Future Technology Centre - TEAL

Cyber Security and Forensic Computing BSc (Hons)

Join the fight against cybercrime. Investigate cyberattacks, expose flaws in security systems and become an expert in malware forensics and cryptography.

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University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:

I901

Accreditation:

This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points from 2 or 3 A levels

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

Showing content for section Overview

Overview

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Digital security breaches can bring down banks, hospitals and governments. But you can join the fight against cybercrime.

Investigate cyberattacks, expose flaws in security systems and stop hackers in their tracks. Use ethical hacking to secure the operating systems of global companies. Become an expert in malware forensics and cryptography in a world that relies on computing to thrive.

On this BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Forensic Computing course, you’ll build technical and investigative skills to break down security systems, expose gaps in security and identify cyber intruders. You’ll also learn how to investigate cybercrime for the police and see a case through to court.

The University of Portsmouth is ranked 5th of the modern universities for research quality in computer science and informatics

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our computer science research

Course highlights

  • Benefit from our close relationship with the Hampshire Police High Tech Crime Unit through an optional internship
  • Design and develop software, hardware and networks, in fields such as digital forensics and artificial intelligence
  • Benefit from the Student Union's cyber and computing clubs and societies such as the AI and Robotics Club, IT Society and Gaming Society
  • Gain insight from guest expert lecturers from the forensic and cyber security field

Accreditation

This course is accredited by the British Computer Society (The Chartered Institute for IT), fully meeting the educational requirement for CITP and partially meeting the educational requirement for CEng.

Contact information

Admissions

+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Clearing is open

This course is available through Clearing.

Apply now through Clearing

If you have your results, you can apply directly to us now to start in September 2024.

Apply now

Guaranteed accommodation

Apply now and you'll be offered a guaranteed room in halls if you accept your offer within 48 hours of receiving it.
Student accommodation
Find your new home

Connected Degrees®

Only at Portsmouth you have the choice to take a traditional sandwich placement before your third year, or to take your placement after your final year.

Upbeat music plays over information about Connected Degrees® from the University of Portsmouth.

Discover how Clearing works

Clearing 2024 opens on 5 July and closes on 21 October

Every year thousands of students find their ideal undergraduate course through Clearing. Clearing matches students who are looking for a different course or university from their original choice, or who are applying for the very first time after 30 June, to courses that universities still have places on.

The majority of people apply through Clearing once they receive their exam results on A level / T level results day (15 August 2024).

You can apply through Clearing if:

  • You don't meet the conditions of your offer for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
  • Your exam results are better than you expected and you want to change your course or university 
  • You don't hold any offers
  • You've accepted an offer but changed your mind about the course you want to do
  • You're applying for the first time after 30 June 2024 

Find out more on UCAS

Yes, we welcome Clearing applications from international students and you can apply in exactly the same way as UK students do. 

The majority of UK students apply through Clearing once they receive their A level / T level results in August 2024, so as an international student if you already have your exam results you can apply when Clearing opens. 

Make sure that you have time to get your visa, funding, and English language certification sorted out before the beginning of term.

If you would like further information or guidance, please contact our international office for advice. 

The entry requirements for courses can change in Clearing but if you want an idea of what grades we usually accept, take a look at our undergraduate course pages.

Even if you don't quite meet the entry requirements, we'd still encourage you to apply as you could still get a place.

Book your place at our summer Open Day

Yes, join us on campus Saturday 6 July 2024, 8.30am-4pm

Book your place

Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Forensic Computing degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • A levels - BBB-BBC, to include a relevant subject.
    Relevant subjects: Mathematics; Further Mathematics; Statistics; Computer Science; Software Systems Development; Electronics; Physics; Information Technology; Economics.
  • T-levels - Merit
    Acceptable T Level Subjects: T Level in Digital: Digital Production, Design and Development, T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning, T Level in Digital Business Services, T Level in Digital Support and Services, T Level in Science, T Level in Engineering and Manufacturing Design and Development, T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing, T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers

  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • A levels - BBB-BBC, to include a relevant subject.
    Relevant subjects: Mathematics; Further Mathematics; Statistics; Computer Science; Software Systems Development; Electronics; Physics; Information Technology; Economics.
  • T-levels - Merit
    Acceptable T Level Subjects: T Level in Digital: Digital Production, Design and Development, T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning, T Level in Digital Business Services, T Level in Digital Support and Services, T Level in Science, T Level in Engineering and Manufacturing Design and Development, T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing, T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

Your facilities

Cyber Security & Digital Forensics Lab

Cyber security and digital forensics labs

Equipped with everything you need to secure and analyse digital evidence. Access machines capable of running multiple operating systems and experiment with all aspects of the digital forensic process – including collection, storage, analysis and presentation of evidence.

