Accessibility statement

Cryptography - MAT00034H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Mathematics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Christopher Hughes
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module will discuss the history and mathematics behind various attempts (and failures) to keep information secret.


Module learning outcomes

  • Understand classical cryptosystems and analyse their weaknesses
  • Understand public key cryptography and their potential weaknesses
  • Appreciate some of the practical implementations of modern crypto-systems


Academic and graduate skills

  • Improved understanding of the mathematics behind information security
  • Understanding of how that mathematics is implemented in practice

Module content

Subject content

  • Classical cryptosystems (Caesar cypher; Vigenere cypher; one-time pads; Enigma) and how they are broken.
  • Modern symmetric key algorithms (AES, Rijndael)
  • Public key cryptography (RSA and Diffie-Helman) and their potential weaknesses (factoring and discrete logs)
  • Practical implementations of some of the above systems.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
2 hours 100

Module feedback

Current Department policy on feedback is available in the undergraduate student handbook. Coursework and examinations will be marked and returned in accordance with this policy.

Indicative reading

Recommended texts

  • Introduction to Cryptography with Coding Theory by Wade Trappe and Lawrence C. Washington, ISBN 0-13-186239-1 (Z 52.8 TRA). Covers most of the course (and much more) with discussion of both the mathematics and computational implementations of cryptography.

  • The Code Book by Simon Singh, ISBN 1857028899 (Z 52.8 SIN) is a good, not too mathematical, history of coding and cryptography.

  • Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier, ISBN 0471117099 (Z 52.8 SCH) is an amusing read.

  • Understanding cryptography: a textbook for students and practitioners by Christof Paar and Jan Pelzl. Available as an e-book from the library. This concentrates on the practical and computational applications of this course.

  • Introduction to Modern Cryptography by Jonathan Katz and Yehuda Lindell, ISBN 978-1-4665-7026-9. This book attempts to give a rigorous overview of many cryptographic ideas, and so is an excellent read if you are interested in further reading around the subject.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.