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MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

Cyberspace is a vast, complex and still evolving community that presents enterprise, industry and governments with on-going security management challenges, as it grows on an exponential scale.

Bournemouth University’s MSc in Cyber Security & Human Factors has been developed in response to the needs of the computing and security sectors worldwide. Graduates from this course will be equipped with technical know-how to protect and prevent, and the ability to assess risk and manage incidents.

On this course, you'll gain an understanding of cyber security by investigating threat, vulnerabilities and impact risk, the contagion of fear, uncertainty and doubt, managing human factors in security, trust management and information assurance.

Part-time students can take each unit separately as CPD, building up to a full Masters. 

We were participants in the Intensive Program on Information Communication Security (IPICS 2017) held in Greece in June 2017. Find out more

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, January 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


September start: 12 months without placement or 24 months with a 12 month placement, January start: 18 months without placement or 30 months with a 12 month placement. 18-36 months part-time

Required subjects:

Computer science, Electronics, IT, Law, Psychology or Business

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject, or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information see our full entry requirements.

Course details

This course is delivered full-time and part-time.

Dates for the modules for the part-time option are given below and where relevant will be updated as soon as the new timetable is confirmed. Each unit can be taken separately as CPD with or without formal assessment. If you do elect to take the unit with assessment you can accrue academic credits towards a full Masters.

Core units

  • Cyber Security: Develop skills and knowledge for cyber security. Material, lectures and seminars in this unit capture concepts of cyberspace ecosystems and the security of socio-technical systems. The unit also covers the life cycle of cyber security mechanisms, including the design, development, management and, most importantly, how they're sustained. Dates 17-20 Jan 2018
  • Human Factors: Soft systems, human factors integration (HFI), training, trust, organisational learning, information and knowledge management will be examined through case study analysis. You'll also conduct situational awareness and workload measurements in trials, experiments and exercises, and apply user experience (UX) techniques to evaluate interactive systems. Dates 13-16 Sep 2017. Unit leader: Dr Huseyin Dogan
  • Research Methods & Professional Issues: Research requires a structured and disciplined approach at all stages. We'll help you to develop key research skills in many areas from project proposals and planning to critical analysis of research findings, academic writing and dissemination. We'll also teach you about professional standards and ethical issues for research. Dates 16-19 May 2018. Unit leader: Dr Raian Ali

  • Individual Masters Project: An opportunity to critically investigate and report on a particular issue in-depth.

Option units

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

You'll choose three of the following:

  • Cyber Psychology: Explore the impact of the internet and social media applications on individuals, groups, organisations and society, and human factors relevant to cyber security and online behaviours. You'll learn to evaluate the principal features of human factors in current and planned online secure systems and identify means of promoting safer online behaviour. Dates 9-11 Nov 2017
  • Enterprise Digital Forensics: As globalisation and the Internet have led to increasing integration, the opportunities for unauthorised exploitation have also grown. You'll develop competencies for constructing plans to capture and analyse data for an investigation of potentially abnormal activity.

  • Information Assurance: Evaluate issues to improve assurance and risk management. You'll evaluate human factors relevant to information assurance plans, and understand the roles of accreditation, compliance and governance in information assurance. Dates 12-14 July 2018. Unit leader: Dr Christopher Richardson

  • Security Event & Incident Management: Incident management capability means managing computer security events and incidents. Lectures and seminars in this unit will capture the concepts of event logging and collection. You'll learn to define policies, processes, procedures, roles and responsibilities and understand the issues of lead implementation of ISO 27001. Dates 15-17 Mar 2018

  • Security by Design: Security must be addressed as early as possible when building a system or planning organisational change. However, security never seems to be a driving concern when engaging in innovation. When security is addressed, we discover how hard building security in really is. In this unit, you'll have an opportunity to build security into the design and specification of secure systems, and the broader socio-technical context these fall into. Dates tbc

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Part-time study

The part-time course is designed to be flexible to the needs of working professionals and so minimises your time away from the workplace.

