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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 2-3 years

UK fee

£8,550 (2019/20)

International fee

£8,550 (2019/20)

Course level




Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

In the competitive world of IT, having a masters degree can help to set you apart from your peers, strengthening your skills and confidence and, ultimately, giving you an added advantage when considering career progression.

This Information Technology MSc online degree has been designed to give you the tools and understanding to forge a successful career in IT with the flexibility of online learning, so you don’t need to take a career break to make this happen. You’ll expand your theoretical knowledge with the practical application of research, analysis and decision making. 

Our tutors have many years of experience in IT and they understand the pressures of balancing study around work and family commitments.

Problem-solvers welcome

This is an exciting MSc because it asks you to find solutions to existing and emerging issues in the industry.

Our expert online tutors will help you learn to tackle work-based challenges and use IT practically and intelligently. You’ll explore relatively new topics such as cloud computing as well as fundamental skills in traditional areas such as advanced databases and IT project management. Because of the course’s practical application, you can explore areas within your own geographical region, industry and personal interest which can be directly applied to the workplace.

Practical application for global developments  

We use our professional links with local, national and multinational companies to stay in tune with the global developments in the industry and to help us ensure the programme covers the ground that today’s employers would expect.

Studying online gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. Course modules still operate within a fixed trimester but you can choose to study during the day, in the evenings or at the weekend rather than having to attend fixed lectures.

26thout of 121 UK institutions**Guardian University Guide 2020
Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

New from September 2020

We will soon be launching a newly validated online Computing & IT MSc programme suitable for IT practitioners from around the world. The course has been developed to meet advances in technology and changes to legislations,  and includes a choice of optional modules from data science and web technology.

Student Asmaa Sakr sitting at computer

Extended reality: The future of education?

Online student Asmaa Sakr has used her MSc in Information Technology to research how emerging technologies, particularly extended reality technologies, can be used in higher education.

Read Asmaa's storyRead Asmaa's story

A talk from our Academic Lead

Our Academic Lead for Computing and IT, Dr Tariq Abdullah, talks about our online Information Technology MSc course in this video.

Dr Tariq Abdullah talks about our MSc Information Technology degree

View our online Information Technology MSc course introduction video transcript

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan when you are invited to enrol.

You will need to complete all of the following modules. The order in which you take modules will vary depending on when you start your course.


Code: 7CS505

Database Development

This module is designed to develop a critical and in-depth awareness of the theory, concepts, technology, practices, and professional issues involved in the analysis, design, development, deployment, and maintenance of database systems in a global context. Issues related to data management and data storage, such as the UK Data Protection Act, will also be explored, in relation to other international legislation. Practical exercises will give you an opportunity to explore a variety of database products, and you will be encouraged to develop an objective, scientific approach towards evaluating them within a theoretical context.

Module learning outcomes

  1. To demonstrate a critical and in-depth awareness of the theory, methods, design issues, development, deployment, and maintenance of modern database systems
  2. To demonstrate a mature and culturally sensitive ability to critically evaluate and select database products, development methodologies and implementation strategies, and apply these to design and implement database systems to a professional standard within a globalised, industrial context

Module content

  • Data management
  • History of database systems
  • Database system architecture
  • The relational model: types, values, relations and relation-valued variables, relational algebra and calculus and integrity, constraints, and views
  • Relational database design: functional dependencies, normalisation, semantic modelling
  • Transaction management: recovery and concurrency
  • Security
  • Optimisation and performance tuning
  • Distributed databases
  • Decision support systems: data mining and data warehousing
  • Temporal and spatial databases
  • Deductive databases
  • Object oriented databases
  • Object/relational databases
  • Database languages
  • Data representation and XML
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS506

Enterprise Networking and Security

This module aims to equip you with the required knowledge about communications and security that will enable them to work at management level in Enterprise IT. It introduces the concepts of network topologies and protocols, and how they are applied to the Enterprise. It also aims to create awareness of the need for systems and network security and to give you a clear understanding of the security aspects as applied to Enterprise Networks.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a critical and in-depth awareness of the theory, methods, and issues involved in the design, development and deployment of modern enterprise
  2. To evaluate the security requirements for an organisation by providing an appropriate solution to a given case study

Module content

Network technologies
  • Network protocols / topologies.
  • Design, implementation, operation and management of network systems 
  • Implications of enterprise wide networks
Security and business continuity planning and management
  • General definitions of vulnerability, threats, access control, risk analysis, authentication
  • Cryptography mechanisms, network monitoring and auditing, backup and recovery, virus protection
  • Business continuity planning and management
  • Security management, including end-user computing and internal and external human threats
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS507

IT Project Management

IT project management is a sub-discipline of project management in which information technology projects are planned, monitored and controlled. This module is concerned with the management of IT-oriented projects in a global context. You will experience organisational, managerial and professional issues, in preparation for large scale industrial projects in the workplace. You will work both in small groups and individually to critically explore, apply, experiment and evaluate IT project management frameworks. Weekly seminars (or online content) and an online discussion forum will be utilised to explore current established project management approaches, and relate these approaches to a multi-cultural IT environment. You will have the opportunity to engage in peer-review and present ideas and assessment proposals, prior to approval by the relevant module tutor. Finally, you will demonstrate the practical application of your learning and professional skills through a demonstration.

