Postgraduate study

Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust MSc, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Our societies are critically dependent on computer software. Electronic systems are everywhere, and governments, financial and transport organisations, or telecommunication companies all possess and manage huge amounts of sensitive information concerning all of our everyday activities.

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. The cyber security threat has been characterised as serious as terrorism by the GCHQ, therefore a need for graduates with highly specialised training in this area is ever-growing.

Cyber security 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.

Many research areas have tackled parts of this problem – students on this degree will experience training from academic experts in a uniquely broad combination of theory and practice: Secure Software, Cryptography, Secure Hardware, Verification, Post Quantum, Data Privacy, Usability, Fintech, Health, Smart Contracts, Distributed Ledgers, Privacy Preserving Data Mining. The teaching team of the MSc in Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust is lined up with world class researchers and educators. In particular, the University has been recognised by GCHQ/NCSC as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, in recognition of its critical mass in leading edge cyber security research.

The overall programme delivers intellectual and practical experience in all aspects of cyber security, privacy, and trust: dealing with real-world applications; applying and extending state of the art defence mechanisms; engineering end-to-end secure and trustworthy systems; communicating results through oral and written reports.

This one-year degree consists of two components:

  1. Approximately 7 months of taught courses in 2 semesters.
  2. Up to 4 months of project work leading to a dissertation.

During the first taught part of the course (September to March) students attend lectures, tutorials and group practicals and acquire the theoretical foundation to enable them to engage in independent research. 120 taught course credit points are expected during the course of the year. Between May and August, students complete the degree by making a practical application of their knowledge by undertaking a major individual research project on which they write a dissertation. The project is normally supervised by a member of academic staff as one of his/her research interests, with assistance from his/her research team.

  • Understand security-related risk in a broad context and the means to mitigate such risk.
  • Understand the process of building a secure application in all its levels and stages and be able to demonstrate this understanding in supervised system building efforts.
  • Have advanced knowledge of the state of the art in research in cyber security, privacy and trust, and its applications.
  • Understand research methodologies relating to cyber security, privacy, and trust, at a level that permits the student to engage in future doctoral research.
  • Know the main research methodologies used in cyber security, privacy, and trust.

This degree will put you at the cutting edge of the field of cyber security, privacy, and trust, opening a host of opportunities in the commercial sector, public and academic sectors.

The graduates will have the necessary background to keep up with developments in cyber security, both in research and engineering.

Typical areas to pursue a career include: 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 (the National Cyber Security Centre has explicitly expressed interest in collaborating with our program).

There are well established career development paths and certification schemes including CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) run by ISC2 (International Information System Security Certification Consortium).

There is a new UK government-sponsored initiative delivering a new Cyber Security Body of Knowledge which is intended to describe curricula frameworks for the future, to inform and underpin education and professional training for the cyber security sector.

There is zero percent unemployment in cyber security and opportunities are endless

Herjavec from Cybersecurity Ventures

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.

You should have experience of computer programming equivalent to an introductory programming course and have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics during your degree that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (e.g. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc.)

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

Due to high demand, this programme operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

Round Application deadline
1 31 January 2019
2 30 April 2019

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme, or if they do not hear then they are still being considered and their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time.

If you have applied previously, please do not submit a further application.

*Revised 8 March 2019 to remove 30 June 2019 deadline. The last application deadline for this programme is 30 April 2019.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE