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Key information

The deadline for applying to the 2019 course has now passed. The application window for 2020 entry will open in spring 2020.

  • Entry requirements: Upper Second Class (2.1) STEM degree
  • Course duration: 1 year full time / 2 years part time
  • Location: South Kensington campus
  • Contact: Max - m.swinscow-hall@imperial.ac.uk
MSc Security and Resilience
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This new MSc course is tailored to training STEM graduates and security professionals in the science and cutting-edge technologies underpinning national security. 


Created with significant input from industry, academia and policymakers, the curriculum ensures you’ll graduate with industry-ready skills for a career in the growing security and resilience sector.

The course is coordinated by the Institute for Security Science and Technology. We use our expertise and experience in the security sector to deliver a programme which combines academic rigor with latest industry knowledge.

Course content overview

The course covers a range of topics and essential skills relevant to security and resilience. You'll benefit from core training in risk evaluation and both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies; essential skills in the security and resilience sector, as well as allied sectors.

Programme topics include: detection and sensing technologies, threat mitigation and policy, behavioural science, critical infrastructure, CBRNE, cyber security, transport security.

Methods/techniques covered: Monte Carlo risk analysis, data analysis, machine learning, cryptographic protocols, behavioural analysis, intelligence gathering, social network analysis, spectroscopy.


Course modules

The below modules are compulsory. Students with relevant backgrounds can take additional optional modules, and may also be eligible to swap out the compulsory modules.

In addition to the below modules, those students wishing to obtain a full MSc degree will also undertake a research project lasting several months. Students also have the option of completing a shorter research project to obtain a PG Diploma in place of an MSc. If the student does not complete a research project they will still be eligible to obtain a PG Certificate.

Course modules

Security in Context

Security in Context module brings the technical, engineering and science aspects together. It outlines, through a series of vignettes and interaction with practising security professionals, the relevance and applications of the concepts in the core modules and places the elective components in context. The needs and effects of political decisions and regulatory process is brought out in this module.

Behavioural Science and Security

This module examines the ways in which behavioural science research has been used to inform security. The different types of threat actors are considered, such as terrorists, spies, hackers, political activists and insiders, as well as their aims and targets. The media, and managing the positive and negative potential of both the mainstream and social media is discussed. This module also looks at the problems associated with identifying suspicious behaviour, including online behaviour, and how new technologies are impacting this. Finally, current behaviour based psychological tools are evaluated.

Behavioural Research Methods

Dealing with qualitative data is an important skill for research in security studies, whether aimed at academic scholarship or intelligence gathering. This module examines behavioural data and how best to obtain reliable information from sources such as interviews, focus groups, sorting tasks, existing sources and observational materials. The module then turns to the systematic analysis of behavioural data in order to convert raw material into reliable and valid research data. Procedures related to commonly used methods are covered, with an extended workshop introducing Social Network Analysis.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE): The Physical Threat Space

This module will provide an understanding of the history and underlying science of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE), and environmental security. For each of the CBRNE elements, physical properties, detection/measurement techniques, impacts and mitigation will be discussed. Finally, the Environmental security component will be addressed in terms of impact of non-CBRNE interventions and extreme weather events on personnel and critical infrastructure.

Cyber Threats: Cyber Solutions

This module covers the threats and solutions of information security, including general concepts with examples of common vulnerabilities, malware, web-based vulnerabilities and social engineering. Data analysis -- an important component of cyber security -- is introduced, including applications of Machine Learning. Other important aspects covered by this module include Computability and Complexity, and Cryptography and cryptographic protocols. Lab-based exercises introduce the student to programming in Python which is used throughout the module.

Sensors: Electronic and Natural

In this module the principles of sensing the environment will be given, highlighting the context of point and standoff detection/sensor systems. A range of different detection technologies will be covered, including structure-based, chemistry-based and function-based sensors. Key performance indicators will be used to show how to assess a variety of sensor technologies for their intended application.

Infrastructure and Transport Security

This module focuses in on security of critical national infrastructure (CNI) and transport systems, introducing the student to key concepts of both, and how security vulnerabilities are analysed. The effects of Blast and Impact on the built environment are looked at. Mitigation techniques and the implications these have for policy are covered, and the concept of ‘secure by design’ is introduced relating to transport systems.


Teaching and assessment

A variety of teaching and assessment methods will be used in the course, reflecting the variety of skills taught and the different learning styles of the students.

Teaching methods: lectures, laboratory work, computational exercises, workshops and case studies, individual project work (including an MSc research project).

Assessment methods: written examinations, oral examinations, problems sheets, practical work and team-work.


Career paths

This course is designed to equip you with a broad range of skills which are in strong demand across industry, policy and academic sectors.

Career paths

Careers in industry

You’ll develop the skills sought by companies in the security and resilience sector, which employs over 100,000 people in the UK. We have connections and collaborations with major companies in security and resilience, giving you valuable insight into potential employers.

Careers in policy

Governments need staff who understand how the science and technology behind security and resilience can inform policy – this is considered throughout the course. You will also learn from staff who have experience of working with multiple UK government departments.

Careers in academia

Studying at a research-intensive university means joining a community of world-class researchers. You will have the chance to work alongside leading experts, discuss cutting-edge developments and actively engage with the latest discoveries in the security sciences. This lays a solid foundation for graduates looking to move onto PhD study.

Entrepreneurship

Recent start-ups launched at Imperial College are working in cyber security, next-generation armour and facial recognition. As a student, you’ll have access to our Enterprise Lab and Advanced Hackspace, which offer state-of-the-art spaces for building prototypes or co-working, and provide support including mentoring, skills-building programmes and competitions for funding. 


Part-time study option

We are offering the MSc programme as a part-time course as well as full-time.

The part-time option will be spread over two academic years instead of one, and is designed to be suitable for completion alongside employment.

Part-time students would be expected to attend regular group working sessions. Other lectures will be recorded and made available to students online. It is expected that part-time students will need to be present for 2 hours per week for each module they are taking.

For further queries on this please email max.swinscow-hall@imperial.ac.uk


Entry requirements

This course is open to all STEM graduates with a minimum of an Upper Second Class (2.1) UK Honours degree in a relevant science, technology, engineering or mathematics discipline.

We also accept a wide range of comparable international qualifications. For further information see: www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/requirements/pgacademic

Candidates without the relevant academic background but significant relevant work experience will also be considered.


Tuition fees

  • Full-time course fees: £10,900 per year (1 year course) / £27,600 (non-EU overseas students)
  • Part-time course fees: £5,450 per year (2 year course)

How to apply

Applications for the 2019 course are now closed. Applications for the 2020 course, which starts in September 2020, will open in spring 2020.

To sign up to an email notification when the application window opens, please email Max at m.swinscow-hall@imperial.ac.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter for updates: @imperial_isst 

More information: please contact Max at m.swinscow-hall@imperial.ac.uk