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MSc in Cyber Security

Our cyber security masters covers a range of topics, including information security, digital forensics and other fundamental concepts. It also incorporates transferable skills applicable to professional development. You’ll finish with a substantial independent project. Cyber security is a growing concern for organisations of all sizes. And the industry is currently experiencing a major skills gap and global demand for cyber security professionals. Our industry-relevant cyber security masters provides a rigorous approach to the study and application of cyber security. It will develop the skills needed for you to pursue a career in the industry.

Key features of the course

  • Brings together theory and practice and draws on your own background and experience.
  • Provides a platform for further research studies.
  • Enables you to study a broad range of cyber security topics relevant to career needs and professional interests.

Masters degree

Course code
F87
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
180
How long it takes
2–6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Stage 1 (120 credits)

120 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2021
Digital forensics (M812)

M812 covers the history of forensics, both criminal and criminal digital law, digital investigation techniques for desktop and mobile devices as well as forensic readiness.

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Register
30 01 May 2022
Systems security (M817)

This module teaches how to apply a threat modelling approach to help design and implement secure system architectures, one of the essential technical areas of cyber security.

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Register
30 01 May 2022
Network security (T828)

This module includes Cisco CCNA Security and Cyber Security Operations; explore information systems security management and secure internetworked systems.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021

Stage 2 (60 credits)

You’ll choose either:

  • a research route
  • a professional route

Research route

60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module is the final part of an MSc; you’ll design your own research and submit a dissertation.

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Register
60 01 Feb 2022

Professional route

30 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847)

This intensive research module is the final part of an MSc; you’ll design, conduct, analyse and report on a project of your choice.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021

30 credits from:

Modules Credits Next start
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021
Project management (M815)

This APM accredited module is ideal for aspiring project managers and practising project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects.

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Register
30 01 May 2022
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

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Register
30 01 May 2022
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021
Technology and innovation management (TB801)

This module examines innovation from a management perspective, enabling you to develop an understanding of how to contribute to the process and management of technological innovation.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2021
Continuous professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

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Register
30 06 Nov 2021
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module T848

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you. Note, in particular, you can count the credit from the following modules towards only a single qualification: Research project (T802); The MSc professional project (T847).


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Science in Cyber Security. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MSc Cyber (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Regulations

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. 


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 2021.

Entry requirements

To start this MSc, you will need a UK bachelors degree (or equivalent) in computing, cyber security or a related discipline, or relevant industrial experience in the area of cyber security. If you do not hold a bachelors degree, irrespective of your industrial experience, you will need to study a module from the Postgraduate Certificate in Computing (K22) to demonstrate your ability to study successfully at postgraduate level.

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.

Our badged open course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, will introduce you to the nature of masters-level study. It offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level – and is free.

How long it takes

This qualification can be completed within two years. Most students will study this qualification over three years, completing 60 credits each year. The maximum time to complete this is six years.

Career relevance

The modules in the postgraduate cyber security programme are for professional security specialists, computer specialists, engineers, technical managers and scientists who need to develop or update their skills and knowledge in the area of cyber security and gain a recognised qualification to develop their careers. They have been developed to combine theoretical and practical aspects of cyber security, to enable you to become an effective professional in the industry.

In addition, they aim to encourage you, through the provision of appropriate educational activities, to develop study and transferable skills applicable to your employment and your continuing professional development.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.