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Computer Science for Cyber Security

BSc (Hons) - single

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

The UK Government’s National Security Council identifies cyber-attack as one of the 4 highest priority risks for the UK. In particular, they highlight the lack of computer science graduates, with the necessary skills in cyber security, as a serious concern for both government and industry, with demand far outstripping supply.

Studying our BSc in Computer Science for Cyber Security equips students with the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to quickly adopt the emerging technologies and concepts in this fast changing field. Students also learn the professional and business skills, techniques and ways of thinking needed to be able to align technical security requirements with business needs. Our dedicated security laboratory means that students have ample opportunities to put the skills learnt into practice – from auditing an existing network and IT system for security issues, to analysing malware and designing and implementing secure software. 

 

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 points, preferably including science

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Wheatley Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years (4 years with work placement)
  • Part time: 6 years

UCAS code

II10

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Dedicated cyber security labs with specialist software allowing students to study a wide range of security techniques.
  • Networking modules based on CISCO syllabus, allowing students to study for professional CISCO certification.
  • Dedicated server labs allow students to learn about system defence techniques and to learn to defend a network infrastructure against attack.
  • Cyber Security is recognised as a critical area by business and government, and one where there is a shortage of skilled graduates.
  • Designed with the aid of experts from industry to ensure that it meets the needs of employers.

In Year 1 you will study fundamental concepts in networking, computer systems and computer programming. 

These subjects are built on in Year 2 and your final year, which contain cyber security, networking, operating systems, and software development. There are optional modules in IT management and programming.

In the final year, you will study advanced topics in aspects of cyber security, operating systems and networking. Central to your final year is a major project that allows you to try out your knowledge and skills on a real-life problem of your choice, giving you the opportunity to enhance your networking skills.

 

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Year 1

  • Professional Software Design (compulsory) – an introduction to modern software development practices
  • Computer Systems (compulsory) – an introduction to core computing concepts such as binary, how key hardware components function, and logic
  • Understanding Programming (double) (compulsory) – an introduction to programming
  • Introduction to Object Oriented Programming (compulsory) – object oriented programming
  • Discrete Mathematics (compulsory) – basic maths for computer scientists
  • Basic Communications and PC Networking (compulsory) – basic PC networking following the CISCO CCNA 1 syllabus
  • Introduction to Networks (compulsory) – an introduction to networks and networking following the CISCO CCNA 2 syllabus

Year 2 and final year

Year 2

  • Professional Issues and Computer Risks (compulsory) – professional issues in computer science
  • Foundations of Computation (compulsory) – an introduction to notions of computation, computability, automata, and related topics
  • Current Research (compulsory) – a review of current research issues in computer science
  • Foundations of Security (compulsory) – core concepts in cyber security
  • Software Development with C and C++ (compulsory) – an introduction to C and C++ programming
  • Systems Programming (compulsory) – writing systems level code in C
  • Network Technologies (compulsory) – key concepts in local area networks, following the CISCO CCNA 3 syllabus
  • WAN Technologies (compulsory) - key concepts in wide area networks, following the CISCO CCNA 4 syllabus
  • Requirements Specification and Software Design (compulsory) – a study of the principles, methods and techniques for the analysis of automated information systems 
  • Systems Administration (optional) – the design, implementation, and maintenance of an IT network
  • Further Object Oriented Programming (optional) – advanced object oriented programming
  • Business Intelligence Programming (optional) – foundations of Business Analytics

Final year

  • Operating Systems Principles (compulsory) – theory of Operating Systems
  • Secure Programming (compulsory) – the design, implementation, and maintenance of secure software systems
  • Low Level Tools and Techniques (compulsory) – assembler programming and malware analysis
  • Dissertation in Computer Science for Cyber Security (double) (compulsory) – a project in the area of cyber security.
  • Network Security (alt-compulsory: choose at least 1) – network security theory and practice following the CISCO CCNA Security syllabus
  • Network Systems Management (alt-compulsory: choose at least 1) – advanced systems administration techniques and IT management and governance
  • Communicating and Teaching Computer Science (optional) – working in schools to help teach computer science

 

Work placements

Although it is optional, we encourage you to take a supervised work placement in the computing industry for 12 months between Year 2 and your final year. You will need to apply for your placement position yourself; however you will be taught about how to apply for jobs effectively in a second year module, and we have a placements office with dedicated staff to provide information and advice to help you secure a placement. We maintain links with industry and most students who go on placement obtain their position through the Department.

