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Computer Science (Information Security) MSci

UCAS code G500
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 4 years full time
Department Computer Science »
Information Security »

Our advanced, four-year MSci degree with a dedicated information security pathway is designed to give you the knowledge, skills and practical experience to pursue a high level career. It offers a thorough grounding in computer science as a whole, as well as an in-depth study of the latest trends and technologies in the exciting and rapidly developing world of information security. You will have the chance to showcase your abilities in an extended final year project on an information security topic, and this programme is particularly recommended for students who want to go on to postgraduate study or a high-level technical career. It will also give you a competitive edge over graduates from standard three-year BSc programmes.

The creation, transmission and storage of huge volumes of electronic data is one of the defining features of our age. It brings us untold benefits but it also exposes businesses, governments and individuals to repeated threats. On this programme you will develop all the skills you need to pursue a career in computing, and the knowledge and practical experience to manage and improve the smooth running and security of systems, applications and organisations. You will learn from leading researchers in the field, covering topics such as cryptography, computer security and fraud detection. All this will be underpinned by a solid grounding in the fundamentals of computing and all the essentials of application development. From the outset you will be experimenting with programming games, robots, Gadgeteer kits, Subversion, JUnit testing, Scrum-based Agile software and more, in our well-equipped laboratories. Alongside our core modules you will have the flexibility to choose from a range of optional courses. There is also the possibility of transferring onto our five-year, year in industry programme subject to good academic progress.

We are a highly respected, research-focused department with a friendly approach and award-winning teaching. We offer a summer work placement programme and a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies. You will also be welcome to join our thriving Computing Society. We are one of only seven departments in the UK to hold the Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to increasing female participation in computer science. 

  • Get ahead of the game by studying at an advanced level, drawing on elements of our postgraduate MSc programmes.
  • Prepare yourself with the knowledge, skills and practical experience to pursue a high level career in information security or other branches of computer science and related fields.
  • Join an elite department, ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of its research output (Research Exercise Framework 2014).
  • 97% of our students said this programme is well organised, and 92% said it is intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2015).
  • This programme is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE). It has also received GCHQ provisional certification.

Core modules

Year 1

Object Oriented Programming

Computing Lab (Robotics)

Computing Lab (Games)

Internet Services

Mathematical Structures

Machine Fundamentals

Software Design

Year 2

Software Engineering

Team Project

Systems Programming

Operating Systems

Databases

Algorithms and Complexity

Introduction to Information Security

Computer and Network Security

Year 3

Applications of Cryptography

Individual Project

Malicious Software

Year 4

MSci Information Security Project

Security Management

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. 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. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Only core modules are taken

Year 3

Advanced Topics Seminar

Bioinformatics

Digital Audio and Applications

Computer Games Technology

Data Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis

Embedded and Realtime Systems

Software Verification

Compilation for Embedded Systems

Compilers and Code Generation

Software Language Engineering

Computational Optimisation

Functional Programming and Applications

Advanced Data Communications

Concurrent and Parallel Programming

Human-Computer Interaction

Graph Algorithms and Complexity

Machine Learning

Computational Finance

Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

Semantic Web

Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security

Digital Forensics

Cyber Security

Year 4

Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security

Digital Forensics

Security Testing Theory and Practice

Cyber Security

Data Analysis

On-lione Machine Learning

Digital Audio and Applications

Large Scale Data Storage and Processing

Data Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis

Software Verification

Computational Optimisation

Advanced Data Communications

Advanced Distributed Systems

Machine Learning

Computational Finance

Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

Semantic Web

We firmly believe that how we teach you is at least as important as what we teach, and we know the importance of giving you the time and space to experiment and put theory into practice. We encourage you to use your creativity, both in project teams and independently, and to have fun while you learn. We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, small-group tutorials, supervised computer lab classes and problem-solving sessions. You will also be expected to complete guided independent study and group work. Our programming and software engineering teaching is very hands on, allowing you to learn at your own pace, whatever your previous level of experience. You will also attend laboratory classes on games and robotics in year 1, giving you the chance to develop real applications with imagination and creativity from the outset.

We are proud of our award-winning teaching. Professor Dave Cohen won a College Excellence Teaching Prize for the re-design of our second-year software engineering courses, and he was shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award for Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. The British Computer Society (BCS) has distinguished our software engineering teaching as an exemplar of 'best practice' in computer science education.

Assessment is through a mixture of examinations and coursework. Most course units have a two or three-hour written examination taken at the end of the year in which they are taught, but around half of your final award will come from assessed coursework, which could include project reports, essays, oral presentations and software submissions.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels AAB-ABB 
Required/preferred subjects

Required subject: either Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science or Mathematics
                                                                                                     The offer given will take into consideration:
• Subjects taken at A-level
• The educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
• Whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.

At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics. For applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma, a grade B in Mathematics is required. 

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Maths, Computer Science or Physics, with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject (with significant programming content) and at least B in GCSE Maths 
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction plus an A2 grade B in Maths or Physics or Computing 
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A2 grades B, B including Maths or Physics or Computing 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Level Core 
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including Maths or Physics or Computing (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Higher grades as published) 
Scottish Highers AABBB (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Advanced Higher grades as published) 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 including H3 in Maths or H3 in Physics 
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit 

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

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English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each subscore. For equivalencies, see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional English language courses, allowing students to further develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

Our MSci graduates are highly employable, with a depth of knowledge and practical skills that set them apart from BSc students. Information security specialists are in demand across a wide range of sectors, from private companies to banking, telecommunications, security consultancies, the civil service, public utilities, retail, the military and more. They work in a rapidly developing and expanding field, with lucrative job opportunities. We have particularly strong links with the information security industry and after four years of studying you will be well prepared to take your career to the highest levels.

This programme will give you a solid grounding in the knowledge, skills and practical experience required for a successful career in computing and information security or related fields. You will learn to analyse and solve problems with creativity, to translate technological innovations into programming solutions, to design, implement, test and maintain software systems, and to digest and explain complex technical information. You will also showcase your abilities in an extended independent research project, study modules at master level, and develop valuable transferrable skills such as: team working, advanced IT skills, critical thinking, data handling, communication, time management and self-motivation.

Our partners in industry advise us on our curriculum, to make sure it responds to the latest market needs and trends. This means our graduates are up-to-speed with all the latest trends and developments. We run jobs fairs and a short-term work placement scheme, and your personal adviser and the campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice on career opportunities. We also maintain strong links with our alumni, who can often provide advice, contacts and networking opportunities. In recent years, our computer science graduates have launched careers in everything from network systems design and web development, to business management and finance. They work in organisations such as: Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bupa, Capita, CGI-Logica, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Symantec, among many others. Find out more about what some of our graduates are doing, here

  • Gain a competitive edge by completing an advanced four-year curriculum with a specialism in information security, including an extended independent project to showcase your abilities.
  • 85% of our computer science graduates are in work or further study within six months of leaving (Unistats 2015).
  • Our strong ties with industry mean we understand the latest market trends and can introduce you to all the newest developments.
  • Add professional prestige to your qualification with membership of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE), after you graduate. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

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.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & 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 etc., have not been included.

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