The UCL SECReT programme integrates research, taught elements and transferable professional skills throughout a four-year multidisciplinary programme. Our focus is on creating a truly unique student experience and integrating a community of researchers into a cohesive centre of excellence.
We expect that students will undertake:
- A core programme of research-focused taught modules
- Executive training to develop transferable professional skills
- A programme of security events and activities
- Up to 25% of their time (3-12 months) at a partner organisation on internship
- The PhD thesis
YEAR 1: Exploring multidisciplinary approaches
The first year forms a year of six taught courses plus a research project during
which students are given a comprehensive background in security related
topics. With this training students emerge to pursue their PhD
research. In Year 1 students will put a multidisciplinary mindset into
practice during a project spread over two terms, often in pairs or in small
groups, in a relevant problem domain of their choice, but covering at
least two of the research domains: Science&Technology, People,
Process or Public Policy. Students will gain greater expertise in their
subjects of interest whilst writing up their project in a 15,000 word collaborative report/dissertation.
YEAR 2: Preparing for research
will agree a supervisor, a research subject and prepare their transfer
to PhD. They will spend a significant amount of time producing a
literature review. In the process they will seek to develop new
approaches to research and build a case for their own project. The
second year gives students an opportunity to take two modules including
one on ethics.
YEAR 3: Research intensive period including external internship
are expected to submit their transfer report at the beginning of Year
3, following usual UCL procedures. We will encourage students to pursue
their research at an external location for a period of 3-12 months.
This enriching experience may take place at a research centre abroad, a
public sector department or in industry. See SECReT Partners for our
growing list of partner organisations. During this internship students
will remain in close touch with their UCL supervisors, and involved in
DTC activities. The third year gives students an opportunity to take
one more module to develop new skills and knowledge for their project.
YEAR 4: Final year of the programme
Students will concentrate on completing their project, and unearthing opportunities for the exploitation of their research and their future career. UCL SECReT through its various committees, will facilitate attendance at public engagement events, career training, career fairs and job interviews. During this period students will be encouraged to increase their effort in publishing their research in peer reviewed journals, and publicising their work at academic conferences. Students will take one final taught module, usually in their specialist area.
Our pioneering research is organised across the domains of security science and aims to create a secure society by protecting our citizens, businesses and critical infrastructures. It is applied to mitigate threats from criminals and terrorists to our physical, communications, energy, health, border, transport, environment and financial infrastructures. The research is also aligned to UCL’s Grand Challenges: sustainable cities, global health, well-being and inter-cultural interactions.
Our research is underpinned by a methodology that joins science and engineering expertise (S&T) with expertise from wider disciplines including the social sciences. We see four research 'domains' which can interact. These are:
- Science and technology innovation: to create the next generation of security technologies
- People factors: understanding and incorporating human factors (via behavioural science, decision-making techniques, etc.) into the development of security solutions
- Process factors: enhancing security processes by increasing our understanding of the operational processes of activities, organisations or infrastructures under threat
- Policy: contributing to the development of government policy through research findings
Broadening the domain, increasing ambition
Throughout their training SECReT students will take a range of 10 taught modules (see below and also the tab called 'Options') selected to give all SECReT students a common foundation in the security science area, ensure students are equipped to undertake first class research, develop student sensitivity to the environment within which their future work will be implemented, develop specialist knowledge in their discipline and develop knowledge in a related discipline of their choice.
- YEAR 1
Foundations in Security and Crime Science (compulsory and assessed) sets out the foundational concepts, theories and approaches that underpin
the masters programmes offered in the Department of Security and Crime
Science. In this way the module provides an overarching framework for
the modules that follow. It outlines the distinctive nature of the crime
science approach to understanding, preventing, detecting and
investigating crime and security problems. It presents the key theories
that explain the temporal and spatial patterning of crime and terrorism
events, and introduces students to associated strategies for disrupting
these patterns. The need for a multidisciplinary approach – especially
the integration of the social and physical sciences - to address crime
and security problems is emphasised, with the contributions of the
forensic sciences and security technology highlighted.
