This module will enable students to develop and demonstrate their technical expertise, independent learning abilities and critical appraisal skills by producing a clear and coherent 20,000- 25,000 word research-based dissertation.

This module is only offered on the Cyber Defence and Information Assurance MSc and Cyberspace Operations MSc.

Course structure

Students attend a three-day compulsory residential workshop (shared with the Information Capability Management MSc). After the workshop students prepare an initial research proposal, and supervisors are allocated to each student. Following a period of proposal development, refinement or modification, students undertake and write up an evidence based independent research study under supervision.

What you will learn


  • synthesise the technical, social, theoretical and practical elements of the taught modules in order generate cyber defence and information assurance (CDIA), or cyberspace operations (CSOps), solutions to real world organisational problem situations,
  • critically appraise and integrate a large body of published research,
  • evaluate theory and concepts in relation to primary and secondary sources of evidence.


  • design and conduct an independent and large-scale research project, including the writing and modifying of a proposal, data collection and analysis in the compilation of a major project,
  • produce and revise an appropriate project management plan,
  • demonstrate problem solving skills Write clearly and effectively in the appropriate academic style and formally present the dissertation in accordance with the approved criteria,
  • produce evidence-based conclusions and recommendations.

Core content

Students work independently but with guidance from a supervisor to apply their acquired knowledge to a relevant issue in their named award. The dissertation provides an opportunity to carry out an in-depth specialised study of a topic of personal and/or professional interest. It enables the integration of theoretical and practical aspects of a topic, revealing an understanding of theoretical principles and how they can be applied in the chosen area of research.


A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.