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Computer Security BSc (Hons)

You will study abuses of digital technology and learn the skills needed to investigate them. You’ll also complete exercises in computational theory and learn to interpret complex scenarios and explain them to non-specialists.

Overview

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Reasons to study Computer Security at De Montfort University (DMU):

  • DMU has achieved Gold, the highest ranking possible under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
    Indicating the outstanding learning and teaching on offer at DMU. [Office for Students, 2017]

  • 97.3% of DMU graduates from summer 2017 are in work or further study after graduating
    According to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2016-17 report

  • Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
    For the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.
  • Work placement opportunities
    Enhance your employability and gain industry experience by undertaking an optional work placement. Recent placements include experience at Airbus Group, ECSC, Viglen, Syngenta, Jagex and Capgemini
  • Research
    DMU’s Cyber Technology Institute has an international reputation in computer forensics and digital forensics, which influences the UK government and corporations in their approach to digital forensics and security.

  • Develop your practical skills in our specialist Facilities
    Students have access to specialist forensic and security laboratories within our dedicated Cyber Security Centre, equipped with customised PCs that are configured with multiple operating systems, virtualisation and removable hard drives
  • Enjoy an international experience with #DMUglobal
    We offer all students the opportunity to take part in a #DMUglobal experience, which can enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons. Previous #DMUglobal trips have included New York, Berlin, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Russia and Italy to name a few.

This is a specialist course within the broad field of computer science, with particular emphasis on the CIA triad: confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. Computer security is about the appropriate access to digital assets, and this course covers a mix of technical computing and professional practice in a modern and varied curriculum.

Misuses of digital technology are studied, along with the skills needed to investigate them. Computational theory is exercised in a range of experimental playgrounds, and you will learn to interpret complex scenarios and explain them to non-specialists. Expert guest lectures will be given by a wide range of professionals in the forensics and security sector, ensuring learning is relevant to cutting-edge developments in the field.

This course has been designed for students who want to pursue a career in cyber security, or related fields.

"The course covers a wide range of topics which allowed me to build a strong skill-set; enabling an easy transition into my placement year and allowed me to develop and build new and existing skills, establish professional connections, and apply my knowledge in a professional environment."

James Dorgan, Computer Security BSc (Hons) student

Graduate success and news 

Student puts theory into practice at Big Four accounting firm

DMU's 48-hour Hackathon in Brazil leads to winning app

More courses like this:

Computer Science BSc (Hons)

Intelligent Systems BSc (Hons)

Software Engineering BSc (Hons)

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: G550

Duration: Three years full-time, four years with placement

Fees and funding: For 2019/20 tuition fees will be £9,250

Find out more about tuition fees and available funding.

Apply for the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

Find out about additional costs and optional extras.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

Key facts for international students

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: G550

Duration: Three years full-time, four years with placement

Fees and funding: £13,250

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out about additional costs and optional extras.

How to apply: International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online portal or direct application form

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Entry criteria


  • Five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Mathematics or equivalent, plus one of the following:
  • Normally 112 UCAS points from at least two A-levels or equivalent or
  • BTEC National Diploma/ Extended Diploma at DMM or
  • Pass in the QAA accredited Access to HE. English and Mathematics GCSE required as a separate qualification as equivalency is not accepted within the Access qualification. We will normally require students to have had a break from full-time education before undertaking the Access course or
  • International Baccalaureate: 26+ points
  • Foundation Year in Computing: Pass Foundation, and progression is at the discretion of the programme leader. Refer to the Foundation team for further guidance. 

Portfolio Required: No

Interview Required: No

We welcome applications from mature students with non-standard qualifications and recognise all other equivalent and international qualifications

English language – If English is not your first language we require an English language level of IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in each component or equivalent

English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning , is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

UCAS Tariff changes

Students applying for courses starting in September 2018 will be made offers based on the latest UCAS Tariff. Find out more.

 

Structure and assessment

 

Course modules

Teaching and assessments

Professional accreditation 

 

 

First year modules:

  • C Programming I  – This module introduces two complementary topics: (1) traditional, imperative programming in C; and (2) the implementation of standard linear data structures and the algorithms that manipulate them. Key aspects of the core language are covered including major library functions, fundamental data structures, algorithm strategies, design and basic analysis. The module will be particularly suited to anyone who needs to understand how a computer can be controlled using software designed for a traditional Von-Neumann architecture. It is an introductory course in computer programming.

