Cyber Security MSc

Study level: Postgraduate
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The MSc in Cyber Security aims to provide you with the knowledge and necessary skills in several core areas of cyber security.

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years sandwich

Course code

EECT029

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

The course aims to provide a comprehensive and deep understanding of security principles, as well as the practical techniques used in solving security problems and addressing relevant issues.

  • Fully certified1 by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the course has been designed to give you the opportunity to equip yourself to work at a professional level, developing a range of industry-informed knowledge and skills in areas such as network security, secure design, cryptography, risk assessment, ethical hacking, digital forensics and incident response.
  • Running in a research-driven environment, the course also aims to build foundations for further research at Doctoral level in cyber security for students from a wide range of undergraduate degrees.
  • The course will provide recent graduates and early to mid-career practitioners in the computing industry opportunities to enhance their knowledge or move into cyber security.
  • You will have the option to apply for a ‘work placement’ opportunity2, designed to further develop your skills and knowledge with the aim of maximising your employability prospects. See modules for more information.
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Why you should study this course

The overall aim of the course is for you to develop:

  • a deep and comprehensive understanding of current cyber security issues, concepts and technologies.
  • technical skills in assessing systems security, detecting and mitigating security incidents.
  • an understanding of the changing cyber threat landscape and the developments in cyberspace.

The delivery is based on a combination of face-to-face sessions and online learning, with a substantial opportunity for practical ‘hands-on’ activities. This is supported by specialist ethical hacking, digital forensics and networking laboratories, as well as a virtual cyber security lab. This provides you with the opportunity to apply the theoretical aspects you learn across the course’s modules, as well as to design, implement and evaluate a variety of real-world examples and case studies.

Research project opportunities could be available for you to further develop your skills. Current work covers a range of topics such as security for low-powered embedded systems, software defined networking, enhancing security through machine learning, protocol analysis, IoT security, crypto algorithms, vehicle security and security Industry 4.0 environments. Research project opportunities may be subject to availability.

The Cyber Security Research Group at Coventry University currently has strong links with several industries and government bodies, including companies in cyber security and forensics, automotive, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and others, both in supporting our curriculum and learning, as well as research and development addressing real-world problems.

Accreditation and professional recognition

This course is accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

NCSC logo

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

NCSC fully certified. For more information visit the NCSC website.



What you'll study

Your main study themes are:

  • Network and system security: A fundamental aspect of security is the service and communication infrastructure. The course makes use of our specialist labs and equipment to give people as much hands-on experience as possible to help make the theory understandable.
  • Cryptography: It’s obvious that secure communication is underpinned by cryptography, but it is also essential in areas such as proof of identity and ownership; escrow; password storage and more.
  • Secure design and development: In addition to how to build systems from off-the-shelf components securely, analyse and breach systems, the course looks at the ways in which software is designed and built to be secure. From formal methods to code review, you will have the opportunity to examine how industry tackles the problem of insecure software.
  • Ethical hacking: A practical approach to testing security and also one of the best ways to learn the finer points of how systems are constructed is through penetration testing. The course encourages students to explore in a safe environment and provides a number of carefully constructed scenarios and challenges as well as the opportunity to take part in international competitions with our CTF (Capture the Flag) team, the Ethical Slackers2.
  • Intrusion detection and incident response: Security is essential, but no matter how much time and money is spent on it, breaches happen. New vulnerabilities and attack vectors are discovered regularly and it’s critical that an organisation knows how to respond once a breach occurs.
  • Digital data acquisition, recovery and analysis: Data recovery and analysis covers a wide range of activities, from log analysis to identifying misuse or data exfiltration to gathering evidence suitable for prosecution and even the most basic tasks of recovering from system failure.
  • Security of emerging connected systems: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term we see more often than ever now, and it refers to the tide of devices that are interconnected and tapped into the Internet that we have in our homes and workplaces. Manufacturers of consumer electronics are fast converting their products to become ‘smart’, often without understanding the security implications that software developers in traditional firms hopefully do. A number of interesting security vulnerabilities have come to light recently and the expectation is that this will grow rapidly. Outside of the home, the industrial application of connected devices is just starting to become more commonplace and the security issues of IoT are about to become problematic there, too.
  • Automotive cyber security: Automotive security is a major challenge to connected and autonomous vehicles coming from the increase in the use of digital and software components on connected platforms. This requires deep understanding of the complex nature of the challenge with a systematic threat assessment and attack analysis, and design paradigms for assurance, privacy and regulatory compliance.

