Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £9,500 *
International Fees £13,500 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 1 year

* Price per academic year

Course summary

Computers are central to all aspects of our daily lives; as industries ranging from communications to banking have come to rely on them, the need for improved computer security has never been greater. This course focusses on two aspects of Cyber Security: analysis and assessment of risk plus how to minimise it, and, how to extract and use digital information from a wide range of systems and devices. The course is structured so that all students cover the same introductory material, but then choose to specialise in either Cyber Security or Digital Forensics.

Students taking the course will gain an understanding of the nature of the security threats that face computer systems and the type of information that is stored on digital devices (and how it can be extracted from them). They will benefit from a broad and varied array of state-of-the-art technologies, including:

  • EnCase, FTK and open-source forensic tools, and a dedicated forensics computer laboratory
  • Specialist input from guest lecturers
  • Over 20 university computing laboratories providing access to Unix, Novell and NT servers, all supported by high-bandwidth networks
  • Specialist technicians to ensure you can get the most out of these technologies.

All students will take the core modules which are designed to give a comprehensive introduction to this specialist field. They will cover basic digital forensics and network security, and also cover computer system tools and the UNIX operating system.  Dealing with digital evidence in a professional manner (that includes adhering to appropriate legal guidelines) is also covered.  You will then follow either the Cyber Security or Digital Forensics pathway within the course (though each lead to the same named degree: the pathways are simply opportunities to specialise within the field).  In addition, all students will take a Research Methods module and complete a project module.

The course offers the opportunity to examine a variety of tools available on the open market, and the use of forensic tools to retrieve data from electronic sources. It will also consider the analysis of professional and ethical issues relating to computer security and forensics, and the development of professional competencies, such as report writing and presenting evidence in court.

Teaching methods include lab-based sessions, student-led tutorials and lectures by internal staff and guest speakers from industry. Our courses are offered by friendly, highly experienced staff, and benefit from the diverse specialist knowledge and skills within the departments of the Faculty. Assessments will be carried out mostly through practical or research-based course work.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Core modules

You will examine the legal obligations of computer forensics, gaining an understanding of the relevant statutes and industry guidelines, and of proving the authenticity of evidence via a chain of custody from collecting evidence through to presenting findings in a professional manner. The module also aims to provide you with a broad understanding of the professional factors that influence the work of professional practitioners, particularly in the context of the 'Expert Witness'.

This module gives you an introduction to some of the general concepts of computer forensics, as well as helping you to develop the skills that will be needed on other modules. You will cover in detail the layout of volumes on storage devices, and file systems within volumes, with particular emphasis on the FAT file system. You will learn to look at raw devices using low-level tools like hex editors, and consider how security considerations should affect software design and implementation.

This module examines various aspects of security in widely deployed communication networks, including both theoretical and practical areas. The module begins with the presentation of core cryptographic primitives and how cryptography can be used in real life scenarios. Then, detailed principles and examples regarding secure communication between two parties over an unsecure communication channel are presented. The second half of the module discusses attacks and techniques that a powerful adversary can follow in order to find information that otherwise should remain private. Throughout the module, students will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field and will have the opportunity to work on programming projects related to security.

This module is shared with other MSc courses run by the Department. Its main focus is on introducing you to research, and developing the skills you need to read and evaluate original research literature. This in turn leads into the Project, and a major outcome of the module should be a Project Proposal. In addition, the module addresses certain aspects of Personal Development Planning (PDP).

This module is the culmination of the course. It is an opportunity for you to put into practise many of the skills learned elsewhere on the course. It is a major piece of work on a topic chosen by you (normally, this topic will be chosen as part of the Research Methods module). You will undertake this work individually, and will be assigned a project supervisor to assist with and guide the development of the project.

Digital Forensics pathway

This module continues the examination of essential digital forensics concepts. The topics you will cover include network forensics, live systems, mobile phones and other devices. A further aim of the module is to introduce you to developing areas of computer forensics, and provide you with the skills to investigate new areas of computer forensics, such as covert analysis and intruder artefacts.

This module commences by giving you a hands-on introduction to the UNIX operating system.  You will look at a range of tools that might be used by a forensic examiner: this will include high-level tools like EnCase, FTK and Autopsy, although your main focus will be on low-level tools such as dd and the Sleuthkit tools, as these help to develop your understanding of what (and how) the higher level tools are actually doing. You will also learn to use basic system tools such as grep. In addition you will learn a scripting language so that you can develop your own forensic tools.

You will cover many of the most important concepts of digital forensics through this module, including various methods of data recovery (noting those that meet ACPO guidelines for evidence preservation). Analysis of the data will include finding and recovering deleted files, searching slack space on storage devices, examining log and registry entries, and constructing timelines of activity.