Module learning outcomes

  1. You will be able to critically evaluate, select and apply project management techniques that are suited to a globalised IT industry
  2. You will be able to apply theory to justify the management approach of an IT project, and demonstrate practical experience of identifying problems that appear in industrial IT projects

Module content

  • Project management approaches
  • Managing risk
  • Resource allocation
  • Project planning
  • Change management and the internationalised IT environment
  • Project management tools and monitoring
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS508

Object Oriented Analysis, Design and Implementation

This module presents the Object Orientation paradigm in the context of industrial web application architectures. This involves requirements gathering, analysis, specification, design, implementation and finally critical review. You will use industry standard notations, approaches and integrated development environment tools as applicable.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Critically appraise and model user requirements
  2. Produce a design for some software using object oriented principles
  3. Apply suitable industrial approaches to the implementation of a software system using Object Oriented principles
  4. Critically evaluate the use of design patterns in the global context of software development

Module content

Web application architectures are ubiquitous in the commercial IT industry, and one of the most pervasive paradigms with respect to application development is that of Object Orientation.

You will experience a full development project lifecycle from requirements gathering through to documentation and evaluation, and understand the myriad skills and techniques that are required to bring an application development project to a successful conclusion. In particular you will be required to explore and engage with multi-cultural issues such as communication, negotiation and presentation, in relation to international contexts and the global software development economy. 

You will use an appropriate programming language that supports object orientation constructs, as well as industry-relevant tool sets. The workshop sessions (on campus study) or guided activities (online study) enable a variety of activities to be experienced and instigated by your peers. You will work together with your peers to practice the application of different skills at different stages, and you will be required to discuss and debate approaches, frameworks and techniques that may be relevant to the web application domain. 

You will be required to evidence your learning throughout the module, in the form of two portfolios. The exact nature and presentation style of the portfolio will be undertaken by the learner, under guidance from the module tutor. There will be a strong emphasis upon practice-based research, as a means of demonstrating what has been achieved, but also to provide a formative assessment approach throughout the study.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS509

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
  3. 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: 7CS510

Web Technologies

Web-based systems, web enabled systems and web-enhanced systems are becoming increasingly prevalent. Emerging web technologies are continuously being introduced by vendors, consortiums and academic research, and it is vital that individuals possess an understanding of the current and future architecture, communication and technological requirements of web technologies. You will be exposed to a number of tools, techniques, technologies and architectures in order for you to make critically informed judgements with regard to the suitability of web solutions for a particular purpose.

Module learning outcomes

  1. To demonstrate a critical and in-depth awareness of the theory, methods, design issues, development, deployment, and maintenance of modern web-centric systems
  2. To demonstrate a mature ability to critically evaluate and select web technologies, development methodologies and implementation strategies, for a given or future globalised business context

Module content

  • The Internet, WWW, HTTP and TCP/IP
  • Requirements gathering
  • Software engineering approaches
  • Client and server side technologies
  • Persistence
  • The semantic web
  • Web X.0 and mash-ups
  • Data representation and XML
  • Web security
  • Multi-agent systems
  • The mobile web
  • Collective intelligence
  • Creating business cases for web technologies
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7CS996

Independent Scholarship

This module provides the opportunity for you to consolidate, apply and extend your understanding, skills and knowledge of Computing as developed through study on a relevant programme. In particular, you will demonstrate knowledge, understanding, skills and professional behaviour at masters level. The aim is to ensure that you are able to formulate and tackle real world, commercial problems competently, efficiently, independently, and with relevance to a particular problem and/or application, drawing upon knowledge and experience from the related first degrees or equivalent experience.

A portfolio of artefacts will provide the means of assessment, which will include evidence of a ‘product’. A product may be a piece of software, a detailed design for a system, a feasibility study, a creative piece of work, or any tangible asset or collection of assets that is relevant to the investigation. All deliverables will be negotiated with your designated supervisor. Ultimately this is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to apply what you have learned on the programme in an independent and rigorous fashion.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  1. Critically assess contributions in the literature of a range of academic concepts/paradigms and analyse their relevance to a range of academic, technical, creative or business contexts, leading to the creation and justification of a methodologically sound research programme
  2. Undertake methodologically sound enquiry into a significant issue in a field relevant to the domain of Computing, demonstrating your ability to devise, recommend and/or implement innovative and creative solutions to the area under investigation, and to be able to present these solutions coherently, using the most appropriate media
  3. Adopt a self-critical approach and reflect on the processes of enquiry and undertake a significant piece of independent research
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. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

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

Tariq Abdullah at desk with laptop

Dr Tariq Abdullah
Programme leader

Dr Tariq Abdullah has over 19 years of research and development experience within both industry and academia. He has worked in many roles within Higher Education, as a Lecturer, Programme Leader, Research Fellow and in his current role as Academic Lead in Computing and IT.

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

Study Computing and IT Online Webinar

Thursday, 7 May 2020 14.00 - 15.00

Join this webinar to discover more about studying Computing and IT online at Derby. The webinar includes a 30 minute presentation from Dr Tariq Abdullah, Academic Lead for Computing and IT.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You will need an honours degree in any discipline at the 2.2 level or its international equivalent.

Applicants with a lower degree classification in a Computing-related discipline may still be considered for entry to the programme where they can demonstrate a minimum number of years of relevant work experience in a management or supervisory position, supported by employers' references.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification.  For this course you will need at least one of the following:

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2019 and August 2020.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £950 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £8,550

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

When submitting your application, please ensure it is complete, with all the relevant documents requested in the application form. These are listed below:

*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.


This MSc in Information Technology will give you excellent employment and earnings potential because Information Technology is such a large and vital business, right across the globe.  

Due to the diverse nature of IT, opportunities will exist in a variety of business areas including programming, networking, databases and web technologies. There is also a growing demand for specialists who can make strategic use of IT to deliver innovative business opportunities, using technologies such as cloud computing.

If you enjoy the Independent Scholarship part of this MSc, you might want to think about undertaking further research leading to a PhD or look for roles within a research-and-development environment.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

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