  • C Programming II – This module continues presenting core C language concepts, including functional testing techniques and fundamental data structures. During the module students will develop an awareness of important principles of developing/building trusted and reliable software to meet users requirements including, e.g., naming conventions, initialisation of structures and variables, variable scope and lifetime, validation of input, bound checking, unit testing and reliability. Students learn about the consequences of poor programming style and technique (i.e. poor maintainability,  poor security and vulnerability to attack).

  • Computer Ethics – The module introduces students to the ethical theories affecting cyber security, software engineering, computer science and digital forensics. It requires them to develop critical analytical skills in applying ethical theories to technological outcomes regarding cyber security, software engineering, computer science and digital forensics.
  • Computer Law and Cyber Security – The module introduces students to the legal and professional context of cyber security, software engineering, computer science and digital forensics, it addresses legal framework, legal and professional responsibilities of the software engineer, systems manager, computer forensic and security practitioner. The module will address computer ethics, data protection law, UK and international law affecting cyber security, digital engineering, systems management and digital forensics
  • Computer Systems – This module provides a foundation in computer architecture and operating systems with a specific emphasis on their security.
    Students will learn about computer hardware, software, operating systems, and demonstrate practical knowledge of these during lab sessions.
    Studying this module student will be able to relate the abstract concepts of logic and number systems to their concrete representation on real machines and dentify the security risks in common configurations of computer operating systems and suggest appropriate mitigations. In the practical lab sessions students will also learn to develop shell scripts.
  • Computer Networks – This module provides a foundation in modern computer networks with a specific emphasis on their security. Students studying this module will be able to explain how modern computer networks functions and be able to demonstrate a practical knowledge of computer networking. Students will be able to identify security risks in common configurations of computer networks and suggest appropriate mitigations.
  • Mathematics for Computing – Mathematical structures are introduced that provide a basis for computer science. Specific topics include logic, set theory, probability and statistics.
  • Database Design and Implementation – Structured data, held in relational databases, accessed via SQL, supports the information storage requirements of many companies, organisations, and on-line businesses. In this module the student will learn the fundamentals of how to design the structure of data within a relational database, how to interact with data within the database, and how to protect the data within the database.

 

Second year modules:

  • Software and Security Management – This module introduces the business contexts within which IT projects are procured and developed. This includes the feasibility of computer system development viewed from economic, technical, social, legal, and ethical perspectives. The module covers risk factors and risk assessment during different phases of the lifecycle, and introduces students to the techniques used both to measure and to ensure software quality including processes covering the management and design of trustworthy software (BS PAS744 Software Trustworthiness). 

  • Web Application Development – This module provides a firm technical foundation of how a web application can be developed that allows web users to interact with assets stored in databases.
    Modern web applications typically make heavy use of server-side scripting. A server-side scripting language that has achieved prominence over recent years has been PHP. This pragmatic language is used to great effect by some web developers and with catastrophic naivety by others. Rudimentary web application penetration testing will introduced in order to emphasise the hostile attention that public facing web content will attract. It is assumed that students are already competent programmers, prior to starting this module.

  • Database Design and Management – Structured data, held in relational databases, accessed via SQL, supports a substantial proportion of modern web-applications. This is however, not a new phenomenon. Structured data, held in relational databases, accessed via SQL, have supported 'modern' applications for decades. In this module the student will learn the fundamentals of how to design the structure of data within a relational database, how to interact with data within the database, and how to protect the data within the database using access-control and integrity features.

  • Windows Forensics – This module develops the principles of forensics as an abstract concept, then looks at Windows operating system. Windows is studied from a forensic perspective with the overall aim of understanding what non-volatile digital residue is left which has evidential value. Students will be prepared to plan and manage computer forensics investigation preparedness, including a forensics incident management plan, forensic readiness, and preservation of evidence in the form of electronically stored information. The module includes experiments in the use of forensics tools including EnCase, FTK, and other industry standard tools for digital investigation. Students will also practise the necessary legal, expert witness, reporting, and professional skills required by the court or organisations.

  • Linux Security – This module develops the principles of security as an abstract concept, then looks at Linux operating systems: Linux is studied from a security perspective with the overall aim of understanding how to make a Linux installation less vulnerable; Students will be able to explain the major phases of the Linux boot sequence. Identify the major configuration settings that influence a machine's security posture. Harden a Linux operating systems to suit various deployment scenarios such as a server operating in a DMZ or desktop workstation in a corporate environment. An important part of a cyber security professional is to keep up to date and engage with the profession. Students will need to demonstrate engagement with out-of-curriculum activities organised by Cyber Technology Institute for employability development.

  • Cyber Threat Intelligence – This module will help you reason about threats to cyber security. In particular, it aims to develop the ability to understand the strengths and limitations of methods to produce actionable intelligence. The extent of the cyber domain is reviewed from a range of perspectives. That it extends beyond the Internet is particularly emphasised. Various threat actors are considered, operating with different levels of resource and at a variety of different scales. The intelligence cycle and current intelligence theory is critiqued. This module also has a strong focus on security assessment and management. You will be able to compare cyber threats and measure their potential impact through risk assessment.
    The module also covers incident response and explains the principles, tools and techniques used to react appropriately. You will learn about the essential preparations before an incident occurs, how to detect incidents, including extrusion detection, how to perform an initial response, how to collect live data and network-based evidence, evidence handling and analysis, incident reporting and resolution.

  • Penetration Testing – This module aims to equip Computer Security students with a range of strategies to protect and defend the information systems within an organisation. Students will understand penetration testing strategies and methodologies and be able to implement penetration testing methodologies to perform a penetration test. Students will learn how the correct and timely implementation of application layer filtering technologies can enhance the security and maintain the integrity of an organisation's information

  • Introduction to Research – The module provides the student with an understanding of the importance of researching, analysing, and interpreting existing literature and other documents in order to establish a solid context in which research and development questions can be developed and subsequently investigated. It develops the student's research skills, and particularly skills related to identifying relevant literature from a variety of sources, critically analysing academic and non-academic texts, and justifying a set of research or development questions in a particular topic area. The module explores these research methods through the lens of ethics in technology, introducing students to key ethical issues in relation to information systems, such as privacy, autonomy, security, identity, and social impact.

Thrid year modules:

  • Computing Project  – The project provides students with the opportunity to carry out a significant piece of work involving critical analysis and reflection to provide an effective solution to a given technical and/or research-based problem. It enables students to apply and integrate previous material covered on the student's course as well as to extend the work covered on the course through research and self-learning. Students will be expected to demonstrate appropriate and proactive project management, and written/verbal presentation skills throughout the period of the project. As well as analysing, designing, delivering and appraising a product of suitable quality, they will be expected to undertake, research, analyse, design, evaluate and report on some aspects of a subject explicitly allied to the project.

  • Emerging Topics in Security – Cyber security is emerging and fast changing subject area in which practitioners require regular updating of knowledge and skills. This module is designed to teach the recent advances in knowledge in the cyber domain, for example skills for analysing recent threats and discovered vulnerabilities. The taught programme will change year on year and focus entirely on emerging research in the domain and may cover technical, business or law considerations. The module will be organised as a series of lectures devoted to principles of discovering new knowledge related to recent attacks, as well as student led research seminars in which learners will investigate and present advanced security topics and recent incidents analysis

  • Malware Analysis – Malware enjoys its status as the predominant threat in modern computing. This module is designed teach the practical techniques for analysing malware. The taught programme will include both dynamic and static analysis of a wide range of different malware artefacts, covering a diverse selection of malware categories. The teaching will also include techniques used to reverse malware which has been obfuscated to prevent analysis.

  • Professionalism in Forensics and Security – The module focuses on the legal and professional context of cyber security, software engineering, computer science and digital forensics and in doing so it addresses legal framework, legal and professional responsibilities of the software engineer, systems manager, computer forensic and security practitioner. The module will address UK and international law affecting cyber security, digital engineering, systems management and digital forensics The module identifies and explicates relevant research methods.

  • Secure Web Application Development – This module assumes a sound understanding of PHP. This will have been gained through previous study or significant commercial experience of web development.
    Many modern computer services are now accessed via the ubiquitous web-browser, and users have come to expect instant and secure access to information on a wide range of platforms. Underpinning these web systems is usually a web application, providing a channel to data stored in databases. However, increasingly the web-site has also become a point of entry for unauthorised access to stored data. This is often the result of poor web application design and/or implementation.
    The module considers how a web application may be designed and implemented in such a way as to reduce the likelihood of unauthorised access to information. This also requires an understanding of the more common forms of browser-based attacks and the coding techniques that can be used to defend against these.

 

Thrid year optional modules:

  • Web Application Penetration Testing – Web Application Penetration Testing aims to unearth the vulnerable areas in web applications before the hackers do. Basing the testing upon a recognised methodology helps to ensure that the majority of well known vulnerabilities are discovered and mitigation implemented before potentially disastrous consequences occur.

