Qualification level
Study type
2-5 years
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About the course

Information Security

MSc and PGDip

This master's degree addresses both the technical and management aspects of cyber security. Learn about cryptography, computer and network security, and security management from one of the foremost academic security groups in the world.

This degree will help you gain the cyber security skills required for senior level careers by focusing on principles and best management techniques. The expertise and consulting experience at Royal Holloway ensures that the degree remains commercially relevant to the marketplace.

The MSc Information Security is certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a department of GCHQ.

By studying this degree, you will:

  • Gain the cyber security skills required for senior level careers.
  • Enhance your career prospects as a security specialist with a wide range of companies.
  • Benefit from Royal Holloway’s expertise and consulting experience.

How you study

The programme is offered online and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You study at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines) using the study materials provided, with support available from academic staff.

Study materials

We will send you study materials developed by academics at Royal Holloway. These include a Programme Handbook of practical information (such as how to enter exams); a Subject Guide for each course; and past exam papers and commentaries, which give you valuable insights into how to perform well in exams.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to course materials, resources, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others. Tutors are available to answer queries and promote discussion during the study year through the VLE.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Time commitment

To complete the programme in the minimum study period (2 years), we estimate that you will need to study for approximately 24 hours per week during the academic session (September to April).

Those who study alongside full-time working commitments often take four years to complete. This amounts to around 12 hours of study per week during the academic session.


There is a single written exam for each module (usually held in May). 'Introduction to Cryptography and Security Mechanisms' also requires coursework, while the Project requires a dissertation.

You can sit exams at an approved centre anywhere in the world (mainly Ministries of Education or the British Council). Each centre charges a fee for hosting exams.

Academic leadership

The Information Security Group at Royal Holloway performs cutting-edge research in many areas. These include the design and evaluation of smart cards, system and mobile security, cryptography, and the integration of security techniques. It was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 1998 and retained its status as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in 2017.

The MSc Information Security was one of the first distance-learning courses to receive GCHQ certification. (This is now authorised by the National Cyber Security Centre.)

Academic co-ordinators

Professor Peter Komisarczuk (BSc, MSc, PhD, CEng) is Director of Distance Learning at the Information Security Group. Peter has worked in various R&D roles at Ericsson, Fujitsu and Nortel Networks in the areas of next generation 'intelligent networks', access and optical networks and internet network technology. He teaches primarily in networks and security.

Professor Fred Piper (BSc, PhD, CEng, CMath, FIEE, ARCS, DIC, FIMA, M.Inst.ISP) was the founding Director of the ISG. He has published over 100 research papers, 6 books (4 on cryptography), and is on the editorial boards of two international journals. Fred has served on committees offering security advice to a number of UK Government departments and agencies.

Professor Keith Martin (BSc, PhD, CMath, FIMA), former Director of the ISG, designs and leads modules on the MSc programme. Keith's research interests include key management, cryptographic applications and securing lightweight networks. He is the author of Everyday Cryptography (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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