This course is delivered over three semesters. In the first two semesters, you will study core and optional pathway modules, and in the third semester, you will work on your research project.

In your first semester, you will study the fundamental subjects in computer security, such as network security, cryptography, and secure design and development. We will also dive into the offensive part in the ethical hacking module.

In the second semester, you will focus on the defensive side in intrusion detection and response, and the digital data acquisition, recovery and analysis modules. Depending on the pathway you choose, you will continue in cyber security management, security audit, or some of the cyber security emerging areas in the automotive cyber security and security of emerging connected systems modules.

In your final semester, you will be expected to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have learned by undertaking an in-depth individual project. Guided by an expert tutor, this project helps to develop your research skills and gain an experience matching that of a computer security professional.

Modules

  • Ethical hacking or penetration testing is a growing field of specialism within computing. Security is recognised as a crucial aspect of a company’s success and many forward-thinking companies wish to ensure that their systems are as secure as possible. To this end they employ specialists to try to find the weaknesses in their systems. They want to see if their systems can be penetrated. This module covers the latest techniques of penetration testing or ethical hacking and provides practical experience in selecting and applying suitable tools and techniques.

    Compulsory

  • This module seeks to provide you with comprehensive knowledge of information security concepts and an understanding of how they are applied using network, internet and mobile technologies. The importance of a security policy and security management is considered.

    Compulsory

  • This module will introduce technical security controls used to prevent, detect and recover from security violations at the application or system level. You will investigate how security controls are implemented alongside business needs in product development, learning the tools, standards and protocols of secure design and development. Additionally, you will practice the evaluation of systems from a security perspective, ensuring systems are developed that are assured to meet the appropriate security profile. You will analyse systems applying formal modelling and verification techniques to check whether the behaviour of these systems complies with the security and safety requirements and standards imposed by their specification.

    Compulsory

  • This module provides you with a thorough comprehension of the concepts, theory and application of cryptographic techniques to cyber security. Cryptography provides the techniques for the implementation of security models such as the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) triad. You will develop knowledge via a light touch presentation of the mathematics and the theoretical material will extend to its practical implementation via protocols and message passing between principals. Additionally, you will develop experience of appropriate cryptographic tools and libraries. Advanced topics and the current status of cryptographic research will also be studied.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to provide you with critical awareness of the legal framework and professional issues related to security incident response, its planning, deployment and success criteria. It will enable you to develop the ability and skill to evaluate and apply appropriate methodologies and technological solutions of performing and/or managing incident response investigations.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to develop your critical and practical understanding of the fundamentals of data recovery. You will address the theory and technical elements of data storage and operating systems. You will identify techniques to assist in data recovery and seek to qualify as an Accredited Certified Examiner ® (ACE®) This is a professional certification from AccessData, one of the 2 leading Digital Forensics companies in the World. You will engage with the critical issues regarding Data Recovery compliant with the Association of Chief Police Officers Principles of Digital Evidence (2012), while applying that theory to their own practice. Summative assessment will be examined in an online certification Knowledge Based Assessment addressing theory and practical application of skills.

    Compulsory

  • Pathway A: General Cyber Security

    Security of emerging connected systems – 15 credits

    This module seeks to provide you with an appreciation of information security concepts and an understanding of how they are applied using Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobile Device (MD) technologies. The importance of a security policy is considered and client-side, data-transmission, server and operating system security vulnerabilities are examined in-depth. You will look to gain a thorough understanding of the threats posed to organisations and people due to security risks and an understanding of the human factors, legal, policy and technical approaches that are necessary to mitigate such risks. Detailed coverage of various security technologies will enable you to comprehend and design secure architectures that are vital for safe IoT environment.

