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 cyber security, hacking, digital forensics, security operations and the underlying associated computer science.

Course option

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

BSc:
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
MSci:
4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

UCAS codes

GG45 / I120

Start date

September 2025

The information on this page is for 2024-25 entry and should be used as guidance for 2025-26 entry. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.


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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Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

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Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

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Why you should study this course

  • Practical, hands-on approach to teaching, where you have the chance to demonstrate the theoretical aspects of the course through real-world examples.
  • Join a thriving community of ethical hackers with opportunities to participate in societies and live ‘hackathon’ type events2.
  • Dedicated specialised learning environment - the Ethical Hacking Lab4.
  • Previous graduates have gone on to become security consultants, security engineers, penetration testers and other sector-specific roles.

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.

Modules

  • 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 or 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, as well as software and systems security. 

    Compulsory

  • The module will introduce the core fundamentals of programming for a prominent object-orientated 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. 

    Compulsory

  • 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). 

    Compulsory

  • 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 organisation and broader environments. 

    Compulsory

  • 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. 

    Compulsory

  • This module will cover some of core computer science concepts around security including mathematics, Boolean algebra and circuit design and cryptography. 

    Compulsory

In your second year, 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.

Modules

  • 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. 

    Compulsory

  • 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 (OS) 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. 

    Compulsory

  • 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. 

    Compulsory

  • 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 or managing incident response investigations. 

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

  • 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 Application Programme Interfaces (APIs), along with an understanding of the database technologies that store information. 

    Compulsory

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 participating institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
 

Modules

  • This module2 provides 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. 

    Optional

  • 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. 

    Optional

This year aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills you've developed so far. You could also work on a large final project in an area of your interest, with the support of a mentor.   

Modules

  • This module will cover penetration testing methodology, including accessing, manipulating and exploring networks and systems. Counter measures are also covered, as well as a structured methodology in which this can be reported along with an evaluation of security mechanisms.

    Compulsory

  • 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

  • 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.

    Compulsory

  • The module will cover topics such as forming research questions, project selection and formation, scoping and planning, critical review, state of the art or literature review. It will also consider research methods including quantitative and qualitative, initial development and implementation, project concept evaluation, as well as professional and ethical considerations.

    Compulsory

  • This module is aimed at supporting you during the dissertation writing process. 

    Compulsory

  • 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 or 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 as mobile network, cloud and emerging technologies.

    Optional

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

Modules

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

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

  • 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.

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

  • 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. 

    Compulsory

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

As a full-time undergraduate student, you will study modules totalling 120 credits each academic year. A typical 20 credit module requires a total of 200 hours study. This is made up of teaching contact hours, guided and independent study.

Teaching hours:

Teaching hours vary each semester, year of study and due to module selection. During your first year you can expect 15-18 teaching hours each week. You will also have the option to attend optional sessions including time with a progress coach or to meet with staff for advice and feedback. As you progress through your studies, teaching hours may reduce.

Guided and independent study:

Throughout your studies, you will be expected to spend time in guided and independent study to make up the required study hours per module. You'll be digging deeper into topics, review what you've learnt and complete assignments. This can be completed around your personal commitments. As you progress through your studies, you'll spend more time in independent study.

Online learning:

As an innovative university, we use different teaching methods including online tools and emerging technologies. So, some of your teaching hours and assessments may be delivered online.


Assessment

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

Assessment methods may 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. 

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.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2025/26 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
UCAS points BSc (Hons): 120
MSci: 128
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.

Other qualifications and experience

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, each with a unique story. We recognise a breadth of qualifications. If your qualifications differ from the above, contact our Admissions Team who will be happy to discuss your qualifications and routes into your chosen course.

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Contextual offers and Fair Access Scheme

If you meet the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme, you could automatically receive a contextual offer that may be up to 24 UCAS points lower than our standard entry requirements. View the criteria for 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.

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


Fees and funding

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £9,250 per year
Not available
EU 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £19,850 per year
Not available

If you choose to study this course with a professional placement2 or study abroad year, you will need to pay a tuition fee3 of £1,250 to 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.

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 permits 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.

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).

Find out what's included in your tuition costs.

*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.


Facilities

Your studies will be centred in high-specification learning environments that benefit from extensive social learning facilities, well-appointed laboratories, lecturing facilities and classrooms, facilitating our innovative teaching methods across a diverse suite of courses4.

  • Ethical Hacking Lab: a course-specific room with custom operating systems and software, which allows you to reconfigure the set-up 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 should 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 as LRQA 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.

We encourage our graduates to 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

  • LRQA Nettitude Cyber Security Services
  • BBC
  • UK Government
  • Janet
  • Barclays Bank

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 2024/2025 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2025/2026 contract will apply for the 2025/2026 intake. 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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