The Information Security Group (ISG) is a world-leading interdisciplinary research group dedicated to research and education in the area of information (cyber) security.
The ISG comprises more than fifteen full-time academic faculty members, including a mix of computer scientists, mathematicians and social scientists. They are supported by visiting academics, research assistants and a large number of research students, making the ISG one of the largest academic information security teams in the world.
We also host an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security for the Everyday, which funds a four-year PhD programme (first year of taught training followed by three years of research).
The ISG has supervised over 200 PhD students, many now holding influential positions in the cyber security industry. The ISG was formed in 1990 with the intent of providing an academic institution which understood and collaborated with government and industry in the area of information security. Today the ISG continues to attract some of the best minds in the world working in the field of cyber security, helping to shape the National Cyber Security Strategy and develop the talent and services of tomorrow.
Royal Holloway is recognised as a UK Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). Our breadth of coverage, coupled with our size, distinguished educational and academic track record, and long-standing and deep engagement with industry, makes the ISG a unique research group in the UK. The research tradition of the ISG was validated in an ESPRC review of mathematical sciences in the UK which stated that 'UK researchers remain world leaders in information security (Royal Holloway)'.
Research facilities and environment
The ISG has more than 15 permanent research-active members of academic staff, a number of distinguished visiting professors and consultants, as well with as a large group of postdoctoral research assistants and a large PhD research student community supported by the CDT in Cybersecurity for the everyday. This exciting research environment is enhanced by a range of research seminars and working groups.
We also boast exceptional research facilities. We have our own dedicated research centre, the Smart Card and IoT Security Centre. This centre was founded in 2002 as a world-wide centre of excellence for training and research into security issues associated with smart cards, tokens and mobile devices. Topics studied with the group now include Radio Frequency ID (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC), mobile devices and general embedded/ implementation system security. As research activity also focuses on devices with relatively limited processing and memory resources but with direct network connectivity – the Internet of Things (IoT) – the group’s name changed to “The Smart Card and Internet of Things Security Centre” in December 2015.
The Systems Security Research Lab (S2 Lab) was founded in September 2014. The research carried out in the lab focuses on devising novel techniques to protect systems from a broad range of threats, including those perpetrated by malicious software. In particular, we aim at building practical tools and provide security services to the community at large. Our research, kindly sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSRC), the European Council Framework Programme 7 (EU FP7) and Intel Security (McAfee Labs UK), crosses the boundaries of a number of different Computer Science related topics, such as operating systems, computer architecture, program analysis and machine learning, making our challenging journey always exciting.
Once the research has been successfully completed the student must write and submit a final report in the form of a PhD research thesis. This will be evaluated by at least two experts and the student will be invited to attend an oral examination where they must defend their thesis.
The minimum entry requirement for an MPhil or an MPhil leading to a PhD degree is the equivalent of a UK Second Class Honours degree in an appropriate subject, although in many cases a Masters level qualification will also be expected. Candidates must also be demonstrably proficient in English.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
- TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
The degree can be used as an entry into corporate information security research or academic research, or may serve as a method to demonstrate the candidates advanced skills in a manner beyond that demonstrated by a taught course. Ex-students can now be found working at high levels in all branches of information security and in such companies such as Microsoft and Google.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £
International students tuition fee per year**: £17,400
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.
* and ** These fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on part-time fees. We adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to undertaking this particular programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.