New curriculum at RU

This webpage summarises the changes between the old TRU/e curriculum and the new security curriculum at RU. It is aimed at existing RU students who want to consider new options that this provides them.

If you already enrolled at RU in 2020/2021 (or before) you can simply still follow the old curriculum. But because the new curriculum has fewer mandatory courses and some new courses, you may want to switch to the new curriculum or take a combination of the two. Some courses are re-factored and will change semester/quarter and this may affect you even if you stick with the old curriculum.

The official exam rules have been formulated so that doing the old curriculum is still allowed, as is just about any combination of the new and old curriculum. If you are very creative and manage to come up with some combination that does not quite meet the official rules, you can always ask the RU Examination Board for permission to deviate from the official rules. We cannot promise that the Examination Board will approve your request, but we expect that Examination Board will approve anything that is sensible; one reason why the Examination Board can deviate from the rules is to make sure students do not suffer from changes in the curriculum over time.

Because the official exam rules for the new curriculum, as documented in the Education and Examination Regulation (EER), will not appear online for some time - there is a long approval process at the university to make sure changes in regulation do not affect students in unexpected ways - we have included them at the bottom of this webpage.

Why we are going our separate ways?

The initiative to have a joint Master curriculum in cyber security between our universities was taken to get enough expertise and enough critical mass together for a master programme. When we first launched a joint master in 2006, then also together with the University of Twente, there was for instance not a single person doing research in cryptography at RU.

As the research groups at RU and TU/e have been growing in staff, have changed focus, and the number of students has risen considerably, we do now have enough critical mass and expertise at just one university to offer a good master proramme. Also, in all our RU master specialisations, we want to keep some of the master courses we give, close to the particular research strengths in our group, as here we can offer the most interesting research internship and master thesis projects (for those students who choose not to do these projects at an external organisation). The curriculum tries to strike a balance between covering the broad basis in cyber security and zooming in on research strengths for the Digital Security group in Nijmegen.

Changes in the curriculum

The main differences in the new curriculum are This means that as an existing RU student already enrolled in the old master, if you switch to the new curriculum then Irrespective of whether you stick to the old or switch to the new curriculum, you can choose your specialisation electives from the new, longer list of courses.

Overlapping courses

You are not allowed courses that overlap in content in your study programme. Obviously the re-factored courses overlap with their predecessors, as shown in the table above, but there are also some overlaps between the new courses at RU and the old courses at TU/e. The precise details of this are are as follows:

Overlapping courses
(NWI-TRUE04) Applied Cryptography
(NWI-TRUE06) Cryptographic protocols
(NWI-IMC061) Applied Cryptography
(NWI-TRUE03) Physical Aspects of Digital Security (NWI-IMC065) Selected topics on hardware for security

List of new courses and semesters/quarters

Below a full list of all the mandatory courses and the courses that can be chosen specialisation electives with the semesters/quarters they are given.

Note that two courses change semester/quarter: Advanced Network Security moves forward to the autumn, as do the new courses that used to make up the old Crypto Engineering course.

Course code Course name Quarters
NWI-I00153 Security in Organisations Q1,Q2
NWI-ISOFSE Software Security Q1,Q2
NWI-IMC062 Advanced Network Security Q1,Q2 (changed)
NWI-I00136 Privacy Seminar Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC061 Applied Cryptography (new) Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC063 Cryptology (new, only starting 2022/2023) Q1,Q2
NWI-IMC064 Engineering Cryptographic Software (new) Q2 (changed; this used to be part of a course in Q34)
NWI-IMC065 Selected topics on hardware for security (new) Q2 (changed; this used to be part of a course in Q34)
NWI-IMC066 Security Protocol Project (new) Q3
NWI-IMC067 Capita Selecta in Cyber Security (new) Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC068 Physical Attacks on Secure Systems (new) Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC060 Program verification with types and logic (new) Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC030 Machine Learning in Practice Q3,Q4
NWI-IMC056 Statistical Machine Learning Q1,Q2
NWI-IMC058 Deep Learning Q1

The new exam rules

Below the draft exam rules for next year's Education and Examination Regulation (EER). These specify the new curriculum and then have a set of transition rules that allow you to do the old curriculum or some combination of the old and the new curriculum. So the old curriculum is a bit hidden in all these transitions rules.

The official EER will appear in due course on this webpage. Always check with these official rules, especially before submitting your programme to be approved by the Examination Board! These rules in the EER should be identical the ones below: the only reason for them to be different would be that someone spots the need for more liberal transition rules or some ambiguous formulation that needs to be clarified.

Compulsory courses (33 EC)

MANDATORY courses in the new curriculum
NWI-ISOFSE Software Security 6 EC
NWI-I00153 Security in Organisations 6 EC
NWI-IMC062 Advanced Network Security 6 EC
NWI-IMC061 Applied Cryptography (new) 6 EC
NWI-IMI003 Philosophy and Ethics for Computing and Information Science 3 EC
NWI-I00136 Privacy Seminar 6 EC

Transition rule: students who started before 2021/2022 can also take: provided that there are at least 53 EC of mandatory and sub-specialisation courses.

Choice of sub-specialisation (24 EC)

Selected from the following courses:

SPECIALIZATION ELECTIVES in the new curriculum
NWI-IMC066 Security Protocol Project (new) 3 EC
NWI-IMC068 Physical Attacks on Secure Systems (new) 6 EC
NWI-IMC006 Law in Cyberspace 6 EC
NWI-IMC064 Engineering Cryptographic Software (new) 3EC
NWI-IMC065 Selected Topics on Hardware for Security (new) 3 EC
NWI-IMC030 Machine Learning in Practice 6 EC
NWI-IMC056 Statistical Machine Learning 6 EC
NWI-IMC058 Deep Learning 3 EC
NWI-IMC060 Program Verification with Types and Logic (new) 6 EC
NWI-IMC063 Cryptology (new; only starting 2022/2023) 6 EC
NWI-IMC067 Capita Selecta in Cyber Security (new) 6 EC

Transition rule: students who started before 2021/2022 can also take old (mandatory or elective) TRU/e courses as sub-specialisation courses: as long as these do not have overlaps in content with other courses (as specified above) and provided that there are at least 53 EC of mandatory and sub-specialisation courses.

Electives (12 EC)

Free Electives (6 EC)

This is the one place where the new curriculum rules are more strict than the old ones, which allowed 10 EC of Free Electives. This bizarre number came about because the number of EC for the sub-specialisation can vary depending on whether you chose 5 EC or 6 EC courses.