School of Informatics

Cyber Security Privacy and Trust MSc

Be at the cutting edge of the field of cyber security, privacy, and trust.

At a glance

Level/Award Masters/MSc

1 year (full time)

2 years (part-tme)

3 years (part-time)

Start September 2023
Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics, psychology, or another quantitative discipline.

Entry to this programme is competitive. A typical offer will normally require a UK first class honours degree.

We particularly welcome applications from members of communities under-represented in computer science and mathematics. 

Applications for September 2022 entry are now closed. 

For September 2023 entry, applications will open at the start of October 2022 and the selection deadline will be 31 March 2023.

With the emergence of new systems and services such as electronic IDs and passports, electronic payment systems and loyalty schemes, electronic tickets, and telecommunication systems, every aspect of our life is relying on / recorded by some computerised system. As such, we have been witnessing a significant increase in attacks targeting computing infrastructure. GCHQ has characterised cybersecurity threat as being as serious as terrorism.

Cybersecurity and privacy is the study of the computational principles, methods and mechanisms for safe-guarding these sensitive applications. Graduates of the programme will learn how to evaluate, design, and implement secure and trustworthy systems in complex distributed systems.

Only half of the businesses in UK, US and Germany are prepared to deal with cyberattacks, and therefore it is easy to predict that there will be high demand for experts in the area in the nearest future.

MSc in Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust provides you with the necessary training to become the security expert that can meet the challenge of securing information technology services in the next five to ten years.

Why Edinburgh?

finger print
The Security, Privacy and Trust group in the School of Informatics is the largest grouping in the field in the UK

In the School of Informatics, we believe that teaching and research should go hand in hand in order to enhance the student experience. You will be studying in a vibrant research environment and learning from a team of domain experts who are at the global forefront in Cyber Security and Privacy research. 

The University of Edinburgh is recognised as the NCSC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research as well as Edinburgh Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust Institute.

The Security, Privacy and Trust group in the School of Informatics is the largest grouping in the field in the UK, with 18 academic staff and 15 affiliated staff from around the University. Students will be welcome to attend monthly security seminar series hold by the group, featuring world experts in the field.

Students will benefit from direct access to expertise, events and network of further groupings within the University., such as the Blockchain Lab led by Professor Aggelos Kiayias which aims at studying all aspects of distributed ledger technology. The University of Edinburgh is also home to the Bayes Centre innovation hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. The Bayes Centre occupies a building neighbouring Informatics Forum and has numerous links with the School.

Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research

Edinburgh Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust Institute

Security, Privacy and Trust group

Bayes Centre

Blockchain Lab

SigInt - the cyber security society at The University of Edinburgh

Students in MSc in Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust programme will also benefit from peer interactions with other students in the School of Informatics through our host of student societies and projects.

CompSoc (Computer Science Society) is the largest tech student society in Scotland. Students with specific interests are gathered in Special Interest Groups. SigInt, the Cyber Security Interest Group is the most active one. 

SigInt host a variety of events from workshops and talks to Capture the Flag competitions. They compete across the country and place in the top 3 teams. Their recent achievements include:

  • 1st Place LTDH 2019
  • 1st Place Hackback2
  • 1st and 3rd Place Deloitte CTF 2019 Quals
  • 1st Place at DeloitteCTF 2019 Finals
  • 1st out of 204 different universities in the Hack the Box CTF 2020 Quals


Informatics Forum
Informatics Forum where the School of Informatics is based

Facts and figures

The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world. It's ranked 16th in the 2022 QS World University rankings, 26th in the Computer Science subject ranking, 22nd in Times Higher Education subject ranking for Computer Science.


CS Rankings

Student experience

Virtual visit of the campus

Facts and numbers

1 - Edinburgh is ranked first in the UK for cryptography, computer security and HCI in CSRankings, it ranks in top 5 in Europe

16 - the University of Edinburgh is ranked 16th in the QS World Ranking 2022

19 - Edinburgh is one of 19 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in the UK

25 - the School of Informatics is ranked 25th in Times Higher Education World Subject Ranking for Computer Science 2022

26 - the School of Informatics is ranked 26th in QS World Ranking for Computer Science 2022


Graduates will be equipped with skills to pursue careers as Security Analyst, Security Architect, Security Engineer, Security Administrator, Cyber Risk Analyst, Cryptographer, Cryptanalyst, Security Consultant, Security Auditor, Secure Software Developer, Penetration Tester, Ethical Hacker, Security Researcher (in academia or industry), as well as security officers of various kinds in government and public sector positions.

By and large, the School of Informatics graduates have excellent career prospects. Popular employers include Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, SkyScanner, Intel, ARM, Samsung, NVIDIA, Keysight, RockStar North as well as RBS, JP Morgans, Citigroup.

