Smart Shoppers Go Abroad for Affordable Information Security Programs

Smart Shoppers Go Abroad for Affordable Information Security Programs
L. Taylor - June 9, 2000

Event Summary:

With the current onslaught of cybercrime, Federal Agencies and Corporations are starting to pay more attention to information and network security. The current dearth of Information Technology (IT) professionals has created quite a challenge to filling all IT employment sectors. Within the IT pool of resources, security engineers and security savvy managers are hard to come by. Now is a great time to obtain an advanced degree in one of the information security disciplines. But even the maelstrom of a flourishing economy does not take away the pain of financing an advanced degree.

In the United States, it is not uncommon for one year of graduate school (tuition and housing) to exceed $30,000. We grimly have come to accept such exorbitant costs as the price one pays for an advanced degree. However, the web has opened new windows of opportunity for us, providing a vehicle for finding out information on the price of higher education overseas. As it turns out, if you're the adventurous type, most graduate degrees in other countries are far more affordable than at U.S. institutions of higher learning. We took at look at which foreign universities offer advanced programs in Information Security, Cryptography, and cousin technologies, and found that better deals were to be found abroad.

Whereas other countries consider education in higher learning to be an investment in their economy, United States culture views higher education as a privilege that must be paid for. Almost all universities overseas and in Canada are far more affordable, due to the strong government funding they receive.

A large number of these courses are taught in English. After a cursory look at educational links on the web, we were not able to find a comprehensive site of any sort that collated the various foreign programs in Information Security. If you are the adventurous type, our listing of Information Security Programs abroad can help you obtain a stellar education in a well sought after and much needed field at an affordable price.

Table 1. Graduate level cyber security programs abroad and their institutions.

Institution Name
Programs, Courses, and Laboratory Information
Royal Holloway, University of London London, England MSc in Information Security

MSc in Secure Electronic Commerce

Smart Card Laboratory
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands Java security and web security
Cambridge University Cambridge, England Cryptography, algorithms
Queensland University Brisbane, Australia Information Security Research Centre
University of Glamorgan Mid Glamorgan, Wales, U.K. MSc. in Information Security & Computer Crime
Eindhoven University of Technology Eindhoven, Netherlands Cryptography; No tuition for Ph.D.
Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain Cryptography, Wireless Access Control

All courses taught in Spanish
Monash Univeristy Victoria, Australia PKI, Crypto, Viruses, Auditing, Computer Crime
Curtin University of Technology Western Australia Information Security, Database Security
Odense University Odense, Denmark Cryptography, algorithms
Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden No tuition fees. [Security] Technology Management, Risk Management
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm, Sweden No tuition for Master's Program. Security Auditing, Network Security, SecLab
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland MSc. by Research, Custom Programs Division of Informatics

ICSA. Compiler Security, Transaction Security (TIP)
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand Cryptography, algorithms, software watermarking, software licensing
University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand Security in Computing, Cryptography, Custom Programs
Berlin University for Technology Berlin, Germany Java security. Security projects
University of Hamburg Hamburg, Germany Virus Test Centre. Security Management, Java Security. IT Security and Safety Curriculum. Data Protection Seminar
University of Magdeburg Magdeburg, Germany Good antivirus program. Database Security, Java Security, Webhosting Security, LDAP
Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland Cryptography and Java Cryptography and Security
University of Waterloo Waterloo, Canada Centre for Applied Cryptographic research
University of Toronto Toronto, Canada Java Cryptography, Security Protocols


It is believed that the only reason to go a private school in Switzerland is if you can't make it at a public school. The largest city in Switzerland, Zurich, is home to numerous Internet cafes, as well as The Federal Institute of Technology. The Federal Institute of Technology is the first place that Compuserve Germany looks when hiring information security engineers. With excellent Java Security programs, this is a good place for Java Security engineers to get a leg up.

Zurich Switzerland is home to the Federal Institute of Technology which has a notable Java Security program.


Eindhoven, home of the Eindhoven University of Technology, has come a long way since its medieval past. It is the home of a cutting-edge biometrics facility owned by Royal Philips Electronics where Philips has incorporated finger-print recognition scanning into its line of flat-display monitors. Philips employs many expert cryptography professionals and earning a Ph.D. in cryptography at Einhoven University requires no tuition. Eindhoven's city slogan is "Leading in Technology."

