This programme provides students with core skills and knowledge at the forefront of computing, cybercrime, and digital technology policy. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that doctoral students achieve deep domain-specific expertise, while developing into individuals who can resolve problems using a range of tools and methods, confident in their ability to work effectively with experts from across the socio-technical divide.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.
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.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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.
Select your country:
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. To do so, we select students who already recognise these intersections and seek to explore them further. 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). All of our students will develop a level of expertise in their topic that incorporates the dimensions covered in our CDT and all of our students will leave the CDT with a network of colleagues working in and across these domains.
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
- 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
- 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
About this degree
Some projects will call for fieldwork and CDT candidates are able to apply to the Research Training Support Grant for funding to support this. Supervisory teams provide contacts and introductions where needed to help candidates maximise the value of their 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.
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.
EPSRC studentships available
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
- Based on academic merit
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
The UK National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 identifies the “cyber skills shortage” as a systemic issue, with estimates suggesting that by 2022 there will be a shortage of 350K cybersecurity professionals. To help fill this gap, our students will be trained in how to address evolving cybersecurity challenges through multidisciplinary means. By developing a holistic understanding of how technology, policy, industry and law enforcement interact, our students will be equipped for high-level leadership positions that will help to shape the future through secure digital technologies.
Depending on their research agenda, the programme will provide students 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.
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.
Why study this degree at UCL?
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 the Computer Science department, which was the top UK department by research output in the last UK REF. Over 40 members of faculty with internationally recognized expertise across all aspects of cybersecurity run a diverse and ambitious portfolio of projects, working closely with industry and policy partners.
The Annual Crime Survey in 2017 revealed that two-thirds of UK businesses were hit by cyberattacks. According to a Cabinet Office report, the cost of cybercrime to government in 2011 was £2.2Bn, and the cost to individuals, including identity theft, and online fraud was even higher and estimated at £3.1Bn. In order to address this, the Security and Crime Science department hosts the Jill Dando Institute, the Dawes Centre for Future Crime, and a secure data lab.
Acknowledging that technology alone cannot address the challenges of cyber insecurity, the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy focus on improving knowledge exchange between technical and policy stakeholders. Providing advice and support to both industry and government around the world, faculty in STEaPP run a portfolio of funded projects that explore how cybersecurity impacts at the societal level as well as on international peace and security.
Department: Computer Science
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
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