Programme details

This MSc consists of approximately seven months of taught courses across two semesters and up to four months of project work. 

The MSc covers three main themes:

  • core technology
  • social aspects
  • applications.

This will provide students with a multidisciplinary perspective in the field.

Students are required to take Research Methods in Security, Privacy, and Trust and choose from a range of optional Computer Science and non-Computer Science courses offered by School of Law and School of Social and Political Science.

In 2021/22 we offered the following Computer Science Security-related courses: 

  • Introduction to Modern Cryptography
  • Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers
  • Secure Programming
  • Quantum Cyber Security
  • Formal Verification
  • The Human Factor: Working with Users
  • Case Studies in AI Ethics and Security Engineering

Non-Computer Science Security-related courses included

  • Controversies in the Data society
  • Surveillance and Security
  • International Security
  • Cybercrime and Cyber Security

Programme structure 2021/22

Programme structure 2020/21

Programme structure 2019/20

Please note: not all the courses are offered in any given year (in the year 2020/21 the number of courses was limited due to Covid-19 crisis). Lecturers might change year to year.

Name Course taught Research interests

Dr Myrto Arapinis

Programme Director

Computer Security

Provable security: verification of crypto protocols, formal models, protocol composition, applied cryptography, quantum cryptography

Dr Sam Ainsworth 

Parallel Architectures

Security Engineering

Architectural and compiler techniques for data prefetching, both in software and in hardware, particularly for irregular and big data workloads; efficient hardware fault detection and correction; and systems, runtime and hardware security 

Prof Ross Anderson Security Engineering Security Engineering; sustainability of security; economics, psychology and criminology of information; peer-to-peer and social network systems; reliabiltiy of security systems; robustness of cryptographic protocols; cryptography; signal processing; and privacy and freedom issues
Prof D K Arvind Principles and Design of IoT Systems

Integration of asynchronous concurrent systems, parallel and distributed computation.

Prof David Aspinall

Secure Programming

Computer security (particularly proof-carrying code), type systems for specification and programming languages, and proof development environments.
Dr Markulf Kohlweiss Computer Security

Formal verification, foundations of cryptography and applied cryptography, especially with regard to privacy-enhancing protocols, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies and the formal verification of protocol implementations

Dr Tariq Elahi Research Methods in Security, Privacy, and Trust

Computer and network security and privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs), the systematization and the game-theoretic analysis of censorship resistance and circumvention systems, security analysis and designs of anonymous communication systems, and privacy-preserving data collection in privacy-sensitive scenarios

Dr Kousha Etessami Algorithmic Game Theory and its Applications

Research interests: automated verification, logic, algorithms and computational complexity theory, algorithmic game theory, equilibrium computation, analysis of probabilistic systems, Markov decision processes, stochastic games, automata theory, model checking, analysis of infinite-state systems, finite model theory and descriptive complexity.

Dr Heng Guo Computational Complexity

Theoretical computer science, algorithms from a complexity perspective, computational counting and sampling

Dr Michael Herrmann Natural Computing

Autonomous robots, robot swarms, biorobotics, prosthetics, computational neuroscience, self-organised criticality, neural avalanches, neural fields, self-organising maps, metaheuristic optimisation, cognitive psychology, biomedical data processing

Prof Aggelos Kiayais  Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers

Computer security, information security, applied cryptography and foundations of cryptography with a particular emphasis in blockchain technologies and distributed systems, e-voting and secure multiparty protocols as well as privacy and identity management

Dr Walid Magdy Text Technologies for Data Science

Computational social science, data science, social media, data mining and Arabic NLP

Dr Vijay Nagarajan Parallel Architectures

Software/hardware collaborative techniques for enhancing performance, programmability, reliability and security of parallel architectures

Dr Milos Nikolic Advanced Database Systems

Databases and large-scale data management systems: in-database learning, stream processing, incremental computation, query compilation

Dr Paul Patras Internet of Things Systems, Security, and the Cloud

Adversarial machine learning, network traffic analysis, intrusion detection, IoT security and privacy

Dr Kami Vaniea

Human-Computer Interaction

Usable Security and Privacy

Human factors of security and privacy technologies

Dr Vesselin Velichkov Introduction to Modern Cryptography

Symmetric-key cryptography, techniques for cryptanalysis of block ciphers and in tools for automated cryptanalysis, analysis of a special class of cryptographic algorithms based on the operations modular addition, bitwise rotation and XOR (ARX), applied cryptography.

Dr Petros Wallden 

Introduction to Quantum Computing

Quantum Cyber Security

Quantum cryptography, quantum computation and quantum information theory

Dr Maria Wolters Case Studies in Design Informatics, The Human Factor: Working with Users

Usable eHealth, human-computer interaction, health informatics, missing data

Related links

Cybersecurity Ventures