World of Spies: Keeping Secrets

Get a taste of spy training, and learn how you can keep your secrets safe with a course designed for 13-18 year olds.

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 4 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $39 Find out more

Use logic and problem-solving skills to solve difficult puzzles

What does it take to be a spy? Strong critical thinking and communication skills, a firm grasp of logic, and a love of puzzles are all useful.

This course will help you develop those abilities while exploring the exciting world of espionage. You’ll learn about code-making and breaking, encryption, logical thinking and more as you find out whether you would make a good spy.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to spying and the common United States agencies that collect intelligence
  • Reasons for encrypting information
  • Various ways information is encrypted
  • Using logical thinking and linguistic patterns to break encrypted messages without a key
  • How traditional decryption methods led to the modern day computer
  • Why protecting information is important
  • How information we provide in social media can compromise the safety of our personal information
  • The effectiveness of modern day encryption

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Investigate reasons for encrypting information.
  • Compare various methods for encrypting information.
  • Apply logical thinking, linguistic patterns, and historical enciphering methods to encipher and decipher messages.
  • Evaluate weaknesses of various encoding and enciphering methods.
  • Debate the necessity and effectiveness of protecting information.

Who is the course for?

This course has been specially designed for school students aged 13 and over who enjoy puzzles and are looking to improve their logic skills or find out more about espionage.

What software or tools do you need?


Who will you learn with?

Sheree Buikema

Sheree Buikema

Sheree is an instructional designer who has won awards for her work in both K-12 and higher education. This course is based upon a face-to-face course she developed for Purdue’s GERI program.

Benjamin Wiles

Benjamin Wiles

Ben Wiles is the Chief Data Officer at Clemson University and teaches in the Department of Mathematics.

Who developed the course?

Purdue University

One of the four best public universities in the US, Purdue delivers an engaging learning experience and a world-class degree.


Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$249.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.