Applied Cyber Security

Talk to us

Get in touch

Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available



Full-Time, Part-Time


Engineering and Physical Sciences


Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

* 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time. Part-time students are normally enrolled for two years. The first year will normally compromise the following modules: Ethical & Legal Issues in Cyber Security, Computer Forensics, and Applied Cryptography. The second year normally comprises Network Security & Monitoring, Software Assurance, Malware, and an individual research project.


The world’s online security depends on you. Step up to the plate with this fascinating, industry-focused Master’s course, taught at one of the world’s cyber security hubs.

You’ll be analytical, technical and a modern-day codebreaker. Cyber security is a challenge that will not go away, affecting companies, individuals and even governments. You could be:

  • A recent graduate – possibly a maths or engineering graduate with good programming skills, or you might be a good developer but have little knowledge of cyber security.
  • Already working in industry – experienced in technical software development, and looking to upskill and enhance your professional development.
  • An international student looking to study a UK master’s degree, to meet an international need and to live and study in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

This innovative programme is at the forefront of technical advances in cutting-edge technologies such as cryptography‌, computer forensics, malware and intelligent information systems.

You'll be taught entirely at our Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s largest cyber security research lab.

This is an applied course, very industry-focused, to prepare you for a technical leadership role. Our block-mode timetable is ideally suited for anyone in full-time employment who wants to enhance their career prospects through part-time study.

You’ll use software such as:

  • Wireshark
  • Metasploit
  • GCC for C/C++
  • Hex-Rays IDA
  • OllyDbg


  • You’ll hear from industry experts during seminars
  • You’ll be involved in our World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, including the invite-only gala dinner of 100 global leaders in cyber security.
  • You’ll be involved in creating new businesses from our cyber security research.

Why Queen's?

For each module, your tutor is an active researcher in their area, including people like:

  • Philip O’Kane - Philip has 20 years’ programming for telecommunications and financial institutions
  • Maire O’Neill - One-time UK Female Inventor of the Year and an acknowledged international expert in the field of cryptography, and computer forensics expert
  • Gary Edgeworth - Of ANSEC IA Limited, who provides professional digital forensics and consultancy services

You’ll be taught on site at CSIT in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, a hi-tech environment, home to many of Northern Ireland’s burgeoning tech start-ups. 

Did you know?

The demand for certified cyber security professionals is currently growing at over 12 times the rate of the overall job market.

Course Details

The syllabus is informed by the world-class research being undertaken at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).

CSIT is a GCHQ-accredited Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research and is the UK's largest university research lab in this field.

CSIT is fast developing a reputation as a global innovation hub for cyber security and is influenced throughout by its strong history of commercial engagement with world leading companies including Allstate, BAE Systems, Equiniti, Euronext, IBM, Infosys, McAfee, Roke, and Thales.

In 2015 Queen Elizabeth awarded CSIT a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its work in strengthening global cyber security and protecting the online activity of billions of internet users around the world.


The MSc in Applied Cyber Security is available in a full-time or a part-time option:

Full-time (1-year): Consists of six taught modules (120 CATS) and a 3-4 month practical project of a research nature/work placement (60 CATS).

Students study all taught modules (120 CATS points) up to the end of the Semester 2 exam period. They will also commence an individual research project (60 CATS points) and continue this through to month 12.

As an integral part of the ELE8095 Individual Research Project, students may undertake summer work placements/internships lasting 3-4 months with local, national and international employers, under the regular supervision of an academic staff member and a staff member of the host organisation.

Part-time (2+ years): Part-time students are normally enrolled for two years. The first year will normally compromise the following modules: Ethical & Legal Issues in Cyber Security, Computer Forensics, and Applied Cryptography. The second year normally comprises Network Security & Monitoring, Software Assurance, Malware, and an individual research project. The part-time MSc consists of six taught modules (120 CATS) which are delivered alongside full-time students over a two year period (normally), and a practical research project (60 CATS) which may be on a work-based research project following tutor approval.

Students normally take three taught modules (60 CATS points) during Year 1, and three taught modules (60 CATS points) during Year 2. During Year 2 students will undertake the individual research project (60 CATS points.

As an integral part of the ELE8095 Individual Research Project, students may undertake summer work placements/internships lasting 3-4 months with local, national and international employers, under the regular supervision of an academic staff member and a staff member of the host organisation.

The modules are: 

  • Network Security & Monitoring
  • Ethical & Legal Issues in Cyber Security
  • Software Assurance
  • Computer Forensics
  • Malware
  • Applied Cryptography

These modules are assessed through a combination of practical laboratory sessions, independent coursework, and written examinations. An Individual Research Project is also undertaken that focuses on applying taught skills to a leading edge issue in cyber security research. A dissertation is required to be produced for the project. The project may be taken in the context of a summer placement at a company, for the 1-year programme, or as part of a year-long Professional Internship as an integral part of the 2-year programme.

The six taught modules are normally each delivered over a four week period. In the first week students carry out background work based on material supplied specifically for each module in preparation for the rest of the module. The second week is spent in the classroom/lab, where attendance is required across the week (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm). This week includes lectures, tutorials, and assessed work in the lab. In the final two weeks students carry out coursework and independent tutorial study, as well as timetabled CSIT-linked activities.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment comprises written examination and coursework/lab work in six modules; and a dissertation on your research project (180 CATS points total).

Assessment criteria are linked to the learning outcomes for each module. A range of assessment instruments are used including laboratory-based assignments, individual projects, practical exams, presentations, written coursework and unseen written exams.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching is normally in mornings and afternoons.


