Why choose this course
In a forever 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. Your teaching will be informed by excellent and world-class research. You’ll also benefit from our strong links with local and international industry.
This course is fully certified by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and taught by leading experts in cybersecurity. It will equip you with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to pursue a successful career in cyber security.
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 MSc Information Security connects various disciplines, from computer science, electronic engineering and mathematics, to design and critically analyse concepts, mechanisms and technologies used in the depth and breadth cyber security.
Not only will you learn the foundations of systems and information security, such as cryptography, but you'll also be educated on advanced, modern and up-to-date concepts such as the inner makings of electronic payments or distributed ledgers..
The additional option of an MSc with a placement year will allow you to discover the business value of cyber-security, as well as its research and development in industry. The University has strong, established links with many national and international businesses and institutions, including Airbus, BAE Systems, CGI Group, DSTL, IBM, Infineon, Microsoft, Sophos and Sky TV. Our MSc Information Security without placement is accredited by GCHQ. For this placement-enriched MSc, in April 2021, we will also be seeking accreditation from the National Cyber Security Centre of the UK Government, which is the new education-certifying part of GCHQ.
In 2019, the University invested £1.7million 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 6 meter screen for video conferencing, presentation sharing and software demonstration
- Free software and free wireless network
- Two common rooms, one for quiet study, available for students to use 24 hours a day.
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.
Trusted platform modules
An example of a mix of practical and theoretical security is the learning you will do around trusted platform modules (TPMs), which are cryptographic chips present in many modern devices, such as laptops and mobile phones. Our labs are kitted with TPMs mounted on Raspeberry PIs so that you can try you hand at interacting with and programming secure applications using TPMs. Moreover, you will be taught its mathematical fundamentals by one of the scientists that is at the heart of the ISO-standardisation of the cryptography on TPMs, Professor Liqun Chen.
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
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.
This course opens up a huge range of career opportunities across the cyber security and IT sectors. Recent graduates have gone on to companies such as Bosch, Ernst & Young, IBM UK and RGA Consulting.
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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2021/22. This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 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 Timetabling Policy (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 this applies to you, 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, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and 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.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: October 2021
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 2021-22 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
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 policies and 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 an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: 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 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 more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
In 2019, the University invested £1.7million in a new 200-seat Computer Science Laboratory, which also has state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. 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, with interactive whiteboard capabilities
- Free software and free wireless network
- Two common rooms, one of which is for quiet study, available for students to use 24 hours a day.