From national security to the privacy of personal communications, the smooth running of societies and economies depends on the security of computer networks. With a security breach potentially costing a company millions, highly skilled experts who can provide protection are sought-after across the globe. Technology is constantly developing and security issues are too, making this a challenging and rapidly evolving specialism.
Our course provides both intensive practical training and a profound theoretical education, extending beyond the technicalities of network security to cover strategic and organisational issues. Unless you're already in employment, we'll help you to find a placement for up to 12 weeks, during which you'll work on your independent research project.
Our award-winning technology centre has five specialist laboratories equipped with the latest industry-standard hardware and software, including OPNET, Wireshark, MATLAB, Simulink, OpNet Modeller 17.0, OMNeT++, NI and Cisco technology such as Packet Tracer. While studying for this qualification you will work with our LTE test bed and Blade Server, and you will learn how to access and configure cloud-based networks. As part of your studies, you'll also have the opportunity to work towards a Cisco CCNA professional certification, worth £1,600 and considered the gold standard in the industry.
Our masters degree in MSc Network Security and Pen Testing gives you an in-depth understanding of online security risks, the steps needed to ensure that data is transmitted and stored securely, and measures that can be taken not only to prevent breaches but to minimise damage if they do occur.
There are seven compulsory modules plus a research methods module which complements your independent project. This is a major part of the course, worth a third of your overall mark, whereby you produce a piece of original research relevant to the industry – either using existing or emerging technology to solve a practical problem, or extending the theoretical understanding of new technology.
You'll design, analyse and build security systems, software and hardware applications, becoming familiar with the configurations of different systems in our laboratories and learning to choose the appropriate measures and applications for a network. Secure transactions, authentication measures, cryptography and encryption techniques, intrusion detection, penetration testing, firewalls, AAA and more are all covered during the masters degree.
The course also looks at network design and construction, and programming and operating systems more generally, as well as legal, ethical and professional issues. In addition to your expertise in your subject, the course will improve your mathematical, problem solving, teamwork, communication, time management and critical skills.
All modules are compulsory
This module focuses on the design and implementation of the modern operating systems and application environments used to build commercial, online applications. The module involves at least 12 hours of lab work and examines key operating concepts including processes and threads, memory management, scheduling, inter-process communication (IPC), device drivers, storage systems, multiprocessor systems, micro-kernels and networking interfaces. You will concentrate on Linux, Windows, Apple iOS and Android operating systems before focusing on a detailed study of key application environments including the Eclipse IDE, XCode, and Android SDK. Finally, we look at the concept of virtual machines and building applications for the cloud using the Google GAE SDK.
Network services and security mechanisms are the primary focus of this module, which involves a minimum 12 hours of lab work. You will study the security of services deployed using the internet and the mechanisms which make them secure. During the module you will also investigate various networking technologies, including wired and wireless Ethernet, server hardware such as Blade Server Technology, networking architectures including IP networking and the Y-Comm Architecture, commercial Web servers using LAMP and the .NET Framework, Grid Computing and Cloud Computing. After this you will examine security mechanisms including Firewalls, the Secure Socket Layer (SSL), Network Address Translation (NAT), IPSec Framework and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). The course then explores new security mechanisms such as the Security Layers of the Y-Comm framework, Proxy Certificates and Certificate Authorities used in Grid and Cloud Computing."
This zero-credit module is designed to develop your understanding of the process behind designing, planning and conducting applied research – which is essential before embarking upon your final 60-credit project. The research methods module covers research techniques, data collection and analysis, academic writing, referencing and citation, and how to develop a research proposal before you present your project through a written thesis and an oral exam.
The module encourages you to apply and test theory and contribute to applications. It will also enhance your ability to handle data for problem solving and evaluation, and to test theory using analysis and simulations – integrating the learning from other modules. The module will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the legal, social, ethical and professional issues in the context of computer communications.
Your final module is a large project on a topic you are a passionate about which is worth one third of the total masters. The project gives you the chance to combine your general and specialist computer and communications engineering knowledge and understanding, applying an existing or emerging technology to the solution of a practical problem. You could instead choose to carry out research to contribute and extend the theoretical understanding of new and advancing technology and its application. Through your project will also be able to demonstrate a personal commitment to professional standards, recognising obligations to society, the profession and the environment, while also becoming a specialist in a particular area of computer and communications engineering.