    Digital security risk and audit management – 15 credits

    This module focuses on risk assessment and the performance of security audits primarily in accordance with the guidelines of ISO27002:2005(BS17799).  The module investigates information assurance models and addresses current implementations of security audits such as COBIT and PCI-DSS. It will be delivered through taught lectures, reinforced by work on case studies that will incorporate practical applications of audit frameworks and analysis of the results.

    Pathway B: Automotive Cyber Security

    Automotive cyber security – 15 credits This module aims to develop your critical knowledge in the field of automotive cybersecurity, which poses a major challenge to connected and autonomous vehicles. The module addresses the wider challenge of increasing digital and software components on connected platforms and focusses specifically on threat intelligence and engineering aspects of automotive systems. Issues of policy and personal data are also explored.

    Information security management – 15 credits

    Information security management defines a comprehensive framework to protect an organisation’s computing environment, including its people, activities, data, technology, and network. This includes the continual review and enhancements of current information security programs, subject to maintaining risks at or below acceptable levels in a cost-effective, timely, and efficient manner. This module will help you to extend your knowledge and experience for information security planning, analysis, design, implementation, review and improvement to overcome information security challenges in an organization and broader environments.

    Pathway C: Technical Cyber Security

    Security of emerging connected systems – 15 credits

    This module seeks to provide you with an appreciation of information security concepts and an understanding of how they are applied using Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobile Device (MD) technologies. The importance of a security policy is considered and client-side, data-transmission, server and operating system security vulnerabilities are examined in-depth. You will gain a thorough understanding of the threats posed to organisations and people due to security risks and an understanding of the human factors, legal, policy and technical approaches that are necessary to mitigate such risks. Detailed coverage of various security technologies will enable students to comprehend and design secure architectures that are vital for safe IoT environment.

    Automotive cyber security – 15 credits

    This module aims to develop your critical knowledge in the field of automotive cybersecurity, which poses a major challenge to connected and autonomous vehicles. The module addresses the wider challenge of increasing digital and software components on connected platforms and focusses specifically on threat intelligence and engineering aspects of automotive systems. Issues of policy and personal data are also explored.

    Pathway D: Cyber Security Management

    Information security management – 15 credits

    Information security management defines a comprehensive framework to protect an organisation’s computing environment, including its people, activities, data, technology, and network. This includes the continual review and enhancements of current information security programs, subject to maintaining risks at or below acceptable levels in a cost-effective, timely, and efficient manner. This module will help you to extend your knowledge and experience for information security planning, analysis, design, implementation, review and improvement to overcome information security challenges in an organization and broader environments.

    Digital security risk and audit management – 15 credits

    This module focuses on risk assessment and the performance of security audits primarily in accordance with the guidelines of ISO27002:2005(BS17799). The module investigates information assurance models and addresses current implementations of security audits such as COBIT and PCI-DSS. It will be delivered through taught lectures, reinforced by work on case studies that will incorporate practical applications of audit frameworks and analysis of the results.

    Compulsory

  • The project is intended to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate competence in applying the concepts and skills acquired during the taught part of the course. The project may be a solution to a practical problem or focus on a Cyber Security research topic. The project serves the dual purpose of providing a means of integrating previous learning and facilitating the acquisition of valuable professional experience.

    Compulsory

With work placement pathway

The ‘With work placement’ opportunity2 enables you to apply in semester 1 for an optional work placement of up to 12 months, extending the duration of your master’s to 24 months. The placement provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability upon graduation. The work placement would take place in semesters 3, 4 and 5.

Please note that the optional placement modules will incur an additional tuition fee of £4,000. Placement opportunities may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Work placements are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of the Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the work placement option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

Modules may be delivered as a combination of lectures, computer laboratory sessions, online learning, problem classes, seminars, discussions and tutorials.

