Securing underwater wireless sensor networks (UWSNs) against cyber-attacks

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: More than 75% of the Earth is covered by water. Underwater robotics and communication Networks have become an attractive field and a fast-growing field with broad applications in research, commercial and military systems.

MRes | MPhil | PhD | MSc by Research
Start Date
Usually February and October - at individual School's discretion


It consists of various kinds of sensors, robots and vehicles that can be deployed in remote and hazardous deep-water zones for remote monitoring and operation in different application areas such as real-time monitoring and remote control of ROVs in the off-shore oil industry, resource discovery , disaster detection and early warning;  recognition of surface defects by taking data (photo and digital colour image processing or sense light, salinity, pressure, temperature, density, chemical components, conductivity, pH or turbidity etc)  [1].

While UWSN is a hot topic in exploring and studying the underwater world, there are many challenges involved in its proper performance, including unpredicted underwater environment, data transfer, and vulnerability to a wide class of security threats and malicious attacks [2]. To avoid these attacks, the security requirements of UWSNs must be evaluated. Therefore, efforts are needed on fundamental research for the development of new advanced secure communication techniques for efficient underwater communication and networking. This work investigates the development of new advanced secure communication techniques for underwater communication and networking.

The project mainly focuses on real time communication between underwater wireless sensor nodes and onshore servers exchanging data and images via radio, acoustic and optical means via a secured communication method [2]. There are two parts of this study: the design of UWSN network and underwater data communication, and the evaluation and mitigation of attacks and threats against such communication.

Performing underwater wireless sensor networking experiments in the field on real hardware is expensive, therefore, the investigation on underwater communication network design will be conducted via simulation.



  1. Pompili, D. and Akyildiz, I.F., A cross-layer communication solution for multimedia applications in underwater acoustic sensor networks. In Mobile Ad Hoc and sensor systems. MASS 2008. 5th IEEE International Conference on (pp. 275-284),2008.
  2. Guang Yang, Lie Dai, Guannan Si, Shuxin Wang, Shouqiang Wang, Challenges and Security Issues in Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks, Procedia Computer Science,Volume 147, 2019.


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Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University.

Applicants holding other qualifications shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. 

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Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 with 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent.

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For Academic Year 2022/2023

UK/EU Students

  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year

International Students

  • Full time - £17,000 per academic year
  • Part-time MPhil/PhD - £10,200 per academic year
  • Part-time MRes/MSc by research - £8,500 per academic year

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Postgraduate research students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However you may qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

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Occasionally, the University will also advertise avaliable funded studentships, for very specific topics or subjects:


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All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students.

Before you apply, find out more about the application process, deadlines, time frames, routes and durations:

Our Research degrees usually start in February and October each year. There are no formal deadlines for you to submit your application, though we recommend you submit it as early as possible in order to ensure we can help you join us at your preferred time. 

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:

  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 and 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent. 
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.

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