Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
1 Year
Professional Diploma
NFQ Level 9 Minor Award
Faculty: Science and Engineering
Course Type: Taught, Professional/Flexible
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Name: Muzaffar Rao

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Brief Description

Next Intake: September 2024

This course qualifies for 80% funding under the HCI Fees Subsidy. Check fees section for details and eligibility.

Investing in operational technology security is more important than ever in our interconnected world. As we become increasingly connected globally, the risk of cyber attacks on industrial control systems and other critical infrastructure is rising.

Our Professional Diploma in Operational Technology (OT) Security has been designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to protect your organisation's industrial control systems and other critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Those who directly or indirectly integrate OT and IT systems to support Industry 4.0 standards in their organisation will benefit from this Level 9 programme. The knowledge and skills gained will be invaluable to IT and OT engineers as it will give you the expertise and skills to safeguard your company's industrial control systems and other vital infrastructure from online attacks. This part-time online programme offers a robust grounding for integrating IT/OT technology, associated security issues, understanding the laws and regulations involved, and the potential risks to the organisation. It will enable those in organisational management to integrate systems effectively and reduce the risks associated with adopting Industry 4.0 standards.

The cyber programmes in University of Limerick and Munster Technological University are the only upskilling programmes in Ireland that are accredited and use the state of the art CYRIN Cyber Range, a next-generation cyber range where you train with real tools, real attacks, and real scenarios to hone your skills in a virtual environment. You'll learn from experienced instructors who are experts in operational technology security, and you'll have the opportunity to engage with other working professionals from different industries. 

UL@Work programmes are co-designed with industry to ensure skills transfers are industry-responsive for current and future needs. Our programmes are developed for working professionals and are designed to be flexible and accessible. You can take it online and from anywhere worldwide.

Stack your learning with MicrocredsNot quite ready to commit to a full professional diploma? Consider trying a microcredential. You can stack your microcred credits towards a professional diploma at a later date. Modules listed within the Programme Content with an (M) beside them are MicroCreds and can be taken independently.

Build Your Master Plan: Stack Your Way to Success: If you are using this Professional Diploma as the final 30 ECTS Credits to stack into our Master of Professional Practice (MPP) you will need to apply via the MPP page HERE.

This Professional Diploma is offered in partnership with Cyberskills 

Undertaking this part-time online programme provides a wide range of benefits for individuals and organisations alike. It provides the skills and knowledge required to design, implement and manage effective security systems, enabling protection against potential threats and vulnerabilities. It enhances employability and career prospects in cybersecurity, information technology and risk management. Furthermore, it helps organisations to safeguard their critical data, assets and infrastructure and improve overall security posture. 

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion, you will be able to:

  • Inform decisions regarding appropriate network architectures and protocols used for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) within your company.
  • Lead project teams responsible for recommending suitable security standards as applied to ICS.
  • Apply standards to integrate ICS systems into Information Technology (IT) systems.

Download the programme flyer  HERE

Semester 1


OT/ICS Networks and Protocols (M):

  • Industrial control systems architectures
  • ICS Media and Protocols
  • ICS Network Topologies and Services
  • ICS Network Configuration
  • The current state of secure implementations of the OT network space.

Cybersecurity Law & Regulations (M):

  • Multi-level governance and regulatory system, i.e., International standards, EU rules, Domestic Rules. Risk assessment and measurement.
  • Laws and regulations regarding Ireland and EU Cybersecurity certification.
  • Current industry standards & their state of ratification/adoption in the industry.

Semester 2



Secure OT/ICS Networks (M):

  • Cyber Threats, vulnerabilities and attack vectors
  • The OT concept of asset/vulnerability management
  • ICS Security Architecture
  • Security Principles – Firewalls and Zoning
  • Security Principles – Intrusion Detection and Prevention
  • Security Monitoring

Log Files and Event Analysis:

  • Log Files
  • Log File Access and Analysis
  • Log Management Systems
  • SIEM - System information and event management tools
  • Investigating an Incident – Developing the correct mindset.

Both Semesters

Future Focused Professional Portfolio 1 & 2
In the first module, you will be led through a series of talks about the future of technology, the future of markets, and the future of society as a whole. You'll work collaboratively to identify key trends impacting your role and organisation. You'll also build a professional network and use it to reach out to key thought leaders in this area.

The second module will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate independent and self-determined learning through the creation of your own individual portfolio. Your portfolio includes various activities that will show how you've improved your reflective practice, how well you've used discipline-specific knowledge in different situations, and how you've led a discussion about the future of your field.

(M) Microcreds available:
Modules listed within the Programme Content with an (M) beside them are micro-credentials and can be taken independently. A microcred is a single module within a larger further award (eg. Certificate, Diploma, Masters). By taking a micro-credential you may be eligible to apply for a credit exemption should you progress to study for a further award.


