Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security MSci/BSc (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
This course aims to provide you with a strong practical and theoretical understanding of cybersecurity, hacking, digital forensics, security operations and the underlying associated computer science.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
BSc:3 years full-time4 years sandwich
MSci:4 years full-time5 years sandwich
GG45 / I120
The course is designed to help you develop skills in the following areas:
- Understanding who ‘hackers’ typically are, the techniques they use to break into systems and the way we defend against them.
- Learning how to examine computers and networks for digital artefacts, and how these can be used in a legal case, or as part of incident response.
- Understanding how the network infrastructure connects systems, and the impact on security.
Joint Top Modern University for Career ProspectsGuardian University Guide 2021 and 2022
5 QS Stars for Teaching and FacilitiesQS Stars University Ratings
Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)QS Best Student Cities Index 2023
Why you should study this course
- Join a thriving community of ethical hackers with opportunities to participate in societies and live ‘hackathon’ type events2.
- Previous graduates have gone on to become security consultants, security engineers, penetration testers and other sector-specific roles.
- Practical, hands-on approach to teaching, where you have the chance to demonstrate the theoretical aspects of the course through real-world examples.
- Dedicated specialised learning environment - the Ethical Hacking Lab4.
What you'll study
In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.
Cyber Security Fundamentals – 20 credits
The aim of this module is to equip you with the core concepts and principles of cyber security together with the methods and technologies of protecting cyber/digital assets.
The module will cover core cyber security concepts such as the use of virtualisation, common operating systems used for security, remote access to systems, and software and systems security.
Introduction to Programming – 20 credits
The module will introduce the core fundamentals of programming for a prominent object-oriented programming language used in the industry.
The module will cover topics such as data types, condition and control statements, documentation and testing, and an overview of various sorting and searching algorithms.
Networking and Computer Architectures – 20 credits
The aim of this module is to equip you with an understanding of core concepts around computer networks and hardware architectures.
The module will cover topics such as data representation, logic elements and processor structure and operation, instruction formats and addressing mode, control structures and flow (RTL), bus topology protocols and models, and basic addressing (mac vs IP).
Information Security Management – 20 credits
This module aims to extend your knowledge and experience of information security planning, analysis, design, implementation, review, and improvement to overcome information security challenges in an organization and broader environments.
Ethics and Legal Frameworks of Cyber Security professionals – 20 credits
Security is more than just technical problems, there are also a wide range of legal, social and ethical factors that need to be considered. This module will introduce these ethical and legal frameworks as applied to cyber security. It will also cover the professional skills needed to succeed at university and at work.
Foundations of Computer Science – 20 credits
This module will cover some of core Computer Science concepts around security including mathematics, Boolean algebra and circuit design and cryptography.
In year two, you will continue to develop the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt. We do this by embedding the following four principles into the curriculum and developing your:
- Technical skills – digital fluency, backed with the right academic knowledge
- Study skills – to be an adaptive, independent and proactive learner
- Professional skills – to have the behaviour and abilities to succeed in your career
- Global awareness – the beliefs and abilities to be a resilient, confident and motivated global citizen
Practical Penetration Testing – 20 credits
This module will introduce practical penetration skills, including penetration testing methodology and strategies for attacking remote systems. We will look at web and server-based vulnerabilities and how to exploit them.
Programming and Operating Systems – 20 credits
This module introduces the concepts of algorithm efficiency, complexity, process management, as well as information modelling, management and security. The platforms on which software is developed are considered, covering Operating System internals and their impact on good programming practice and security, including fundamental OS concepts such as process, memory and file system management. Key features of modern OS such as the creation and scheduling of multiple processes, and methods of communicating between them are also discussed.
Foundations of Networking – 20 credits
Building on the first year Networking and Architectures module, this module aims to provides you with knowledge (terminologies and concepts) of computer networks architecture, together with the core networking and security techniques.
Security Operations – 20 credits
The module aims to provide you with a critical awareness of the legal framework and professional issues related to security incident response, its planning, deployment and success criteria. It should 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.
Digital Forensics – 20 credits
This module will look at the fundamentals of digital forensics including evidence and data recovery.
The Internet and Web Technologies – 20 credits
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time, you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
UK work placement – 0 credits
This module2provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
Year three aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills from year one and two. You could also work on a large final project in an area of your interest, with the support of a mentor and your Academic Personal Tutor.
Advanced Penetration Testing – 20 credits
This module will cover penetration testing methodology, including accessing, manipulating and exploring networks and systems. Countermeasures are also covered, as well as a structured methodology in which this can be reported along with an evaluation of security mechanisms.
Digital Security Risk and Audit Management – 20 credits
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.
