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Computer Science (Information Security) BSc

UCAS code G407
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 3 years full time
Department Computer Science »
Information Security »

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 such as cyber theft, sabotage and blackmail. As a result, societies increasingly rely on the expertise and innovations of information security specialists, without which many aspects of our daily lives would grind to a halt.

This three-year programme with a specialism in information security will give you the skills you need to pursue a computer science career, 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, fraud detection and the study of how security itself can best be managed. All this will be underpinned by a solid grounding in the fundamentals of computing and all the essentials of application development, from programming to software engineering, databases to web development, computer graphics to robotics. 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 tailor your studies to your own interests in your final year.

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 Computing Society, a thriving community of more than 400 computer enthusiasts from across the College. 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. You will graduate with an advanced knowledge of computer science and information security theories and methodologies, as well as transferrable skills such as team working, communication, time management and self-motivation.

  • Gain a solid grounding in all the main aspects of computer science but with a career-focused specialism in information security.
  • Enjoy a varied and flexible curriculum, informed by cutting-edge research and current industrial needs.
  • 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). 

Core modules

Year 1

Object Oriented Programming

In this module you will develop an understanding of programming and object-orientation concepts. You will learn about program basics, control flow, data structures, objects, exceptions, and file input and output. You will consider how to solve basic programming tasks and the need for program documentation, testing, readability and modifiability.

Computing Lab (Robotics)

In this module you will develop an understanding of the building of computer systems. You will learn about the elementary concepts of robotics, gaining practical experience in programming mobile robots to execute pre-defined movements using Java and Lego NXT. You will also consider the basics of sensors, proportional-integral-derivative (PID) feedback systems, and the principles of localisation.

Computing Lab (Games)

In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of 2D game design and apply them to the development of simple games using an objected-oriented approach. You will look at the nature of graphics, animation, and motion, considering the usage of vectors in these techniques. You will also examine the fundamentals of game physics, such as collisions, gravity and ballistics.

Internet Services

In this module you will develop an understanding of how the internet works and its key protocols. You will look at the technologies used for web development, including scripting languages and their potential for adding dynamic content to web sites and applications. You will consider the role of web services and related technologies, and will examine the fundamental principles of network security.

Mathematical Structures

In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal resoning for sets, relations, functions and cardinality. You will look at the structures for program data and representation and learn to write and reason recursive definitions and prove results by induction and contradiction. You will consider the representation and reasoning of problems using graphs and the use of vectors and transformations for defining and manipulating graphical objects. You will also examine the usage of probability and statistics in analysing data.

Machine Fundamentals

In this module you will develop an understanding of the handling of large and infinite objects within a programming environment. You will learn how to use formal logic to design, reason about and minimise switching circuits, and write basic programs in assembly language. You will consider the binary representations of signed and unsigned integers and how to write regular expressions to describe sets and build deterministic automata to recognise these. You will also examine the use of automata machines in the design and reasoning of sequential flow systems.

Software Design

In this module you will develop an understanding of software design and engineering processes, including the Waterfall and Agile methodologies. You will learn how to identify common software requirements and see how these have been considered in existing systems. You will look the techniques of software design and how software engineers communicate their design ideas. You will consider the importance of documentation and the usage of current industry-standard notations such as user stories and the unified modeling language (UML). You will also analyse and critique the design of existing sotware looking at the user experience as a measure of its fitness for purpose.

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

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

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 (including your individual project in year 3), 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. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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. At Royal Holloway, University of London we have particularly strong links with the information security industry and our graduates are highly employable.

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 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 the knowledge, skills and practical experience to pursue an exciting career at the cutting edge of information security.
  • 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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