Who is this programme for?
This programme specifically benefits the NIST/NICE work role of Network Operations Specialist (OM-NET-001)
Targeting OT Systems. It's also suitable for standard IT engineers, network engineers, back-end server engineers, IT administrators, managers with an interest in networking, engineers working Security Operations Centres (SOCs) and those who wish to pivot into a security role. 

What would be a good feeder course for a learner on this programme?
Level 8 degree (H2.2 award level or appropriate industrial experience post-degree) in Computer Science/IT/Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

What types of roles typically would learners currently hold before doing this programme?
IT and OT engineers who are directly implementing/integrating the OT systems into IT systems will benefit from this programme. Additionally it’s suited to standard IT engineers, network engineers, back-end server engineers, IT administrators, managers with an interest in networking, engineers working in Security Operations Centes (SOCs), and people who wish to switch into a security role.

What skills will you and your employer benefit from on completing this programme?
The benefits to an organisation include:

  • Improved security: By having IT and OT engineers with improved knowledge of OT security, an employer can improve the overall security posture of their organisation, preventing cyberattacks and other security incidents resulting in data breaches and system downtime. 
  • A better understanding of risks: this programme will ensure your employee understands the specific risks associated with OT systems, such as industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. This knowledge can help them identify potential vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. 
  • Compliance with regulations: you can ensure compliance with regulations by having IT and OT engineers with knowledge of OT security. Improved collaboration: IT and OT engineers often have different backgrounds and areas of expertise, making collaboration challenging. By having both groups take a course in OT security, they can develop a shared understanding of security risks and strategies, improving collaboration and communication. 
  • Increased efficiency: Security incidents can be costly regarding time and resources. By having IT and OT engineers with knowledge of OT security, you can reduce the risk of security incidents and minimise the impact of any incidents, improving efficiency and productivity.

How many hours per week? And what is the split between lecture and tutorial time? All lectures will be recorded. Live tutorial sessions will be at a time suitable to the student group. This programme is delivered online via the University of Limerick Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Some of the modules will have lab elements that will be performed on a state-of-the-art Cyber Range. The total weekly time commitment is 12 hours per week, which drills down to the following:

  • 1-hour pre-recorded lecture
  • 4 hours of live tutorials 
  • 2 hours of practical labs
  • 5 hours study 

How are learners assessed on this programme?
All modules will be continuous assessment-based through practical exercises, reports and short terminal tests.

Who is the Course Director?
Dr Muzaffar Rao is a lecturer in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Limerick. He is also an Associated Investigator (AI) in Lero – Irish Software Engineering and CONFIRM – Smart Manufacturing research centres. He is an electronic engineer who has been working in cybersecurity for the last 10 years. He was awarded his PhD in January 2017 from the University of Limerick. During his PhD, he worked on the hardware implementation of cryptographic algorithms/security protocols. As a postdoc researcher, he has worked with industry (KOSTAL, NSC – National Space Centre, Commissioners of Irish Lights) and co-funded collaborative research projects with PhDs/PG students. His recent research projects include AIVs and MES secure integration in smart manufacturing environments, the development of a secure core for legacy/new ICS infrastructure using a Bump in the Wire (BitW) edge-based security solution, real-time implementation of a hardware-based secure core for secure communication between RoV (Remotely Operated Vehicle – underwater robot) and control station in Marine Professional Diploma in Operational Technology Security environment, and secure evaporation duct link. His research has resulted in several peer-reviewed publications in international conferences and Journals. His research interests include OT/ICS security, IT/OT integration, BitW (Bump-in-the-Wire) security, AI/ML in Cybersecurity, IoTs & IIoTs, robotic automation, cyber-physical systems, and FPGAs-based digital system design.

Research Publication Details:
Google Scholar Profile
ResearchGate Profile

You can get in touch with Dr Rao on email:

Level 8 degree (H2.2 award level or with appropriate industry experience post-degree) in Computer Science/IT/Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

Alternative Entry Route:

In accordance with the University's policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning, candidates who do not meet the minimum entry criteria may be considered.

What to Include with your Application

  • Qualification transcripts and certificates
  • A copy of your birth certificate or passport
  • If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice
  • If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided:
    • English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
    • English language competency certificate

    For more information Click Here

EU - €3,500 per annum

Non EU - €4,750 per annum

HCI Fees Subsidy - Candidates who satisfy the eligibility criteria can qualify for 80% funding subject to the availability of places. To clarify eligibility please go to Eligibility Criteria 

Further information on fees and payment of fees is available from the Student Fees Office website. All fee related queries should be directed to the Student Fees Office (Phone: +353 61 213 007 or email

Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.