Cyber security equips students with skills and knowledge to be able to defend computer operating systems and data networks from cyber crime and cyber threat. It consists of processes, technologies and controls that are designed to protect the network security.
Highlighted courses and degrees in cyber security
An undergraduate degree in cyber security will cover the foundation of the field, before exploring the more complex concepts. You will look at the processes of cyber security, as well as how the controls and systems are applied.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as computer laboratory sessions. You may be required to participate in a work placement module, which will give you the opportunity to experience working within cyber security.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence what area you choose to work in after you have graduated. Common specialisations include:
If your degree course requires you to write a dissertation in your final year, this will give you a chance to further research a favoured area of cyber security.
The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. Different countries can have different accreditation systems. Generally, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or an integrated Master of Computing (MComp).
It is possible that certain degree programmes will be accredited by professional bodies of cyber security, but this is not a necessary for employment at present.
Typically, an undergraduate degree in cyber security will take three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time.
On successful completion of your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a degree in cyber security will depend on your institution of choice. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their cyber security programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
With an increase in the amount of organisations utilising the online world within their work, graduates of cyber security will have many career opportunities available. Common destinations include managerial roles, public and private sector organisations, healthcare and environmental protection. Roles available include forensic analyst, secure software developer, malware reverse engineer and chief information security officer.
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