MSc Information Security (ISec)

Award:  
Master of Science (MSc)
Level:Postgraduate
Duration:1 Year
Fees:UK/EU £10,765 *New Scholarship available
Overseas £23,690
Deadline:1 August 2015

Program Administrator:  
Sean Taylor
Programme Director:Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro
Admissions Tutor:Dr George Danezis
Research Group:Information Security Research (ISR)


Open Day Events (New!)

Every few months, we organise open day events with presentations and Q&As for our MSc in Information Security, both in person (at UCL) and virtual (via webinars). The events can be attended by anyone and are free of charge.

If you are interested, please send an email to advancedmsc-admissions@cs.ucl.ac.uk with subject "MSc ISec Open Day", and we will let you know next time we have an event (no spam, we promise :-)).

You can read transcripts of Q&A's from our latest virtual open day here.

Why choose this course?

UCL's MSc in Information Security (ISec) provides the foundations for a rewarding career in the growing cyber security industry or further doctoral research. International security experts teach a balance of established theory and cutting-edge practice, equipping graduates with the broad expertise necessary to succeed as cybersecurity experts, practitioners, or researchers. The course is supported by industry experts and leading companies who engage with students through joint projects and guest lectures.

UCL is one of eight UK universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security that have been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.

The Academic Centre of Excellence status has been awarded by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Other universities will also become Centres in the near future as part of an ongoing process.

- See more at: www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1204/120402-UCL-awarded-excellence-status-in-cyber-security-research

UCL is one of eight UK universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security that have been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.

The Academic Centre of Excellence status has been awarded by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Other universities will also become Centres in the near future as part of an ongoing process.

- See more at: www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1204/120402-UCL-awarded-excellence-status-in-cyber-security-research

UCL is one of eight UK universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security that have been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.

The Academic Centre of Excellence status has been awarded by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Other universities will also become Centres in the near future as part of an ongoing process.

- See more at: www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1204/120402-UCL-awarded-excellence-status-in-cyber-security-research;

UCL is one of eight UK institutions to be awarded 'Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research' (ACE-CSR) status by GCHQ, in partnership with the Research Councils Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Our Graduates

MSc ISec graduates are keenly sought by leading security employers as a result of UCL's international reputation, proximity to the City of London and the Department’s strong links with industry.

Top graduate roles include security consultancy, secure software design, information protection advisor, security analyst, with top destinations including IBM, Ernst & Young, Cisco, KPMG, etc.

Average starting salary £31,200 (all data from Graduate Surveys, January 2013).

Our Modules

MSc Information Security consists of 8 taught modules and a thesis. The PG Diploma programme comprises the taught modules only (no thesis). All students take 4 core modules and 4 optional modules.

The 4 core modules are:

COMPGA01 Computer Security I (Term 1)

COMPGA01 Computer Security I (Term 1)

Taught by Dr George Danezis, Computer Security I provides an introduction to security concepts and techniques, covering core security principles to engineer systems providing confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Topics are approached from a security engineer perspective, but also from the perspective of someone who aims to bypass security protections. 

Students will learn how to recognise security properties of systems, formulate security policies, and model the threats they may face.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga01_computer_security_1/

COMPGA03 Introduction to Cryptography (Term 1)

COMPGA03 Introduction to Cryptography (Term 1)

Taught by Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro, this modules provides students with the foundations of cryptography and information security. We introduce the main security properties needed in today's systems, such as confidentiality, authentication, integrity, anonymity, non-repudiation, and do so by means of rigorous definitions and formal assumptions. The module then covers state-of-the-art technologies to meet these goals, i.e., pseudorandomness, encryption, digital signatures, message authentication codes, hash functions.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga03_introduction_to_cryptography/

Slides from 2014/2015: https://emilianodc.com/crypto/

COMPGA02 Computer Security II (Term 2)

COMPGA02 Computer Security II (Term 2)

Taught by Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro and Dr Gianluca Stringhini, this module is the natural follow-up to Computer Security I. It provides an advanced understanding of network and computer security vulnerabilities, as well as countermeasures, in real-world systems. Following a hands-on approach, lectures are complemented with in-lab exercises, teaching students to think about security out of the box.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga02_computer_security_2/

