Cyber Security and Forensic Computing BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Cyber Security and Forensic Computing
Do you have the ability to join the front line in defending computer networks from cyber attacks? Or are you interested in ethical hacking to probe the digital defences of major corporations?
On this BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Forensic Computing degree course, you’ll turn your tech talent into a professional qualification, armed with a toolkit of knowledge and skills to tackle the toughest digital security challenges.
This degree could lead to a career in law enforcement or British Intelligence. You’ll be qualified to take on roles in cyber security, cryptography and forensic investigation.
This course is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and meets the academic requirements for registration as a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). It also meets some of the academic requirements that you need to become a Chartered Scientist (CSci).
We pay Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) student membership fees for all of our students.
100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)
95% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)
What you'll experience
On this degree course, you'll:
- Build sought-after technical and investigative skills to break down security systems, and expose gaps in security when they occur
- Learn to identify cyber intruders, recommend security fixes, and stop hackers in their tracks
- Understand how to investigate cybercrime for the Police and the steps needed to take a case through to court
- Spend plenty of time in our high-powered computer labs, getting to grips with the latest tools and techniques
- Be taught by staff with years of experience and expertise in computer security, with teaching informed by up-to-date research into the latest advancements in forensic computing
- Apply your skills to practical problems as part of the department’s partnership with charities, local and global organisations
- Take advantage of opportunities to put your skills to work through our close relationship with the Hampshire Police High Tech Crime Unit
- Design and develop software, hardware and networks, in fields such as digital forensics and artificial intelligence
- Pick the brains of visiting speakers, who are experts in the forensic and cyber security field
Software and equipment you can use includes:
- a mobile computing lab to develop Android and iOS apps
- a pervasive computing lab for high-performance computing
- a usability lab including state-of-the-art eye tracking equipment
- Linux and Windows systems
- a forensics lab with professional-standard forensic tools
Careers and opportunities
Police investigations and civil disputes increasingly involve investigations of computer systems, mobile phones or other information devices. So there's lots of demand for professionals in the field.
When you complete the course, you could work in private and public companies in areas such as law enforcement, cyber security and computer forensics. You'll also be able to register as a Chartered IT Professional (CITP).
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- security architect
- penetration tester
- cyber security analyst
- forensic investigator
- eDiscovery examiner
- software developer
You'll get advice and support from our Careers and Employability service throughout your studies, and for 5 years after you graduate.
I chose the University of Portsmouth because of the feel of it and how friendly the staff were. I also love how hands-on it is and how much I actually get to do!
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Digital Forensics: Art of Science?
- Computer Architecture
- Introduction to Programming
- Network Fundamentals
- Web Foundations
Core units in this year include:
- Forensic Fundamentals
- Forensic Investigations
- Business Information Security
- Computer Operating Systems and Intermediate Networks
- Network Services Administration and Virtualisation
At the end of your second year of study, you can do an optional placement year in the UK or overseas. This gives you experience in the field, helping to boost your skills and career prospects with real-world experience.
Previous students have secured placements in roles such as cyber specialist, forensic investigator and cyber security analyst at organisations such as:
- The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core units in this year include:
- Malware Forensics
- Security and Cryptography
- System Security
- Final year project
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
Work experience and career planning
On this course you'll have the opportunity to do an internship with Hampshire Police's High-tech crime unit on our campus.
Our Careers and Employability service can help you find further relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies, build your CV and put your skills to the test.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.
Maths and stats support
The Maths Cafe offers free advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- laboratory work
- project work
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- critical evaluation essays
- written exams
- research projects
- mini projects
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 27% by written exams and 73% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 52% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 30% by written exams and 70% by coursework
Tuition fees (2018 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £15,900 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – I901
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
- Subject area
- Criminology and forensic studies