Cybersecurity MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

It has long been recognised that cybersecurity is a ‘wicked problem’ – one that spills across disciplines, jurisdictions, and borders of all kinds. Our programme breaks with disciplinary tradition to rethink how we develop people equipped to deal with the cybersecurity challenges of the future.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
4 calendar years
7 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place. Please note that ATAS processing times can take up to six months, so we recommend you consider these timelines when submitting your application to UCL.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This programme provides you with core skills and knowledge at the forefront of computing, cybercrime, and digital technology policy. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that you achieve deep domain-specific expertise, while developing into individuals who can resolve problems using a range of tools and methods and confident in your ability to work effectively with experts from across the socio-technical divide.

We offer supervision in computing (systems security, cryptography, software security, network security), crime science (cybercrime and policing issues) and in domestic and international policy (digital tech policy, global cybernorms, international peace and security).

You will develop a level of expertise in your topic that incorporates the dimensions covered in our Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) and you will leave with a network of colleagues working in and across these domains.

Who this course is for

This MPhil/PhD is for applicants with a strong interest or background in cybersecurity issues who would like to undertake multidisciplinary research to solve today’s societal problems and explore innovative solutions. It is suitable for both Master's graduates as well as early or mid-career professionals.

What this course will give you

UCL is ranked 9th globally and 5th in Europe in the QS World University Rankings 2024, giving you an exciting opportunity to study at one of the world's best universities.

UCL is one of the UK's elite Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security and hosts the UK Research Institutes in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS). The team is led by UCL Computer Science, a department ranked first in England and second in the UK for research power in Computer Science and Informatics in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021).

Over 40 members of faculty with internationally recognised expertise across all aspects of cybersecurity run a diverse and ambitious portfolio of projects, working closely with industry and policy partners. You will learn from leading academic experts with an outstanding reputation in the field.

Acknowledging that technology alone cannot address the challenges of cyber insecurity, the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy focuses on improving knowledge exchange between technical and policy stakeholders. Providing advice and support to both industry and government around the world, STEaPP runs a portfolio of funded projects that explore how cybersecurity impacts at the societal level as well as on international peace and security.

The foundation of your career

Depending on your research agenda, the programme will provide you with core skills and knowledge at the forefront of computing (systems security, cryptography, software security, network security), crime science (cybercrime) and policy (information security management, public policy). Suitable careers will include technology R&D, intelligence and policing, international and domestic public policy, cyber diplomacy and digital infrastructure project implementation.


Investing in people and skills and deepening the partnership between government, academic and industry is the first pillar of the UK National Cyber Strategy. To help address this, you will be trained in how to work with evolving cybersecurity challenges through multidisciplinary means. By developing a holistic understanding of how technology, policy, industry and law enforcement interact, you will be equipped for high-level leadership positions that will help to shape the future through secure digital technologies.


The CDT is conveniently located in the heart of London and subsequently has strong links with both industry and policy stakeholders. The three partner departments in the CDT between them host the Information Security Group, the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, the Dawes Centre for Future Crime, the Research Institute for Science of Cyber Security, the Digital Technologies Policy Lab and the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things. All of these offer exceptional networking platforms for the CDT candidates who become part of our research community.

Teaching and learning

You are assigned a first and second supervisor who you will meet regularly. You will have a choice of research groups which you can assign yourself to. These research groups meet regularly for seminars and related activities in the departments.

In year 1, you are assessed through the completion of a literature review, a six-month research project, a systematic literature review group project, and an integrated assessment that draws on the material delivered across the taught modules.

You will go on to participate in an upgrade viva (MPhil to PhD) between months 15 and 24.

During your research degree, you will have regular meetings with your primary supervisor, in addition to contact with your secondary supervisor and participation in group meetings. Full-time study should comprise of 40 hours per week.

Research areas and structure

Supervision within this programme is available in an extensive range or research areas including:

  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • applied cryptography
  • on-line propaganda / hate speech / fake news
  • authentication and verification
  • financial technology and cryptocurrencies
  • blockchains
  • global politics of cybersecurity, cyberwar, cyber norms
  • national cyber security strategies
  • systems modelling
  • security economics
  • smart contracts
  • distributed systems security
  • network security
  • the Internet of Things
  • security testing
  • secure software engineering methodologies
  • malware and binary analysis
  • watermarking and copyright protection
  • robotics
  • cybercrime, child protection, and dark marketplaces
  • cyber risk and cyber security policy
  • standards and regulation of digital and telecommunications
  • connected autonomous vehicles
  • gender issues and tech abuse
  • hacking and hacktivism
  • privacy, censorship, surveillance
  • applications to secure communications
  • quantum computing, quantum information theory

Research environment

The departments are very well-connected with research groups across the university, and are involved in many exciting multi-disciplinary research projects.

The CDT provides a 4-year programme of training in cutting-edge disciplinary skills in computing, social sciences and humanities, as well as transferable skills relating to cross sector and cross disciplinary communication, teamwork, public dissemination and professional practice.

This is achieved through a combination of structured compulsory and elective taught modules and training activities, as well as an `apprenticeship’ model involving hands-on personal and team-based research under the supervision of a lead in the field of cybersecurity.

Find out more on our CDT website.

This programme is not currently running a part-time option.


Some projects will call for fieldwork and you will be able to apply to the Research Training Support Grant for funding to support this. Supervisory teams provide contacts and introductions where needed to help you maximise the value of your fieldwork.


All CDT candidates will undertake a placement as part of their programme. Supervisory teams work with candidates and with our industry and policy partners to devise an appropriate placement for each case. These are integrated into the research project to support and enhance it while also offering valuable insights into `real world' cybersecurity problems and work environments.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Your research degree may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (AFE). The AFE (also known as bench fees) is an additional cost, incurred by yourself or your sponsor. It is levied to cover the costs related to consumables, equipment and materials etc. which are not included in the tuition fee. As each research project is unique in nature, the AFE is calculated on a student-by-student basis and is determined by your academic supervisor.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The Cybersecurity CDT does not have UKRI-funded studentships available for the 2024/25 academic year. Potential candidates who may have other sources of funding available to them — such as from industry, non-UK governments, or their own resources — should consult the CDT’s website where advice will be posted as it becomes available.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Value: Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

All applicants are asked to identify and contact potential supervisors before making an application.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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