Slides from 2014/2015: http://compsec2.cs.ucl.ac.uk/

 

COMPGA11 Research in Information Security (Term 2)

COMPGA11 Research in Information Security (Term 2)

Taught by Dr Steven Murdoch, this module aims to provide an understanding of what research in information security is about, how to identify a contribution, what the quality standards in scientific publications are, and to study selected technical sub-topics in depth. Students will be exposed to research on information security, by reading quality technical research papers in information security.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga11_research_in_information_security/



Students usually select 4 optional modules from the following list (although, with the director's approval, they can choose one elective course from any Computer Science postgraduate modules):

COMPGZ03 Distributed Systems and Security (Term 1)

COMPGZ03 Distributed Systems and Security (Term 1)

Taught by Prof. Brad Karp, this modules explores, in a case-study fashion, the design and implementation of distributed systems, and computer system security. Among other things, the module provides students with expertise in handling correctness under concurrency by building a simple distributed system as part of coursework.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscncs/gz03_distributed_systems_and_security/

Slides from 2014/2015: http://www0.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/B.Karp/gz03/f2014/

COMPGA10 People and Security (Term 1)

COMPGA10 People and Security (Term 1)

Taught by Prof. Angela Sasse, People and Security teaches students to specify usability criteria that a security mechanism has to meet to be workable for end-user groups and work contexts, as well as human-centred approaches to security. It is one of the very few courses on usable security in the world.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga10_people_and_security/

COMPGA16 Malware (Term 1)

COMPGA16 Malware (Term 1)

Taught by Dr David Clark (Module Leader), Dr Jens Krinke, Dr Earl Barr, and Dr Paul Gill, this module provide students with a specialist understanding of the issues and techniques in malware detection and classification as well as the human, social, economic and historical context in which it exists and is deployed.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga16_malware/

COMPGA14 Information Security Management (term 1)

COMPGA14 Information Security Management (term 1)

Taught by Dr Granville Moore, the course provides students with an understanding of the principles of information security management that are commonly used in business. It will introduce the commonly used frameworks and methods and explore critically the suitability and appropriateness of these for addressing today's organisational security needs.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga14_information_security_management/

COMPGA12 Applied Cryptography (term 2)

COMPGA12 Applied Cryptography (term 2)

Taught by Dr Nicolas Courtois, this module provides the student with a thorough understanding of  cryptographic algorithms keys and protocols, and an appropriate hardware/software environment can solve security problems (confidentiality integrity authenticity). It shows how security is achieved in real-life systems in areas of payment, telecom, buildings/transportation, government/identity etc. 

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga12_applied_cryptography/

COMPGA17 Privacy Enhancing Technologies (Term 2)

COMPGA17 Privacy Enhancing Technologies (Term 2)

Taught by Dr George Danezis, this module provides students with expert understanding of the issues around privacy in computer systems and on-line services, as well as the best available techniques for mitigating important privacy threats through appropriate security controls. Students will learn how to securely implement these techniques, and familiarise with the process of building secure systems (design review, code review and white-box pen testing). It is one of the very few courses on privacy in the world.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga17_privacy_enhancing_technologies/

COMPGA18 Cryptanalysis (Term 2)

COMPGA18 Cryptanalysis (Term 2)

Taught by Dr Nicolas Courtois and Dr Christophe Petit, this course aims to cover all major topics in cryptanalysis, studying various cryptosystems from the point of view of cryptanalysis and also from the point of view of crypto developers. By understanding the maths and security design principles in different cryptosystems, students will ways to break and fix/repair cryptographic primitives, as well as discovering key properties which are relevant to their security. They also experiment with standard crypto libraries, computer algebra software and software cryptanalysis tools. 

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscisec/ga18_cryptanalysis/

COMPGS10 Language Based Security (Term 2)

COMPGS10 Language Based Security (Term 2)

Taught by Dr David Clark and Dr Jens Krinke, this module provides students with specialist knowledge and understanding to solve software related problems associated with the security of software systems. Students discover the relationship between computer program design and security, how various security-related properties of computer programs are formulated and guaranteed, and in-depth knowledge of a variety of contexts in which understanding can be applied.

