Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security MSci/BSc (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
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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.

Course option

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

UCAS codes

GG45 / I120

Start date

September 2023

Available through Clearing

Clearing applications for September 2023 are now closed to international students due to visa and immigration requirements. Check out our January 2024 entry courses.

Course overview

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. 
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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.   


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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). 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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  


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • This module will look at the fundamentals of digital forensics including evidence and data recovery. 


  • This module will give an overview of common web technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It will cover the protocols used to drive the web such as HTTP, SSL, REsT, and the use of API’s along with an understanding of the database technologies that store information. 


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.  


  • 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. 


  • 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.   


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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. 


If you meet the criteria, you could choose to take an additional fourth year master's option3, which will deepen your knowledge and expertise.


  • This module focuses on risk assessment and the performance of security audits primarily in accordance with the guidelines of ISO27002:2005(BS17799). 


  • This module provides you with a thorough comprehension of the concepts, theory and application of cryptographic techniques to cyber security. 


  • 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. 


  • This module aims to develop your critical knowledge in the field of automotive cybersecurity, which poses a major challenge to connected and autonomous vehicles. 


  • This module introduces you to the concepts used in neural networks and their application in solving real-world problems. 


  • This module will introduce technical security controls used to prevent, detect, and recover from security violations at the application or system level. 


  • 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
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Individual Assignments
  • Laboratories

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. 

Entry requirements

Clearing places available on this course

See if you have enough points (UCAS tariff 2023)

Don't know your points total? Work it out
Additional requirements may apply

Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.

Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.

Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £9,250 per year Not available
EU £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
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).

*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.


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
  • BBC
  • UK Government
  • Janet
  • Barclays Bank.

How to apply

  • 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.

    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.


    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.

    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 2023/24 contract can be found here. 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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