Our MSc Data Networks and Security course will provide opportunities for you to engage in the design and implementation of secured and optimized communication network solutions, including SDN (Software Defined Networks and wireless technologies.
This will be achieved by industry-led, research-informed, practice-based teaching and learning. Using industry-standard resources, you will apply the skills and knowledge gained to real-life project scenarios across industry, commerce and public sector.
The programme of study will include areas such as requirements capture, network design, evaluation, securing and optimisation, ranging from hardware configuration to protocol analysis and software definition. The programme will include research and scholarly activity in order to incorporate the latest thinking into the proposed solution.
On this course, you will learn to:
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
Accreditations shall be renewed in accordance with the accreditor’s standard review process and subject to the University maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
In order to be considered for a place on this course, you must have passed and Honours degree at minimum of 2:2 or equivalent.
For international students, you should have attained IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.
|MSc||Sep 2018||FT||12 months||£6,900 per year|
|MSc||Sep 2018||PT||24 months||£3,450 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|MSc||Sep 2018||FT||12 months||£12,000 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
Please note, there are no taught classes over the summer months (June to August) for postgraduate courses, so the total time spent in University for this course is:
UK / EU 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:
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
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.
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.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?
Advanced Networking Systems and Security
In this module you will study advanced network routing techniques, information distribution, and network security within a global context. You will develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills required to deploy and manage a range of internal and external routing protocols (EIGRP, OSPF, BGP) for a large-scale network using Cisco and Juniper equipment. You will build on your existing knowledge of building, managing, and securing large networks, and you will study underpinning theory in order to understand the requirements of information security policies, and to apply these within the network environment.
Security measures are essential to guard a business’ success and reputation, and need to comply with legal requirements, standards and domain regulations. In this module you will consider the securing of personal data, and evaluate identity and access management controls in relation to the operational and business requirements of a computer system. You will evaluate a variety of security and risk management techniques, and you will gain knowledge, understanding, and practical experience of managing secure communications across a large-scale network using Cisco equipment. You will also develop and document a security policy and security assessment, and implement a secure network architecture design.
In this module you will develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to deploy reliable, scalable, and secure multilayer switched networks using Cisco and Juniper equipment. You will learn and critically reflect on the skills of advanced network switching techniques and information distribution within a local and wide area network context. Projects in this module are based on automation and orchestration, and topics include STP, MSTP, HSRP, and VRRP. You will critically evaluate future trends in network design and networking technologies, and consider the requirements for implementing security measures in the design and management process.
Software Defined Network Engineering
Software Defined Networking (SDN) has emerged as the next major evolution in switch design and network management. In this module you will develop knowledge in the role of the data and control planes, and the advantages and implications of separating these. You will examine the theoretical and practical aspects of the SDN concept and how it is applied to data networks in a working environment. Lectures and laboratory sessions will introduce you to the relevant knowledge and skills, including a basis of core programming concepts, and you will apply your knowledge to designing and constructing implementable solutions.
Research Methods and Project Management
This module will prepare you for the research project that you will undertake towards the end of your Master’s course. It will equip you with transferable skills and knowledge that will help you with your studies and your future career. A combination of lectures, tutorials, and practical workshops will help you to become familiar with the research literature in your chosen subject area and the research methods used in Computer Sciences. This module will help you to improve your written and verbal communication skills, as well as your time and project management.
Advanced Ethical Hacking
Ethical hacking refers to the exploitation of an IT system with the owner’s permission in order to determine its weaknesses. The results are typically used to recommend measures that mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack. In this module you will critically evaluate the requirements for ethical hacking and penetration testing, and use your knowledge to design security assessment experiments to expose vulnerabilities in existing systems. You will then analyse and report the resulting data in order to develop appropriate countermeasures for cyber-attacks, and you will apply security police enforcement rules to protect corporate assets in an organisational context.
Individual Master’s Project
You will undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project, exploring an area of personal interest. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide on your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. Your topic must be aligned to the programme that you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school. You should also consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development. You are expected to work independently but will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area.