The course adopts a combination of a lab-rotation model and flipped-classroom of teaching and learning, with a combination of online/in-class lectures, online/in-class tutorials and in-class discussions and presentations. These are designed and set by the module leaders reflecting the specific topics with the aim of maximising attainment and learning.


Teaching contact hours

A 15-credit module will typically have about 30 hours of contact time associated with it. This will include a combination of, but may not be limited to, lectures, small-group sessions, laboratory sessions and support sessions. In addition, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study each week of around 35 hours, depending on the demands of individual modules.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Formal examinations
  • Phase tests
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Individual Assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


International experience opportunities

Throughout the programme, we will refer to international case studies and examples such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange or the Russian involvement in the US election. You may also have opportunities to collaborate with students from other international universities on Collaborative online international learning (COIL) projects and be given an opportunity to participate in an international internship.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

An applicant will normally be expected to possess at least one of the following:

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or Engineering.
  • A relevant professional qualification of an equivalent level.
  • A lower qualification plus appropriate and relevant experience at a professional level.
  • Satisfactory independent evidence of working for several years in a position that would normally be occupied by an honours graduate, in a relevant area (such as the IT sector), which would lead to gaining benefit from the course.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Typical entry requirements

An applicant will normally be expected to possess at least one of the following:

  • A minimum of a second class honours degree in a relevant subject such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or Engineering.
  • A relevant professional qualification of an equivalent level.
  • A lower qualification plus appropriate and relevant experience at a professional level.
  • Satisfactory independent evidence of working for several years in a position that would normally be occupied by an honours graduate, in a relevant area (such as the IT sector), which would lead to gaining benefit from the course.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international pre-master's. Upon successful completion our International Pre-Master's - Engineering will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this postgraduate degree.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Some international students may require an ATAS certificate to study this course. For further information see our ATAS Certificates web page.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Not available
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU support bursary**
£20,050 | £24,050 (with prof. experience) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £20,050 | £24,050 (with prof. experience)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the university's Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU support bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Facilities

Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4.

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Cisco lab

The Cisco lab is used for working with general networking and towards accreditation by Cisco.

Abstract of neuro links with flares coming out of atoms

Virtual labs

Our virtual labs provide a cutting-edge environment to create entire virtual networks, complete with services, users and even attackers. Students can access this environment from anywhere on or off campus.

Adult student working on a computer while having a screen in the background

Games Technology lab

This lab contains high-end gaming PCs with the capacity to run industry standard games engines and programming environments.
 


Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to demonstrate:

  • a critical awareness of the legal frameworks, ethical and professional issues of cyber security
  • a comprehensive understanding of network and information systems secure communication technologies and protocols and their application to contemporary Internet and mobile-based solutions and technologies
  • a thorough understanding of the theoretical concepts and implementation of current security frameworks and architectures as well as cryptographic protocols and algorithms
  • an awareness of current issues and new technologies in cyber security which are informed by leading edge research and/or practice in the field.

You will also be able to:

  • perform systematic risk assessment, identification and analysis in accordance with international standards and demonstrate an ability to deal with complex issues
  • evaluate and justify a suitable methodology and tools for vulnerability assessment of a system
  • conduct and report an ethically based security audit and test to a professional standard, recommending and specifying suitable countermeasures
  • assess systems’ security requirements and apply secure design methodology and formal methods in systems design, implementation and testing
  • apply appropriate technological solutions and processes in the detection, management and investigation of information security incidents, and document a digital investigation from a legal and professional standpoint
  • extrapolate from existing research, scholarship and/or fieldwork findings to identify new or revised approaches to practice
  • conduct rigorous research/formal enquiry into cyber security issues that require familiarity with a range of technologies, research sources and appropriate methodologies, and for such to inform the overall learning process.

Where our graduates work

Upon successful completion of this course, you may have the opportunity to be employed in the cyber security industry in a variety of roles such as a penetration tester, SOC security analysis or digital forensic investigator, to name a few.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2023/2024 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2024/25 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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