MSc Cybersecurity

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

​This programme is designed to prepare IT professionals for a managerial or technical career in cybersecurity. It will be of value to people working in project/product/systems management, or as software developers or software engineers, as well as those in incident response, tech support or networking, who are looking to move into cybersecurity.

It will help companies, government and state institutions, defence forces and others to upskill their staff to fill new roles in cyber security so that they can protect their organisations, their customers and the public.

It is designed to facilitate professional learners through flexible blended study options. Lectures are delivered online and complemented by occasional full-day workshops on campus, with a remote option for those who cannot attend in person. The combination of mainly distance but with some on-campus days allows flexible learning but with face-to-face interactions.

In developing the programme we have collaborated with industry and law enforcement practitioners – in particular the Leadership in Security and the Incident Response modules – to ensure that these modules meet the needs of professional learners.

The programme offers the option of undertaking a significant piece of research.

The curriculum is aligned with the ACM/IEEE/AIS SIGSEC/IFIP Cybersecurity Curricular Guidelines so that it will prepare students to take a variety of cyber security roles, including some modules for professionals seeking a managerial role in security.

Information webinar

Meet the teaching team, hear about the course, entry criteria, research options and answers to common questions. Listen to the recording (45 mins)

Podcast with the course director

Assistant Professor Liliana Pasquale spoke to Christa Miller from Forensic Focus on why we launched our new MSc Cybersecurity and how it differs from other courses. How does blended delivery work? Who is teaching on it: what is the practitioner/academic balance? Listen here (15 mins)

Download the UCD Science Graduate Taught Courses brochure (pdf)

Careers & Employability

The course will prepare professionals for a rewarding career in cybersecurity; for example, to take a role as a security manager, security engineer, security analyst, or IT security specialist. Career development possibilities are excellent. Organisations of all sizes in all sectors, including both Irish and foreign owned companies, are looking for people with these skills.

Many global companies have a base in Ireland, including security software and cybersecurity companies with a security operations centre (SOC). There is a growing cybersecurity market globally as cybersecurity is recognised as critical for national security and the smooth functioning of society.

Curricular information is subject to change


Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Flexible study options for professional learners

The programme is designed to facilitate professional learners through flexible blended study. Lectures will be delivered online and will be complemented by face-to-face, intensive full-day tutorials that will typically be delivered three times per semester. The combination of mainly distance but with some on-campus days allows flexible learning but with face-to-face interactions. We plan to deliver the full-day tutorials in a hybrid mode to allow those students who will not be able to attend the full-day tutorials in person to participate remotely.

Teaching activities will be supported by using security use cases, open-source web applications (e.g., WebGoat), cyber ranges (Kypo Cyber Range https://crp.kypo.muni.cz/) and tools (e.g., Metasploit). Where applicable, the modules of the programme will adopt problem based learning.

The online portion of study consists of an engaging mixture of videos, assignments, quizzes and tutorials. In addition to making the study materials available, lecturers will answer student queries through the course discussion boards, or through a virtual classroom environment. Tutors provide regular additional support through the online portal. The full-day tutorial will cover exercises and group activities for all the modules taught in that specific trimester.

The workshops and tutorial sessions are intensive study days on campus. Students are encouraged to attend but online alternatives are available for those who cannot.

Assessment

The programme will use exams, group projects as summative assessment strategies. It will also use a variety of formative assessment strategies, such as journal writing to promote reflection, debates, presentations, and peer reviews. Students must attend UCD for one or two days at the end of each trimester to take exams in the modules taken that trimester. Students will be informed of the specified exam dates at the start of each trimester. The examination periods can be found in the University calendar.

When undertaken over 2 years, the MSc programme will require on average around 15 hours of study per week in addition to the workshops, tutorials and exams.

