Apply now for January

Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK fee

£8,775 (2020/21)

International fee

£8,775 (2020/21)

Course level




Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

Take our online Cyber Security MSc and become part of the next generation of leading IT security professionals, fully equipped to respond rapidly to risks and problems. The subject is a regular hot topic in the news today on a global scale and online protection has never been more relevant.

As an online student, you will be able to draw on the extensive industrial links of our academic staff and share knowledge of best practice with fellow students while navigating your course materials in our virtual learning environment.

Meeting the demand for expertise

The speed with which the internet and information sharing has developed has exceeded the pace of secure infrastructure development. Our online Cyber Security MSc is designed to help bridge this gap and meet the accelerating demand for professionals with proven information security expertise.

Challenges that cyber security professionals face include:

Cyber security experts need a stronger understanding of these topics, and many others, to be able to confront those challenges more effectively.

You can also study the MSc Cyber Security full-time or part-time on campus.

Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

What you will study

This course focuses on developing your knowledge and understanding of information infrastructures so that you are fully equipped to apply these skills to any organisation. You will build your understanding of the managerial and technical elements of information security, as well as enterprise level security using innovative techniques developed through latest research at the cutting edge of Cyber Security.

You will also develop your understanding of accountability in computer systems and the legalities behind Cyber Security. You will be introduced to the key concepts for human dimensions of Cyber Security, leading to an understanding of research practice in designing and running scientific studies.

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap.

What you can achieve

Our online Cyber Security MSc comprises three progressive stages: postgraduate certificate (PG Cert), postgraduate diploma (PG Dip) and masters (MSc). You will be required to achieve 60 credits to complete each award within the programme, totalling to 180 credits to achieve the masters.

You will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Cyber Security if you pass the module Studying at Masters Level and Research Methods and two other 20-credit modules (adding up to 60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Security can be obtained upon passing the PG Cert and then completing the remaining three 20-credit modules (adding up 120 credits in total).

A Master of Science in Cyber Security can be obtained upon passing all six of the 20-credit modules and completing the independent study module worth 60 credits (180 credits).

We would encourage you to complete the full MSc but, if you prefer, you can still gain an exit award at each stage: a PG Cert or a PG Dip.


Code: 7CS081

Advanced Security Protocols

This module aims to equip you with the advanced knowledge and understanding required to analyse complex security protocols. The module focuses on protocols required to ensure security over remote networks.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Be able to critically analyse and evaluate the functionality of security protocols under given case study problems and be able to apply and evaluate them under various constraints
  2. Critically evaluate and analyse current research into Computer Security and be able to formulate critical academic and professional responses to given research exercises

Module content

Advanced authentication techniques
  • Kerberos 4 and Kerberos 5
Cryptographic algorithms
  • First generation and second generation algorithms
  • Analysis and evaluation of cryptographic algorithms (DES, AES, IDEA, MD5), Elliptic Curve Cryptography
  • Mathematical functions and concepts of encryption algorithms
Analysis of key exchange algorithms
  • Diffie Hellman
  • Just Fast Keying
  • Oakley
  • IKE
Remote security protocols
  • Analysis of session security protocols such as SSL/TLS
  • Advanced understanding and analysis of IPSec and other Internet security protocols
  • Heuristic algorithms and Bayesian Filtering in popular filtering protocols
  • Current research topics in Network security protocols
Cloud security
  • Issues presented in the international domain relating to the development and management of cloud security in multi-international domains
  • Security issues presented by the dynamic routing of data through multi-international domains
  • Jurisdictional problems caused by data storage in multi-jurisdictions
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS085

Enterprise Security Management

The management of the security process is a crucial part of the successful implementation of any security process or technique. This module looks at the fundamental and core network and security management issues that affect businesses including the often conflicting organisational goals that can lead to difficult trade-offs between affordability and effective protection.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Analyse and discuss core business security policy issues that ensure the delivery of good and workable security policies
  • Critically evaluate and analyse the security requirements of an organisation.

Module content

  • the role of a CISO
  • security, techniques for infrastructure protection
  • security policy formulation
  • business continuity and disaster recovery planning. Backups, cold sites,
  • access control and privilege management. Biometrics
  • formal risk management strategies
  • personnel management, change management, security training/awareness, administrative responsibilities
  • balancing internal and external threats and protection
  • physical security
  • national critical infrastructure protection
  • network monitoring systems. User monitoring.
  • firewalls
  • malware, anti-virus, spam filtering
  • ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Auditor material
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS093

Securing Network

The content of this module is concerned with protecting a network from external and internal threats. Different methods of system breach will be discussed, as will the mechanisms necessary for detecting and protecting against them, eg Firewalls, Anti-malware and Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS). You will be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of how attacks can be perpetrated and detected.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate through evaluation, analysis, and critical comparison, detailed comprehension of the mechanisms of system breach, perimeter defence and intrusion detection.
  • Develop creative thinking to apply or amend the techniques taught, to address issues within the research domain, and offer innovative solutions.

Module content

  • anti-malware techniques
  • firewalls and ACLs
  • server log analysis
  • IDS rule creation
  • IDS log interpretation
  • inline traffic altering
  • comparison of different IDS techniques
  • ethical hacking
  • system penetration testing
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS094

Studying at Masters Level and Research Methods

The Module aims to develop your ability to study at Master’s level and to develop, plan, and execute a project using the processes of research. This module is a prerequisite for undertaking the Master’s dissertation (Independent Scholarship).