  • Digital Investigations – This module will present the tools and techniques of investigation for two different types of digital artefact. Typically, the types of investigation will cover a mixture of ‘dead-box’ forensics as well a mobile phone technologies. The module will culminate in a scenario of a realistic incident which will emphasise the technologies studied throughout. The scenario will focus on the use of tools for data preservation and analysis as well as managing the integrity of the evidence whilst the findings will be presented to a lay audience.
    Indicative topics may include: Search and seizure, File system forensics, Live system forensics, Mobile phone forensics, Memory forensics.

  • Network Forensics – This module will present the tools and techniques of investigation for two different types of digital artefact one of which is Network Forensics. The types of artefact may vary from year to year but generally they will include a mixture of current and new/cutting edge technologies. The module will culminate in a scenario of a realistic incident, which will emphasise the technologies studied throughout. The scenario will focus on the use of tools for data preservation and analysis as well as managing the integrity of the evidence whilst the findings will be presented to both a technical and executive audience. Indicative topics may include:
    Indicative topics may include: Network Forensics, SCADA Forensics, Virtual Machine Forensics, Cloud Forensics, IOT Forensics.

  • Multi-Service Networks 1 – The module provides a comprehensive analysis of problems and solutions found in modern networks and covers the communication stack (Physical, Data-link and Network layers). The module concentrates largely on the TCP/IP networks while the subnet covers recent and emerging developments in LANs, MANs and WANs, for both fixed and wireless network technologies. The Internet will be used as the driving vehicle to deliver the module. Familiarity is assumed with the basic concepts, but not necessarily the detail of data communications and the mechanisms by which a communications subnet transfers data segments between remote machines. Typically, these will have been studied in Year 2 modules but this is not a pre-requisite. The module does have a strong software and algorithms orientation. Cisco technologies (Cisco Routers and Switches and Cisco Packet Tracer) will be used within the labs and tutorials.

  • Multi-Service Networks 2 – The module provides analysis of problems and solutions found in networks and covers the mainly the communication stack (Transport and Application layers). The Networks module focuses exclusively on very high speed networks, which carry integrated multi-service traffic such as voice, video and data. A recurring theme is how the network can provide the necessary Quality of Service requirements for the various types of traffic. The recent and emerging developments in local and wide area networks, for both fixed and wireless network technologies, are considered and the role each of these can play in providing a suitable broadband intra/internet infrastructure is discussed. The protocols developed for each of these technologies is developed and contrasted with conventional OSI Model. A recurring theme is how the network can provide the necessary Quality of Service requirements for the various types of traffic. Cisco Routers and Switches and Cisco Packet Tracer) will be used within the labs and tutorials.
    Students are assumed to complete multi-service networks 1 as a pre-requesite. The module does have a strong software and algorithms orientation.

  • Industrial Control System (ICS) Security – Industrial Control Systems are ubiquitous in modern life, controlling most of our Critical National Infrastructure sectors identified by the government, such as Water, Power and Telecommunications. Due to the nature of these systems most contain components that were designed before the advent of the internet and so have do not have security built in. In the past air gaps and security through obscurity of control system logic were the primary defences keeping these systems safe, however these are not longer sufficient to protect such crucial networks. As systems can often be hundreds of miles from control centres, with sites and devices not always easily accessible for humans, more and more of these systems have been connected to the internet. This presents a new set of challenges for Cyber Security professionals, defences that can be deployed on the enterprise network cannot be implemented within the safety critical ICS space. Regular patching is also problematic, engineers cannot simply shut down a single device to install a patch but must shut down entire systems costing significant amounts of lost revenue. This module introduces the ICS domain, with an overview of the networks and protocols in use by industry. It covers all stages of the ICS kill chain, from reconnaissance through to incident response strategies and forensic analysis after an incident has occurred.

The course is part of DMU’s Cyber Security Centre, which has a national and international reputation in computer forensics and digital forensics, and influences the government and corporations in their approach to digital forensics and security. This shapes the curriculum so that you learn what is important.

In the first year, you will normally attend around 13-15 hours of timetabled taught sessions each week, split across a variety of lectures, small group activities and practical laboratory work.

Assessment is made up of roughly 50 per cent end of year examination and 50 per cent coursework in each year. The coursework takes a variety of forms, with frequent laboratory based phase tests providing early feedback on progress.

Assessed essays will be set for some topics and you will put together a portfolio to showcase your abilities. In the second year, more substantial assignments are set, including a research study.

In the final year, assessment is typically by examination, with core material being assessed by coursework. A prominent part of the course is the fortnightly series of guest lectures, given by a wide range of experts in the forensics and security domain.

