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Cyber Security - MSc

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

Overview

Introducing STEAMhouse

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.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

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.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Engineering Council Accredited Degree

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.

Similar Courses

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

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
Essential

International applicants are required to have IELTS overall band of 6.0 or equivalent.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,000 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £9,900 per year
  • £1000 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £9,000 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £9,900 per year

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £16,300 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £17,930 per year

Award: MSc

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £16,300 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement*
  • £17,930 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

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.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and NVivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

Books (optional)

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.

Personal statement

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

Module

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of digital forensic principles, modern examination techniques using current best practices for handling digital evidence in a forensically sound manner.  This module emphasises a ‘practice-led’ approach to developing practical skills and theoretical knowledge of digital forensic investigation techniques using open-source and commercial forensic tools.  Students will acquire the keys skills necessary in conducting and auditing a systematic forensic investigation of a computer system for user activity, operating system operation, configuration and connectivity.  Practical sessions comprises a series of hands-on analytical experiments to progressively unpack the more advanced aspects of the topic being investigated. All practical sessions will be hosted in the specialist Computer Forensics Laboratory.

The module provides students 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 students for the research project that they will undertake towards the end of their master’s course. It equips students with knowledge and transferable skills that will also help them in their subsequent career, for example, when they are asked to write a report or to carry out an IT project. The students will become familiar with the research literature in their discipline, research methodology and research ethics, as well as project management tools, methods and techniques.

This module aims to introduce learners to the security of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Taking a holistic approach, the module will cover both operational and information technology (OT and IT) aspects of the CPS. The module will enable learners to familiarise with the state of the art with respect to CPS security through research-informed curriculum and engagement with the cutting-edge during the module. Specifically, the module will include introduction to unique security requirements for such systems, identify cyber security threat landscape for CPS, and include discussions around methods and mechanisms to protect against security threats along with codes of practice and standards used in different industries such as Manufacturing, Power, Automotive or Medical.

The module covers information security governance and its associated body of knowledge and aims to develop students’ technical competence in information assurance. Security measures for adequate protection of valuable information assets are essential to guard business success, reputation, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. This module provides students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the concepts, methods, processes, tools and practices underlying good information security governance. Topics to be covered include security governance, risk management, security programme development and management, legislation, policies, standards, frameworks, and issuing bodies, business continuity and cybercrime.

This module covers the concepts and techniques of applied artificial intelligence (AI), focusing on the machine learning applications in practice. It provides the underpinning principles on the design and development of AI to address emerging challenges in the cyber world. A range of machine-learning schemes are examined, including identification of anomalous situations that alter data reliability and integrity. In addition, the students will develop related analytical and practical skills that can be applied in designing AI for data processing applications.

Individual Dissertation Project 60 credits

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
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
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. 

Employability

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.

Professional certification

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

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

International

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 & Staff

Our Facilities

As a student in the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you will have access to our labs, software, professional sound studios, computer games labs and industry-standard facilities to develop your practical skills in audio, video and multimedia application development, content creation and more.

We are currently undertaking a £340 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. This includes our brand new £70 million development, STEAMhouse, which will be the new home to Computing and Digital Technology students. This state-of-the-art centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to collaborate with businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.

Our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5million investment with a new maker area, engineering labs/equipment and IT equipment.

Thanks to our partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper, SAS and LPI you will have access to the latest technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. Our students also have access to software such as the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Computer Labs

System Labs

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:

  • Schematic capture and printed circuit board (PCB) design software – ORCAD
  • Analogue and digital circuit design and simulation software – PSpice
  • Graphical microcontroller software – Matrix Multimedia Flowcode
  • Microcontroller development board – PIC Microchip
  • E-block microcontroller training kit
  • FPGA & CPLD development board
  • Robotics design and development
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:

  • Software development environments for modern programming languages - Visual Studio
  • Computing programming languages – Python, C#, ASP.NET, PHP, Unity
  • Operating systems – Linux, Windows and macOS
  • Database management systems – MySQL
  • Neural network simulators
  • Computer architecture simulators – RISC
  • Application development software – iPhone, Android Studio
  • Integrated development environments – Netbeans / FPGA /CPLD
  • JAVA programming – BlueJ.
Network Labs

Our industry standard kit can be accessed by students who are at home or anywhere on the globe – remote access – 24/7 (NETACAD)

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), Security technologies, Forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Cybersecurity and software Defined Networking including NFV.

Forensics Room 

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.

Industry standard forensic hardware and software is available for analysis of PC’s and mobile phones.

Some of the features of the lab includes: fingerprint readers and recognition software development kits, facial recognition cameras and software development kits and more.

