MSc Advanced Security and Digital Forensics

Postgraduate, Distance Learning

This GCHQ accredited MSc delivers enterprise security techniques with forensic skills for investigation and intrusion analysis. Delivered remotely, with online education and support.

  • Napier code:

    56736MM

  • Course type:

    Distance Learning

  • Duration:

    2.5 years

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Distance learning

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Course introduction

Computer security is one of the key challenges in contemporary computing. You will gain critical knowledge within the cyber security and digital forensic domains, combining academic principles and industrial practice. The course is informed by current research in security and digital forensics, and is underpinned by our experience with external partners in law enforcement, financial institutions, and other knowledge transfer activities. Course specialisms include network security, penetration testing, incident response, malware analysis, cryptography, audit and compliance, and host and mobile digital forensics.

The specialisation you gain in the taught modules is further developed through an extensive research-based MSc dissertation project, leading towards a mastery of a subject area and enhancing your particular specialism.

The course is a fully online version of the MSc Advance Security and Digital Forensics on-campus programme. All teaching and learning resources are online, with all assessments also carried out remotely. There is also the option to spread the course modules out over a number of years, making the course ideal for students who cannot attend on-campus classes or those in employment.


student in lecture theatre

This course focuses on the areas of securing computer, network and communications systems, incident response, and the forensic investigation of digital devices and networks. Computer security is a growth industry, and is vital in modern computing environments. You will gain foundation knowledge in all the key areas of computing cyber security, both defensive and offensive, as well as post incident response. The digital forensic aspects of the course include network and computer forensics, allowing you to develop the knowledge required to conduct computer-related investigations across networks, systems, and other digital devices. Cyber security and digital forensics are becoming significant computing disciplines, with an acknowledged skill shortage coupled with growing employment opportunities.

Our industry informed course combines thorough coverage of academic theory aligned with extensive hands-on practical activities, supported by fully online web-based materials with virtualised lab environments that provide an equivalent experience to our on-campus specialist facilities. The distance learning course modules run in parallel with our face to face modules, and are aligned to the same three 15 week academic trimesters, including the assessments which are taken in the same weeks as on-campus students. As the teaching runs to the same weekly schedule, distance students who wish to attend some of the taught classes here in Edinburgh are more than welcome, but there is no requirement to attend. The course content and assessments are fully online and are supported by the same staff as the on-campus teaching, leading to an academically equivalent MSc degree.

The School of Computing has developed close ties with industry, law enforcement, and the public sector, through partnerships with organisations such as Cisco Systems, Guidance Software, Dell Secure Works, NCA, NCC, Police Scotland, and many others. The course benefits from this by including many guest lecturers by industry experts. Through the dedicated cyber security and forensic research group extensive cutting edge research is also carried out in key domains by an ever growing cohort of Phd students. The programme also has an affiliation with The Cyber Academy here at Edinburgh Napier, which integrates formally with a range of international initiatives including into a European Centre of Excellence, along with the EU-funded DFET project, which is building a world class virtualised infrastructure for Cyber Security teaching and training, with strong links into law enforcement industry and academia across the World.

The MSc is also one of a very small number of courses certified by GCHQ, recognising UK universities which are excellent in Cyber Security and accredited by the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute for IT.

GCHQ certified education logoBCS Accredited Degree

What you will study

  • Host-Based Forensics (D/L)
  • Network Security (D/L)
  • Security Audit and Compliance
  • e-Security (DL)
  • Incident Response and Malware Analysis
  • Computer Penetration Testing
  • Dissertation

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Careers

The continued growth in the current requirement for cyber security and digital forensics professionals means there are a wide range of careers which can be followed after graduating from the course, such as security consultant/analyst, penetration tester, network security analyst, forensic investigator, audit/compliance consultant, security certification engineer, incident response analyst, cisco security engineer/architect, sys admin, network engineer.

The programme develops a range of key skills currently needed in industry, covering areas such as network security, penetration testing, security monitoring, incident response, malware analysis, operating systems, network and computer forensics, virtualisation and malware analysis. Materials from many professional courses are integrated into the curriculum, towards helping students prepare for sought after professional certification such as Cisco Security Certifications, CISSP, and CREST.


An Honours degree in a computing discipline at 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

  • English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Home/EU-Taught modules *£570 *£890
Home/EU-Dissertation module £350 £530
Overseas-Taught modules *£2,204 *£2,250
Overseas-Dissertation module £1,470 £1,550
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Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.
This course comprises of 180 credits from taught modules and a dissertation. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

School of Computing courses