(Original post by euph0ria)
I am currently doing this MSc programme. I finish my exams on this week. I would be happy to answer any questions you have related to any of the aspects of the course (except details about the project of course since I will be working on that until September).
At the moment there seems to be some confusion about the pathways and modules you can choose because they are changing them this year (2012/2013). So far it has been two pathways. Business pathway: Sec.Management, Crypto, Sec.Technologies, Legal Aspects. Technical pathway: Sec.Management, Crypto, Computer Security, Network Security. And both pathways can choose 2 or 3 optional modules whichever ones they want (if you take 3 optionals only the two top exam grades of the three will count).
Now they have sent out an email that they are replacing pathways with "tracks" and that the pathway/track will no longer be visible on your transcripts. The tracks will still have the structure of 4 core and 2-3 optional modules but the difference will be that there are more "pathways" thus called "tracks". The suggestion is that for the 4 core modules the options will still be the same (management+crypto for all and comp.sec+network.sec for pathway 1 and sec.technologies+a new module replacing legal). The main difference is that you will no longer be able to choose any 2 optional modules, you will have to choose a "track" which includes a combo of two modules. For example a new track that will be included is "Cybercrime track" and you have to do: the 4 technical pathway core modules plus two optional modules which are Cybercrime and Digital Forensics.
I hope all this makes sense. I don't know when you will be required to select a track but 2011/2012 in the first semester when we were doing the core modules we were allowed to attend all 6 of them and decide until the end of the semester which pathway we have decided on. Essentially what happened was that we were allowed to attend all modules and online material for them until the end of November when we had to decide which 4 core modules (pathway selection) we're going to take for the May exams. At the end of January we were asked to select our optional modules to complete all our 6 (or 7) courses.
you have to take all 4 core modules. they are compulsory. The modules you mention for distance learning are correct they represent the current technical pathway.
there is no Digital Signatures module (or I am not aware of any such module). But there is a whole chapter in Crypto on them and in other optional modules.
I cannot answer any questions about visas as I did not need one (EU).
I am not living on campus but my friends are. The general picture they gave me was: disorganised and late replies, some of them came to UK and booked a hotel room still waiting for accommodation (were on waiting list and told that there could get something). However the ones that applied early for accommodation were secured a room and could choose roommate and other options in some cases. Accommodation in Founders I believe is mainly occupied by undergrads. The newest halls like Tuke and Gowar (also Highfield) is where most of the MSc people in my year stayed. Rooms clean, well kept, cleaning staff comes regularly, relatively good size. Mostly arranged like: 6 rooms in one apartment with common kitchen and each room en-suite shower/toilet. Periodical inspections by the housing staff were made to all rooms. Requests to fix broken things like pipes showers windows kitchen appliances lighting etc are usually dealt with in a very relaxed manner so you could face a one week wait before someone bothers to come, they even tell you this when you submit your request (that its going to take 2-3 days or more). Campus and surroundings are beautiful its considered a posh area its also next to Windsor which is THE "poshest" area. Lots of green, very good sports facilities and gym on campus, many sports societies. Two clubs on campus: Medicine and the SU (student union) good fun especially on friday and saturday.
Food (for catered accommodation people):
it's is ok nothing amazing just standard under-seasoned basic food like burgers pizza plus 2 choices other things one is meat one is vegetarian usually, things like stuffed eggplant,fries,rice,steamed veggies,spaghetti bolognese,chicken kiev,etc etc and a salad bar. There are 2 places for catered people: the Hub and the Founders diner hall. The Hub also has "cook-to-order" chinese dishes which are very popular much better than anything else. Then there are the bars/coffee places that also offer some light food like sandwiches pizza wedges jacket potatoes they are: Crosslands in Founders, Student Union top floor (dont remember name), Cafe Jules in international building, Coffee & Cake in the Hub. There is also The Store which is a mini-market on campus it has frozen food, pastries, sandwiches,and things to cook with but usually too expensive compared to Tesco which is 10 min walk. If you are not catered, I recommend eating at the SCR in founders, it is a small diner for staff and postgraduates they have better food than the Hub usually.
I know that last year this time the thread for Infosec 2011/2012 did not offer much help to answer Infosec specific questions I had so I hope that I can help the new batch of MSc students or at least help clarify any confusion. So, please ask any questions you want but try to make it specific for MSc Information Security (or at least MSc related) as there are other threads available for general questions.