Computer and Information Security

Delve into a world of computing security

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Suitable for current and training security professionals, this course provides a detailed and contemporary education in computer and IT security.

It covers security at various stages of the software development process – its specification, implementation and its capability of digital forensics analysis, resulting in your deep understanding of the value of security.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Learn to select and apply security mechanisms and methods such as cryptographic software operations to improve the security of a computer system
  • Manage a real-life computer engineering or study project using appropriate techniques for writing and reasoning about security policies
  • Use a range of digital forensic tools in the context of a digital investigation

What opportunities might it lead to?

In an increasingly complex digital world, where threats towards personal sensitive data and digital assets relevant to areas of national defence, IT industry and large-scale sciences, are becoming ever more subtle, this course in computer security leads to new prospects for building a professional career in this exciting and important field of security.

Nkem Nzemeke, MSc Software Engineering student 2013

The mobile laboratory is one of the best I've seen. The practicals are based on real-life scenarios which are great and we also benefit from speakers from top mobile companies.

Nkem Nzemeke, computing student 2013

Key Facts

1 year full time, 3 years part time
A second class honours degree in a relevant subject such as Computer Sciences, Information Security, Software Engineering, Forensics or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications in IT security. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 p/a*

Full-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
Part-time course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £13,700, part time: £4,570 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400, part time: £4,800 p/a*

*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Computing
Programme specification

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

You will study four key topics which will collaboratively increase your knowledge and ability to develop security solutions for computer systems and analyse security risks in existing systems. You will also get to build your own test system as part of your final project or perform an extensive study into existing and emergent security solutions.

Here are the units you will study:

  • Computer Security: Introducing computer and information security concepts and their practical application in both closed and interconnected systems, this unit aims to develop your critical analysis skills required for building secure systems.
  • Computer Forensic Investigation and Cryptography: This unit covers the practical aspects of conducting forensic investigation and includes an introduction to cryptographic and steganalysis methods and techniques necessary for the discovery and recovery of hidden information.
  • Formal Approaches to Software Development: This unit will develop your knowledge in mathematically rigorous approaches to system specification and development.
  • Risk Management and Data Analysis: This unit will provide you with the necessary analytical skills for assessing levels of risk in complex computer systems, as well as learning data mining techniques using machine learning, expert systems and statistical methods in making sense of Big Data, with applications to areas of business, science and government.
  • Master’s Project: In the final part of the course, you will undertake a substantial project, which will be either engineering-based; where you will apply the skills and knowledge from the taught part of the course to build and test a system in response to a practical computer and information security problem, or study-based; where you will perform an extensive study generating new insights into existing and emergent security solutions and technologies.

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught using a combination of formal lectures, tutorials and lab sessions. You’ll also be required to spend a significant amount of time in private study, which may involve additional software development or research as appropriate to the topic you are currently studying.

How are you assessed?

You will encounter a range of assessment styles depending on the content and nature of the unit topic. This can include written assignments, presentations as well as group and individual lab-based assessments. However, the most significant assessment element is the final dissertation, which reports and reflects on your final project.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Specialist Software and Equipment

A full range of industry software will be available for you to use in the computer labs, supported by multi-platform network suites offering a variety of operating systems. You’ll have a range of excellent resources at your fingertips including:

  • mobile computing lab to develop Android and iOS apps
  • pervasive computing lab for high performance computing
  • usability lab including state of the art eye tracking equipment
  • Linux and Windows systems
  • forensics lab with industry standard forensic tools

Guest Speakers

You’ll benefit from organised lectures from visiting speakers with industrial experience and members of the course team are working with the Chartered Institute of IT in the formation of the Cybercrime Forensics Specialist Group. We also have staff trained in specialist software and investigation techniques by commercial organisations such as 7Safe Security and Access Data. This all contributes to providing you with an insight into the current issues and methods within the field of computer and information security.

This course is part of the "10,000 Students to Improve Cyber Security" to improve computer security education in the European Union.

Tutor Centre

A one-stop academic help and support resource for all School of Computing students. Need help understanding your assessments? Want to talk to someone about your project or about a programming problem? This is the place to go.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

We subscribe to the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM) Digital Library, which will give you access to full text articles from leading computing and computer science journals.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Computer and information security remains at the forefront of the global digital economy and national defence. Potential career roles can include security engineer, security architect, R&D researcher in security-related projects and forensic analyst.

The course will also strengthen your research skills, enabling you to pursue an academic and industry research career. Our collaborative ties, maintained by the Computer Security and Digital Forensics Group (part of the Pervasive Computing Research Group) in the School of Computing, with various scientific and industrial sectors, both at the national and the EU levels, will also enhance this.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Information Days

Our Postgraduate Information Days give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with course leaders. You can also go to a range of academic and support-based talks to get the information you need to consider when studying at postgraduate level with us.

Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry are:

  • Wednesday 1 March 2017, 1pm - 5pm
  • Wednesday 26 April 2017, 1pm - 5pm
Book now

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours

If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.

Further information

If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan entry, plus scholarships and bursaries available, visit our postgraduate pages.

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

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