Cyber Security Pathway

The module assumes basic knowledge of cryptography and covers both theoretical and practical issues related to cyber security applications. The module aims to explore fundamental technologies and applications in cyber security; discuss underlying technologies and techniques used in cyber security applications; introduce the latest research that can help organisations move from ‘patch and pray’ defenses to security ‘by default’; set major theoretical issues involved in security in a broader information requirements context and explore current technological trends and the way they are employed by businesses (especially for cloud-based services); introduce a variety of techniques and frameworks designed to support security and privacy with particular emphasis on various cryptographic techniques; discuss different techniques used to exploit vulnerabilities and to mount attacks that result in security breaches. Students will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field and will have the opportunity to work on programming projects related to security.

This module will look at system architectures and how systems can be defended; it will include consideration of the threat to security posed by legitimate users of the system and behavioural issues.

You will examine the issues involved with business continuity and disaster recovery planning, and environmental security.

Professional accreditation

This programme is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, for fully meeting the further learning educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status and for partially satisfying the underpinning knowledge requirements set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) and the Science Council for Chartered or Incorporated Engineer (CEng or IEng) status. Note that there are additional requirements, including work experience, to achieve full CITP, CEng, or IEng status. Graduates of this accredited degree will also be eligible for professional membership of BCS (MBCS).

The BCS accreditation is an indicator of the programme’s quality to students and employers; it is also an important benchmark of the programme’s standard in providing high quality computing education, and commitment to developing future IT professionals that have the potential to achieve Chartered status. The programme is also likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Entry Requirements

Typical offer

You are usually expected to have a good degree (generally an upper second class honours) in a computing-related discipline from a UK university or overseas equivalent. If your first degree does not have a strong computing element then your work experience and other qualifications may also be taken in to account.

You should submit a statement of purpose with your application in which you present your key interests and career aspirations and how you believe the course can help you to achieve these, as well as the relevant qualities and experience you will bring to the course. You may be invited by the admissions tutor an informal interview.

If your first language is not English, you should have an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a score of 6.0 in each element

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

Typical offer

You are usually expected to have a good degree (generally an upper second class honours) in a computing-related discipline from a UK university or overseas equivalent. If your first degree does not have a strong computing element then your work experience and other qualifications may also be taken in to account.

You should submit a statement of purpose with your application in which you present your key interests and career aspirations and how you believe the course can help you to achieve these, as well as the relevant qualities and experience you will bring to the course. You may be invited by the admissions tutor an informal interview.

If your first language is not English, you should have an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a score of 6.0 in each element

More information

Careers

The course has two pathways, namely Cyber Security, and Forensics that can provide you with all the necessary skills for the following jobs:

  • Researcher in Applied Cryptography;

  • Researcher in Network/Computer Security;

  • IT Security Engineer;

  • Computer Security Incident Responder;

  • Source Code Auditor;

  • IT Security Operations Specialist;

  • Cyber Security Manager;

  • Information Security Analyst;

  • Information Security Consultant;

  • Information Security Assurance Officer;

  • Information Security Assurance Analyst;

  • Information Security Risk Officer;

  • Security Officer;

  • Penetration Tester (also known as Ethical Hacker);

  • Vulnerability Assessor;

  • Computer Forensics Analyst;

  • Anti-Piracy/Content Protection Analyst;

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

What our students say

Alumnus Rohan Murray

Rohan Murray

MSc Cyber Security and Forensics

Studying MSc Cyber Security and Forensics at University of Westminster has sharpened my understanding in the core defense mechanisms used in internet security and how to investigate breaches in a security system. The experience has helped me to mature to the level where I can now offer Cyber Security and Forensics Consultancy services, which are critically needed in my home country. This course has definitely strengthened my passion in working with digital systems and has given me a deeper appreciation for the advancements in this field of discipline.

Alumnus Zeena Radwan

Zeena Radwan

Zeena graduated in 2014 from Queen Mary University of London with Computer Science degree. In 2017 she successfully completed MSc in Cyber Security and Forensics while working full time. Zeena is Currently working for the Technical Services Department for the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Westminster. She applies gained expertise and knowledge in cryptography, risk management, forensics and cyber security across many departments including Engineering, Psychology and Computer Science.

Find out more

Watch our information session on studying Cyber Security and Forensics MSc at the University of Westminster

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £9,500 (Price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what you tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £13,500 (Price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what you tuition fees cover.

Course Location

Our Cavendish Campus in the heart of London is home to the Faculty of Science and Technology. With first-class facilities, the campus houses subject areas ranging from biosciences to electronic engineering. For more details, visit our Cavendish Campus page.

Contact us

Call our dedicated team on:

+44 (0)20 7915 5511

Opening hours (GMT): 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

[email protected]

More information

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