MSc in Cyber Security

Overview and contacts

For general information:

Eugene Campbell
Postgraduate Admissions Administrator

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325404
Fax: +44 (0)1904 325599
E-mail: cs-postgraduate@york.ac.uk

For informal discussion:

Dr Howard Chivers
Course Leader

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325354
Fax: +44 (0)1904 325599
E-mail: howard.chivers@york.ac.uk

Course overview

  • This course is available full-time over one year, or part-time over three years.
  • It is made up of 8 assessed modules taught in week-long blocks and an individual project module.
  • This course is suitable for those with a Computer Science related degree and is for those students who already possess a strong computer science, software engineering or information technology background.

Security of our systems is one of the most challenging topics of our time. There is an international consensus that the level of security skills will have to be increased in order to respond to the number and sophistication of threats we face.

Our new MSc in Cyber Security is a forward-looking course that gives you the skills and knowledge you need in the core areas of cyber security. It emphasises the important technical material that will help you make effective cyber security decisions, and addresses issues such as:

  • Identity
  • Trust and reputation
  • Cryptography
  • Network security
  • Malware and intrusion detection
  • Risk management
  • Development of high assurance systems

If you are looking to follow a career in industry or government, this course will provide you with a broad education in cyber security, that allows you to make technically informed principled decisions. This course will also prepare you if you are seeking a research career in cyber security - a research skills module is a mandatory part of the course.

It has been designed for students who already possess a strong computer science, software engineering or information technology background who want to broaden their knowledge about the specific challenges in cyber security and of possible solutions to those challenges.

Watch our video on Cyber Security

Small picture of John Clark, Director of MSc Cyber Security

Professor John Clark, former Course Leader for the MSc in Cyber Security, explains more about the course.

 

Course structure

The MSc in Cyber Security is offered as a one-year full-time course, or can be taken part-time over three years.

The first half of the course is taken up by taught modules. Each module comprises a mix of lectures, problem classes and practical classes, plus a personal study time. In the second half of the course, students undertake an individual research project under the supervision of a member of staff.

Course aims

  • To educate students in the theories, principles, practices and technologies of cyber security.
  • To provide the knowledge and understanding of the principles underpinning effective approaches to cyberdefence.

Learning outcomes

When you graduate from the MSc in Cyber Security, you will have developed a detailed understanding of the fundamental aspects of cyber security. The course emphasises the important technical material that must be understood in order to make effective cyber security decision making.

You will understand extant threats to current and emerging system types, and understand and be familiar with a range of technologies that can be brought to bear to reduce risks.

This course will equip you for a career in industry or government, particularly in strategic cyber security decision making, or if you are seeking a research career in this area.

Attendance

Full-time taught postgraduate courses run for 12 months from the start of the academic year in October.  Students on these courses are expected to be in attendance at York for the full 12 months, except for when the Department is closed. Please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Administrator for more details.

Modules

Course components  -  2017/2018

Click on Module TitleModule TitleTermShort Description
Identity, Trust, Reputation and their Applications Autumn Addresses issues such as how to reliably identify agents and their communications, and whether we can depend on such agents to provide services or keep promises.
Cryptography Theory and Applications Autumn Examines the design, analysis and implementation of cryptographic primitives and services. This module also addresses issues of key management infrastructures.
Rigour in the Development of High Assurance Systems Spring Provides an understanding and hands-on experience of rigorous approaches to secure and dependable system development. The linking theme is "rigour". The module also addresses the use of traditional formal methods (formal specification, program proof and so on), but also stochastic model checking, software reliability mathematics, and system safety reliability analysis.
Networks and Communications Security: Threats, Attacks and Countermeasures Autumn Gives a broad understanding and knowledge of network security, addressing threats over a range of sophistication levels.
Malware and Other Malfeasance Autumn Provides an understanding and knowledge of how malware, such as viruses and worms, actually work, and how to detect them. This module also investigates the principles and practices of intrusion detection.
Cyber Security Research Skills Spring Covers aspects of being a successful researcher in cyber security. The module includes participating in a mock cyber security conference, giving appropriate critical feedback, communicating cyber security issues to a variety of audiences and writing cyber security research proposals.
Wider Aspects of Cyber Security Spring Covers technical topics of wider cyber security according to current industrial issues in the discipline.
Forensic Analysis of Cyber Incidents Spring Provides an introduction to computer forensic analysis, to understand the disciplines and processes required to obtain and preserve evidence, and the practical skills necessary to conduct and report a basic forensic examination. This takes place in the context of security incident response, and includes both the examination of computers which may have been the origin or victim of unwanted user action, and also the preliminary investigation and classification of malware.
Independent Study Module - Cyber Security Individual Project Summer Term & Vacation The dissertation project undertaken by students over the summer is carried out individually, supervised by a member of academic staff. Though many projects may follow naturally from the taught material, projects may also investigate suitably challenging topics outside that material. The outputs from this module are a project dissertation together with a conference paper length summary of the work.