This programme aims to provide high quality cybersecurity training and formal education. It is designed to deliver cutting-edge, up-to-date techniques, strategies and tactics that allow students to understand and tackle emerging trends in cybercrime. It offers the possibility of undertaking a significant piece of research. We have brought in specialist cybersecurity practitioners and consulted with industry to review and advise on the content considering the needs of cybersecurity specialists. The curriculum is aligned with the ACM/IEEE/AIS SIGSEC/IFIP Cybersecurity Curricular Guidelines to prepare students to take a variety of cyber security roles. The programme has a flexible structure and part-time distance-learning options, so students can combine study with full-time work and other commitments. It is designed to foster and encourage networking and teamwork between students, so graduates leave not only having required skills but also a network of contacts for the future.

Learning outcomes on successful completion of the programme will depend on the modules taken but will include some or all of the following.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate deep knowledge of information security principles and challenges in networks and software systems, protection mechanisms, approaches to assess and mitigate risks, security standards, data protection and cybersecurity regulations
  • Demonstrate deep knowledge of network security, secure software systems development, and cryptography
  • Understand strengths and limitations of important public key and symmetric/asymmetric cryptographic protocols
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of security trends and technologies
  • Applying knowledge and understanding
  • Perform risk assessment, management and mitigations of secure infrastructures and operations
  • Track strategic threats and maintain situation awareness
  • Identify cybersecurity laws that apply to complex organisations and apply protection measures to comply with these laws
  • Apply network security and secure software development concepts to the design, configuration and implementation of networked, software and distributed systems technologies
  • Perform vulnerability assessment and penetration testing
  • Develop patches to fix vulnerabilities in software projects
  • Apply cryptographic techniques to secure software, systems and computer networks
  • Apply incident response principles and methodologies to secure infrastructures and operations
  • Apply advanced security knowledge to address industry and research problems

Making judgements

  • Evaluate trade-offs involving security, regulations, business, economic and management principles
  • Apply appropriate (quantitative/qualitative) risk assessment techniques to measure security risks
  • Appraise intrusion detection system and security of modern internet protocols (e.g., IPv6)
  • Identify effective penetration testing strategies
  • Apply appropriate incident response principles and methodologies to secure infrastructures and operations
  • Apply appropriate cryptographic protocols to secure networks, software and systems
  • Assess strengths and limitations of modern security trends and technologies

Communications and working skills

  • Communicate security risks and mitigation strategies to executives
  • Work and engage in discussions in security teams, share work fairly to meet the obligations set by the group
  • Explain advantages and disadvantages of cryptographic protocols
  • Communicate security research challenges and methodologies adopted to tackle the problem and the results obtained

Learning skills

  • Attract and assess security talent
  • Lead security teams and influence organisational culture
  • Be curious about latest security vulnerabilities and technologies
  • Actively promote security practices within the organisation
  • Identify novel security research directions

View All Modules Here

The core MSc programme comprises eight taught modules and then students take one of two paths to completion:

either

  • three more taught modules and a 15 credit Case Study or
  • a 30-credit Project.

Students who successfully complete 90 credits will be awarded the degree of MSc in Cybersecurity from UCD.

Graduate Diploma (60 credits) and Graduate Certificate (30 credits) awards are also available. It is also possible to take single modules.

Module descriptions including pre-requisites, learning outcomes, assessment scheme and workload are set out in the module descriptors for each module.

Programme overview

 Year One

 Module Code

 Name

 Credits

 Semester 1 (Autumn term)

 COMP47920

 Information Security

 10

COMP47900 

 Risk Assessment & Security Standards

 5

 Semester 2 (Spring term)

 COMP47800

 Leadership In Security

 5

 LAW42160

Cybersecurity Law and Regulation

 10

Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

Students who successfully complete the above 4 modules (30 credits) in the first 2 semesters may exit the programme with the award of Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity preparing them for a managerial and leadership career in cybersecurity.

 Semester 3 (summer term)

 COMP47910

 Secure Software Engineering

 10

 COMP47890

 Applied Cryptography

 5

 

 Year Two

 Semester 1 (Autumn term)

 Module Code

 Name

 Credits

 COMP47880

 Network Security

 10

 COMP47870

 Incident Response

 5

 Graduate Diploma in Cybersecurity

Students who successfully complete the 2 modules in the third semester of Year One and the 2 modules in the first semester of Year Two and accumulated 60 credits, may exit the programme with the award of Graduate Diploma in Cybersecurity.

