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MSc Information Security and Digital Forensics

Course overview

Start date

September 2021

Subject area






On campus, dual delivery

Course summary

The threat of cyber security attacks is increasingly apparent to individuals and organisations across the globe.

From hacking to phishing, scamming to grooming, and botnets to cyber-terrorism, the variety and ingenuity of exploits appear to expand constantly.

In this context, this programme addresses system vulnerabilities and the preventative measures that may counter cyber-attacks, including steps to repair systems weaknesses, prevent repeat occurrences, and collecting and examining digital evidence using a variety of digital and mobile forensics tools such as FTK and Cellebrite.

You will also develop a detailed understanding of comprehensive cyber risk management practices for ensuring overall security.

This course is also available as a two year masters with an industrial placement year.

The embedded industrial placement offers a unique opportunity to apply the skills learnt on real-life projects. This, in turn, prepares graduates of the programme for successful careers in both the information security and digital forensics professions. 

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

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Our MSc Programme is the only cyber security course in the UK that covers interdisciplinary topics, such as Information Security & Digital Forensics, under one title.

Hot-topic teaching

The Programme is reviewed and enhanced every year to keep pace with the rapid changes and challenges in cyber space. Our syllabus is designed and delivered with the assistance of our industrial Liaison board.

Developed with industry

Our modules are delivered in collaboration with lecturers from industry and law enforcement agencies.


What we're researching

Our research focuses on key aspects of information security and digital forensics. Our Information Security research was rated world-leading during the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. We continually work towards the design of solutions to detect, prevent, and analyse cyber security attacks. Many of our staff are at the forefront of the battle against hackers and criminals who relentlessly target our digital society. The near future may favour criminals even more as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand possible avenues of attack.

The research dissertation is a key element of this programme and it counts as a double module. Research topics are often developed from work based problems and many are supported by research collaborations with companies. Students will be required to demonstrate that the research undertaken has been completed to an appropriate level for a master’s award.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

How you'll learn

Our specialist laboratories have everything you will need to develop a thorough, critical understanding of which procedures and techniques to use when you investigate computer-based crime and misuse.

Our dedicated and specialist staff will be around to support you, and you will have a personal tutor, a course tutor and module tutors to oversee your progress.

Formal lectures, tutorials, workshops, practical classes and lab sessions will help you develop your knowledge. Industry experts also give external lectures and there is a virtual learning environment to enhance connections between teacher and student.

As a key element of this course you will be asked to complete a dissertation on an aspect of information security of your choice, and you will attend research methods classes to prepare you for this.

Whatever topic you choose, your dissertation needs to make a contribution to the field, and you will be supervised by a tutor with relevant research interests. Throughout, you will be encouraged to focus on real needs in the world around you.

About the industrial placement year

This course is also available as a two year masters with an industrial placement year. The industrial placement is designed to address the demands of the profession and give students a competitive edge when it comes to their career. The placement component is up to 12 months in duration, which starts after you have successfully completed the taught modules, and before the dissertation stage.

It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to secure their placement. The University will offer guidance and support and recommend students to many of our industrial partners that have expressed strong support and interest in the programme. 

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, your CAS will have a course duration of two years, subject to your meeting the UKVI’s standard requirements. During the industrial placement period, you undertake an internship within a partner organisation and complete a zero-credit Industrial Placement Module. The criteria for progression to industrial placement is the successful completion of the MSc taught modules with minimum 50% pass mark. 

Who will teach on this course

Ameer al Nemrat

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.2 Honours in a Relevant Subject

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

Overall IELTS 6.0 overall with minimum 6.0 in writing and speaking, and 5.5 in listening and reading(or recognised equivalent)

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more here.

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Please note that some courses require applicants to meet the entry requirements outlined on the course page. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.
You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre.

What you'll learn

The danger of cybercrime is growing and is affecting individuals, governments and organisations across the world. From phishing to hacking, scamming to grooming, and botnets to cyberterrorism, the range and variety of threats seems to expand constantly. 

This MSC in Information and Digital Forensics addresses system vulnerabilities and explores preventative measures, repair and detection. 

You will learn to collect and examine digital evidence with a variety of forensics tools. You will find out how to secure virtual crime scenes, and how to put protection in place. 

You will also apply modelling techniques to simulate and evaluate mobile communication networks, computer system architecture and data centres.

This MSc enjoys a high exposure with industry, and external specialist lecturers deliver their knowledge through lectures and seminars.

About the industrial placement

This course is also available as a two year master's with an industrial placement year. The industrial placement is designed to address the demands of the profession and give students a competitive edge when it comes to their career. The industrial placement component is for a duration of an academic year, i.e., normally 30 weeks including minimum 24 weeks of delivery time. It starts after students have successfully completed the 1st year of study, i.e., all the taught modules and the dissertation component of the MSc course which together form 180 credits. Please refer to the course specification for the summary of the course structure and further information. 

Students on the MSc with Placement courses must pass all taught modules of their respective course plus dissertation to gain 180 credits, before they become eligible to progress to the next stage and undertake industrial placement. Students on the MSc course with placement will also normally be required to fulfil the 80% attendance requirement (on all modules) to be eligible to progress to the industrial placement. Students unable to meet the above requirements to progress successfully will normally be moved to the one-year full-time version of the course and their student visa, if any, will be curtailed accordingly.

It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to secure their placement and the university cannot guarantee placements. The University will offer guidance and support and recommend students to many of our industrial partners that have expressed strong support and interest in the programme. 

During the industrial placement period, you will undertake an internship within a partner organisation  (or by means of alternative arrangements such as projects led by industry and carried out on campus) and complete a zero-credit Industrial Placement Module. 

There are additional fees for the placement module (in the second year of the course), in addition to the fees for the taught modules and dissertation.paid in the first year. 

What you'll study

We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.

  • Security Management (core)
  • Computer Security (core)
  • IT & Internet Law (core)
  • Digital Forensics (core)
  • Industrial Placement (core for MSc with Industrial Placement)
  • Mental Wealth: Professional Life (Dissertation) (core)

How you'll be assessed

Modules are allocated a mark out of 100%. The pass mark for each module is based on an aggregate mark of 50%. The aggregate mark comprises marks from components whose threshold is 40%. Assessment may incorporate one, two or three components.

The module specifications specify the mode of assessment for each module. Assessment methods include formal examinations, coursework, project work and group exercises.

Course specification

Your future career

There is a shortage of skilled personnel in the fields of information security and digital forensics, and graduates of this programme can progress to work in multinational organisations including cybercrime-fighting agencies. In addition, the course will prepare you to sit for ACE Certification (FTK).

“It says it is "gravely concerned" that some police forces do not have enough resources to investigate online abuse. Some forces are seizing hundreds of computers each year but have only a handful of officers to examine them.”

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

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