MSc in Computer Security

Overview

A computer

Information about all aspects of our lives is routinely stored and transmitted electronically. Ensuring the security of the vast and complex infrastructure of computers, servers and networks is an immense challenge. Whenever computing technology is used to provide new or improved services, it gives potential attackers new opportunities to cause damage by accessing or modifying sensitive information.

The MSc in Computer Security is a one-year full-time master's degree on the theory and practice of designing and building secure computer systems that protect information and resist attack. It aims to equip you with all the required theoretical knowledge to enter a career in development of security systems, or information security consultancy. Graduates from our programme have joined BT, IBM, Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in security-related roles, as well as a variety of smaller companies and start-ups. See recent graduates.

Piotr Laczny's photograph "The studies at Birmingham University School of Computer Science gave me invaluable experience, extensive technical knowledge, without which I wouldn't be able to cope in the current commercial environment; and thus I am very much grateful that I could study there. I would be very happy to help/co-operate with the School of Computer Science in any form in the future."
Piotr Laczny

The Curriculum

This master's degree covers all aspects of computer security, including network security and secure programming. There are practical workshops in the first and second semesters, that equip you with the skills needed for your Project during the summer, which typically consists of software development in some aspect of computer security. See Programme Structure

Industry Involvement

Our curriculum has been developed with the involvement of key individuals in the computing security industry. As well as advising us on the skills they seek when recruiting graduates, they also contribute directly to the MSc programme through guest lectures and project supervision. In recent years, we have had guest lecturers from Microsoft, Vodafone, Siemens, IBM and Hewlett Packard. See Industry Involvement.

The Summer Project

The summer project is the culmination of the degree programme. Here, you work intensively on a topic of your choice, while benefiting from regular meetings with your project supervisor. The project can be development of software to solve some problem in computer security, or it can be investigation and analysis of existing designs and solutions. The topic can be any area of computer security. The projects will often get the students in touch with the most recent research in the field and previous projects have even included novel research. It is not uncommon for some of these projects to lead to PhDs. See some examples of student projects.

Applying for the Programme

To enter the programme, you need to have at least an upper second class (2.1) degree or an international equivalent in computer science or a closely related discipline and a solid foundation in programming. Knowledge of object-oriented programming will be a strong asset. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test.

When to apply

The course begins on 29th September 2014. There is no closing date for admissions, although you are advised to apply as early as possible, particularly if you need to arrange a visa.

For full details visit 'how to apply'.

Ali Lokhandwala's photograph "The course taught me that good security needs sound scientific analysis. There are a lot of gimmick security devices and techniques out there that play on our intuition but offer no real security."
Ali Lokhandwala