 After Semester 1, Masters students accumulate a further 30 credits through one of these 3 options:

  • a further 3 taught modules (15 credits) and a Case Study (15 credits) or
  • a Professional Cybersecurity Project (30 credits) or
  • a Research Cybersecurity Project (30 credits)

 Places on the 30-credit Projects are limited and offers of places will be made based on first year grades.

 Year 2 Case Study track

 Students take three 5 credit modules (Ethical Hacking, Malware Analysis, and Security Research Trends) and work on a Case Study project, which usually does not require the development of a software artifact.

 Semester 2 (Spring term)

 Module Code

 Name

 Credits

 COMP47810

 Malware Analysis

 5

 COMP47850

 Trends in Cybersecurity

 5

 COMP47860

 Ethical Hacking

 5

 Semester 3 (summer term)

 COMP47840

 Case Study

 15

 Year 2 Project track

 Students spend both Semester 2 and Semester 3 working on their major research projects

 Project options

 COMP47820

 Professional Project

 30

 COMP47830

 Research Project

 30

MSc in Cybersecurity

(90 credits, part time over 2 years)

Ireland/EU fees - € 6,375 per year (total €12,750)

Non-EU fee - € 9,625 per year (total €19,250)

Graduate Diploma in Cybersecurity

(60 credits, part time over 4 trimesters)

Ireland/EU fee: €9,250 

Non-EU fee: €13,875

Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

(30 credits, part time over 9 months)

Ireland / EU fee - € 4,750

Non-EU fee: €7,125

CPD modules in Cybersecurity

(5 credits)

Ireland / EU fee - € 875 per module

Non-EU fee: €1,325 per module

Fees are in Euros. Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.  The cost of travel and accommodation for examination and workshop trips is not included in the tuition fee and students are expected to support themselves while attending them. Scholarships may be available for non-EU students. See https://www.ucd.ie/global/scholarships/

Academic rigour and a focus on the needs of practitioners

When developing the programme we met with industry practitioners to understand which cybersecurity skills are most needed. We have recruited law enforcement and industry practitioners as Adjunct Faculty. To link the academic curriculum to professional practice, we are working with industry to formulate 30-credit Professional Cybersecurity Projects that students can tackle at the end of the programme. These projects will be co-supervised by a practitioner from industry and a member of the academic staff at the UCD School of Computer Science. Projects will be classified depending on application areas (e.g., management, secure software development, IT security operations, research, enterprise architecture). Depending on the student’s chosen career path, they can identify a project in their area of interest. Instead of the Professional Project, students can take additional taught modules and a Case Study. We also offer the option of an academic research project under the supervision of a UCD academic.

  • Minimum of a 2.1 honours bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (or a cognate discipline) or
  • 2:2 honours bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (or a cognate discipline) and equivalent (> 5 years) industrial experience in software development or software/system security.

Each applicant will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students are also required to fulfil UCD’s English Language Requirements.

This holistic and well-rounded programme prepares students for a career in cybersecurity. It will be of great interest to executives and professional / technical staff who:

  • need to acquire knowledge and skills in cybersecurity;
  • want to gain a promotion;
  • want to open up new career opportunities for themselves in cyber security related roles;
  • are interested in doing some research in this field, perhaps in relation to a current work problem;
  • want to gain a qualification to add to their standing and credibility within their professional life.

Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity (T379) (30 credits)

The initial modules on Information Security, Leadership in Security, Risk Assessment & Security Standards and Cybersecurity Law and Regulation will attract managers from industry, semi-state and public bodies who need an overview of cybersecurity risks and roles to ensure they adopt the right strategies and have appropriate resources.

Graduate Diploma in Cybersecurity (Txxx) (60 credits)

Students who have accumulated 60 credits from the programme but who choose not to complete the Masters, may exit with this award.

Single Modules (Txxx) (5 credits)

Modules may be taken individually as CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

MSc in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation (T025) (90 credits)

This is a separate UCD programme that is restricted to law enforcement officers investigating crimes using digital evidence.

