Excited by the role of mathematics in securing the modern electronics and communications that we all rely on? This intensive MSc programme explores the mathematics behind secure information and communications systems, in a department that is world renowned for research in the field.
You will learn to apply advanced mathematical ideas to cryptography, coding theory and information theory, by studying the relevant functions of algebra, number theory and combinatorial complexity theory and algorithms. In the process you will develop a critical appreciation of the challenges that mathematicians face in facilitating secure information transmission, data compression and encryption. You will learn to use advanced cypher systems, correcting codes and modern public key crypto-systems. As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to complete a supervised dissertation in an area of your choice, under the guidance of experts in the field who regularly publish in internationally competitive journals and work closely with partners in industry.
We are a lively, collaborative and supportive community of mathematicians and information security specialists, and thanks to our relatively compact scale we will take the time to get to know you as an individual. You will be assigned a personal advisor to guide you through your studies.
Mathematicians who can push the boundaries and stay ahead when it comes to cryptography and information security are in demand, and the skills you gain will open up a range of career options and provide a solid foundation if you wish to progress to a PhD. These include transferable skills such as familiarity with a computer-based algebra package, experience of carrying out independent research and managing the writing of a dissertation.
- Learn from internationally renowned mathematicians, cryptographers and communications specialists.
- Complete a cutting-edge research project under the supervision of cryptography and communications experts.
- Enjoy the flexibility to tailor your degree to your interests and specialisms.
- Join a mathematics department that ranks second in the UK for research impact and fourth for world leading or internationally excellent research output (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
- Feel at home in a friendly department where you will be known as an individual.
This programme has a flexible, modular structure, combining mandatory modules that make up 120 of the 180 credits required to pass with a range of optional modules on specialist topics, worth 20 credits each.
Advanced Cypher Systems
Theory of Error - Correcting Codes
Public Key Cryptography
In addition to these mandatory course units, there will be a number of optional course units available during the course of your degree. The following table lists a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available.
Applications of Field Theory
Quantum Information and Coding
Principles of Algorithm Design
Advanced Financial Mathematics
Computational Number Theory
The programme can either be completed in one year if you study full-time, or in two years part-time. It requires a minimum of six students per year to run, so if fewer than six students register we will offer you alternative options or refund any deposit paid.
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.
You will initially choose 8 courses from the list of available options, of which you specify 6 courses during the second term that will count towards your final award. You will also complete a core research project under the supervision of one of our academic staff.There is a strong focus on small group teaching throughout the programme.
Assessment is carried out through a variety of methods, including coursework, examinations and the main project. End-of-year examinations in May or June will count for 66.7% of your final award, while the dissertation will make up the remaining 33.3% and has to be submitted by September.
UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in Mathematics.
Exceptionally, at the discretion of the course director, qualifications in other subjects (for example, physics or computer science) or degrees of lower classification may be considered.
English language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall and no subscore below 5.5
If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be 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.
By the end of this programme you will have an advanced knowledge and understanding of all the key mathematical principles and applications that underpin modern cryptography and communications. You will have advanced skills in coding, algebra and number theory, and be able to synthesise and interpret information from multiple sources with insight and critical awareness. You will have learnt to formulate problems clearly, to undertake independent research and to express your technical work and conclusions clearly in writing. You will also have valuable transferable skills such as advanced numeracy and IT skills, time management, adaptability and self-motivation.
Graduates from this programme have gone on to carry out cutting-edge research in the fields of communication theory and cryptography, as well as to successful careers in industries such as: information security, IT consultancy, banking and finance, higher education and telecommunications. Our mathematics postgraduates have taken up roles such as: Principal Information Security Consultant at Abbey National PLC; Senior Manager at Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte & Touche; Global IT Security Director at Reuters; and Information Security Manager at London Underground.
The campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on your chosen career. The University of London Careers Advisory Service runs regular, tailored sessions for mathematics students, on finding summer internships or vacation employment and getting into employment.
- Open doors to a range of exciting opportunities in academic research or professional employment.
- Our strong ties with industry mean we understand the needs of employers and we have a strong track record of helping graduates into successful, high-level careers.
- 90% of our graduates are in work or undertaking further study within six months of leaving (Unistats 2015).
Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000
Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £14,500
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.