All the modules are practice-based and learning is carried out in the labs. Each 20-credit module will have two hours contact, and you are expected to undertake approximately six additional hours of learning, research and assessment preparation for each module.
Assessment is carried out through presentations (both group and individual), timed tests and exams, written reports, research activity and publication of findings, and practical-based time assessments.
At the start of the course, there will be a three-week, full-time induction tool kit, comprising of a review of CCNA and associated technologies.
The course also provides the base knowledge for students to undertake the CCNA certification, and with an additional boot camp to undertake the individual CCNP certification exams.
It is possible for you to undertake the project or placement overseas related to the IT industry.
Upon successful interview, there are possibilities for you to support classes in India at our partner universities.
Emphasis is placed upon the development of a broad range of relevant skills. Assessment methods will vary according to the particular knowledge skills being assessed.
Assessment is through a combination of:
Security engineer Michael Goodwin was so impressed with his undergraduate experience, he decided to come back for his MSc.
He especially enjoyed working with knowledgeable and experienced staff and using industry-standard equipment, that he uses everyday.
“It helped having this hands-on experience, and not just being taught theory in a classroom,” he says.
The course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, ensuring it remains fresh and relevant, as well as boasting the best industry contacts.
We offer a range of PhD postgraduate programmes in the area of network security and software defined networks that are suitable for Master’s graduates. Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.
Opportunity for local and national visits to conferences, exhibitions and industry.
As a network consulting engineer for technology giant Cisco with five years’ study at Birmingham City University behind him, Amrik Singh believes he chose the best place to study computer networking.
Amrik Singh was awarded our Undergraduate Computer Networking Award for outstanding achievement, he also picked up the Postgraduate Prize for his MSc. Amazingly, he even found time to play on the University cricket team too!
While studying at Masters level, Amrik was offered an 11-month internship with Cisco. Clearly, he impressed – as Cisco then offered him an Associate Network Consulting Engineer role.
We are an academic partner of the Institute of Information Security Professionals.
The University is eager to recognise students have made the effort to gain industry experience and stand out from the typical graduate. Thus, we offer a range of options for you to get extra awards and recognition for your work in industry.
We also have our Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.
There are a range of opportunities for you to gain industrial relevant experience, either as part of the course, the project or placements. Typical roles during and after this course include:
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.
Our graduates are very highly sought after because there is a global shortage of high quality network programmers who have the ideal combination of academic and practical skills.
Students have typically taken up placement job roles such as:
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:
Students are attracted by our strong industry links and the unique combination of high-quality practice-based learning with a strong and challenging academic curriculum that equips them with the relevant skills that employers are looking for.
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.
The course is taught in one of the six purpose-built rooms that house £500,000 of computer networking and communications equipment, together with more than £200,000 of web-based equipment and resources with bookable access 24x7. Other vendor resources include Juniper and HP.
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.
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.
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.
From 2007-2012, Peter worked as a Research Engineer, on a collaborative doctoral project with BAE Systems and Loughborough University. This research focused on the development of a “Quality of Service Framework for Dynamic and Dependable Systems”.
Following on from this, Peter was employed as a Research Associate within the Department of Computer Science at Loughborough University. His research projects included a Knowledge Transfer Account project developing a test-bed to incorporate the previously proposed Quality of Service framework, with an industrial software architecture emulator. Other projects included: a feasibility study of “Quality-of-X” for the provision of network resilience in heterogeneous, dynamic systems, and an Industrial sub-contract for BAE Systems investigating the application of a safety critical Ethernet concept to an OpenFlow based switch.
From October 2013 to August 2014 Peter worked as a University Teacher, taking on teaching responsibilities and supervising PhD students in a range of topics including Software Defined Networking, Cloud Computing Security, Stochastic Network Modelling, and Real-Time System Non-Functional Requirement Modelling.
In August 2014, Peter took up a position as Lecturer in the School of Computing, Telecommunications, and Networks at Birmingham City University.