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More in this section Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security

CDT Course of Study

CDT students will follow a 4-year, full-time doctoral programme, consisting of a Taught Course Element and a Research Element

Taught Course Element

The  taught course element will consume around 25% of the doctoral programme, and will comprise two components: the body of knowledge and research development  components. The body of knowledge component consists of a suite of masters-level modules across the cyber security domain, drawn mostly from the Information Security Group MSc in Information Security syllabus Additional optional modules may also be selected from other masters-level programmes  across the university, including from Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Geography, Management  and Economics.  The research development component, based on three dedicated CDT modules, will provide a bridge between the body of knowledge and the research element. For most students, the   balance of taught modules will be approximately 80% in year one and 20% in year two.

 During the  summer, all first year CDT students will be required to conduct and write up a 3-month research project, during  which they will be expected to demonstrate their ability to build on the components of the taught element that  they have already completed.

Research Element

The remaining 75% of the CDT doctoral programme will follow the more traditional path of doctoral studies, with each student undertaking research in an advanced topic in the field of cyber security. CDT  students are assigned at least one named supervisor and an advisor, typically from the Information Security Group, but potentially also from other departments across the university. The supervisor directs the work and acts as the first line of research and welfare support. The role of the advisor varies, but in all cases the advisor provides a second line of support. The research element  will inevitably involve substantial amounts of research and study, both independently and in closely coordination with the supervisor, but students can also expect to attend or present work at seminars, workshops or research meetings off the campus, including international research conferences.

Potential areas of research for CDT students include:  

  • the basic components of security services, such as cryptographic algorithms and trusted hardware;
  • management of cryptographic keys;
  • the correctness of the design and implementation of security protocols;
  • the design of security services for embedded systems;
  • business information systems;
  • telecommunications networks and critical infrastructure;
  • the detection and analysis of malware; and,
  • the study of economics, psychology, organisational theory, design theory and sociology in the context of information and cyber security.

Further details of the research interests of ISG academic staff can be found on the ISG staff directory webpage.

Industrial Placements

Royal Holloway's  CDT in Cyber Security has received the support  of around 30 organisations from across the cyber security sector, including KPMG, McAfee, Thales and Vodafone. All CDT students will have the opportunity to work with one of our industrial partners during their PhD studies. Typical arrangement is one in which the doctoral student spends up to three months over the duration of their studies working with one of the CDT industrial partners. 


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