Quantitative methods (compulsory and
assessed) provides students with an understanding of how to
visualize and analyze quantitative data. Relevant examples are used to
show how the principles and methods can be
used to test hypotheses concerned with crime. The aims of the course are
two-fold. First, to develop students into intelligent consumers of
explaining why researchers conduct studies in the way they do and what
methods are appropriate for different kinds of data. And, second, during
supported workshops, to provide
students with the opportunity to apply their learning by analyzing real
simulated data. The course will provide
students with practical skills that will help them to complete their
Global security challenges (compulsory and assessed) Any search for innovative solutions must begin with an understanding of the problem. The contemporary security agenda has broadened, coming to encompass "traditional" questions, such as terrorism, crime, proliferation, and military intervention, and other global issues, such as migration, health, and the environment, all of which have a fundamental security dimension. This module introduces students to the many domains of application of security science through an overview of key security challenges and concepts.
Doing research in security science (compulsory and assessed) The aim of the modules is to prepare students to plan scientific research in security science and to introduce graduate students to the logic of scientific research in the areas of security science.
Risk analysis and security systems (compulsory and assessed) presents key elements of security risk theory including quantitative risk assessment. It introduces students to systems-thinking approach, and equips them with an understanding of techniques and tools to identify and evaluate security risks. This module will also provide research students with a basic knowledge of key scientific principles behind security systems and technologies.
Optional module: Chosen from student’s specialist area (assessed)
- YEAR 2
Ethics, security and research (compulsory and
assessed) covers two major
areas: Ethics associated with the proper conduct of research and the ethical
issues around topics such as public engagement, human rights, environmental
sustainability and policy impact. The module will pay particular attention to
the Universal Ethical Code which encompasses seven principle means of building
or maintaining trust between scientists and society: Act with skill and care,
keep skills up to date; Prevent corrupt practice and declare conflicts of
interest; Respect and acknowledge the work of other scientists; Ensure that
research is justified and lawful; Minimise impacts on people, animals and the
environment; Discuss issues science raises for society and Do not mislead;
present evidence honestly. In line with the EPSRC’s current concerns the module
will encourage consideration of ways in which scientists can meaningfully
engage with the concerns of the public in the conduct and application of
Optional module: Chosen from student’s specialist area (assessed)
- YEAR 3
Optional module: Chosen from student’s specialist area
or a related area
- YEAR 4
Optional module: Chosen from student’s specialist area or a related area
Students will also be expected, at some point in the four years, to take Principles
of information security which introduces students to the many domains of information security science through
an overview of key security challenges and techniques. Students will have an understanding of
fundamentals of cryptography, computer security, network security, digital
rights management, copyright and intellectual property law, and security policy
and procedure standards.
Throughout their four year programmes SECReT students will undertake training that builds personal, professional and transferable skills. The elements of this professional skills training will include:
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The following are a sample of the exciting range of optional modules open to SECReT students:
- Crime and terrorism
on organised crime and terrorism; Understanding crime; People and security;
Prevention and disruption; Situational crime prevention theory
Intelligence gathering and analysis; Crime mapping and spatial analysis for crime science
Signal processing; Image processing; Antennas and propagation; Radar; Radiation detectors, Detectors for imaging; Nuclear medicine; Dosimetry; Nanoelectronic devices
Research in information security; Cryptography; Network security; Communications and networks; Systems infrastructure; Introduction to IP systems; Mobile and wireless communications; Software for networks and services; Quantum computation and communication; Digital rights management
- Law and policy
Terrorism and the law; Criminal procedure: Doctrine and theory; International criminal law; Globalisation and security; Peace and security; Terrorism; Governing divided societies; International justice and human rights; Theory and actors of the policy process
Managing technology-intensive organisations; Managing technology projects and portfolios; Strategy for ICT ventures
Energy systems and sustainability; Advanced safety and loss prevention; Energy security
- Decision making
Applied decision making; Cognitive neuroscience; Information
Patient safety and clinical risk; Governance and clinical quality; Electronic health records and shared care; Nanotechnology and healthcare