Skip to main content

Postgraduate Taught

MSc Security and Data Science

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year September 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Security Studies
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

2:1 or above in first degree

Contextual offers


  • Gain a unique blend of in-depth knowledge and understanding of security issues in relation to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data.
  • Gain practical experience of working with data and developing associated skills that are increasingly in demand within the security, defence, and law enforcement sectors.
  • No prior experience of working with data or in computer coding is necessary, with all of the necessary skills being taught on the programme at a suitable level for those without prior experience.
  • Explore areas such as how law enforcement are using data for predictive policing, the use of generative AI by extremists, the use of AI in developing cybersecurity systems, and the use of AI in intelligence gathering and military decision making.
  • Learn to code in Python and how to use it for data science methods, a hugely  employable and transferable skillset both within and beyond the security, defence, and law enforcement sectors.
  • Delivered by the highly successful Centre for Computational Social Science (C2S2) that specialises in providing quantitative and computational social research training to people from all academic and professional backgrounds, especially those with no prior experience.
  • Graduates of this programme will have a dual speciality in data science skills and strong knowledge of the security-threat landscape and how security, defence, and law enforcement organisations are adapting to the novel opportunities and threats posed by emerging technologies, particularly data and AI.
  • This dual speciality will prepare you for roles in organisations such as the security services, National Crimes Agency, Europol, Interpol, and specialist policing units, as well as roles in business intelligence and analytics, data journalism, social research and specialised government department roles focused on the security, defence, and law enforcement domains.

Apply online

View 2024 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

Open days and visiting us

Get a prospectus


Programme Director: Dr Lewys Brace

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 10 in the UK for Criminology

9th in the Guardian University Guide 2024

100% of our Sociology research has internationally excellent impact

Based on research impact rated 4* + 3* in REF 2021. Our research in Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology and Criminology was returned to this UoA

Top 10 in the UK for Politics

10th in the The Complete University Guide 2024

Top 100 for Politics in world subject rankings

QS World University Subject Rankings 2023

Entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:1 or above in their first degree. While we normally only consider applicants who meet these criteria, if you have a high 2:2 or equivalent, are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B1. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Course content

This programme will develop your knowledge of the security-threat landscape in light of contemporary emerging technologies, particularly in relation to the roles of data and artificial intelligence (AI). Specifically, you will learn about the nature of these changes and how both malicious actors and security, defence and law enforcement organisations are adapting to the threats and opportunities posed by these technologies. Alongside this, we will introduce you to the interdisciplinary field of data science, which will enable you to gain actionable insights from data.

This will be done in a way that assumes no prior knowledge or experience of working with data or in computing, and aims to provide you with the specific practical data skills that security, defence, and law enforcement organisations are increasingly looking for in prospective employees. In doing so, we will ensure that you have the domain-specific knowledge and technical skills necessary to understand the opportunities and threats posed by such technological developments within both the current and future security-threat landscape and be uniquely positioned to pursue careers in these sectors.

While the compulsory modules will cover such issues as how new technology can be beneficial in areas such as homeland security and crime prevention and the potential threats they pose when used by extremist groups or other nations alongside working with data within such contexts, you can tailor your programme to your interests and career ambitions with a range of optional modules covering themes such as global security and machine learning for social data science. 

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.


2024/25 entry

UK fees per year:

£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time

International fees per year:

£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Learning and Teaching

  • Each module typically delivered by lectures interspersed with seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading and essay assignments.
  • We bring in various subject experts, including alumni, to expose you to the latest thinking in the field.
  • You will learn a range of social data science skills and their application to policy making and learn how to evaluate the suitability of these methods and the rationale for using them.
  • We place a strong emphasis on the practical skills associated with working with data using a range of programming and data analytics software, including Python.

Independent study

A large component of the MSc programme will include guided and independent study. The dissertation/research consultancy project is the main opportunity for you to apply the skills you have learnt to a policy-related topic of your own interest. You will also develop the communication of the findings of your work to a range of audiences using effective data visualisation tools.

Centre for Computational Social Science (C2S2)

In addition to module-based teaching we offer a variety of additional training as part of the Centre for Computational Social Science (C2S2) including;

  • Applied Data Analysis workshops which seek to provide additional support to students interested in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences. These aspire to raise interest in Applied Data Analysis amongst both undergraduates and postgraduates, and embed quantitative literacy in wider University practice.
  • The Centre for Computational Social Science seminar series is a long-running successful annual postgraduate conference which brings together researchers from across all humanities and social science disciplines.

Read more


Graduates with this unique skillset are in high demand. The UK government has reported a distinct data analytics and digital skills gap in the UK job market. Security, defence and law enforcement are increasingly incorporating large-scale data analytics coupled with machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Possible career paths include specialist organisations such as cyber and analytics units of UK police forces, equivalent units for the National Crimes Agency/Europol/Interpol, and analyst roles for the security services. Due to the transferrable skills, you will gain you will also be well placed to pursue careers in areas such as business intelligence and business analytics, data journalism, market research, and social research.

Employer valued skills

You will gain substantive technical skills in Python and knowledge of statistical methods, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Alongside this, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of security, defence and law enforcement and how your technical skills can be applied.

As a postgraduate student you will develop a variety of skills that are valued in professional and managerial careers: the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources along with written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions. 

Employment and professional development

Our excellent Career Zone service provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the website for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available.

Read more