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 Computer Systems Security masters focuses on the technical aspects of computer systems security and systems administration, including penetration testing. It benefits from close alignment to the Tiger Scheme, a GCHQ recognised penetration testing scheme run by the University.
You will be taught by an internationally recognised team from the department’s Cybersecurity Research Group, and external speakers contribute to delivering the latest expertise and developments.
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
You will study the following modules:
This postgraduate computing course 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 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
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.
You can apply for a postgraduate loan as a contribution towards your course and living costs.
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 a computing research degree or computing PhD.
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.