Cyber security and digital forensics labs

Portsmouth offered me a degree course in a rapidly growing and evolving area of study, in a way that made our knowledge applicable to industry.

Matthew Swann, BSc Cyber Security and Forensic Computing Student

Careers and opportunities

The cost of cybercrime was estimated at $1 trillion in 2020 – 50% higher than in 2018. According to the UK Government, 64% of large businesses and 51% of high-income charities reported cyber security breaches or attacks in a 12 month period.

Not surprisingly, with the growing threat of cyber crime, senior cyber security analysts can expect salaries from £35,000 to £60,000 and you can earn up to £80,000 a year as a senior forensic computer analyst. And the demand is there – 100% of our students from this course who are in work 15 months after they graduate are in highly skilled work.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have worked for companies such as:

  • Metropolitan Police
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Capgemini
  • Adatis
  • F-Secure
  • Dynamics Consultants

What jobs can you do with a cyber security and forensic computing degree?

  • digital forensic examiner
  • threat hunter
  • cyber intelligence analyst
  • cloud infrastructure consultant
  • cyber security analyst
  • data analytics consultant

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.
Female student at computer
Futureproof your career

Alan's volunteering experience earned him a Vice-Chancellor Commendation

Cyber Security and Forensic Computing student, Alan Ross, won a commendation at the annual Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence for using his expertise to support the running of the Government's Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge.

Placement year opportunities

Taking an optional placement year will give you the experience you need to increase your chances of landing your perfect role after graduation.

We'll give you all the support you need to find a placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

Potential roles

Previous students have taken placement roles such as:

  • cyber analyst
  • cyber forensic analyst undergraduate
  • security operations analyst
  • undergraduate software developer and support analyst
  • technology industrial placement student

Potential destinations

They've completed placements at organisations including:

  • InTandem
  • Nomura
  • BAE Systems
  • IBM
  • Pfizer

I chose the University of Portsmouth because of the feel of it and how friendly the staff were. I also love how hands-on it is and how much I actually get to do!

Alex Jarvis, Forensic Computing Student

Modules

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

You'll explore the development and function of CPUs and operating systems, understand the mathematical basis of technical computing, and develop your knowledge of decision logic.

You'll explore histories, advances and trends in web design, database management and cybersecurity, setting the grounds for your further study in this area.

You'll wield preventative and investigative toolkits used by forensic investigators and cyber security professionals, spanning network defences, access controls, log auditing, data recovery, and attack deconstruction.

You'll learn algorithm development, object-oriented programming, and how to compare these approaches. You'll also design and implement programs to meet given specifications, using Python and Dart, with the guidance and support to ground your further computing study.

In this pragmatic module, you'll work with Linux and Windows servers and workstations, as you explore system administration and interconnectivity. You'll gain hands-on expertise in business network management, and can use your study to prepare for MCSA certification.

Core modules

Master an ethical hacker's mindset and toolkits to spotlight vulnerabilities before threats do. Evaluate insider threats, footprinting networks, exploiting, pivoting - and recommend defences to make systems watertight. Multiply your career options with high-demand penetration testing skills spanning web apps, networks, embedded devices and humans themselves.

Combining theoretical concepts with hands-on scenarios, you'll develop critical knowledge and problem-solving skills for security and forensics. Learn to ethically preserve, analyse and interpret digital evidence using popular tools like FTK and RegRipper. Work in teams to investigate real-world problems and gain insights from industry experts in seminars and workshops. This experience will equip you with the core skills and knowledge to kickstart your career in digital forensics.

You'll study concurrency and communication in current processors, analyse advanced computer architectures and explore modern routing protocols in this module. As you dig into the foundational mechanisms of digital technologies, you'll learn to identify their principles and limitations, and to work with them directly through a system level programming language.

In this module, you'll first synthesise a safety-critical system, then explore cryptographic techniques and attack vectors it could be vulnerable to. You'll use your vulnerability analysis to close weaknesses, and get ready to work in hostile digital environments.

Optional modules

You'll explore common industry solutions, focusing on OpenNebula systems, and master their operation.

You'll also take a look at some of the major organisations battling cybercrime, and think about these cases in terms of human rights debates on privacy, expression and information in cyberspace.

By engaging with these perspectives while analysing developments in cybercrime, you'll get a deeper understanding of the criminal and social justice matters at play.

You'll learn how choosing the right structure impacts the efficiency of algorithms. Through coding exercises, you'll construct data structures from scratch and see first-hand how they enable solving complex problems. You'll review different implementation options and analyse the tradeoffs in memory usage, speed, simplicity, and more. By the end, you'll have developed core skills for designing optimized data structures tailored to algorithm needs. The module builds a strong foundation for writing efficient, scalable code that handles real-world data.

