Postgraduate taught 

Data Science MSc

Human-Centred Security (M) COMPSCI5060

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Computing Science
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course teaches you the design and evaluation of usable, secure and privacy aware systems.


3 hours per week.

Excluded Courses





Examination 60%, Coursework 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Resit Exams are permitted for Masters Students

Resit Exams are not permitted for Honours students


The coursework cannot be redone because the feedback provided to the students after the original coursework would give any students redoing the coursework an unfair advantage.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

Foster an appreciation of the vital role played by human factors in securing systems;

Explain and allow students to appreciate the multiple dimensions of the core principles of privacy, authentication, biometrics, risk communication, and the importance of security systems interface usability.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain primary themes and challenges of human centred security;

2. Examine a given context and design an appropriate security solution and be able to justify your choices;

3. Identify usability, privacy or security issues in a given system, and make recommendations about how to improve it;

4. Communicate risks to non-expert users in an understandable way;

5. Identify causative effects of particular human behaviours in a security setting, explain how these can be influenced;

6. Demonstrate an understanding of common threats, and be able to critique and design solutions to mitigate against them;

7. Design and analyse the results of user studies to evaluate the usability and security of computing systems;

8. Compare and contrast approaches to establishing and maintaining privacy;

9. Demonstrate an understanding of social engineering and its significance. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.