Welcome to the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway.
The Centre was established in 2013, and has as its main objective to produce cohorts of highly-trained researchers with a broad understanding of cyber security.
The CDT is hosted by the Information Security Group (ISG), and provides multidisciplinary training to annual cohorts of around ten students each. The students follow a 4-year doctoral programme: the first phase consists of a taught component comprising 25 per cent of the programme. The remaining three years follow the more traditional path of doctoral studies, with each student undertaking research in an advanced topic in the field of cyber security. See the CDT Course of Study section below for more information about the programme.
CDT recruitment typically runs from November to April, to select students for the CDT cohort to start the following September. Selected applicants are awarded fully-funded PhD studentships (stipend and College fees) for four years. We consider applications from candidates with undergraduate and/or masters qualifications in a wide range of disciplines relevant to cyber security.
***We are now closed for applications for students to start their PhD studies in September 2018***
Please explore the tabs below to learn more about the entry requirements, funding and eligibility, and how to apply to Royal Holloway's CDT in Cyber Security.
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The Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (CDT) at Royal Holloway was established in 2013, with funding from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The CDT's main objective is to develop a cohort of highly-trained researchers with a broad understanding of cyber security, and an appreciation of the increasingly important interplay between theoretical, technical and human factors in this field.
The establishment of Centres for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security is one of a number of recent initiatives supported by the UK Government as part of the UK Cyber Security Strategy, which states that one of the fundamental goals for the UK is “to have the cross-cutting knowledge, skills and capability it needs to underpin all our cyber security objectives". A specific aim of the CDT programme is to increase the number of doctoral-level cyber security professionals with a breadth of skills relevant to the national need. Another Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security was also established at the Oxford University Cyber Security Centre.
The CDT is hosted by the Information Security Group, and provides multidisciplinary training to successive annual cohorts of around 10 students each; the first cohort started in October 2013.
Course of study, Entrance Requirements, Funding,
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.
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 close coordination with the supervisor, but students can also expect to attend or present work at seminars, workshops or research meetings off-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.
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.
Candidates applying to join Royal Holloway's CDT in Cyber Security should have or be expecting to obtain a first class honours degree or a masters degree (distinction) in subjects such as (but not limited to) mathematics, computer science, information security, economics, criminology, geopolitcs, electrical and electronic engineering. In addition, we will also consider applicants with an industrial background, so long as they are able to provide evidence of demonstrable academic skills as well as practical experience.
We note that to be awarded one of the studentships to fund their studies, candidates will need to satisfy the EPSRC funding eligibility criteria. In particular, full studentships are available to UK residents only. For further details, please see the 'Funding' tab.
We will be awarding a number of fully-funded studentships (stipend and College fees for four years) to qualified and eligible candidates for annual cohorts. In addition we expect to accept applications from a small number of highly-qualified, non-eligible candidates to join each of the three annual CDT cohorts carrying their own funding (for fees and maintenance).
Note that due to the nature of the CDT training and research programme, the CDT does not take part-time students. If you are interested in pursuing your PhD studies in cyber security in part-time mode, you may want to consider the PhD programme in the Information Security Group.
Funding for the CDT is provided by the EPSRC, and we expect to award a number of fully-funded studentships (stipend and College fees for four years) to qualified and eligible candidates to join annual CDT cohorts.
CDT studentships fund four year of studies, covering the annual university fees, and providing a highly competitive stipend.
To be considered for one of the studentships, candidates will need to satisfy the EPSRC funding eligibility criteria. In particular, to be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees), a student must have:
- settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay
- been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences); and,
- not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).
Please refer to the EPSRC Student Eligibility page for further details.
In addition to the EPSRC-funded students, we may be able to accept applications from a small number of highly-qualified, non-eligible candidates to join the annual CDT cohorts carrying their own funding (for fees and maintenance). If you are interested in joining the CDT in Cyber Security under the self-funded mode, please contact email@example.com to obtain more information about the programme and fees.
How to Apply
Recruitment is now CLOSED for students to start their PhD studies in September 2018.
Applying for the CDT in Cyber Security
Candidates wishing to apply for Royal Holloway's CDT are encouraged to make an initial informal contact via the email address CyberSecurityCDT@royalholloway.ac.uk, to discuss their suitability for the CDT programme. They should include:
- a CV highlighting their academic background and experience
- a brief discussion on their motivation to pursue a PhD programme in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway.
Before sending your enquiry, please make sure you are aware of the CDT eligibility criteria, which establish candidates eligible for CDT funding. Candidates that do not satisfy all three criteria, but are interested in pursuing their PhD studies in cyber security at Royal Holloway, are encouraged to check the PhD programme in the Information Security Group. This is a 3-year, research-based PhD programme, with no compulsory training and no deadline for applications. You can learn more about the ISG PhD programme here.
Instructions for online application
After an initial assessment, qualified and eligible candidates will be invited to submit a formal application through the official channels (using the College's online application system).
When filling in your application online, please select "PhD Information Security" (under "Information Security Group"). You should include the following three pieces of information in your application (these can be covered in section labelled Supporting Statement):
- An explanation as to why you wish to pursue PhD studies in Cyber Security.
- A personal statement that explains why you think you would fit into the CDT programme and more generally into Royal Holloway's research group in Cyber Security.
- An indication of the research areas that most interest you, and why they interest you (you do not have to formally define a full research project, although you are welcome to do so).
The main goal of this section is to assist us in processing your application, by learning your research interests, background, experience, career goals, and ultimately help us to identify potential supervisors. Please make sure you have in your supporting statement that you are applying for the CDT in Cyber Security.
In the online application, you will be asked to nominate one referee. For CDT admissions, we will need however a second reference letter. When sending your application please also name a second referee. You should contact this second referee directly, and ask them to send their reference letter directly to CyberSecurityCDT@royalholloway.ac.uk (the first referee will receive an automated request from the admissions system, and their reference letter will be included in your application).
We will start a formal assessment as soon as we receive your application. We will contact you as soon as a decision is made. In certain circumstances, we may wish to contact you to request further information or invite you to visit the department for an interview.
Professor Keith Martin is the Director of the CDT, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the CDT. Responsibilities include coordinating recruitment, overseeing delivery of training, arrangement and management of supervision and liaison with external partners. The CDT Director also acts as the ultimate point of contact for CDT student welfare issues.
The CDT Management Committee is chaired by the CDT Director, and supports all aspects of the CDT operation. The Management Committee consists of:
Professor Peter Adey
Professor Carlos Cid (Deputy Director)
Dr Johannes Kinder
Professor Peter Komisarczuk
Professor Kenny Paterson
The CDT Advisory Panel provides independent advice on the strategic direction, coverage and progress of the CDT. The Advisory Panel includes experts from industry, academia and public sector.
Advisory Panel Members:
Mr Timothy Bauge Thales UK
Professor David Basin ETH Zurich
Ms Bedria Bedri KPMG UK
Sarah Foster DCMS
Professor Liqun Chen University of Surrey
Professor Paul Dorey IISP
Mr Chris Ensor CESG
Professor Dieter Gollmann TU Hamburg-Harburg
Dr Richard Horne PwC
Mr Peter Lockhart Roke Manor Research
Professor Igor Muttik Royal Holloway
Professor Bart Preneel KU Leuven
Dr Simon Shiu HP Labs