Study Options > MCS

The Master in Cyber Security (MCS) at the University of Waikato is the first of its type to be offered in New Zealand.

It provides specialised, professional postgraduate study in cyber security and is designed to cater for the growing demand for trained professionals in one of the world’s fastest growing industries and to help meet the New Zealand Government’s Cyber Security strategy.

There is a growing global market for skilled cyber security professionals, with demand growing at 3.5 times the pace of the overall job market, and the MCS provides students with the knowledge and understanding to play important roles in the cyber security industry.

The MCS introduces students to the frontiers of knowledge in this rapidly evolving field and trains them in the relevant techniques of cyber security.

Students gain an advanced understanding and knowledge of cyber security from the point of view of preventative security, detection of security breaches, and offensive security (such as computer system penetration testing). At the same time, students gain an advanced understanding and knowledge of cloud computing technologies, computer infrastructure, legal aspects of cyber security and a capacity to think innovatively and be able to use research-led knowledge to advance professional practice.


"The Cyber Security programme at the University of Waikato us truly one of a kind."

-- Sjoerd de Fejter

MCS 15-16 | Sir William Gallagher Cyber Security Scholarship recipient

Entry Requirements
For admission to the MCS, students must have completed a relevant bachelor’s degree or postgraduate diploma, normally in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. They will also need an average of at least a B+ in their 300 level or higher Computer Science papers (or equivalent subject).
Degree Structure

The MCS is normally an 18-month postgraduate degree building on a computer science major at undergraduate level. However, particularly able students or those with an honours degree or a postgraduate diploma may be able to complete the MCS in 12 months, subject to the Dean’s approval.

For those entering with a three-year bachelor’s degree, the MCS consists of 180 points of 500 level papers (i.e. courses) made up of 120 points of 500 level taught papers and a 60-point dissertation.

Those students with an honours degree or a postgraduate diploma and who have completed study equivalent to 15 points of the compulsory papers, will require a total of 120 points for the qualification including a 60-point dissertation. Dissertations may be co-supervised with relevant IT or security institutions in New Zealand.

Students will be required to take the following papers.
Compulsory Cyber Security papers (total of 120 points):
COMP518 Cyber Security (15 points)
COMP527 Cloud Computing Technologies and Security** (15 points)
COMP592 Dissertation*** (60 points)
LAWS526 Legal Aspects of Cyber Security (30 points)

Compulsory Infrastructure paper (15 points):
Students are to choose one from the following three papers:
(a) COMP501 Topics in Operating Systems
(b) COMP513 Topics in Computer Networks
(c) COMP514 Carrier and ISP Networks


The remaining 45 points are from relevant 500 level papers, which can include the other two papers remaining after selection of the compulsory infrastructure paper. The choice may be different for each student as it is affected by their previous background of study.

Subject to the requirements to complete the compulsory papers, students with an honours degree or a postgraduate diploma may complete the qualifications with a minimum of 120 points for the qualification, including a 60-point dissertation.

** This paper would like to credit the following industry programmes for their support:

EMC Academic Alliance

AWS for Education Grant 2014

*** Capable students may opt for COMP593 Computer Science Thesis (90 points) as an alternative to COMP592, subject to the Dean’s approval. This will result in 15 points remaining for a relevant 500 level paper, on top of the compulsory 15 point Infrastructure paper.


There are a number of scholarships, awards and prizes on offer at the Faculty of Computing & Mathematical Sciences for postgraduate students. Find out more

There are also a number of postgraduate scholarships and the flagship Sir William Gallagher Cyber Security Scholarship, valued at up to $25,000, available for MCS students.

Read about the inaugural Sir William Gallagher Cyber Security Scholarship recipient here

If you have any questions regarding scholarships, please contact the Scholarships Office.


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