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Cyber Security and Pen Testing MSc

Learn about the course below
Code
PGI108
Start
January 2021
October 2021
Duration
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£10,000 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Mahdi Aiash
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You can choose to start this course in October 2020 and in January 2021. This is because we've changed some of our teaching arrangements in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Whenever you start, you'll get the same great learning experience with lots of support to do your best.

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.

Why study MSc Cyber Security and Pen Testing at Middlesex University?

This course provides both intensive practical training and a profound theoretical education, extending beyond the technicalities of network security to cover strategic and organisational issues. During your studies, you will work with our LTE test bed and Blade Server, and you will learn how to access and configure cloud-based networks.

You will be encouraged to learn, explore and work within our award-winning technology centre and its 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. Depending on the Covid-19 related restrictions in place at the time, the teaching may take place either online with remote/virtual access to specialised hardware equipment and industry standard software or on campus following the required restrictions.

Practical work is an important part of every module, and unless you're already in employment, we'll encourage and support you to finding a placement for up to 12 weeks, during which you'll work on your independent research project. Access to placements will be dependent on individual employer organisations and any Covid-19 restrictions they may have in place.

Our strong research profile ensures our courses remain innovative. We have developed our own WSN, Senso LAB, and have also undertaken notable research in areas such as MIMO, LTE and LTE Advanced

The course is designed for those students who have previously studied computing at university level or who are currently working in the sector, and are looking to develop an advanced mastery of the subject.

Course highlights

  • You'll have the opportunity to gain practical experience in our industry-standard networking labs. Depending on the Covid-19 related restrictions in place at the time, the teaching may take place either online with remote/virtual access to specialised hardware equipment and industry standard software or on campus following the required restrictions.
  • We encourage students to explore new concepts and developments and were delighted when three of our students were crowned winners at the Young Professional Engineering Challenge.
  • Middlesex University is an official Cisco Academy and as part of your studies, you'll have the chance to work towards a Cisco CCNA professional certification.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the MSc Cyber Security and Pen Testing?

This Masters degree gives you an in-depth understanding of network design and construction, programming and operating systems, and the legal, ethical and professional issues which surround this sector. You will also study online security risks, installing the relevant procedures to ensure data is transmitted and stored securely, and developing measures that can be taken not only to prevent breaches but to minimise damage if they do occur.

What will you gain?

You will be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to analyse and build security systems, software and hardware applications, secure transactions, authentication measures, and cryptography and encryption techniques.

You will become familiar with the configurations of different systems in laboratories and learn to choose the appropriate measures and applications for a network. In addition to your proficiency in the subject, you will also have developed your mathematical, problem solving, communication, time management and critical skills.

Modules

  • Modules

    • Computer Networks and Internetworking (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      During this module you will develop a systematic understanding of the concepts, protocols and standards for computer networks and internetworking, used in current and future communication infrastructures. It is vital in today's networking market that network managers, administrators and engineers have a critical insight and practical experience of the essential tools used for monitoring, managing and evaluating computer networks. This module is designed to equip you with these problem solving and practical skills.

    • Operating Systems and Application Environments (15 Credits) - 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 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.

    • Security Solutions and Applications (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module covers the concepts and critical issues of security with emphasis on security architecture and mechanisms, standards, protocols, solutions and applications. It will provide you with an understanding of security technologies, algorithms and solutions as well as an understanding of the design criteria in security, basic system security analysis, and security solution synthesis.

    • Penetration Testing and Forensics (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to provide you with the knowledge and experience in methodological approach to computer forensics and evidence analysis. It will familiarise you with the methods intruders use to gain unauthorised access to an organisation's networked systems and then compromise them.

    • Network Security and Mechanisms (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This is module covers the principles and foundations of network security. It aims at providing students with security issues, technologies, algorithms and protocols used in securing computer networks and associated systems. It will also provide an understanding of possible security breaches, security risk analysis and mechanisms to protect computer and network communication systems. It also studies an in-depth review of commonly-used security mechanisms and techniques, security threats and network-based attacks.

