PhD (Doctoral education)

Information Security

– Learning outcome

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge
The Knowledge learning outcomes are primarily achieved through the development of the dissertation and guidance provided by the supervisor during the course of the Ph.D. programme. The development of the thesis will generally arise from the preparation of peer-reviewed publication during the programme so as to ensure that the student is conversant with and in his or her area of specialisation at the forefront of research in their field. In cases where a dissertation is not accompanied by supporting peer-reviewed publications authored or co-authored by the candidate, alternative forms of assessing whether the candidate is similarly aligned to the state of the art will be devised by the supervisor or supervisors of the candidate.

The Taught Component for all Tracks includes a mandatory module which covers the foundations research ethics, and a mandatory module specific to the Track in which the research is undertaken but which provides a degree of contextualisation of the candidate’s own more narrowly defined research area. Beyond these mandatory module, candidates may choose under the guidance of their supervisor or supervisors from a range of optional modules that is adjusted and updated from time to time. These optional modules encompass areas including research methods and specialised modules generally covering aspects of the current state of the art in a specific research area. The outcomes of both the individual research in the Research Component and the completion of the Taught Component will result in:

Expected Knowledge Learning Outcomes
1. Knowledge of the most advanced research in the candidate’s specialisation area (Track) of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively
2. In-depth understanding of academic theory and the preparation of high-quality research pertinent to the field of study
3. Ability to select appropriate research methods and techniques suitable for the candidate’s research field
4. In-depth understanding the current state of the art in the individual research area, and the ability to appropriately employ methods and existing research results in the development of new knowledge, theories and presentation of research in the individual research area

Skills
The learning outcomes in the Skills domain relate to activities in the research community. The precise skills possible to acquire within the context of an individual study plan will vary as some research is intrinsically more collaborative in nature while other research may essentially be a largely solitary endeavour. Where appropriate, however, the Ph.D. programme will seek to impart skills suitable to the active participation in collaborative research and, on completion, also the ability to independently conduct and lead research within both an academic and potentially applied context such as one found in government and industry. Whilst the latter is not achieved or typically achievable by candidates themselves as part of their studies, successful completion of the programme enables to translate the understanding of processes and dynamics from observations and taught elements into such abilities. As in case of the previously described Knowledge outcomes, the preparation of the dissertation forms a significant part of the development of these learning outcomes. The experiences passed on from the supervisor and in the writing of peer-review publications contribute to the student’s ability to interact with the national and international research community and to disseminate their research findings. The outcomes of both the individual research in the Research Component and the completion of the Taught Component will result in:

Expected Skills Learning Outcomes
1. Ability to perform the planning and preparation as well as to lead and manage research projects in the area of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively, in academic as well as in government or industrial settings
2. Ability to support and participate in academic, government, and industrial research at an internationally competitive level
3. Ability to comprehend complex academic issues and the related ethical considerations pertaining to the design and conduct of research
4. Ability to understand and challenge the existing knowledge and practise in the chosen specialisation area of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively

General Competence
The development of the General Competence required to participate actively and constructively in the international research community, and to interact with other collaborators from outside the area of specialisation of the candidate within the discipline — considering that the discipline is often called upon to serve as a bridge to other disciplines as noted in section "Short description" — and the general public are covered by a more varied set of learning outcomes.

The elaboration of the thesis and preparation of the dissertation still has a major impact in teaching the student how to organise and explain their thoughts and research but these outcomes go beyond the formal written presentation of scientific research. The ability to speak with clarity about these advanced research topics needs to be developed and is provided by the student’s attendance at conferences, seminars, and workshops for the presentation and discussion of publications. It is also the result of interactions at workshops, seminars, and tutorials within the faculty and culminating with the public oral defence of their research in the viva voce. Mandatory taught courses in research ethics are employed to develop an understanding of the wider societal impact of candidates’ research, while collaborative techniques enabling interaction with other disciplines and to conduct projects to provide high-quality, and ethically valid research will be imparted by supervisors as appropriate to enable candidates’ advanced understanding of both their area of specialisation and the wider context of their chosen domain within the discipline of Computer Science.

The outcomes of both the individual research in the Research Component and the completion of the Taught Component will hence result in:

Expected General Competence Learning Outcomes
1. Ability to identify new problems arising from recent developments in and related to the chosen research domain within the discipline of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively, and the ability to assess the likely impact of such developments on society
2. Ability to conduct ethically and scientifically sound research in the chosen specialisation domain of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively, within the bounds of the law and given due consideration of ethical and moral constraints
3. Ability to successfully conduct and manage research undertakings which may include aspects not only from the chosen research domain but also from other domains within the discipline of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively, and elements of interdisciplinary research involving diverse groups of individuals
4. Ability to organise and participate in research and development through established national and international research frameworks
5. Ability to argue the merits, limitations, and possibilities of new developments in the chosen research domain within the discipline of Computer Science or Information Security, respectively, at a level commensurate to the international state of the art such as in internationally recognised fora
6. Capability to apply current abstract research and methods within the chosen research domain to specific problems in creative and innovative ways