Why choose this course
In an expanding digital age, protecting our data is of vital importance.
Our Information Security MSc sits within our renowned Department of Computer Science and our outstanding Surrey Centre for Cyber Security.
The latter is an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research. The University, meanwhile, has been recognised as a gold-standard Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education. Both accreditations were awarded by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is a part of the Government Communications Headquarters.
This means your teaching will be informed by world-class research conducted by nationally and globally rated experts in the subject. You’ll also benefit from our strong links with local and international industry.
This course is fully certified by the NCSC. It will equip you with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to pursue a successful career in this sector.
What you will study
Protecting digital information from unauthorised access and use and ensuring the resilience of supporting network infrastructure and systems, are significant challenges for the continued technological development of our society.
The science behind our Information Security MSc connects various disciplines, from computer science, mathematics and business, to design and critically analyse concepts, mechanisms and technologies used in the depth and breadth of cyber security.
Not only will you learn the foundations of systems and information security such as cryptography. You'll also be educated on advanced and state-of-the-art concepts linked to electronic payments or distributed ledgers.
The additional option of an MSc with a placement year will allow you to get experience of cyber-security applied in research and development in the real-world.
The University has strong, established links with many national and international businesses and institutions. These include:
- BAE Systems
- CGI Group
- Sky TV.
Please be aware: the course content and modules listed for this course are subject to change for the 2023/24 academic year, whilst we undertake a curriculum design review. Please contact the programme leader if you have any queries about the course.
In 2019, the University invested £1.7 million in a new 200-seat Computer Science Laboratory, which also has state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. View a video tour.
Other key facilities include:
- Six open-access PC labs and four dedicated specialist labs
- Specialist desktop solutions, including development software, research packages and dedicated printing
- A high-performance computing (HPC) cluster
- An access grid node (AGN) which provides a 6m screen for video conferencing, presentation sharing and software demonstration
- Free software and free wireless network
- Two common rooms, with one for quiet study, available for students to use 24 hours a day.
Trusted platform modules
An example of a mix of practical and theoretical security is the learning you will do around trusted platform modules (TPMs). These are cryptographic chips present in many modern devices, such as laptops and mobile phones.
Our labs are kitted with TPMs mounted on Raspberry PIs, so you can try your hand at interacting with and programming secure applications using TPMs. Moreover, you will be taught its mathematical fundamentals by one of the scientists at the heart of the ISO-standardisation of the cryptography on TPMs, Professor Liqun Chen.
MSc - Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
Our course has received Full Certification from GCHQ, is taught by experts, and equips you with the theoretical grounding and hands-on experience demanded by the information-security sector.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
This course opens a huge range of career opportunities across the cyber security and IT sectors. Recent graduates have secured jobs at:
- Ernst and Young
- IBM UK
- RGA Consulting.
94 per cent of our computer science postgraduate students go on to employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes survey 2022, HESA).
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday – Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the Academic Hive. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in either computer science, electrical or electronic engineering, mathematics, physics, related disciplines with demonstrable exposure to programming and mathematics, or other alternative subjects related to data analysis, data science or informatics, or a recognised equivalent international qualification.
We'll also consider relevant work experience if you don't meet these requirements.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.
Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any queries.
Start date: September 2023
Full-time (with placement) -
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 3 years
The placement option for this course costs an additional £1,850 on top of the base course fee listed above.
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
- If you are on a two-year full-time MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.