Eindhoven (big round circular dark red area), which became a city in 1232, is a hotbed of technology in the Netherlands and is home to 32,000 companies. [See Figure 1]

Figure 1.

Source: TNO

Eindhoven is an important hub of European Internet Backbone connectivity and is one of the biggest technological centers in Europe. [See Figure 2]

Figure 2.

Source: Eindhoven ICT


In the heart of Scotland's capital, University of Edinburgh has been notorious for innovation and technology for over 400 years. "The Athens of the North," Edinburgh is a coastal city in southeast Scotland and is the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell. It was once the research center for Charles Darwin, and is where Lord Joseph Lister first introduced the idea of antiseptics into surgery. University of Edinburgh is ranked #1 in the Guardian League Table of teaching in Computer Science in the United Kingdom.

University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

New Zealand and Australia

The University of Auckland is New Zealand's largest university. Learn about encryption algorithms and software watermarking in The City of Sails where New Zealand America's Cup team calls home. With the capability to educate aspiring security professionals, it is no coincidence that leading regional security companies like Sophos and Marshall Software have sprouted up in Australia and New Zealand respectively. Recently KPMG selected Sophos to standardize on for Internet virus control. Last year, Marshall Software won IDG Computerworld's Innovator of the Year award for e-mail security and monitoring. In a head-to-head test with Trend Micro, initiated by a California company called, MailMarshal outperformed Trend Micro in speed, accuracy, and ease-of-use. ( is an Internet marketing company with over 6 million registered users.)

Auckland, New Zealand offers First Class Security Research


Germany is noted for its savvy information security engineers. When Saudi Arabia wanted a country-wide firewall designed and developed, it turned to German information security consultants. In fact, information security is a standard topic when you study IT-related professions in Germany. According to Howard Fuh's, founder of a German based Computer Virus Research Lab, many German universities offer IT security courses at no additional cost to their students. Making information security education easily accessible may be one reason why the Germans show unprecedented proficiency in this area. In fact, Europes's most notorious hacker conference, Chaos Communication Camp, takes place yearly in Berlin and attracts individuals from all over the world who are experts in information security.

Many of the descriptions for German security courses are behind firewalls, and therefore, you have to contact the universities directly in order to obtain the course overview descriptions.

High technology abounds at the Berlin University for Technology

Learn the engineering technology of smart labels at the Berlin University for Technology. These labels are used for identification purposes and wireless payment transfers and will become ubiquitous in the future.


University of Hamburg has a Virus Test Centre.


Due to extensive government funding, in Sweden there are typically no tuition fees at the universities, and the cost of living for one month is 6800 Krona which is around $780.00 USD. This is a huge savings over the cost of an analogous program in the United States. At the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, a free program exists to obtain a Master's degree in security auditing or network security. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm is funded by grants through private industry, Nutek, Swedish Foundation of Strategic Research, the European Union, the Swedish Research council for Engineering Sciences, and other government agencies. Stockholm is the home of Baltimore Technologies' regional Nordic headquarters. Baltimore Technologies is a leading vendor of security and PKI products.

Learn the history of the surrounding castles while obtaining an information security degree in Stockholm.


The web opens up a whole new world of online education information including information about Graduate Programs in Information Security and Cryptography. Often times, in their quest to attract a diverse student body, overseas institutions are very eager to admit American students. For those interested in continuing their education and research in the Information Security field, you can expand your cultural education and more often than not, save money by studying overseas. As far as technology goes, TCP/IP is TCP/IP no matter what country you're in.

  • After surfing a university's website, find out the contact for International students and exchange some e-mail asking as many questions as you can about the various programs. Sometimes Information Security programs are a part of the Computer Science or Informatics department, and sometimes Cryptography programs are part of the Mathematics department.

  • After finding out the tuition, use an online Currency Converter to do the monetary conversions. Compare the tuition fees and housing costs with comparable programs in the United States.

  • No matter what program you decide to enroll in, most of the time you get a better deal on tuition costs if you attend full-time. Be sure to find out the difference in price between part-time and full-time programs.

  • Include the cost of air-fare in your analysis of pricing comparisons.

  • Put your findings on a spreadsheet and do a regimented comparison of all factors that are important to your area of interest before making a decision.

  • If you attend, or have attended, any of these programs, write to us and let us know what you like and don't like about each one. Send all feedback to:

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