Education

MSc Cyber Security

Teaching the next generation of cyber security experts.

Our MSc in Cyber Security is about designing systems that resist attack. As computers and IT systems become ever more prevalent and ever more connected with each other, the opportunities for attackers become even greater, and the need to resist them becomes more urgent. Computing infrastructure is now vital for communication, government, commerce, and control of our physical environment, and is a potential target of terrorist and criminal attacks. Graduates who understand the technologies that underpin products and practices to secure it will be in great demand.

The MSc is a one-year full-time degree that equips students to engage with complex, challenging problems and real-world issues, teaching students the intellectual and technical skills they need to deal with current and future cyber security threats. You will learn to negotiate all the layers at which security must be considered, from low-level attacks on hardware and software implementations, through to more abstract design principles underlying secure systems, to strategies for management of processes and people.

Our MSc programme offers a broad range of modules with which to tailor your course to your own specific interests.

Why study here?

Facilities

We are situated in a dedicated School of Computer Science, with specialist security labs. This includes access to equipment for:

  • automotive security
  • side-channel analysis
  • forensics
  • smart devices
  • IoT devices
  • dedicated VM servers for running hacking exercises and security analysis

For more information:

Entry requirements:

  • 2.i Computer Science (or related subject)
  • Solid foundation in programming
  • Knowledge of data structures and algorithms
  • English language proficiency

What our staff say:

What our students say:

I'd been working in a very stagnant IT field for 15 years when I started researching Master's Degrees: I wanted a new challenge and had heard about Birmingham University's excellent reputation in the cyber security field, so I decided to apply. The course has exploded my brain in so many directions that it hurts - in a good way! From cryptography to hardware to hacking. I've most enjoyed Penetration testing (hacking) but was also surprised to discover how much I've loved the Hardware and Embedded Systems course. The lecturers are down-to-earth, helpful and inspirational - it's a real joy to come to lecturers every day. I'm just sad that it's only a year...

Kit Murdock, MSc Cyber Security 2016-17

When I was looking for a security Master's Degree I wanted one that was flexible and up to date rather than a legacy security course. While reading the Cyber Security course's modules I felt that this is the course that will meet this need. This feeling was confirmed on the Welcome Day when the program director told us that this course does not have many books as references since we are taught current material thus instead we will focus on research papers. When a major security incident was published in the news, one of the modules exactly on the next day talked about this incident and added it to the course materials. For this reason I believe that my program choice was the right one.

Hasan Labani, MSc Cyber Security 2016-17

Employability

The MSc in Cyber Security is a new programme, but graduates of the previous MSc in Computer Security have gone on to work for companies including Accenture, IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, BT and Delcam.

Our students gain the knowledge to become leaders in the field of cyber security and to shape the technologies that will be developed in the future. They are equipped to work on secure software development within the software and IT industry, or to become cyber security consultants. They may also choose to move on to PhD research.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Industry links

Our MSc programme includes engagement with key companies in cyber security, including careers advice, course development and student projects. We also have guest lectures from industry professionals and visiting academics. As well as welcoming speakers from Microsoft, Vodafone, Siemens, IBM and HP, this has recently included:

Ian Kayne - Cyber Security Practice Lead, Mason Advisory

Dr Masoud Koleini - Alert Logic, former PhD student at University of Birmingham

Jonathan Tyers - Independent Consultant, formerly at CGI Group

Chris Bayliss - IT Security Manager, University of Birmingham

Jordi Puiggali - CSO and SVP of Research & Security, Scytl Secure Electronic Voting

Dr Budi Arief - Lecturer, Security Group, University of Kent

GHCQ Certified Education

GCHQ Certification

Our MSc Cyber Security has received full certification by GCHQ. as part of their Certified Degrees. Students taking the accredited pathway will be following a programme that has been approved by UK national experts in cyber security for its high quality, for its support for students with the School of Computer Science’s excellent resources and facilities, and for the coverage of a broad range of topics that are essential for a career in cyber security. The GCHQ scheme is part of the National Cyber Security Strategy, and aims to help students and employers alike to assess the quality on offer and to identify the degree that best suits someone’s preferred career path.

Students following the certified pathway should take the following modules:

Plus 30 credits of further optional modules.

DCMS

DCMS Bursaries

Please note the bursaries have now closed for 2017 entry.

To support the National Cyber Security Strategy in its aim to enhance the cyber skills of the UK, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport has confirmed £500k funding to continute a pilot to help adults who want to retrain for a job in cyber security by taking a GCHQ-accredited master’s degree. Up to £500k will be distributed between participating universities to help those who want to use their skills and work experience to move into a cyber security career. Those interested in applying must first be accepted onto participating courses and apply for the bursary through the university. The bursaries are part of a broader DCMS initiative to enhance the cyber security skills capacity of the UK, from schools to higher education. The initiative is part of the Government’s £1.9 billion investment to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security.

Eligibility for DCMS bursaries requires the following:

  • Have accepted an offer on our MSc Cyber Security
  • Be following the GCHQ-certified pathway of modules
  • Be a UK national or EU national residing in the UK
  • Not be applying for the MSc straight out of an undergraduate degree
  • Not previously held employment as a cyber security professional (cyber security was not a significant part of any previous job function – i.e. less than 50% of a previous job role)
  • Is applying with a clear and demonstrable intention to retrain to become a cyber security professional in the UK
  • Subject to a criminal records check

For further information, or to apply, please contact ace-csr@cs.bham.ac.uk.

PhD Computer Science

Training world-leading researchers in cyber security.

The academic staff in the Security and Privacy Research Group are always interested to hear from outstanding candidates working in cyber security related to the research areas covered by the group.

PhD funding opportunities will be advertised here and/or on the University funding database as they become available.

University of Birmingham Hacking Club

AFiniteNumberOfMonkeys

Understanding threats in order to make computing more secure.

"Any problem can be solved by enough monkeys acting completely at random."

The University of Birmingham Hacking Club undertakes internal and external hacking challenges designed to develop students' skills in penetration testing and attack research as well as understanding how to protect against hackers by learning how to think from the perspective of an attacker.

Contact:

For more information:

Meetings and timetable

Write-ups