Applied Cryptography – 20 credits
This module aims to provide you with a thorough comprehension of the concepts, theory and application of cryptographic techniques to cyber security. Additionally, you should develop your experience of appropriate cryptographic tools and libraries. Advanced topics and the status of cryptographic research will also be studied.
Research Project Preparation – 20 credits
The module will cover topics such as forming research questions, project selection/formation, scoping and planning, critical review, state of the art/literature review. It will also consider research methods including quantitative and qualitative, initial development/implementation, project concept evaluation, professional and ethical considerations.
Research Project Delivery – 20 credits
This module is aimed at supporting you during the dissertation writing process.
Choose one of the following three optional modules
- Reverse Engineering and Exploit Development – 20 credits
This module will focus on exploit and malware analysis, looking at reverse engineering techniques, exploit development, and obfuscation/antivirus evasion.
- Secure Network Design and Management – 20 credits
This module will focus on the design and management of networked systems and technologies.
- Advanced Digital and Network Forensics – 20 credits
This model will look at advanced forensic concepts such and mobile network, cloud and emerging technologies.
- Reverse Engineering and Exploit Development – 20 credits
If you meet the criteria, you could choose to take an additional fourth year master's option3, which will deepen your knowledge and expertise.
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).
Cryptography – 15 credits
This module provides you with a thorough comprehension of the concepts, theory and application of cryptographic techniques to 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.
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.
Artificial Neural Networks – 15 credits
This module introduces you to the concepts used in neural networks and their application in solving real-world problems.
Secure Network Design and Development – 15 credits
This module will introduce technical security controls used to prevent, detect, and recover from security violations at the application or system level.
Cyber Security Research Project – 30 credits
In this module you should exercise and extend your skills in gathering, understanding and critically evaluating literature, performing research, and analysing findings. You will undertake a research project in cyber security or related subject areas.
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
Your course will be based on a series of lectures, with associated seminars and project-based practical classes.
In addition, your personal tutor will review and discuss your progress with you and provide advice. You will be expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. Each module will also require you to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study, to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.
We believe that the best way of learning is through doing - applying the theoretical concepts to practical problems. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on the practical development of work, with a significant portion of your time being spent on assisted lab tasks, which may involve live practical hacking challenges, seminars discussing topics such as cryptography and secrecy or project-based classes, which may involve more in-depth work developing secure systems in hostile environments2.
Teaching contact hours
We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:
- On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
- Group work
- Self-directed learning
- Work placement opportunities2.
If you would like more information, you can request information about teaching hours.
Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week, you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.
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.
This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module.
Assessment methods include:
- Formal examinations
- Phase tests
- Group work
- 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.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|A level||BSc (Hons): BBB to include one from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Computing or Design Technology. Excludes General Studies.
MSci: ABB to include one from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Further Mathematics, Computer Science, Computing or Design Technology. Excludes General Studies.
|GCSE||Minimum 5 GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above including English and Mathematics.|
|BTEC||BSc (Hons): DDM in IT or a technical subject.
MSci: DDD in IT or a technical subject.
|IB Diploma||BSc (Hons): 29 points to include one from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Design Technology or IT at Higher level.
MSci: 31 points to include one from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Design Technology or IT at Higher level.
|Access to HE||BSc (Hons): The Access to HE Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits in either Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Statistics. Plus GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 or above.
MSci: The Access to HE Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits all at merit or above in either Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Statistics. Plus GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 or above.
We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.
Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?
We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.
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.
If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international foundation year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Computing will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate 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.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.0 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.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|International||£19,850 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate 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. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:
- Optional international ﬁeld trips: £400+ per trip.
- Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad)
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
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.
On-site facilities4 offer you high-specification learning environments, which benefit from extensive social learning facilities, well-appointed laboratories, lecturing facilities and classrooms, facilitating our innovative teaching methods across a diverse suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
- Ethical Hacking Lab: a course-specific room with custom operating systems and software, which allows you to reconfigure the setup in order to practice your hacking techniques.
- Networking Lab: which allows you to build and test the physical network.
Careers and opportunities
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:
- Understand, categorise and discuss threats to computer systems and services.
- Apply sound investigations and reporting procedures to identify and report issues in systems, or as part of a forensic investigation.
- Apply research and problem-solving skills to a security-related project.
Past graduates of Coventry University have found work in penetration testing, digital forensics and network security. Working for organisations such Nettitude Cyber Security Services, Janet, the BBC and the UK Government. Other students have gone on to successful careers outside of security, in software development roles.
Our graduates often come back to give guest talks, meet (and often recruit) the current students and take part in extracurricular events (subject to availability)2.
Where our graduates work
- Nettitude Cyber Security Services
- UK Government
- Barclays Bank.
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, 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.
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 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 COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
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.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 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.