More info: http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/students/syllabus/mscsse/gs10_language_based_security/


The Thesis is an in-depth research project carried out under the supervision of a member of academic staff at UCL or whilst working in collaboration with a company. Please see COMPGA99 for more details.

For more information about all postgraduate modules taught in UCL Computer Science, please visit this page.


Our Staff

MSc ISec academics are recognised globally for their word-leading research, most notably in computer and network securitycryptographyprivacy, cybercrime, and human-centred approaches to security, privacy and trust:

  • Dr Earl Barr – Teaching: Malware. Research: program analysis, information theory, optimisation.
  • Dr David Clark – Teaching: Malware and Language Based Security. Research: analysis and verification, understanding software and specifications.
  • Dr Nicolas Courtois – Teaching: Applied Cryptography and Cryptanalysis. Research: cryptanalysis, crypto currencies, information security.
  • Dr George Danezis – Teaching: Computer Security I and Privacy Technologies. Research: anonymous communication, privacy technologies, cryptography engineering.
  • Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro – Teaching: Introduction to Cryptography, Computer Security II. Research:  applied cryptography, privacy technologies, measuring security and privacy issues.
  • Prof. Brad Karp – Teaching: Distributed Systems and Security. Research:  systems security, wireless networks, distributed systems, networking, operating systems.
  • Dr Jens Krinke – Teaching: Malware and Language Based Security. Research: program analysis, malware analysis, taint analysis, information flow control, bug detection.
  • Dr Granville Moore – Teaching: Information Security Management. Research co-ordinator of Institute in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS).
  • Dr Steven Murdoch – Teaching: Research in Information Security. Research:  authentication, passwords, banking security, anonymous comms, censorship resistance and covert channels.
  • Prof. Angela Sasse – Teaching: People and Security. Research: human and economic aspects of security, usable security.
  • Dr Gianluca Stringhini – Teaching; Computer Security II, Cybercrime. Research: social network security, web security, botnet mitigation, and cyber crime.

Academics not teaching in the programme at the moment:


Extracurricular Activities


Our entry requirements

A minimum of an upper-second class UK Bachelor's degree in computer science, electrical engineering or mathematics, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account.

English Language minimum requirements

  • International English Language Testing System: An overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests
  • Other English Language Qualifications: Please click here for the full list of accepted English Language qualifications. Please note that our courses require a level of English equivalent to the "UCL Good Level".

Entry requirements by country

Please click here for more information. Applicants are required to meet both the entry requirements and the English Language requirements separately. Each applicant will be considered on an individual basis. The grades and qualifications listed are intended to give an approximate level of achievement we believe you will need to succeed on the programme.


Excellence scholarships

We are offering 4 MSc Scholarships worth £4,000 to UK/EU offer holders with a record of excellent academic achievement. These will be awarded at the discretion of the department's Postgraduate Tutor. The closing date for applying is 30 June 2015.

Successful nominees will be notified by the end of July 2015. Nominees have 1 week to respond to this notification. If the nominee has not responded within 1 week, or if they decline the funding, a reserve candidate will be contacted. If you haven't been contacted by the end of August 2015, please assume that your application was unsuccessful. 

The scholarships may be held alongside other scholarships, studentships, awards or bursaries. However, nominees must declare whether they are in receipt of other sources of funding. Recipients of the scholarship will receive the award in the form of a £4,000 discount from their tuition fees.

Eligibility

  • This scholarship is open to UK/EU domiciled students, defined as country of ordinary residence.
  • All applicants of this scholarship are required to hold a valid offer for entry onto one of our MSc degree programmes for the September 2015 intake and have accepted their offer.
  • All applications for the scholarship must be received before the end of 30 June 2015.

Successful candidates will be asked to write a short piece at the end of their degree reflecting on their experiences at UCL and how the scholarship assisted them. To apply click here.

You can find out more about our fees and funding here.


More information

Our Frequently Asked Questions are here.

UCL's Prospective Student webpages which contain more information on fees and funding, accommodation and international students can be found here.

Back to our Degrees Page here.


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