Automotive or Medical.
Digital forensic investigation techniques are an essential part of the body of knowledge of every cyber security specialist. They facilitate informed timely management of cyber security breaches. Their understanding is important to develop and deploy effective controls for monitoring, detecting and responding to information security incidents within the scope of criminal, civil and enterprise investigations.
Coding bugs and design flaws make software (such as web applications and services) vulnerable to attack. Vulnerability management addresses software defects discovered after deployment. To avoid the introduction of vulnerabilities in the first place, however, requires the adoption of secure software development practices, such as threat modelling, automated code review and fuzz testing.
The module provides you with an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of Advanced Ethical Hacking and information security within a global context. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for a secure network communication system.
This module prepares you for the research project that you will undertake towards the end of your master’s course. It equips you with knowledge and transferable skills that will also help you in your subsequent career, for example, when you are asked to write a report or to carry out an IT project. You will become familiar with the research literature in your discipline, research methodology and research ethics, as well as project management tools, methods and techniques.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed Level 7 project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
The MSc is normally studied over one year full-time or two years part-time.
The course is divided into taught modules of 20 credits and a Master’s project of 60 credits. Students complete 60 credits for Postgraduate Certificate, 120 credits for Postgraduate Diploma and 180 credits for the full MSc. Each credit represents 10 notional hours of student learning and assessment.
A range of assessment methods are employed, assessment criteria being published in each assignment brief. Knowledge and skills are assessed, formatively and summatively, by a number of methods: coursework, examinations (seen and unseen, open and closed-book), presentations, practical assignments, vivas, online forums, podcasts and project work.
This course is accredited by the following organisations:
Our accreditations from these bodies show employers that you have the level of knowledge and skills they need when you graduate.
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
This degree has been accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by BCS. An accredited degree entitles you to professional membership of BCS, which is an important part of the criteria for achieving Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status through the Institute. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.
Engineering Council Accredited Degree
This degree has been accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT on behalf of the Engineering Council. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). An accredited degree will provide you with some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.
Enhancing your employability skills
This course is designed to ensure that you are a very sought-after graduate with the necessary first-hand, practical expertise of cyber security issues as well as a rigorous academic understanding of the sector.
Globally there is a shortage of experts who can work in cyber security at this very high level, so you will focus on the important technical material you will need for effective decision-making in a highly demanding career.
You will be equipped for a range of careers requiring advanced skills, such as:
- security architect
- security analyst
- security administrator
- security manager
- incident response manager
- risk and compliance analyst.
You will have the opportunity to get support for obtaining industry recognised Professional Certifications.
There is considerable activity under way to help recognise the professional capability of both individual specialists and training, and continuing education provision on offer to such cyber security specialists.
For instance, new IT Certification and Career Paths are arising such as the Cisco Cyber Security Specialist certification called 'The Securing Cisco Networks with Threat Detection and Analysis (SCYBER)'.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.
As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.
Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.
The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.
Software development and computer programming
There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming
laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.
Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.
Electronic systemsTo underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.
Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.
Senior lecturer Ron Austin is the Associate Professor of the MSc Advanced Computer Networks course and teaches all network-related courses.
His expertise and areas of interest include: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security technologies, and forensic and ethical hacking.
Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Ron spent 17 years in network management systems for companies including Telewest and Cable & Wireless.More about Ron