Computer Science for Cyber Security

MSc or PGDip or PGCert

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: MSc - 1 year (12 months); PG Dip - 6 months; PG Cert - 3 months

Part time: MSc - 2 years (24 months); PG Dip - 18 months (12 months study time); PG Cert - 6 months

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of the Built Environment, School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

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Cyber-attacks are some of the biggest threats to national security today. With everything from health records to financial data stored online, people and businesses face constant risk from malicious attacks. Could you protect them?

If you have a computing degree (or lots of experience in the industry), you’ll have the technical skills to join this gold-standard course fully certified by the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre)  a part of GCHQ. Our expert teaching staff will help you hone those skills until you’re ready to take up the challenge yourself.

Unlike some courses which deal with regulations and legislation for cyber security, we focus on developing secure networks and software. That means you’ll be working in our labs, practising offensive and defensive techniques. You’ll be working on live projects and alongside others as you would in the industry. And you’ll build your knowledge until you’re an expert in everything from reverse engineering to OS development.

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Computer with a virus

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • A gold-standard qualification

    With a NCSC-certified degree, our cyber security graduates are in high demand in all sorts of organisations.

  • Original and inspiring research

    We’re home to top researchers in areas ranging from digital forensics to computer vision. You can get involved in some of our work, including the Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity Group.

  • Brand new facilities

    All Computing courses are moving from Wheatley Campus to brand new, custom designed buildings at our main Headington site. These buildings are expected to open in September 2024, but as with any large-scale building project those timescales could change. You'll benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and equipment including a VR cave, digital, computing and robotics labs, as well as social learning spaces, teaching rooms and cafe space.

  • Technically challenging

    There’s a strong focus on secure networking and software development – you’ll develop more advanced programming skills than you would on many comparable courses.

  • Study in technology valley

    Oxford is packed with technology companies and well connected to London. You’ll be surrounded by potential job opportunities.

  • Accreditation(s)

    Awarded The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) certification, the gold standard for courses in Cyber Security

    • National Cyber Security Centre certified degree

Course details

Course structure

If you study for the full master’s degree, you’ll complete 6 taught modules of 20 credits, and a dissertation of 60 credits.

You’ll start by learning the academic and professional skills you’ll need to research cyber security issues and make a successful career in the field.

The taught modules will help you develop the advanced knowledge you’ll need for a specialist career in cyber security. Covering areas like systems architecture and enterprise networking, you’ll learn how to create secure systems from both a technological and human angle. In modules like Malware Analysis and Ethical Hacking, you won’t just learn the theory, you’ll be putting your ideas to the test in our labs.

With your dissertation, you’ll look at a subject in real depth over the summer. You might choose to work with an organization on a challenge they’re facing. Or you might like to focus on an area that interests you personally. Your supervisor will support you throughout the process to make your project as impactful as possible.

Students connecting computer wires

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching methods, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • library and internet research
  • practical design and experimentation.

Our teaching staff are experienced academic staff and practitioners in the field of Computer Science and Cyber Security. Visiting speakers from business and industry help to maintain relevance to the evolution of the industry.


Assessment methods include:

  • coursework exercises
  • presentations
  • lab work
  • reports
  • examinations.

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods (20 credits)

    This module is designed to equip you with the tools necessary for the scholarship and research skills needed for the computer science and cyber security fields as well as developing the professional skills and outlook needed for a lifelong career in the computing industry.

  • Principles of Cybersecurity (20 credits)

    This module studies the ways that computer systems can be secured. This module looks at both the technological and human issues involved in securing and assessing modern computer systems. The topics covered in this module span across the governance, management and operational aspects of cybersecurity.
  • Secure Networking (20 credits)

    This module teaches the principles and practice of setting up enterprise networks protected through standard security mechanisms. You will develop the ability to understand standard security  vulnerabilities in networked systems and will apply security mechanisms to harden the enterprise network.
  • Malware Analysis (20 credits)

    This module looks at low level programming tools and techniques for the creation, detection and defence against malware. You will learn how to examine code at the assembler level using reverse engineering techniques, as well as network level analysis of command and control structures, to obtain detailed information on malware. You will also investigate advanced malware anti-forensics tools, such as code obfuscation, and use mechanisms for defeating them.

  • Ethical Hacking (20 credits)

    This module aims to provide a deep understanding of ethical hacking principles and methodologies.
    Emphasising hands-on skill development, the module covers the latest cybersecurity technologies and
    tools, focusing on vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, and incident response. You  will learn about legal and ethical considerations developing professionalism and commitment to ethical behaviour.
  • Secure Programming (20 credits)

    This module looks at the analysis, design, and implementation of secure software. It considers what software engineering principles can and should be used to help ensure the security of software in a range of environments. You will be taught the common classes of vulnerability at design and implementation stages and how they can be defended and mitigated against. 

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • MSc Dissertation in Computer Science for Cyber Security (60 credits)

    This module is an individual research and development project that allows you to study a topic of your choice in depth, guided by your supervisor. The work may be undertaken in close co-operation with a research, industrial or commercial organisation. You will undertake your dissertation over the summer period.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics is home to world-leading and award-winning research. Our focus is on user-inspired original research with real-world applications. And a wide range of activities from model-driven system design and empirical software engineering through to web technologies, cloud computing and big data, digital forensics and computer vision.

Staff and students collaborate on projects supported by the EPSRC, the EU, the DTI, and several major UK companies.

Computing achieved an excellent assessment of its UoA (Unit of Assessment) 11 return for REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework).

Students on this course can be involved with research in the following research groups:


Cyber security is important in a huge range of organisations, so your skills will be in high demand. Past graduates are working everywhere from small startup businesses to the NHS. Relevant roles you could look for include:

  • ​IT security professional
  • penetration tester
  • digital forensic investigator
  • software developer
  • systems engineer
  • technical analyst
  • IT manager
  • consultant.

You may also consider carrying on your research – either with a private company or by applying for a PhD.

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£9,150 (Masters); £8,150 (Diploma); £4,575 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
Masters: £9,700; Diploma: £8,700; Certificate: £4,850

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
£9,150 (Masters); £8,150 (Diploma); £4,575 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time
Masters: £9,700; Diploma: £8,700; Certificate: £4,850

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.