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Research, review and critically evaluate current academic literature within a specific context in order to identify the key issues and gaps within current knowledge
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of research design and methodological enquiry and to propose an appropriate research plan. Reflective evaluation of the impact of ethical values on academic research will be demonstrated
  3. Systematically analyse and synthesise researched data and theories where appropriate

Module content

The aim of this module is to impart the necessary skills and behaviours required for Master’s study, as well as building the essential characteristics of professionalism in your chosen discipline. It is important that you are able to participate fully in the module so that you can gain maximum benefit from it.

This module will help you identify the knowledge, skills and competencies (academic and professional) that you bring with you to the module, from previous studies or your work experience or both of these. You will have the opportunity to identify areas where your skills might need further development in order for you to achieve your personal aims during the course.

The module also provides the opportunity for you to engage with academic staff in your chosen specialist area, as well as putting the module into the context of your overall professional development now, and in the future.

There are three key areas of study as follows:

  1. Critical thinking. A fundamental principle of Level 7 study and your development as a professional is your ability to think and act critically. You will be exposed to wide range of resources that will enable the development of advanced professional behaviours
  2. Managing a research project. As part of your Master’s study you will be required to conduct a rigorous investigation that will result in tangible research outputs. During this module you will gain first-hand experience of the management of enquiry-based activity to prepare you for research in academic or industrial contexts

Evaluating research outputs. The ability to evaluate and provide a robust justification of your ideas is key to demonstrating professionalism. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches that will allow you to practice critical evaluation of enquiry focused processes and outputs.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS513

Security Attacks and Countermeasures

Using a blend of practical and theoretical approaches this module will empower you with the analytical tools to perform pragmatic and ethical system penetration testing. Using popular open source tools, you will be given a framework to research and develop innovative methods which can be used to uncover security vulnerabilities in modern networked environments. Research will be performed in how to circumvent real world attacks using appropriate detection and prevention techniques. Through investigation, analysis and creative design, you will become adept in how to protect systems against internal and external threats.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse and research the efficacy of computer systems through the use of penetration testing techniques
  • Research, design and critically evaluate protection techniques for identified attack types and justify their use

Module content

  • Investigating social engineering and host reconnaissance
  • Looking at industry best practice in network hardening
  • How can Trojans and Viruses be used for hacking and how to defeat them
  • Investigation into how IDS and Honey-pots can be used
  • Explore techniques for circumventing IPS/firewalls and how to guard against these
  • Analysing popular exploits such as buffer overflows and investigating methods of mitigating them
  • Critical analysis and evaluation of models of system test plans
  • Investigate the most effective ways of creating pragmatic testing plans
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS525

Human and Legal Aspects of Cyber Security

This module is intended to give students an introduction of the legal and human dimensions of Cyber Security. It first covers the application of legal provisions with a focus on accountability in computer systems. Second it introduces the key concepts for human dimensions of Cyber Security leading to an understanding of research practice in designing and running scientific studies.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Identify, articulate and discuss the issues associated with legal and human aspects of Cyber Security
  2. Evaluate and apply legal provisions and experimental methods to cyber-security

Module content

  • History of Computer Crime
  • Law applied to Computer Crime
  • Accountability and Legal Aspects including the Computer Misuse Act, theft, damage, and forgery, Data Protection Act and Intellectual Property and Copyright
  • Human Dimensions of Cyber Security including the user of a secure system and usable security classics
  • Research Methods for Cyber Security including evidence-based methods, hallmarks of scientific experiments and statistical inference
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS995

Research Project

This module provides the opportunity to consolidate, apply and extend your understanding, skills and knowledge of Computing and Information Technologies by planning, executing and reporting on an appropriate research-based project. This can be theoretical in nature or be a practically-based activity (for example, the development of a hardware and/or software prototype). In exceptional cases, you may undertake work which centres on comparative studies/surveys.

Your chosen project will enable you to demonstrate your ability to formulate, tackle and report on research activity with competence, efficiency, and professionalism in a timely manner and in a way that is cognisant of relevant ethical standards. Students will be supplied with a list of suggested projects. You may select a project from this list or alternatively propose a project that may better match your interests, experience or relevant area of professional development. Permission to undertake such ‘Student-Initiated Projects’ is not automatically granted but must be approved by the Lecturer before work begins.

More information
60 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Muhammad Ajmal Azad

Dr Muhammad Ajmal Azad
Programme leader

Muhammad Ajmal Azad is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Cyber Security in the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Derby.

View full staff profileView full staff profileExplore all staff on this courseExplore all staff on this course
Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Discovering Online Learning Webinar

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 16.00 - 17.00

During this hour-long webinar, we’ll take you through the basic principles of how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You will require 2.2 or higher honours degree in Computing or a degree with substantial relevant content for the specialist discipline.

If you don’t have a degree or an accredited degree, we can consider your application if supported by significant industrial experience. Please include evidence of all experience you have in your application. While the University guidelines on recognition of prior learning (RPL) will be followed, RPL will only be recommended where applicants can present a portfolio of professional work that is deemed to be of an appropriate level.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification*. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

*If you have a minimum of IELTS level 4.5 you can study our Certificate of Credit in English for Academic Purposes which we will accept as evidence that you are able to perform at a suitable level of IELTS 6.0. We will also accept the Certificate of Credit as evidence that you can perform at GCSE level.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £975 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £8,775

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

Masters funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Individuals with proven information security knowledge are now in high demand across many different sectors. Successful completion of this masters degree can therefore lead to prestigious roles in the IT security arena, including chief information officer, security analyst, security manager and information security risk assessors.

You could also consider further study and research towards a PhD qualification

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

You might also like