 

 

UCD’s long experience in cybersecurity education 

The UCD School of Computer Science and UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation have been working closely for many years with law enforcement agencies and industry practitioners in seeking solutions to technology-related crime prevention and investigation. UCD has 16 years of experience in delivering training and education in the field of digital forensics and cybercrime investigation to practitioners from all over the world.

Taught by cybersecurity experts

This programme is delivered by experienced academic staff from UCD with leading cybersecurity experts in law enforcement and industry. All have deep experience of cybersecurity research and teaching at graduate level. We have also collaborated with members of staff based at the UCD School of Law and the Smurfit Business School for the design of the Cybersecurity Law and Regulation and the Risk Assessment and Security Standards modules. Each module has a dedicated Module Coordinator. We assign tutor /demonstrators to each module to support students and make sure questions are answered quickly. Our team includes:

Dr Liliana Pasquale is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Computer Science and Funded Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software.  Her research interests are in the fields of software engineering, security and regulatory compliance. https://people.ucd.ie/liliana.pasquale

Professor Joe Carthy is a Full Professor in the UCD School of Computer Science. He served as College Principal and Dean of Science from 2011 to 2021 and as Head of the School of Computer Science from 2007 to 2011. He was the founding Director of the UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation. https://people.ucd.ie/joe.carthy

Dr Mark Scanlon is an Associate Professor in the UCD School of Computer Science. He is a Fulbright Scholar in Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation. Both his MSc and PhD are in the field of Remote Digital Forensic Evidence Acquisition and Analysis and he is an active member of the digital forensics research. https://people.ucd.ie/mark.scanlon

Dr Rob Brennan is an Assistant Professor in UCD School of Computer Science. He is Co-Principal Investigator in the SFI EMPOWER Data Governance research programme. He is the founding chair of a Masters in Data Protection and Privacy Law with Computing. His research is in the fields of data protection, data governance and risk. https://people.ucd.ie/rob.brennan. 

Dr Félix Balado is a Lecturer in the UCD School of Computer Science.

Dr TJ McIntyre is an Associate Professor and Head of Teaching and Learning in the Sutherland School of Law at UCD where his research focuses on issues involving information technology law, cybercrime, and civil liberties. He is a practising solicitor and chairs the civil rights group Digital Rights Ireland https://people.ucd.ie/tjmcintyre

Dr Madhusanka Liyanage is an Assistant Professor / Ad Astra Fellow and Director of Graduate Research in the UCD School of Computer Science https://people.ucd.ie/madhusanka

Dr. Pavel Gladyshev is Associate Professor in the UCD School of Computer Science. He established and directed two highly successful MSc programmes in the field of digital forensics at UCD which were among the first international distance-learning programmes in the field. https://people.ucd.ie/pavel.gladyshev

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Cybersecurity PT (T380)
Duration
2 Years
Attend
Part Time
Deadline
Closed

Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity (T379) (30 credits)

Duration

9 months

Attendance

Part Time

Deadline

Rolling *

It is also possible to take single modules from the programme.


* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

Should I do a Professional Cybersecurity Project or a Research Cybersecurity Project or a Case Study?

You can choose to undertake a Case Study (15 credits) or a Professional or Research Project (30 credits) as part of your MSc.  The Case Study is a lighter piece of work than a Project and could be - for example - a report with analysis of a project or initiative that you are working on. Undertaking the Case Study also allows you to take the taught modules on Malware Analysis, Trends in Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking. The Professional Cybersecurity Project will be co-supervised by a UCD academic and your employer or an industry expert and will focus on a real-world challenge. The Research Cybersecurity Project will be supervised by a UCD academic and have a more academic focus. If you are considering either of the larger research projects, then you should contact the Course Director during your first year to discuss it. There is a limited number of places on the Research Projects and these will be allocated based on Year One grades.

Can I study this programme full-time over one year on campus in Dublin?

Initially, no. For the first two or three years this will be a part-time blended learning programme. However, in future we are planning to deliver it as as a full time face-to-face masters programme.