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MSc Cyber Security

Develop a wide-ranging and comprehensive skill set in effective cyber security measures, threats and technologies on our fully certified course*.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Security of our systems is one of the most challenging topics of our time. There is an international consensus that in order to respond to the number and sophistication of threats that we face, the level of security skills we have needs to be increased.

This forward-looking, fully certified course will give you the skills and knowledge you need in the core areas of cyber security. You'll learn the theories, principles, practices and technologies of cyber security and gain knowledge and understanding of the principles underpinning effective approaches to cyber defence.

The course emphasises important technical material that will help you make effective cyber security decisions, and addresses issues such as: identity; trust and reputation; cryptography; network security; malware and intrusion detection; risk management; and the development of high-assurance systems.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in industry or government, this course will provide you with a broad education in cyber security, which will allow you to make technically informed principled decisions.

This course will also prepare you if you are seeking a research career in cyber security; a research skills module is a mandatory part of the course.


This is one of the few cyber security Masters degrees in the UK that is fully certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Software lab virtual tour

Our software labs offer 24/7 access for individual and group work.

The labs are used for seminars and practical sessions and are fully equipped with the latest software to support your studies.


Our staff are at the cutting edge of their fields and we maintain strong links with industry.

Research excellence

A UK top ten research department - according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

Course content

The first half of the course is taken up by taught modules. Modules comprise a mix of lectures, problem classes and practical classes, plus personal study time. In the second half of the course, you will undertake an individual research project under the supervision of a member of staff.


Core modules

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


As part of this course you will undertake an individual project and dissertation. This takes place over the summer and is supervised by a member of academic staff. It may involve working with an external organisation. You will be encouraged to work with academic staff to create projects which are of specific interest to you and the staff member you are working with.

You will be given considerable flexibility in the topics you can choose to base your project around, providing academic criteria are met. To ensure you reach your goals, your project will be assessed at an early stage to ensure that it is suitable for study at this level. Many previous projects undertaken have followed naturally from the taught material. However, your project may also investigate suitably challenging topics outside that material if you wish.

At the end of this period of study you will be asked to produce a dissertation describing your project work.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Apply the specialist principles associated with cyber security such as cryptanalysis, attack, authentication, identity, trust, and anonymity, in order to determine systems' security vulnerabilities.
  • Analyse and evaluate the technological components of current and proposed cyber systems, which include computers, algorithms, and networks, from the perspective of their security properties.
  • Identify, analyse and assess the range of threats to cyber systems from practical and theoretical viewpoints.
  • Evaluate and design systems-level solutions to security weaknesses in cyber systems posed by technological and non-technical (human) factors.
  • Form reasoned judgments, based on evidence, regarding the particular legal, social, and professional issues involved in the deployment, management, and analysis of cyber security systems. This includes forensic analysis of attacked systems, and appreciation of the regulatory and cultural constraints relevant to cyber security.
  • Explain, through oral presentations and written papers, complex technical ideas and arguments to peer specialists and more general audiences.
  • Scope, plan, execute and manage significant cyber-security research projects and produce focused stakeholder reports.
  • Maintain knowledge of developments in cyber security by accessing, interpreting, evaluating and synthesising data and arguments from up-to-date research literature from related areas and technical manuals and standards specifications.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £12,480£29,400

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

There are unlikely to be any mandatory additional costs associated with the course, although you may want to set aside £200 for optional photocopying and personal stationery over the duration of the course.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Part of this course is taken up by taught modules. Each module comprises a mix of lectures, problem classes and practical classes, plus personal study time. You should expect to be working on open assessments during vacation periods. Throughout the course you will have a personal tutor, who will provide academic and pastoral advice.

In the second half of the course, you'll undertake an individual research project under the supervision of a member of staff. When you undertake your individual project, you will be allocated a supervisor within your area of interest. Work on your individual project will start around the beginning of April, and you will receive regular one-to-one supervisions throughout your project. You will continue to work on your individual project over the summer, and there will be continuing supervision and research-group meetings to discuss your project. You will finish the course when you hand in your dissertation and paper for your project in September.

Due to the intensive nature of the course, you will need to be in York throughout both semesters and over the summer while you undertake your individual project.



Built to the highest specifications, the department is packed with cutting-edge facilities housed in a modern, self-contained building.

The department houses four software labs and two hardware labs. One of the hardware labs is equipped with dedicated Cyber Lab infrastructure required for several of your practical classes.

Our Interaction Labs provide excellent facilities for research and teaching in human-computer interaction. The Interaction Labs consist of an Accessibility and Usability Lab and a Games Research Lab, both of which are stocked with the latest technologies.

Our Real Time Systems Lab is the main research and development facility for the Real Time Systems research group. Inside the lab is a range of high-performance computers, custom hardware like FPGAs, robots, and various industrial machinery.

The Computer Vision group have a darkroom laboratory which enables us to conduct experiments in controlled illumination conditions and a second laboratory which includes a commercial 3D scanner. 

Our Robotics Laboratory is a purpose-built laboratory used for various robotics research projects and teaching. Within it, there is a dedicated student working area, with workstations and electronics bench equipment, alongside the main 80m2 robotics arena. The arena features a 5.5m high ceiling allowing drone experiments to take place alongside ground-based robots. Special tracking systems are installed to allow positional data of the robots to be extracted. There is also a workshop area with CAD, soldering and 3D printing facilities.

Find out more about our facilities, including a video tour showing our labs, teaching and research spaces.

Teaching location

Computer Science is based on Campus East. The majority of teaching on this course takes place on Campus East in the Computer Science building and Ron Cooke Hub.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

All taught modules on this course are examined by open assessments. This type of assessment allows you to engage with the research literature and gives us the chance to assess your practical skills.

Once you have successfully completed the taught modules, you will undertake an extensive individual project. Here you will work on an identified cyber security topic, and document the results in a report.

Assessments will take place at various times during the year. Practical exercises, reports and other forms of open assessment will be due either during the course module or just after its completion.

Virtual tours

Take a virtual tour of one or our modern, dedicated facilities.

Our study and social pod is open 24/7 for group and individual study and events. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen.
Our dedicated hardware labs will introduce you to the basics of computer architecture, operating systems and program language construction, providing a basis for further study in later years.

Careers and skills

This course will prepare you for a career in the field of cyber security. It will also equip you with the relevant skills to undertake further research in the area.

Previous graduates have gone on to technical roles, such as malware analysis, security design, penetration testing and broader roles such as risk assessment, security planning, or security consultancy. Some previous students have returned to their home countries to teach security, and others have gone on to study for a PhD.

Career opportunities

  • Security analyst
  • Security architect
  • Cryptographer/Cryptologist
  • Security consultant
  • Software developer
  • Security engineer

Transferable skills

You will gain the ability to:

  • Interpret, evaluate and synthesise data and arguments from up-to-date research literature, technical manuals and standards specifications.
  • Communicate complex technical ideas and arguments to peer specialists and general audiences, through oral presentations and written reports.
  • Scope, plan, execute and manage complex technical projects.
  • Assess and consider the impact of legal, social and professional issues in the development and operation of technical systems.
  • Analyse the work of others in order to achieve defined goals.

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Computer Science or a related discipline. Successful applicants will demonstrate a strong background in the following essential criteria: Discrete Mathematics, Software Engineering, Networks, Programming, and a knowledge of basic algorithms.
Other qualifications and experience We are willing to consider your application if you do not fit this profile, providing you are able to demonstrate that you have the required amount of Computer Science knowledge and experience to succeed on the programme.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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