The pathway encompasses the interdisciplinary research fields of security, privacy and surveillance. Topics include surveillance and the surveillance society; CyberSecurity and digital forensics; privacy including privacy management and privacy-by-design; use of personal data, including big data; regulation and risk; counter-terrorism. 

The pathway will appeal to students who wish to pursue careers addressing the societal and commercial issues associated with security including government, regulators, NGOs, technology companies, the police, security services and academia.

The Open University’s Faculty of Business and Law hosts both the Centre for Research in Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP) and the Centre for Policing Research and Learning. The Oxford Internet Institute hosts the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC).

Students entering this pathway without a Masters qualification meeting the ESRC 2015 Training Guidelines can start by studying one of two Oxford MSc courses:

Students will then transfer to the Open University for their PhD, joining students on the +3 and +4 routes. The +3 route also allows students with a relevant Masters from another institution to enter the pathway. The +4 route is for research students who have completed a taught Masters or have an outstanding undergraduate degree in a related field but who need further research training.

All routes are available both full-time and part-time.

Students will be encouraged and supported to participate in appropriate knowledge exchange activities such as undertaking consultancy requests, speaking at practitioner conferences and workshops and promoting their work to the general public.

All students will be encouraged to undertake an internship during their studies of between 1 and 3 months.  These may be in commercial, not-for-profit or public sector bodies.  Where relevant students will be encouraged to apply to the RCUK Policy Internship [link] scheme, in which significant number of the participating host organisations have an interest in security.

Students’ career destinations will include government, regulators, NGOs, technology companies, the police, security services and academia.

Pathway leader: Professor Elizabeth Daniel


Open University

Faculty of Business and Law
Structure of provision: +3, +4
Full-time and Part-time

University of Oxford

Centre for Criminology within the Law Faculty
Oxford Internet Institute
Structure of provision: 1+3 (MSc at Oxford, PhD at the Open University)
Full-time and Part-time


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