You'll configure, manage and secure servers in Linux and Windows environments, network hardware and cloud platforms, and build your knowledge of networking principles. You'll also practise career-accelerating skills, such as critical analysis problem solving, ready for advanced networking careers in the ICT industry.

In this module you'll analyse security aspects including cryptography, access controls, and human factors. You'll also examine the legal, ethical, and professional issues in secure systems, and learn the skills to protect critical business information assets.

This module provides hands-on experience mentoring computing teachers and students in local schools. Spend 5-6 days immersed in a classroom environment, assisting with lessons, special projects, and illuminating possible careers. You'll need to be adaptable, creative, and passionate about sharing knowledge. This opportunity allows you to apply computational thinking in a practical setting, developing leadership, communication and pedagogical skills. Gain insights into teaching while challenging yourself.

In this module, you'll study industry theory and best practice, before using your knowledge to create a dynamic web application to meet client specifications. As you build your app, you'll gain experience with client-side and server-side programming, and API integrations.

Core modules

You'll utilize forensic tools and methodologies on real-world cases, equipping you to predict threats, construct payloads, reverse engineer code, and monitor malicious network traffic. With balanced theory and practice, you'll gain well-rounded abilities for malware analysis, strengthening your capabilities as an all-rounded forensic investigator.

In this module, you'll evaluate tools and techniques used to exploit vulnerabilities in software systems. As you study the methods used to break into networks, you'll identify and recommend security fixes to resist attacks.

Optional modules

You'll identify ethical considerations and research questions, then use qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate them. Conducting thorough literature reviews and data analysis, you'll engage in explorations across academic boundaries. You'll initiate and manage the large-scale project, evaluating and critiquing the methodologies and outcomes. It's an opportunity to showcase your skills by devising, organizing and executing an ambitious, sophisticated investigation.

On this module, you'll integrate technical knowledge with project skills - proposing and implementing solutions that address real industry challenges. Your key activities span literature analysis, design, prototyping, testing, and critical evaluation against project objectives. Adhering to legal, ethical and professional standards, you'll produce high-quality artefacts and written reports that showcase your readiness for workplace application or postgraduate research.

You'll work in a team to analyse the issues, engage closely with the client to match your understanding to their needs, and bring your fresh insights to their problem. By the end, you'll have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to propose to your client, and demonstrable evidence of using team-based approaches to complex industry issues.

In this module, you'll design, model and implement cloud data warehouses to empower decision-making. As you gain experience with predictive mining tools like regression, neural networks and clustering, you'll also learn to communicate clearly with data owners, learning how to present visualisations of your results or to describe the information that different mining techniques could deliver.

You'll identify risks from emerging technologies, assess impacts of data breaches, and evaluate technical and human safeguards. You'll develop expertise in cloud security, mobile devices, access controls and more. You'll craft incident response plans that mitigate insider threats, hacking, malware and physical attacks. And you'll get real-world skills to protect infrastructure through layered security deployments.

Using case studies, you'll examine new and emerging designs in distributed systems, and consider access control techniques for security. You'll also analyse the impact of attacks on systems and data, and look at current research issues in digital ecosystems.

Examine embedded systems and sensors powering smart watches, homes, cities and more. Evaluate networking protocols and data analytics techniques to realize value from machine information. Develop IoT applications while considering security, interfaces and human needs. With the ability to blend hardware, software and cloud services, you’ll be at the forefront as IoT transforms business and society.

You'll examine security devices and systems, and high-profile breaches, to understand the constantly evolving threat landscape and its far-reaching impacts. Upon completion, you'll be set to evaluate and recommend security systems to future-proof organizations against emerging cyber-attacks.

On this course, you can do an optional study abroad or work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years, or after your third year, to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Union Jack flag patch on military uniform

Solve critical national security, defence, civic and social challenges in optional module

Work alongside other students to suggest solutions to complex security challenges facing the UK military, Ministry of Defence and other government agency end-users.

Find out more

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • project work

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • critical evaluation essays
  • written exams
  • research projects
  • mini projects
  • presentations

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops for about 13 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. Optional field trips may involve evening and weekend teaching or events. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study in one-on-one and group sessions.

They can help you:

  • master the mathematics skills you need to excel on your course
  • understand engineering principles and how to apply them in any engineering discipline
  • solve computing problems relevant to your course
  • develop your knowledge of computer programming concepts and methods relevant to your course
  • understand and use assignment feedback

All our labs and practical spaces are staffed by qualified laboratory support staff. They’ll support you in scheduled lab sessions and can give you one-to-one help when you do practical research projects.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Cafe offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your mathematics skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship)
  • International (non-EU) students – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship)
  • International (non-EU) students – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Costs breakdown

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

 

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – I901
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS

 

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

To start this course in 2025, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – I901
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS

 

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.