Our two-year Information Security programme with a year in industry will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to join the rapidly expanding field of information security. We will prepare you to work at the forefront of some of the most exciting developments in 21st century technology. You will gain first-hand experience of working in professional teams and applying your academic studies to real-world problems and scenarios. The mass creation, transmission and storage of electronic data is one of the defining features of our age. Whilst the associated technologies bring us untold benefits, they also expose us to threats that require the specialist skills and experience of cyber security experts.
Our postgraduate Information Security programmes were the first of their kind in the world. They are certified by GCHQ, the UK Government Communications Headquarters, and led by academics and industrial partners in one of the largest and most established Information Security Groups (ISGs) in the world. Our groundbreaking ISG is a UK Academic Centre of Excellence for research and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training.
In year 1 you will learn about cryptography, fraud detection, system security, network security, device security and all the technical, legal and commercial aspects of the industry, including how security itself should be managed. Your second year will include a full-time work placement, which will attract a salary and be assessed towards your final degree. On returning to campus you will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. If you decide not to complete the second year you can revert to the standard MSc Information Security (1221) and complete your dissertation a year early to graduate at the end of year 1.
Our academic staff are renowned specialists in the field, with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, mathematics, statistics and social sciences. You will have access to our virtualisation software for experimenting with network security settings and ideas, as well as our Penetration Testing Laboratory and industry-sponsored Smart Card Centre.
We offer a friendly, supportive learning environment and you will have a dedicated personal advisor to guide you through your studies. The skills you gain will provide a solid foundation if you wish to progress to a PhD. Our graduates are in demand for their cutting-edge grasp of the field, their first-hand work experience, and their transferable skills such as data handling, analysis, problem solving, research, time management, team working, self-motivation and professionalism.
You will follow either Core A or Core B, depending on the aspects of information security that you want to specialise in. You are required to complete four core modules (worth 20 credits each) plus your main dissertation (worth 60 credits). Your second year will be an assessed year spent working in industry.
These are the compulsory modules for Core A and Core B in year 1:
Core modules (all students)
Introduction to Cryptography and Security Mechanisms
Core modules (Core A only)
Core modules (Core B only)
Secure Business Architectures
In addition, students are required to choose two optional course units (worth 20 credits each) in year 1. The following are a selection of optional courses that are likely to be available. Please also refer to the compulsory elements of our six specialist pathways, as outlined below.
Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Electronic Commerce
Advanced Cryptography - subject to availability
Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
Security Testing Theory and Practice
Additionally, you can also register for one of the following six specialist pathways. These constrain your choices in the following ways:
Core A pathways
Cybercrime (requiring the Cyber Crime and Digital Forensics optional module, and a project related to cybercrime).
Smart cards, RFIDs and embedded systems security (requiring the Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security optional module, and a project related to smart cards, RFIDs or embedded systems)
Security testing (requiring the Security Testing, Theory and Practice optional module, and a project related to security testing)
Digital forensics (requiring the Digital Forensics optional module, and a project related to digital forensics)
Core A or B pathways
Cyber security (requiring the Cyber Security optional module, and a project related to cyber security)
Core B pathways
Secure digital business (requiring the Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Electronic Commerce optional module, and a project related to secure digital business)
Please note that, although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.
We use a range of teaching methods, including seminars, lectures and lab work. There is a strong focus on small group teaching and practical work. The programme has a flexible, modular structure, combining mandatory courses with a range of optional modules, optional specialist pathways that require certain module choices, a supervised dissertation, and a year in industry. During your studies you will be invited to attend an intensive, two-day revision course to prepare for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exams, which you will then be able to sit on campus, through an established arrangement with (ISC)2.
Your work placement will begin in the summer of your first year, after your examinations in May/June. You will be assigned a supervisor by your host company and they will be responsible for directing your work. You will also have an academic supervisor who will visit you to check that you are integrating successfully, assess your progress and ensure that you are being given appropriate work to do. Although the responsibility for finding a placement is ultimately yours, our Careers Service will help you to identify suitable opportunities from a large database of companies, make applications and prepare for any interviews. You will be invited to attend jobs fairs and companies will visit in year 1 to introduce their placement opportunities. We regularly highlight opportunities through our mailing lists and on social media.
Please note that progression onto a placement is conditional on good academic performance during year 1. On returning to campus after your placement in year 2 you will complete your MSc research project, to be submitted by September of that year.
Assessment is through a combination of end-of-year examinations in year 1, the written dissertation, and feedback and reports from your assessed year in industry.
UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent. Students without the required first degree but with appropriate industrial experience will also be considered.
English language requirements:
Pass IELTS with 6.5 overall, no subscore below 5.5
If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor you study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).
International and EU entry requirements
Please select your country from the drop-down list below
Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.
Your year in industry will set you apart when it comes to applying for jobs in the information security industry. By the end of the two years you will have the ideal basis for forging a successful, high-level career or moving on to further postgraduate research. You will have an advanced knowledge and understanding of the latest breakthroughs and techniques, as well as key challenges and opportunities in the field. You will also have first-hand experience of applying your skills to real-world scenarios in the world of work. You will gain valuable transferable skills such as advanced IT skills, data handling, analysis, research, communication, problem solving, time management, adaptability and self-motivation.
Our graduates are highly employable and in recent years they have gone on to forge successful careers in a wide range of sectors, including: banking, telecommunications, security consultancies, the civil service, public utilities and the retail sector.
You will be assigned a personal advisor to guide you through your studies and advise you on further postgraduate opportunities. The campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on your chosen career and the University of London Careers Advisory Service organises regular sessions on finding summer internships or vacation employment and securing employment after graduation.
- Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to work at a high level in the information security industry or pursue further postgraduate research.
- Benefit from first-hand experience of the world of work during your assessed year in industry.
- Our strong ties with industry mean we understand the needs of employers and can ensure that you are well prepared for employment.
- We have a strong track record of helping graduates into successful, high-level careers in a wide range of sectors.
Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £10,050
Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £17,000
The fee for the year in industry will be 20% of the first year fee for that academic year
Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.
* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5 per cent for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.
** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.