Personal Tutor

You will have a personal tutor and will be part of a tutorial group, usually comprising of five or fewer students. Your personal tutor provides academic and pastoral advice throughout your course. When you undertake your individual project, you will be allocated a supervisor within your area of interest, so your supervisor may then change.

Assessment

All taught modules on the MSc in Cyber Security are examined by open assessments. The assessment paper is published at the end of the week of teaching, and you will be required to submit your answers typically four weeks later. This type of assessment allows you to engage with the research literature and gives us the chance to assess your practical skills.

Once you have successfully completed the taught modules, you will undertake an extensive individual project. Here you will work on an indentified cyber security topic, and document the results in a report. Additionally, you will be required to precis the project report in a conference style paper.

Assessments will take place at various times during the year. Practical exercises, reports and other forms of open assessment will be due either during the course module or just after its completion.

Timescales, Modules and Project Descriptions may be subject to change.

Project

Overview

The dissertation project undertaken by students over the summer is carried out individually, supervised by a member of academic staff. It may involve working with an external organisation. Students are also encouraged to work with academic staff to create projects of interest to them.

All projects are vetted to ensure suitability for the MSc. Provided academic criteria are met, there is considerable flexibility in the choice of cyber security topics for the project. Though many projects may follow naturally from the taught material, projects may also investigate suitably challenging topics outside that material.

The outputs from this module are a project dissertation together with a conference paper length summary of the work.

Projects are worth 5/9 of the total mark for the MSc.

How to apply

Watch our video on Cyber Security

Professor John Clark, former Course Leader for the MSc in Cyber Security, explains why those who take this course will be in demand in the workplace.

 

Suitability and Entry Requirements

Typically, you will have achieved at least an upper second class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a computing-related discipline. The course has been designed for students who already possess a strong computer science, software engineering or information technology background.

We are willing to consider applications from those who do not fit this profile.  We will, for example, consider applicants who do not have an appropriate qualification but have appropriate industrial experience.

How to Apply

For more information about completing your application, please take a look at the University’s webpages which tell you how to apply, and our Department's advice on completing applications.

In particular, please take note of the supporting documents we need to see in order to be able to make a decision about your application.  You are also required to nominate two referees, of which at least one should be from your current employer or place of study.

You can apply through our online application system (SELECT).

While there is no official closing date for applications, early application is advised.

Studentships

We are offering a number of taught MSc scholarships worth £5,000 each for 2017 entry. You simply have to be holding an offer to apply. Find out more about the scholarship and how to apply.

The University of York awards a number of scholarships for overseas students each year, and competition for these scholarships is very intense. More information about funding opportunities is available here.

Did you know that we also offer our MSc students a continuation scholarship? Should you decide to stay and study for a PhD after you graduate, you could be eligible to have your fees paid. Check out the details of the award.

International Students

Cyber security is a global issue, and this is reflected in the significant interest in our MSc from students in the UK and from around the world. York welcomes international participation in all of its courses.

If English is not your first language, or your first degree was not taught in English, then you will need to have attained a suitable language qualification no more than two years before the start of the course. 

The University's Postgraduate Study webpages will tell you more about the English language requirements for graduate students.

Careers

Careers

Here at York, we're really proud of the fact that more than 97% of our postgraduate students go on to employment or further study within six months of graduating from York. We work closely with industry to ensure that what we teach is up to date, and our courses are valued by both employers and academia.

So where do our students go once they leave York?

Pie chart showing the industry destinations of Computer Science postgraduates