This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with three 30-credit computing and IT modules and a 30-credit mathematics module.
- At Stage 2, you’ll study four 30-credit modules.
- At Stage 3, you’ll study two 30-credit modules, choose a further 30-credit module and complete your degree with a 30-credit project module.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
At Stage 1, you’ll study two introductory computing and IT modules and sample some practical information technologies. You’ll also choose a mathematics module based on your confidence and experience.
At Stage 2, you’ll study four modules, which will develop your understanding of cyber security, software development, networking, and communications technologies.
At Stage 3, you’ll deepen your expertise in cyber security by studying two specialist modules, plus an optional module in networking or web technologies. You’ll complete your studies with a project module where you’ll develop and demonstrate your specialist knowledge and skills.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. This qualification uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying online OR studying a mixture of printed and online material. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- undertaking practical work OR using an online laboratory
- using specialist software (e.g. online Cisco networking labs in module TM257)
- finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding.
- Cognitive skills.
- Practical and professional skills.
- Key skills.
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Cyber Security degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You’ll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It'll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
Skills for career development
This degree course is useful if you already work, or would like to work, in computing and IT systems. The degree will impart technical and personal attributes to manage, implement and assess the security of business activities in a global context in addition to a broad understanding of the workings of socio-technical systems and an ability to adequately prevent or respond to cyber security incidents. The course enables development of discipline-specific and personal transferable skills so that during studies and on graduation students may move directly into responsible positions in a variety of careers such as software security architect, software developer, system administrator, penetration tester, digital forensic investigator, security operations analyst, IT consultant or computing researcher that match both learners and employers expectations.
A study by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) indicates a severe shortage of cyber security skills is a national challenge and is also an indication of technology growth.
Cyber security graduates will be in demand beyond the traditional workplaces where general computing and IT graduates have sought employment. The extensive range of organisations employing cyber security graduates includes retail, financial services, leisure and gaming, legal and insurance sectors, telecommunications, broadcast media, digital media, manufacturing, transport, tourism, the public sector and healthcare.
Cyber security is top among the areas of high demand while other areas include mobile development, cloud computing and the management of Big Data.
Beyond pure technology roles, some graduates also enter careers in policing (cyber crime), insurance companies where digital forensic experts are in demand to support cyber insurance services, management consultancy firms or corporate roles, while others go into technical writing roles or work freelance.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- cyber security apprentice
- cyber security manager
- IT infrastructure apprentice
- IT security administrator
- IT/digital security analyst
- network administrator
- network architect
- penetration tester
- security analyst
- security operations centre (SOC) analyst
- software engineer.