Full time 12 Month(s)
Develop the skills, knowledge, and experience to face one of the modern world’s greatest challenges. This programme will prepare you for an exciting and rewarding career in cyber security, application and software security, and cyber law enforcement, among others.
Cyber security is one of the greatest challenges of contemporary society, and it will only become more complicated as we progress. As a result, our GCHQ accredited programme provides you with the depth of knowledge and wealth of skills required to engage with and overcome these challenges.
During your study, you will work within our world-class ICT Centre of Excellence, InfoLab21. Here you will study and explore eight taught modules and complete a substantial research project. These interdisciplinary modules will allow you to draw on expertise from four specialist departments: School of Computing and Communication; Law; Sociology; and Politics, Philosophy and Religion. Through studying these modules, you will develop a range of technical skills and gain specialist knowledge that will be invaluable as you progress in your career. Modules include: Information System Penetration and Countermeasures; Network and Systems Security; and Cybercrime.
In addition to the taught modules, you will also work on an individual research project, supervised by two academics from two of the four departments. Through this project, you will obtain an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of cyber security and technology. You will put the skills and knowledge you have developed throughout the year into practice and gain experience of tackling real-world cyber security issues. Your study and research will be further supported as you draw upon world-leading research from Security Lancaster, our GCHQ and EPSRC recognised Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.
Alongside this technical experience, you will develop practical skills, such as how to gather and analyse data, and how to accurately present and communicate your findings. Moreover, through our Knowledge Business Centre (KBC), which has links to over 500 ICT-centric businesses, you may be able to generate opportunities and valuable network links within industry. All of which will enhance your career prospects.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Academic Week 1 (first week of October, Michaelmas Term)
Introducing cyber security and its relevant fields, this module conforms to the certified information systems and security professional (CISSP) programme standards.
Whilst participating in this module, students will gain a solid understanding of the current information security technologies and practices, and will develop a wide appreciation of IT security by exploring access control systems, business continuity and disaster recovery, all within the context of legal and ethical frameworks. Additionally, this module will equip students with knowledge in basic and fundamental telecommunications standards, and will promote an appreciation for the flow and control of information within a computer network.
Students will grow accustomed to general research, reflection, problem solving and presentation skills. The module aims to teach students how to place theoretical aspects of information security within the context of real-world examples and practical experience. Students will also develop critical and reflective thinking with regards to the impact of information security on modern information processing networks and systems.
Academic Week 10 (first week Dec, Michaelmas Term)
This module aims to prepare students with the skills and understanding required to test IT infrastructures for vulnerabilities to malicious attack.
Practical sessions will allow students access to the tools and techniques required to attack a system in order to recognise its limitations, therefore finding ways to maximise protection. Malicious hacking is explained in order to test the system, and students will also gain a reinforced awareness of the legal and ethical frameworks they will operate in.
This module will provide students with skills in system hacking and testing, and they will become familiar with a range of strategies including zero-touch reconnaissance, cryptographic techniques and attack detection mechanisms and how to evade them.
Academic Week 20 (Mid March, Lent Term)
This module aims to develop technical investigative skills with regard to the gathering of information from compromised systems. The module covers skills and technologies that a student will require in order to gather information and draw inferences from that data regarding the attack as it occurred or as it unfolds. Students will develop the skills required to apply the knowledge in order to carry out an investigation in a range of situations and on differing devices.
Academic week 11 (First week of January, Lent term)
This module focuses on the current Information System Risk Management processes and best practices. In order for security staff to be effective it is important that they have a firm understanding of risk management strategies. Such an awareness would enable them to be able analysis business threats and the risks they pose within well-known frameworks and take countermeasures to those threats commensurate with the level of risk they carry.
This module will identify key frameworks, international standards and best practices involved in Risk Assessment, Business Impact Analysis, Asset Identification and Risk Management.
The ultimate aim is to develop the students’ critical appreciation for importance of Information Risk Management in the Information Systems Security arena.
Academic Week 15 (first week February, Lent Term)
This module provides an introduction to the process of networked system security, reviewing network and system security issues and threats, and presents a broad view of network and system security services and mechanisms, whose understanding is essential in the design and implementation of security strategies for a networked environment. Students will gain an awareness of the risks that are present in modern networked IT environments, and will develop an understanding of how to protect these environments and especially communication links from an attacker.
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to assess security of networked sytems, and will be familiar with security requirments and how these can be implemented in a deployed system. The module will provide students with an understanding of how communication among computer systems can be secured.
What makes people behave deviantly online? And how might gender and age power relationships, for example, play out differently in online environments compared to offline?
Using well-established and cutting-edge social research, this module helps you to acquire a more critical understanding of deviance online, ‘cybercrime’, and ‘cybersecurity’. This is done largely through workshop discussions where you will be collaborating with students from both science and social science departments.
The module encourages you to reflect on the various historical, cultural, socio-economic, socio-political and socio-technical contexts that may contribute to the emergence of criminal activity and deviance online.
You will also acquire a better understanding of the complex relationships between crime and deviance online through analysis of a variety of stakeholders, including ‘criminals’, internet users, the cybersecurity industry, internet service providers, and the state.
This module is part of the MSc Cybersecurity and is a compulsory module for this programme.
Submission Date: end of August
A large part of the masters involves completing a dissertation project. This starts with students selecting a project by December in the first year of study. This piece of work will involve writing 40000 words and at least 200 hours of work.
This is primarily a self-study module that is designed to provide the foundation of the main dissertation, at a level considered to be publishable quality. On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to make value judgement relating to technologies and applications, and to justify these to peers and academic staff.
The topic of the project will vary from student to student, but will be at a level commensurate with the weight and level of the module. Students will refine, extend, and perfect their own scientific reflection and practice. The project also offers students the opportunity to apply their technical skills and knowledge on currrent world-class research problems and to develop an expert knowledge of a specific area.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Designed for: The overall aim of this MSc programme is to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work within the IT security profession. It combines advanced technical skills with disciplines such as Economics, Risk Management, Psychology and Social Science. Its strength and uniqueness lies in its multidisciplinary nature, merging expertise from across Lancaster’s faculties to educate the next generation of security specialists.
Entry requirements: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK) or equivalent in Computer Science, Computer Security or similar degrees. Your degree should include modules such as Security, Network and Systems, Programming and Cybercrime.
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualification here: International Qualifications
We may consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for further information. Relevant professional experience within cyber security industry/fraud may be considered.
IELTS (Academic): Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 6.0
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes:
10 week - Overall score of at least 5.5, with no individual element below 5.0
For details of eligibility see: Pre-sessional programmes
4 week - Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5
Further information is available at English for Academic Purposes
Assessment: Coursework, presentations, examinations and dissertation
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding.
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