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Postgraduate taught courses

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Our Courses

The Department of Mathematics at Royal Holloway offers two different MSc programmes in Mathematics (Master of Science degrees). We are also part of the School of Information Security, meaning we can offer a Masters in Information Security as well.

An overview of our postgraduate courses with Prof. James McKee.

This highly-focused Masters explores some of the mathematics behind modern secure information and communications systems. It specialises in mathematics relevant for public key cryptography, coding theory and information theory.

Why choose this course?

  • You’ll be provided with a solid mathematical foundation and a knowledge and understanding of the subjects cryptography and communications preparing you for research or professional employment in this area.
  • The mathematical foundations needed for applications in communication theory and cryptography are covered including algebra, combinatorics, complexity theory/algorithms and number theory.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to carry out your dissertation project in a cutting-edge research area supervised by an expert in their field, with experience of regularly publishing their work in internationally competitive journals.
  • After completing the course, you’ll have a good foundation for the next step in your career both inside and outside academia.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study eight courses, including Advanced Cipher Systems, The Theory of Error Correcting Codes, Public Key Cryptography, Advanced Financial Mathematics and Statistics, as well as complete a main research project under the supervision of a member of staff.

Assessment is conducted through coursework, examinations and a main research project. The examinations, held in May/June, account for 66.7% of your final grade while the project, which is submitted in September, comprises 33.3%.

Find out more here.

This more generalised one year course covers a wide range of topics from both applied and applicable mathematics. It is aimed at students who want to study the field in greater depth and in areas which are relevant to real-life applications. 

Why choose this course?

  • As well as gaining a solid mathematical foundation, you’ll have knowledge and understanding of the principles of communication through noisy channels using coding theory, the principles of cryptography as a tool for securing data and the role and limitations of mathematics in the solution of real-life problems.
  • You’ll have the chance to conduct your own research project under the supervision of an expert in their field, while learning how to collate information from a number of sources with critical awareness.
  • The course will also provide you with a good stepping stone into your future career whether it’s in academia or not.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study eight course units, such as Applications of Field Theory, Network Algorithms, Computational Number Theory, Financial Mathematics and Statistics, as well as complete a Main Project under the supervision of a member of staff.

Assessment is conducted through coursework, examinations and a main research project. The examinations, held in May/June, account for 66.7% of your final grade while the project which is submitted in September comprises 33.3%. 

Discover more here.

The electronic handling of information is one of the defining technologies of our age, which is rapidly growing. And while there are many benefits to this technology, there are major threats to businesses, governments and individuals, such as information manipulation, deliberate damage to stored information and blackmail associated with the threat of damage.

This one year long Masters is taught by the Information Security Group (part of the same school as Mathematics) and covers countermeasures to these threats, including cryptography, computer security and fraud detection.

Why choose this course?

  • It was the first course of its kind in the world. Our Information Security Group (ISG) was recognised by the Queen when they were awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 1998 for ‘offering world-leading independent expertise in a field of crucial importance’.
  • More than 20 collaborative links with companies and government departments have been formed over the years, with these informing us as to what our degree should cover. In a typical year you’ll benefit from lectures and seminars from up to 50 guest speakers as a result of these ties. 
  • You’ll be offered some cutting-edge optional units that are up to date and relevant to potential employers.
  • You can use virtualisation software from the ISG Lab in which you can experiment with network security settings and concepts introduced in these units. Our other facilities include a Penetration Testing Laboratory and the Smart Card Centre where specialist equipment and tools may be accessed by those undertaking a practical project.
  • The ISG also recognises the standing of the CISSP qualification in the workplace. We’ve established an arrangement with (ISC)2, which means you can attend an intensive two-day CISSP revision course and sit the exam at Royal Holloway.
  • Our cryptographers have close links with Bletchley Park meaning you can visit the historic site during your studies.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll take a core element, consisting of four modules, which accounts for 50 per cent of your final grade, an options element formed of two optional modules, which makes up 25 per cent of your final grade, and a project, which is 25 per cent of your final mark.

You’ll cover subjects such as Security Management, Computer Security, Secure Business Architectures, Advanced Cryptography, Database Security, Cyber Crime and Cyber Security, to name just a few.

Assessment comprises a written examination for each module you study and the completion of your MSc project.

Read more here.



Applying and careers with Prof. James McKee.


Funding may be available for prospective students - please check the following webpages.

For questions about course fees please email: student-fees@rhul.ac.uk 



Films courtesy of PostgraduateSearch.com.


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