The whole course is hands-on. You don’t just get talked at. You learn in a sandbox environment when you can experiment and make mistakes, enabling you to put your new skills into practice in hands-on cyber challenges.

You’ll meet our researchers and discuss how they apply the cutting edge research being developed here to cyber security technologies. Many of our students undertake their research project as a summer placement working at leading cyber security companies. Or you can choose to do a year instead, if you opt for the two-year course.

Entry Requirements

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electrical and/or Electronic Engineering, Mathematics with Computer Science, Physics with Computer Science or a related discipline.

Applicants who hold a 2.2 Honours degree and a Master’s degree (or equivalent qualifications acceptable to the University) in one of the above disciplines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.                                                     

All applicants will be expected to have mathematical ability and significant programming experience as evidenced either through the content of their primary degree or through another appropriate formal qualification. It would be beneficial if applicants have experience programming in C and working in a Linux environment.

Applications may be considered from those who do not meet the above requirements but can provide evidence of recent relevant technical experience in industry, for example, in programming. An application under Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) may be required. Please visit for the University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and information on application procedures.

International applicants will be required to meet the University’s normal criteria for English Language qualifications, and UK visa requirements. For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

International students (for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their studies. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

(*taken within the last 2 years).

How To Apply

Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.

If you have queries on course content please contact the school representative below.

Register your interest here and we'll be in touch. 

Programme Director
School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Tel: 028 9097 5439

How To Apply

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

The aim of the programme is to offer a multi-disciplinary education in cyber security that prepares graduates for employment in technical development, cyber risk analysis, managerial positions such as Chief Information Security Officer, entrepreneurial endeavours, or as preparation for further research.

Our graduates have found that holding a prestigious MSc qualification from Queen's, at one of the UK's top engineering Schools, has significantly enhanced their job opportunities and employment prospects. With demand for cyber security experts growing at 12 times the rate of the overall job market, students can expect their career prospects to be enhanced significantly after graduation. Prospects for research and academic career paths in cyber security will also be enhanced by the MSc.

Applied Skills Programme: MSc Applied Cyber Security students will be given unique access to a full range of applied skills development and networking opportunities normally reserved for researchers, engineers and industry partners at CSIT. Students will have the opportunity to register for events such as: industry expert seminars, Lunchtime Learning research talks, access to CSITs employability and entrepreneurship programmes, participation in CSIT Accelerating Value Creation workshops, research lab tours and personal CV development.

Work Placements and Internships: Students taking the MSc will be offered opportunities for summer internships during which they can undertake their research project in cyber security. Students enrolled on the 2-year MSc with professional internship can apply for year-long internships. We will facilitate a process for students to apply for internships but cannot guarantee that students will be placed. An integral part of the course is an Employability Programme where students are offered personal assistance to develop their CVs, interview skills, and prepare for undertaking project internships.

Employers interested in graduates like you:

• PwC
• Deloitte
• Kainos
• Rapid7
• Alert Logic
• White Hat Security
• Proofpoint
• Black Duck Software
• Citi
• Allstate


You could be working:

  • In Threat Intelligence
  • As a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • In network security
  • In information assurance
  • At security operation centres

…anywhere in the world. 

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Find out more

Fees & Funding

There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

Find out more

For tuition fee information see

Postgraduate loans
From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

Tuition Fees for 2017/18

Home/EU Fees: £12,600

International Fees: £19,000

For more information please see Tuition Fees

Please note: a non-refundable deposit (which will be deducted from tuition fees) of £1,000 is required upon acceptance of an offer.

DCMS Bursaries

Three bursaries are available for students enrolling on Queen's University Belfast’s GCHQ certified MSc Applied Cyber Security. Bursaries are funded by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) as part of a pilot initiative funded by the National Cyber Security Programme 2 (NCSP2). The bursaries will cover full tuition fees.

The aim is to retrain individuals in cyber security by encouraging career transitioners to undertake a GCHQ certified master’s course in cyber security, to address the significant mismatch in the supply and demand of adequately skilled cyber security professionals in the UK in a short timeframe, and to test the effectiveness of this model as a means of retraining adults. 

Applications are now open. For more information or to apply, please download the application form on our website:,764835,en.pdf


Talk to us

Get in touch

Applications open

Apply Now

Scholarships and funding

Help fund your study

Studying at Queen's

University Life

Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Computer Science at Elmwood, ECS1
Elmwood Avenue

Visit Website

Get Directions

Rusell Group Roadshow, Queen's University Belfast event graphic

Russell Group Universities

Postgraduate Roadshow

When: Monday 6 November, 11.30am - 3.00pm
Where: Sir William Whitla Hall, Queen’s University Belfast

Find your perfect Masters or PhD at one of the UK’s top Universities.

Register now

grad school interior 2H

Postgraduate Experience

The Graduate School

Our dedicated hub for postgraduate students, providing state-of-the-art facilities for study, and high-quality training and development programmes within a diverse interdisciplinary community.

The gateway to your postgraduate experience

Discover more

Latest News

UK Universities to build major collaboration with top Chinese engineering institutions

12/04/2017 - A group of UK Russell Group Universities, led by Queen’s University Belfast, have met with the top nine engineering institutions in China, in a bid to build major collaborations around research and education.

CSIT banner

Science and Technology

Queen’s research recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre

4/04/2017 - CSIT – a major hub for research and innovation in electronic engineering and cyber security – has successfully retained its ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ status which was first awarded in 2012.