Studying a Master's degree in Cyber Security
Sam Maesschalck talks about why he came to Lancaster to study a Master's degree in Cyber Security.
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 NCSC certified 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 the School of Computing and Communication, and the Department of 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 an academic from one of the 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 NCSC 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.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in Computer Science, Computer Security or similar degrees.
It is highly recommended the your previous studies have included Operating Systems, Networking and Computer programming (preferably Python).
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
Relevant professional experience within cyber security industry will be considered.
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The module is led by the Politics, Philosophy and Religion department with input from colleagues in Computing Science, Sociology and Criminology. We aim to foster interdisciplinary teaching and learning across social sciences and computing sciences. PPR491 Cybercrime is a core module on the MSc Cybersecurity degree and an optional module for PPR students MA students as well as those in Sociology and Law, so has been designed with you all in mind.
The module is block-taught across an intense two-week period, through lectures and seminar activities in Summer Term. There will be an hour for lunch each day, and several comfort breaks. Each lecture examines a specific issue relating to ‘cybercrime’. In week 23 you will present the final findings from your group task to the whole class.
In the group task you will learn how to use evidence-based methods to explore a cybercrime topic. We will show you how to do this on day 1. Sessions/topics are delivered by experts in their field, and there will be plenty of time for questions and debate.
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 to analyse 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 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.
The aim of the module is to give students a basic working knowledge of relevant legal systems, sources, institutions and personnel.
Topics to be covered will include:
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
Submission Date: end of August
A large part of the master's 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 20-30,000 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 current world-class research problems and to develop expert knowledge of a specific area.
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 the security of networked systems, and will be familiar with security requirements 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.
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.
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. Not all optional modules are available every year.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
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For students starting in 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
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