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Information Security

MSc and PGDip

This GCHQ-certified master's degree addresses both the technical and management aspects of cyber security. You'll learn about cryptography, computer and network security, and security management from one of the foremost academic security groups in the world.

This degree will help you gain the cyber security skills required for senior level careers by focusing on principles and best management techniques. The expertise and consulting experience at Royal Holloway ensures that the degree remains commercially relevant to the marketplace.

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Introduction to the Information Security Group.

By studying this degree, you will:

  • Gain the cyber security skills required for senior level careers.
  • Enhance your career prospects as a security specialists within a wide range of companies.
  • Benefit from Royal Holloway’s expertise and consulting experience.

Course details

This programme comprises six modules and a project. No project is required for the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip).

View Modules

The programme is offered online and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You study at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines) using the study materials provided, with support available from academic staff.

Study materials

We will send you study materials developed by academics at Royal Holloway. These include a Programme Handbook of practical information (such as how to enter exams); a Subject Guide for each course; and past exam papers and commentaries, which give you valuable insights into how to perform well in exams.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to course materials, resources, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others. Tutors are available to answer queries and promote discussion during the study year through the VLE.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Time commitment

To complete the programme in the minimum study period (2 years), we estimate that you will need to study for approximately 24 hours per week during the academic session (September to April).

Those who study alongside full-time working commitments often take four years to complete. This amounts to around 12 hours of study per week during the academic session.

Assessment

There is a single written exam for each module (usually held in May). 'Introduction to Cryptography and Security Mechanisms' also requires coursework, while the Project requires a dissertation.

You can sit exams at an approved centre anywhere in the world (mainly Ministries of Education or the British Council). Each centre charges a fee for hosting exams.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

You need an undergraduate degree (e.g. bachelor) that is comparable to a UK second-class honours degree from an institution acceptable to the University. Relevant disciplines to Information Security might include computer science, electronics, information systems, or mathematics.

If you don’t have a first degree but you do have relevant industry experience, we will consider your application on its own merits.

English Language requirements

You need a high standard of English to study this programme. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • (IELTS) International English Language Testing System - overall score of at least 6.5 and at least 6 in each test.
  • (TOEFL) Test of English as a Foreign Language - overall score of 92 or above with at least 22 in the Reading and Writing sub-tests and at least 20 in the Speaking and Listening sub-tests.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements.

The fees below apply if you begin during the 2017-2018 session. These may be increased by up to 5% per year.

Academic year

2017-2018

Registration fee

£ 1,344

Module fee

£ 1,797

Project fee (MSc only)

£ 3,599

Total MSc

£ 15,725

Total PGDip

£ 12,126

Total per module (taken on a standalone basis)

£ 2,055

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.

Additional costs

You will also need to budget for exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams. We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

This degree will enhance your career prospects. Our graduates can be found in many organisations, ranging from large financial institutions and consultancies through to technology and research-oriented organisations. They also act as security specialists within a wide range of companies.

What do employers think of our graduates?

The Information Security Group at Royal Holloway performs cutting-edge research in many areas. These include the design and evaluation of smart cards, system and mobile security, cryptography, and the integration of security techniques. It was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 1998 and retained its status as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in 2017.

The MSc Information Security was one of the first distance-learning courses to receive GCHQ certification.

Academic co-ordinators

Professor Peter Komisarczuk (BSc, MSc, PhD, CEng) is Director of Distance Learning at the Information Security Group. Peter has worked in various R&D roles at Ericsson, Fujitsu and Nortel Networks in the areas of next generation 'intelligent networks', access and optical networks and internet network technology. He teaches primarily in networks and security.

Professor Fred Piper (BSc, PhD, CEng, CMath, FIEE, ARCS, DIC, FIMA, M.Inst.ISP) was the founding Director of the ISG. He has published over 100 research papers, 6 books (4 on cryptography), and is on the editorial boards of two international journals. Fred has served on committees offering security advice to a number of UK Government departments and agencies.

Professor Keith Martin (BSc, PhD, CMath, FIMA), former Director of the ISG, designs and leads modules on the MSc programme. Keith's research interests include key management, cryptographic applications and securing lightweight networks. He is the author of Everyday Cryptography (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Scholarships

If you're based in the UK, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) offers tuition-fee scholarships for any applicants who wish to use this programme to change their careers.

More about the DCMS Scholarships.

Can I get sponsored?

If you're employed, your employer may be willing to cover part/all of the programme fee if you can make a compelling case as to how this programme will boost your contribution to the workplace.

Our courses are ideal for employers because they get to retain you as an employee and benefit from your learning from the moment you begin.

"Employers pay for their students to come on to this course – we hear from them year after year. We’re providing what we believe the world needs."

Professor Keith Mayes, Director of the Information Security Group, Royal Holloway

How can I get sponsored by my employer?

Daniel Roethlisberger MSc Information Security, Switzerland

Daniel Roethlisberger - MSc Information Security

"I would definitely recommend the distance learning MSc, especially to a student in a day job who need the flexibility."