Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Monica has several available scholarships for candidates considering human factors in cybersecurity. They need to have training in psychology or the social sciences and have interest and/or experience in researching these matters. Her field is a growing and important field in cybersecurity. Examples of potential projects may be:

- Victimology of scam victims
- Examination of the methods employed by criminals to trick scam victims
- Detection of mis/disinformation via an understanding of psychological theories
- Effective methods to train users in safe cyber security behaviours
- Pathway models of insider threat (accidental and malicious)
- Typology of an insider threat
- Computer simulation of insider threats
- How to improve businesses to make them more resilient to insider attacks


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor Monica Whitty is the Head of Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity and is Professor of Human Factors in Cyber Security. She has been a member of the World Economic Forum Cyber Security Centre and was a member of the WEF Cyber Security Global Futures Committee. She values a diverse and inclusive environment.

Prof Whitty's academic career began in Australia working at Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney, before moving to the UK (2003) and then returning home to Australia (2018). In the UK she worked for universities in the Russell Group (Queen's University, Belfast; University of Warwick), and The 1994 Group Universities (University of Leicester). In Australia, she previously worked at the University of Melbourne before commencing her post at UNSW in 2020. She was the founder and the Director of the UNSW Institute for Cyber Security (IFCYBER). Professor Whitty has worked in a GCHQ accredited Cyber Security Centre in the UK at the University of Warwick and has held an honorary post at the University of Oxford at the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Internet Institute, and an honorary Professorship at the Institute of Royal Holloway, University of London.

Monica has extensive experience in leading large interdisciplinary, international teams on funded projects. Professor Whitty has been awarded significant research funding (> $20 million AUD) and has led most of her projects. She has extensive experience in teaching at all levels and in the development of successful Masters courses.

Prof Whitty is the author of over 100 articles and 5 books. She is a leading expert on human factors in cybersecurity. She is well-known for her work on the prevention, disruption, and detection of cyber fraud, (esp. romance scams and investment scams), cyber security training, identities created in cyberspace, online security risks, behaviour in cyberspace, insider threat and mis/disinformation.

Monica's work is highly impactful - contributing to policy and tools in the UK and Australia to improve cyber security behaviours, prevent and detection cyber fraud victimisation, insider attacks, and the spread of disinformation. She has been an expert witness on > 10 cases across the globe for cyber fraud victims wrongly accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, and sentencing.

Monica has given over >50 keynotes and invited talks and is regularly interviewed by the media on matters of cyber security.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, PhD (psychology), Macquarie University

Award Date: 1 Mar 2000

Psychology, BA (Hons) Psychology, Macquarie University

Award Date: 1 Mar 1992

Research area keywords

  • cybersecurity
  • Fraud
  • insider threat
  • mis/disinformation
  • deception
  • persuasion
  • Decision-making

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or