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Network security

With organisations increasingly dependent on their information systems, there is a greater need to ensure that the underlying network infrastructure being used by these systems is secure. We are a leading Cisco Academy and this Cisco Certified Networking Associate Security (NetSec) module will give you a foundation to prepare for the CyberOps Associate certification. It will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing secure communication across a large-scale internetwork using Cisco equipment. You will also be expected to undertake individual research to contextualise your Cisco study in the broader security management environment.

Vocational relevance

Upon completion of the Cisco Network Security® curriculum you’ll be in a position to take the associated Network Security certification and Cybersecurity Operations Associate certification, internationally recognised advanced work-based qualifications.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

Cisco is a worldwide market leader supplying networking equipment for the internet to large, medium and small organisations, as well as the home user. It also has a long-established international networking academy programme aimed at educating networking professionals. Cisco certifications are highly regarded in the networking industry, offering certification holders and their employers a commercial and technical advantage.

In this module you will study the latest version of the Network Security curriculum using an online virtual learning environment provided by Cisco through its academy programme. Additionally, you will be guided through material that covers different parts of the CyberOps Associate core body of knowledge.

Once you have completed this module, you will be equipped to take the Network Security certification and have a foundation upon which to complete your preparation for taking the CyberOps certification examination. Both the Network Security and CyberOps examinations can be taken at many test centres internationally, by your own arrangement. You do not need NetSec certification to successfully complete this Open University module. However, there is a Cisco requirement that to become fully Network Security or CCNP certified, you must already have Network certification. The CCNA curriculum is taught on Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1 [TM257 and Cisco networking (CCNA) part 2 (TM357).

This module focuses on advanced practical and skills development: you will be expected to configure routers, firewalls and other network security devices with a range of addressing, routing and security technologies. The hands on practical lab experience will be available via the Packet Tracer network simulator.

You’ll cover:

  • network security threats
  • operations, physical and environmental security
  • network infrastructure and devices
  • security architecture and design
  • authentication, authorisation and auditing
  • firewalls and, intrusion prevention
  • cryptography and virtual private networks
  • information security risk management.

This 30-credit module is studied over six months and you will need to spend at least 12 hours a week studying over this period.

For queries on module content, you may contact the module team directly by sending an email.

For full details of the Cisco academy programme see the academy website. Additional information about the CyberOps certification programme can be found on the Cisco website.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part. If you want to participate, you’ll likely need a headset with a microphone.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Professional recognition

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recognises the Network Security as a membership criterion and a milestone towards Chartered Engineer status.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Network security (T828) starts once a year – in November.

This page describes the module that will start in November 2021.

We expect it to start for the last time in November 2024.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    This is a postgraduate module, where we assume you have relevant academic, employment or commercial certification experience. The module provides additional Cisco-specific access material based on Network Security. However, learners who have completed the discontinued module Cisco networking (CCNA) (T216) or at least Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1 (TM257), or have experience of the CCNA as a commercial certification or at another Cisco academy will be at an advantage.

    The main study material is provided as online material (for NetSec) as well as online CyberOps Associate materials, and additional key material is also online. Therefore you should be confident in the use of a computer to access the internet and be prepared to spend much of your study time online. Broadband access is essential. The study material contains active content, which means that you will need to set up your firewall to allow pop-ups from the Cisco and OU sites.

    Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End England fee Register
    01 Nov 2021 Apr 2022 £1475.00

    Registration closes 07/10/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2024.

    Future availability

    Network security (T828) starts once a year – in November.

    This page describes the module that will start in November 2021.

    We expect it to start for the last time in November 2024.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    Access to the Cisco online networking material and additional supplementary material supplied via the dedicated website, online materials covering the CyberOps Associate core body of knowledge (including CyberOps Associate exam practice software) and access to the University’s extensive collection of online journals. The learning materials will reflect the latest content on the Cisco Networking Academy.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The module is delivered through the Cisco and OU virtual learning environments, and some of the materials are available online.

    Some components may not be fully accessible using a screen reader. If you use specialist software or hardware to access the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material, it is recommended that you contact us before you register for the module to discuss it further.

    You should visit the Cisco accessibility pages for further information on accessibility and using ‘JAWS for Windows’ screen reading software.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.