Each unit is intensively delivered over 3 or 4 days  on campus to kick start your learning and give you a chance to meet your fellow students and engage with the academic team. It will be an intensive but valuable learning experience, giving you the opportunity to share ideas with like-minded professionals. The intensive nature of the teaching days provides a firm foundation for you to further develop your knowledge and explore the concepts in more detail.

You are able to fully utilise our online learning environment should you wish to complete the necessary subsequent self-directed learning off-campus. You will also have access to academic support and resources on-campus, and the opportunity for group work with your cohort. The period of self-directed study following the teaching days gives you time to complete your academic assignment, the specific subject matter and content of which is determined by your interests and professional context.  Submission of each assignment is normally 9 weeks after the unit teaching period.

As this course is structured in this manner, we would expect you to complete all the taught units and submit your individual project within a minimum of 18 months.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject
  • Required subjects: Computer science, Electronics, IT, Law, Psychology or Business

For post-experience and professional qualifications (like CISSP and CISM) there may be additional entry requirements set by the association or institute that ultimately administers the qualification in question. The qualification description on the course information pages should tell you what these are but please get in touch with the Future Students Enquiry Team if you are in doubt.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree ,there are several alternative routes to follow. Some of these are based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

How to apply

If you wish to apply for the full-time or part-time MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors please complete an application using the Apply now button above.

If you would like to take one or more individual units as CPD (with or without academic assesment) please email Norman Stock for more information.

International entry requirements

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.


 As the security of data is fundamental to any business, you will possess high marketability in the professional arena and be qualified to enjoy career opportunities in a wide variety of industries.

As an MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles such as: 

  • Cyber psychologist
  • Security designer
  • Digital forensic investigator
  • Incident manager
  • Intrusion detector.

Industries worked in

  • Cyber security
  • Online behaviours
  • Academic research.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

Meet our staff

Professor Vasilis Katos

Previously Head of the Department of Computing & Informatics, Vasilis is a certified Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) and has experience as an Information Security Consultant. He has served as an expert witness in Information Security for a criminal court in the UK.

Dr Michael Jones

Course Leader for MSc Cyber Security and Human Factors, Michael has been involved in a number of projects with various industries. His main current research interest is in the teaching of digital forensics.

Dr Edward Apeh

Course leader for BSc (Hons) Cyber Security Managment, Edward has over 12 years of industry experience and has led successful projects in the areas of data analytics, data mining and web technologies. He is published in the area of cyber security, data analytics, cognitive computation and neurocomputing; and he has a number of patents in signal analysis and processing.

Dr Christopher Richardson

Christopher heads up the Bournemouth University's Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU). He was recently quoted by leading newspapers on the Tesco Bank hacking scandal. He brings case studies like this to life in his teaching.

Read more about the expertise of other members of the Department of Computing & Informatics, and  book on to an open day and come along and meet some of them.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services. You will receive more details about these if you are offered a place on the course.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

This table indicates any changes to the course content

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text

2 core units are now option choices

Course details content

Core units:

Cyber Psychology

Information Assurance

26/05/2016 Only offered part-time Duration 1 year full-time,

18-36 months part-time

Cyber Security Unit facilities

Our cyber security unit is something special. Using state-of-the-art technology across our three labs, we can run up to 50 million PCs using just 50. As the name of our facility suggests, it’s all about security here. From the labs we can see where cyber attacks are happening all over the world, and what attacks are happening and being stopped at BU.

Through our outreach programmes, we invite schools and businesses to use our labs, and we have a 10-week summer school for BU students. Our previous guests include the Police Volunteer Service.

We have some remarkable software that’s used for protecting and testing systems. This includes:

  • CISCO FlexPod - this connects all the PCs in our labs together. Combined with a Blade server, it allows us to run all our machines and store up to 50G of RAM.  
  • OPNET - improves network strengths, and helps us turn 50 PCs into 50 million.
  • NetBrain - this configures networks automatically.
  • FireEye - we use this to check for intruder activity and to analyse cyber attacks on BU’s system.

Facilities & opportunities

Cyber Security Unit promo

Cyber Security Unit

Find out how our expertise in the field of cyber security could enhance and improve your business.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Purbeck House common room

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.