A prominent part of the course is the fortnightly series of guest lectures, given by a wide range of experts in the forensics and security domain, ensuring your learning remains relevant to current industry practice.

 

 

This course is accredited by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT; the Institute collaborates with government, industry and relevant bodies to establish good, best and next working practice, codes of conduct, skills frameworks and common standards.

Once you have graduated and begun to work as an IT professional you can apply to become a full member of the BCS and, as your career develops, gain the status of Chartered IT Professional (CITP), giving you a recognised industry-relevant qualification.

 BCS

Facilities and features

Cyber Security Laboratories

The Cyber Security Laboratories are among the best equipped facilities of this type in the UK. Developed in consultation with leaders in the industry, they are designed to meet the highest forensics and security standards.

The laboratories contain 65 high-spec, specially customised PCs configured with multiple operating systems, virtualisation and removable hard drives, as well as specialised servers, wired and wireless networking equipment and a wide variety of other hardware and software components.

Cyber Security Centre

The laboratories are also the base for the University's Cyber Security Centre (CSC), a multidisciplinary group of academics and industry experts who focus on a wide variety of cyber security and digital forensics issues. Their mission is to provide the full benefits to all of a safe, secure and resilient cyberspace.

The laboratories play a vital role in the group's research and development work. Whether you are a first year undergraduate or a PhD student, within the laboratories you will be working with the latest tools and techniques at the forefront of computer forensics and security research.

Campus Centre

The current home of De Montfort Students' Union (DSU), Campus Centre, has been completely refurbished to create a state-of-the-art environment for DSU improving the student experience.

The new-look Campus Centre is the hub for student life, on the ground floor is a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. There is also the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and SUpplies, DSU’s shop, selling art supplies stationary  and clothing, and offering printing and binding services.

A newly-created staircase in the centre of the building leads up to the first floor, where the DSU officer team has new offices. 

Your campus, your DMU

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Want to find out where you would study and spend time?

We've got you covered, take a look at our Virtual Open Day to see the list of our campus buildings and student facilities.

Opportunities and careers

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Graduate Careers

Graduates pursue careers as forensic computing specialists for government agencies, security consultancies and commercial IT departments. 

Recent graduates have been working as software consultants, web developers, security consultants, surveillance assistants, IT officers and more.

Graduates are also well positioned to continue their academic careers by embarking on postgraduate study, in either research or taught areas, which offers the opportunity for further specialisation and enhances their existing skills.

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#DMUglobal

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

Our #DMUglobal High Flyers Award offers students a discount of up to £1,000 towards a #DMUglobal opportunity (terms and conditions apply).

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Placements

Placements can enhance your career prospects and give you the chance to use theory from the classroom in a real-world scenario before you have graduated.

Technology's dedicated Placement Unit provides support to all of our students looking to integrate a placement within their university career on both undergraduate degrees and postgraduate masters programmes. The placement unit will help you search for placement opportunities, create and refine your CV and interview approach, and offer any advice you need to find a great placement.

Students of this course have recently taken part in work placements at Airbus, ECSC Ltd, CY4OR Ltd, Viglen Ltd, Syngenta, Jagex Ltd and Capgemini UK.

DMU Open days

Our next Open Day takes place on Saturday 13 October 2018, book your place today.

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Order a prospectus

Our prospectus will give you a clearer idea of what it's like to live and study at DMU and a snapshot of the courses we offer.

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How to apply

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

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More about your DMU

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Accommodation
Your DSU
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#IChoseDMU

Find out why our students are proud to say #IchoseDMU. Find out more.

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Accommodation


We offer a range of high-standard accommodation for our students, with nine halls of residence – and around 2,300 rooms – all of which are within easy walking distance of the campus. There is a choice of mixed or same-gender flats, shared kitchen and laundry facilities, furnished bedrooms (some with en suite facilities) and internet access. Find out more.

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Your DSU

Run by students for students, DSU now offers more than 120 societies as well as 40 sports clubs. You can also get involved in the award-winning Demon Media group, volunteer to help in the community, become a course or faculty rep, and take part in the union’s annual elections. Find out more.

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A city like no other

Studying here gives easy access to the vibrant hub of entertainment, shopping and culture that is Leicester. There are clubs, bars and pubs, as well as festivals, live music, theatres and cinemas. Leicester City Football Club play in the Premier League while Leicester Tigers are one of Europe’s biggest rugby clubs. Find out more.

 
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Events

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

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Come to an Open Day

Don't let us tell you how good we are. Come to one of our open days and find out for yourself!

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Discover the DMU campus

Take a look around DMU by exploring our virtual campus.