    • Cyber Security and Legal Regulations (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides you with a solid introduction to the subject of cyber security and information assurance. This includes a broad understanding of the security technologies available to support information assurance and security requirements and vulnerabilities corresponding to attack vectors. It will also explore regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, E-commerce Bill, key escrow.

    • Individual PG Project (60 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module is an independent piece of work shaped largely by one’s own decisions and preferences to accomplish and deliver a task via prescribed stages. The module aims to facilitate students’ understanding of designing, planning and conducting applied research. The module encourages students to apply and test theory and to contribute to applications, through enhancing students’ ability to handle data for problem solving and evaluation; to test theory using analysis and simulations, integrating the learning from other modules.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module,  or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

If you’re interested in January 2021 courses, we will provide more information on plans for teaching and learning in the coming months.

How is the MSc Cyber Security and Pen Testing taught?

This is an intensive course and much of your study will be independent. Full-time students should expect to spend a maximum of three days a week in classes and part-time students should expect one or two days a week. You will develop your practical skills in laboratory sessions delivered online, and deepen your theoretical knowledge by attending lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials.

Depending on the Covid-19 related restrictions in place at the time, the teaching may take place either online with remote/virtual access to specialised hardware equipment and industry standard software or on campus following the required restrictions.

Assessment

As well as exams, 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.

For your independent project you will plan, conduct and produce an original piece of 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 will be assessed on your research proposal, written report and via oral examination.

Teaching and learning

Changes for students in 2020

If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some small group sessions on campus, with larger lectures delivered online and available to you on-demand. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes, the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Term 1: Online teaching only

Course delivered fully online

1.

Live learning

Contact time per week per level:

12 hours for 18 weeks
14 hours for 6 weeks.

2.

Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week per level:

24-36 hours

3.

On demand resources

Average hours per week per level:

3-4 hours

Term 2 onwards (from January): Blended teaching

Course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place

1.

Live learning

Contact time per week per level:

4 hours
Labs and seminars: 8 hours / 10 hours for 6 weeks due to individual project workshops

2.

Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week per level:

24-36 hours
Individual project: 40 hours.

3.

On demand resources

Average hours per week per level:

4 hours

4.

Face-to-face sessions

Contact time per week per level:

12-14 hours

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover everything you’ll do with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, and we’ll schedule all of this for you. This might include some study outside your regular timetable, like taking part in discussion forums or online blogs where you’re supported by academic staff.
  • Independent learning – Independent learning is all the studying you’ll do outside your live learning sessions with teaching staff. This self-paced study will give you the chance to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time as you need to, and you’ll have access to on-demand resources and materials to help you do your best.
    • Self-paced study – Self-paced study will give you the chance to learn wherever and whenever you want to and at your own pace, outside your live learning sessions. This independent learning could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework along with access to other online activities such as quizzes.
    • On-demand resources – You'll have access to on-demand resources like pre-recorded video lectures and workshops as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review and revisit whenever you need to at your own pace.
  • Face to face sessions – Wherever it’s possible to do so, and we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure your safety, you’ll be able to attend scheduled sessions, workshops or appointments on campus as part of your live learning. The number of hours given in this scenario provides an indication of the number of hours of face to face learning you could expect, and a full timetable will be provided to you before the start of your course.

Support

You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will mainly be delivered online and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MSc Cyber Security and Pen Testing support your career?

This masters degree will leave you ideally placed for a role as training specialist, systems dispenser, business analysis manager or university lecturer. The majority of our graduates are in roles directly related to their studies and working in programming, telecommunications engineering, network management, and computer and network security. You could even start your own business or you may wish to pursue a career in academia.

Our graduates have gone onto achieve many successes since leaving Middlesex and a number have even started working for such companies as:

  • IBM
  • L'Oréal
  • Hutchinson 3G
  • Halcrow Group
  • Cyberspace Network
  • AK Electronics
  • One Hundred Computers
  • Pilat Media
  • F5 Networks
  • Middlesex staff profile

    Hadi Sanei

    Graduate

    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.

    I now work for Halcrow as a systems engineer. 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.



We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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