Games Lab

Our state-of-the-art computer games lab is home to a PS4 Development Kit and has Xbox One Console Development ability. We have a Nintendo Switch Development Kit in procurement and HTC Vive, Oculus CV1 and VR development facility.

The Games Lab is a key feature during our Games Jam and society events. All students can join our computer games societies and use our facilities if interested in gaming.

Digital Technology Facilities

We operate well-resourced high-spec computer labs which are fully equipped with up-to-date, industry standard software for the design and development of advanced multimedia applications.

Our facilities include: Sophisticated graphics software packages for image manipulation and editing; these provide a full range of drawing, editing and image composition tools. Web animation and Rich Internet Application development tools. 3D software for Rendering, Modelling, Games and Animation, and design and graphics software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.

Sound Studios in Millennium Point

The Orchard

The Orchard is a 40-seat mac lab designed to support teaching of audio and mac-specific software. The lab features a recording booth as well as high quality audio monitors and video projector.

Sound Studios

Our studio facilities feature mixing consoles by manufacturers such as SSL and Audix, monitoring by PMC and Genelec, and a host of software and outboard hardware effects commonly found in high-end commercial recording studios. As well as acoustically designed spaces to record and mix, we have a dedicated mastering suite featuring the acclaimed PMC IB1S monitors.

In the live rooms you will find a useful range of stock instruments including drums and cymbals, guitars, basses, a tuned piano and a range of instrument amplifiers.

Mix Rooms

Our mix rooms are smaller rooms, useful for one or two students to work on projects that do not require the space afforded by our larger studio facilities. These include a Foley studio for recording of footsteps and other sound effects that are added to media. We also have a room where live desks can be set up, allowing students to explore workflows outside of a gig setup.

Microphones

We pride ourselves on an extensive microphone collection that any commercial studio would be proud of. From the classic Neumann U87, Royer 121 or Coles 4038 to staples like the AKG C414 or C451, you will find a very usable range of sounds to explore.

Live Sound Equipment

Students have access to an extensive set of live sound equipment with mixing consoles by Midas, Digidesign and Yamaha and a range of PA systems including a D&B Audiotechnik line array. Backed up with an excellent set of microphones chosen for their success in the live environment, and other production equipment such as lighting, the gear is used in a variety of destinations around the university or offsite at gigs and festivals.

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million teaching and performance facility is the first of its kind in the digital age and is the perfect fusion of traditional and contemporary.

Featuring 9,000 sq m of purpose designed teaching, rehearsal and state of the art performance space, it offers unrivalled opportunities for our students. The audio and video digital infrastructure is designed to enhance and support live performance and to allow students to experiment with new technologies.

Read more about the Conservatoire of the Future

Curzon Street Studios

Curzon Street Studios has a number of world-class TV studios suitable for shooting commercials, films and video productions, both big and small.

Studio B boasts the largest fixed green screen in the UK, with a three wall infinity cove. The studio has been used for filming TV commercials, TV promos, music videos, web presentations and the live-streaming of online entertainment shows. Studio B offers pre-rigged lighting for green screen as well as access to the lighting rig with a hoist controller at ground floor level.

Black cyclorama and matting are also available to create a black studio. The green studio also houses our MILO motion control rig which is the most used motion control rig in the world, the Milo’s versatility, portability and high accuracy makes it the ideal choice for live action shooting and table top work.

Curzon Street Studios boasts six digital radio studios. All studios have been acoustically designed to provide ideal recording environments for both live and pre-recorded audio production and are fully soundproofed.

Our post production system has been designed to enable content to be produced, managed and distributed digitally. We offer a custom built central technical area that allows seamless interaction between all our studios and edit suites.

Learn more about what Curzon Street Studios has to offer

Makers Space

The Level 4 Makers Space is a bright communal space in Millennium Point in which students find support in building their electronic projects (i.e. Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards based).

The Makers Space is equipped with a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a variety of electronic components like motion, proximity, humidity sensors, and many more.

This space is widely used by students, including first year students who use the space to help build their gadget ready to be presented at Innovation Fest. Experienced technicians are on hand to provide support. The support extends to all other levels including Final Year, Ph.D., and KTP projects.

Student have access to high spec laptops with the latest media software for all their module needs, making the level 4 Makers Space the ideal area for the development of their project. Computer enthusiasts will enjoy our mini collection of vintage Apple computers.


Computing and Digital Technology facilities

Our staff

Professor Junaid Arshad

Associate Professor

Junaid is an alumnus of the Innovate UK & DCMS funded CyberASAP programme, commercially prototyping the CyMonD system for effective monitoring & defence of IoT-based systems against cyber-threats. Junaid has successfully achieved research funding from UK and overseas funding agencies, and has worked as a security specialist for a number of EU funded projects with experience of developing bespoke security solutions.

More about Junaid

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

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