Data Networks and Security - MSc

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Study mode: Full Time, Part Time
  • Course cost: £7,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)
  • Location: City Centre

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The MSc Data Networks and Security programme intends to develop your competence in using tools and techniques for configuring data networking systems, securing data networking systems and managing data networking systems in a production environment.

What's covered in the course?

The course is designed to cover a number of advanced topics in data network engineering, namely, network management, network security, software defined networks and information security. In addition, you will receive a solid grounding in research methods and project management before undertaking an individual project that provides an opportunity to demonstrate technical and general employability skills in preparation for career progression.

More specifically, the individual project simulates typical graduate workplace tasks that require in-depth knowledge and skills in a specific area of computer science and network engineering. This will include consideration of wider issues and the ability to manage activities and resources, as well as generate, implement and report on solutions to meet task objectives. Throughout your studies, you’ll be supported by our expert teaching staff, all of whom have a wide range of research and industrial experience in areas such as intelligent systems, mobile computing, Semantic Web, machine learning and software engineering, which they use to enhance the curriculum.

Why Choose Us?

  • The Centre for Cloud Computing houses the Cisco Networking Academy, which has an international reputation for delivering high-quality teaching, training and support acrossEurope, the Middle East and Africa.
  • In six purpose-built rooms, the Centre also houses £500,000 of computer networking and communications equipment, together with more than £200,000 of web-based equipment and bookable resources.
  • The course provides opportunities for you to engage in advanced studies using problem-based learning and flipped curricula strategies. You will work in groups and on your own to deliver solutions to industry-related problems and scenarios.
  • The unique combination of employer-led, research-informed technical knowledge and practical experience on industry-standard resources makes our graduates more employable and sought after.
  • The course encourages critical thinking and problem solving, giving you the opportunities for research.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Sunday 24 November. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

School of Computing and Digital Technology

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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Mak Sharma.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Huawei
  • JBC Computer LTD

And in jobs such as:

  • GNOC Front Office Engineer
  • IT Support

We are members of:

WISE member logo2 WISE members inspire girls to choose maths, physics and computing.

Course Accreditations

Accreditations:

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.

This course is accredited by:

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

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.

International students
Essential

For international students, you should have attained IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £7,100 per year
PT 24 months £3,550 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £12,300 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. 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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

Course duration

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:

  • September start (full-time) 12 months
  • September start (part-time) 20 months

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

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Additional costs

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.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Financial Support

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 £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Module

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Research Methods and Project Management
20 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

Network Management
20 credits

The module give you an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of advanced network switching techniques and information distribution within a local and wide area network context. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for a secure and robust international network communication system. 

Download the full module specification

Advanced Networking Systems and Security
20 credits

The module, gives you an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of advanced network routing techniques, information distribution and network security within a global context. This module builds on a pre-requisite basis of networking knowledge and underpinning theory, and reviews the requirements for a secure and robust international network communication system. 

Download the full module specification

Information Security
20 credits

The module gives you an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of network 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. 

Download the full module specification

Advanced Ethical Hacking
20 credits

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. 

Download the full module specification

Software Defined Network Engineering
20 credits

Software Defined Networking (SDN) has emerged as the next major evolution in switch design and network management. This module is concerned with the theoretical and practical aspects of the SDN concept and how it is applied to data networks.

Download the full module specification

Individual Master’s Project
60 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

International opportunities

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.

Assessment methods

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:

  • coursework
  • examinations
  • presentations
  • practical assignments
  • vivas
  • online activities
  • project work.

Student stories – Michael Goodwin

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.

Additional costs

  • USB drives for loading configurations
  • Purchase of certification books

Further Study

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.

Trips and visits

Opportunity for local and national visits to conferences, exhibitions and industry.

Amrik SinghStudent stories – Amrik Singh

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.

IISP logo

We are an academic partner of the Institute of Information Security Professionals.

Enhancing your employability skills

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.

Placements

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:

  • Network administrator, design or architect
  • Network security design
  • Network implementation
  • Network optimisation
  • Network and security support
  • Network operations and support
  • Industry-based placement
  • Industry-based projects
  • KTPs
  • PhD research

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.

Graduate jobs

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:

  • Network administrator, design or architect
  • Network security design
  • Network implementation
  • Network optimisation
  • Network and security support
  • Network operations and support

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.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our data networks and security course is most popular with international students from:

Our Facilities

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.

Computer networking

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.

Systems laboratories

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 systems

To 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.

Forensic computing

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.

More on our facilities

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

Senior lecturer Ron Austin is the Associate Professor of the MSc Data Networks and Security 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. 

Michael Clarke

Senior Lecturer

Michael has 20 years' industrial experience with Lucas Aerospace Lt and British Telecom.

Peter Bull

Dr Peter Bull

Lecturer

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.