As the use of information systems is now widespread in the lives of individuals, business and society, the security of computer systems is increasingly important. The significance of information security and the demand for relevant skills has been emphasised recently by high-profile incidents concerning the privacy of personal data and security of financial information.
This specialist MSc Computer Systems Security course focuses on the technical aspects of computer systems security and systems administration, particularly penetration testing. It is accredited by the Tiger Scheme and will give you exemption from some of its professional examinations. You will be taught by an internationally recognised team from the University’s Information Security Research Group, and external speakers contribute to delivering the latest expertise and developments.
The MSc Computer Systems Security is delivered in four major blocks to offer an intensive but focused learning pattern, with two start points each year – February and September. Full-time students will typically spend 12 hours in classes each week. If you choose to study part-time, this is reduced to around six hours each week. You will study through lectures, tutorials, practical sessions, seminars and projects.
You will need to spend a significant amount of time working independently, reading and preparing for assessments. Assessment is primarily by coursework, varying from a research-style paper or essay to programming assignments. You will also work on a significant research project and a major project of your own choice, where strong independent thinking, critical analysis and project management skills will be important.
We have a full range of high-specification computer labs and an ongoing investment programme to ensure that our facilities stay at the forefront of computing developments.
This course is designed for graduates with a minimum 2:2 Honours degree or equivalent. Candidates should have a computing background with very good IT skills or extensive experience of the relevant sector. The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.
All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
Career opportunities are excellent – the demand for specialists in this area continues to rise as companies become increasingly dependent on computers and the internet. On graduation, you will be equipped for careers that require in-depth knowledge of technical security issues. Potential roles include systems administrator, security penetration tester or information security consultant, and skills gained strongly relate to the roles of information security analyst and IT security co-ordinator.
With education to Masters level now the recognised professional level of competence, graduates will be better placed to pursue careers in industry, or continue their interest in computer systems security through research at PhD level.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.