More and more students are finding that a placement benefits their final year studies and career prospects. Possible placement organisations include IBM, Ericsson and Cisco.

On returning to University for their final year, many students find that the experience they have gained helps to improve their academic performance. In addition, we have an excellent record of students gaining full-time employment on graduation, often with their industrial placement company or organisation.

It is possible to change your programme of study to include or exclude the work placement option up to the end of your second year. 

Your tuition fees are reduced for the year you are on placement and the positions are normally paid which should cover your living expenses. Current placement costs are available in the Fees section of this page. Placements are normally around the South East of England, but can be anywhere, including, on rare occasions, international placements. Students are responsible for living and travel costs associated with their employment on and as a result, most will live near their placement location.

 

Study abroad

Great opportunities to study or work abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:

  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.

While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards. 

There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

Exchanges are optional and are the responsibility of the student to organise although the University can provide support and assistance. Depending on where you choose to study, there may be additional costs involved. For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges

 

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Additional costs

The most likely extra costs involved in studying this course are computers, books and printing.

You are not required to have your own computer though many students choose to. We have computer rooms available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on campus, so you should always be able to work if you don't have your own machine. Students who choose to buy a computer are advised to avoid low-end machines since reliability will be important; a budget of around £700 should suffice, although some modules may require use of higher-end hardware which is available on campus. The Department does not provide any Apple MacOS machines and their use is not required, but their use is supported if you wish to bring your own. Linux machines are used on the course and you are advised to choose a machine that will support the use of Linux Virtual Machines. If you wish more detailed advice on machine specifications, the department will be happy to advise.

Most software used on the course is freely available to students. The Department is a member of the Microsoft Imagine scheme, the VMware Academic Program and other programs designed to grant access to professional-grade software tools, which would normally be very expensive, for free.

Your University library membership includes access to an extensive electronic library so in many cases, you will be able to read coursebooks online without extra cost. You can of course buy physical copies of books as well if you wish. Computing textbooks generally vary in price between £20 and £60 depending on the degree of specialism.

Most submission of work for Computing modules is electronic, so there is little need for printing. 

   

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.

Teaching and learning

Computer Science for Cyber Security focuses on the technical aspects of computing and how they relate to cyber security. 

There is a strong focus on using real world problems to learn the skills and techniques needed. Many of these skills are practically based which means that many of our modules have a large practical, hands-on element and our lectures are often followed by extensive practical sessions that reinforce the taught material. Our laboratories are always busy with students working individually or in groups.

Lecturers and technicians are friendly and approachable and will often help you on a one-to-one basis if you have difficulties.

Formally scheduled teaching is generally in the form of lectures, tutorials, computer labs or apprentice mode sessions. Each 15 credit module has 150 learning hours associated with it, and of these, 36 (3 hrs x 12 weeks) are formally scheduled teaching. These figures are doubled for a double module, such as Understanding Programming. As students generally take 4 modules per semester, they are thus expected to attend 12 formally scheduled teaching hours per week.   

The 3 contact hours per week on a module are broken down into either a 1 hour lecture and 2 hour practical session, or a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour practical session, depending on the module. Lectures are attended by all the students on the module, and give students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in the subject. Practical sessions and tutorials are smaller groups of 1 tutor, with less than 20 students, and enable students to practice essential skills in a variety of contexts, as well as, build a wide set of experiences on which to reflect, and develop professional expertise. For more technical skills, including programming, the practical elements will be based around laboratory classes, allowing students to experiment with the technology in a controlled environment.

Some of our core programming modules are taught in an apprentice style. These use a different format which involves a 3 hour session where the time is made up of repeating a sequence of: 

  • the lecturer giving a short presentation from slides, 
  • the lecturer working through examples where they use the technique or concept being taught 
  • the students carrying out exercises to practice the technique or concept for themselves with the lecturer providing help and feedback.

 

Approach to assessment

Assessment methods are varied and reflect the development of academic content as the course progresses, from the practical emphasis of some of the early modules to the more conceptual content that you will encounter later in your degree. The modules covering core material are mostly assessed on a combination of coursework only, or coursework and examination.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

Home/EU - sandwich placement fee: 2018/19: £1,380. 2019/20: £1,380.