Recent areas students have chosen to investigate have included evaluating WSNs, VANETs and open queueing networks with unreliable servers.
As well as developing your practical skills in laboratory sessions, you’ll attend lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, where you’ll deepen your theoretical knowledge, work on activities and case studies, and develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. You will do research, produce written reports, give presentations and take part in group discussions and group work, supplementing all this with your own independent study.
As well as exams (including an oral exam as part of your dissertation), tests and your research project, you’ll be assessed through practical assignments, including laboratory work, and coursework including essays, reports, presentations and class discussions. Some assessed work will be group work.
You will receive regular feedback on your work, including your assessed coursework and your exams.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course does not require an interview, portfolio or audition.
Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit our Postgraduate application page for further information and to apply.
This masters degree will leave you ideally placed for a role in computer and network security, such as an analyst, advisor, engineer, policy developer or system or network security administrator. You could work either with a specialist computer security firm or with a company in-house, designing and managing any type of network from LANs to global WANs. Equally, you may wish to go into a more general IT role, pursue a career in academia or do further research.
The majority of our computer communications graduates are in roles directly related to their studies, and some have even founded their own companies. Others have held roles as diverse as director, network administrator, training specialist, systems dispenser, business analysis manager and lecturer, or worked in programming, telecommunications engineering or network management. Companies our graduates have gone to work for include IBM, L'Oréal, Hutchinson 3G, the Halcrow Group, Cyberspace Network, AK Electronics, One Hundred Computers, Pilat Media and F5 Networks. Further study is also a popular choice.
The European Commission estimated in 2012 that there were 700,000 unfilled IT jobs across the continent, and predicted that this number would increase by three per cent each year, while the number of suitably qualified graduates shrinks.
As well as in-depth knowledge and practical experience of computer communications and networking, our course will provide you with many transferable skills. It will improve your research, data collection and interpretation, mathematical, communication, problem solving, presentation and critical skills – as well as your confidence and ability to work under your own initiative while managing your own time.
Our graduates are employed in various areas such as network administration, network management, telecommunication engineering and programming.
After over four years' professional experience as a computer engineer in his home country of Iran, Hadi decided to study a masters degree to deepen his knowledge of computer networking. After doing some online research, he was impressed by what the Middlesex computing department offered and he applied straight away.
"Completing my MSc course gave me a huge amount of confidence in myself and my capabilities. I learnt how to deal with complex problems, how to analyse them and how to find the best solutions. The modules on systems simulations and modelling completely changed my career plans. I found the topic so interesting that I based my final project around it, which was later published and presented as a conference paper in the UK and Italy."
Soon after graduating, Hadi went to work for a small consultancy company in London and after six months he moved into a higher position at a much larger company. Hadi started working for Halcrow Group Limited in 2007 as a systems engineer. He has been with Halcrow for four years and currently works as a Principal Project Manager in the Tail team.
"We provide consultancy services and design for a variety of rail systems globally. In the last four years, I have worked on many major rail projects in the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, Canada and Brazil."
Hadi is currently managing a national high profile metro line project in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in which more than 30 professional engineers from Halcrow are involved both locally and remotely.
Find out about our wide range of postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
MSc Computer and Network Security
This course is offered full time or part time. The fees below refer to the 2016/17 academic year unless otherwise stated.
Students applying for this course are eligible to apply for the David Tresman Caminer Postgraduate Scholarship in Business Computing (supported by the LEO Society & AIT Trust). This generous £5,000 postgraduate scholarship is available to one UK postgraduate student each year who has demonstrated excellent academic potential in previous study. To apply please see our scholarships information page
|Full time course fees 2016||UK/EU Students||International Students|
|Part time course fees 2016*||UK/EU Students||International Students|
|Masters (120 taught credits |
+ 60 credits for dissertation)
|£55 (per taught credit) |
£27 (per dissertation credit)
|£84 (per taught credit) |
£42 (per dissertation credit)
|PG Dip (120 taught credits)||£55 (per taught credit)||£84 (per taught credit)|
|PG Cert (60 taught credits)||£55 (per taught credit)||£84 (per taught credit)|
*Course fees are subject to annual inflation so the total costs for part time study are shown here as a guide
Find out about our flexible payment plans for UK/EU students, and how they can help you spread the cost of your course.
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