International - full time: 2018/19: £14,000 2019/20: £14,280

International - sandwich placement fee: 2018/19: £3,920 2019/20: £4,000

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 points, preferably including science

A-Level: BBC or equivalent, preferably including a science

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 30 points, preferably including science

BTEC: National Diploma with a DDM profile, preferably in a science subject

 

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offer quoted for each subject.

We are happy to consider all types of entry qualification, so if you don't have one of those mentioned above, do get in touch with us and we can discuss the possibilities. 

Applications from mature students with few academic qualifications, but who have a substantial history of relevant employment, are also welcome.

Do you accept applications for entry with credit?

Yes, we consider applications, from all parts of the world, for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutor. 

The minimum amount of time you need to study with us is one year. If you would like more information about whether you are eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact us.

Do I need to know about computing before I start?

No, our first year modules will quickly get you up to speed. Any previous experience you have might help you to get started more comfortably but even if you think you know a lot about computing already, there will still be many new things for you to learn.

What if I already have A-level Computing?

Our course covers many topics you will not have seen before, even if you have already taken A-level Computer Studies or a course such as a BTEC Level 3 qualification in a computing subject. Having a pre-university qualification will not be enough to exempt you from taking any first-year modules, because we want to make sure that we give you a quality introduction to all the relevant topics.

What can I do if I don’t have the required qualifications?

If you don't have the right qualifications to apply for a place on one of our degree courses, we may be able to consider you for our Computing Foundation course, which has UCAS Code G406. This course, which lasts one year, is an excellent preparation for any of our computing degree courses.

Passing the foundation course allows you to progress directly onto one of our degree courses the following year. The entry requirements for the foundation course are quite flexible, but as a guide we are looking for something like DD at A-Level or the equivalent in another qualification. 

Again we are happy to discuss individual cases and actively encourage mature students who have been out of the education system for some time.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics at grade C minimum and English Language at grade C minimum

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an  international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our  pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

International applications

We are keen to consider applications from all parts of the world. If your previous education was not in the UK, please contact us if you would like us to consider your entry qualification.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxford is a hub for UK-based computing and technology firms, and we have established research partnerships and close links with industry. 

Many computing and media students take up work placements within Oxfordshire-based companies.

Specialist facilities

Our recently developed state-of-the-art cyber security, networking, and server laboratories offer excellent facilities to develop your practical expertise and provide you with experience of using high-end professional equipment, and software tools. These include the industry standard Kali Linux Security OS, enterprise level CISCO equipment, a virtualisation platform, industry standard network management software, mobile phones, and GSM monitoring equipment. A recent investment by the University has allowed the creation of a cyber security range where students can take turns at attacking or defending an IT infrastructure. Students also have access to a range of free software resources including Microsoft and VMWare software through the department’s software licensing subscriptions. 

You will also have access to other state-of-the-art laboratories for electronics, software development, and media production such as a TV studio. Students undertaking specific modules and project work have access to certain departmental and faculty resources including several robots (including life sized humanoid robots) and an OpenStack platform.

 

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Training for several professional networking qualifications, operated under the Cisco Networking Academy programme, is an optional part of this degree programme. Obtaining these qualifications, which are recognised worldwide, represents an important step towards a lucrative career as a networking professional.

On registering for training under the networking academy scheme you will be given access to extensive, professionally developed on-line learning facilities, including network simulation tools, testing and feedback systems. The training is incorporated as an optional integral component of the degree course.

It is no longer acceptable to develop, and deploy, IT systems and software without significant consideration of security issues and the UK Government's National Security Council identifies cyber-attack as one of the 4 highest priority risks for the UK. In particular, they highlight the lack of computer science graduates, with the necessary skills in cyber security, as a serious concern for both government and industry, with demand far outstripping supply. Our degree in Computer Science for Cyber Security is designed to help address this need. Potential careers in this area include careers such as IT security professionals, penetration testers, digital forensic investigators, software developers, systems engineers, technical analysts, IT managers, and consultants.

Further study

World-class research and superb links with industry come together to make Oxford Brookes one of the best places in the UK to study technology at postgraduate level, whatever your subject interest.

Our courses, taught by leading academics with active research programmes, are designed to meet the needs of modern industry. And our location in Oxford places us at the heart of one of Europe's biggest concentrations of high-tech businesses - opening up opportunities for research collaboration and employment.

Further information about our postgraduate courses at Oxford Brookes can be found here.