GCHQ-certified degrees

Created:  02 Oct 2015
Updated:  12 Jul 2017
About GCHQ-certified Master’s and Bachelor's degrees in cyber security and closely related fields.

With so many UK universities offering degrees containing cyber security content, it can be difficult for students and employers alike to assess the quality on offer and to identify the degree that best suits someone’s preferred career path. GCHQ-certified degrees help:

  • universities to attract high quality students from around the world
  • employers to recruit skilled staff and develop the cyber skills of existing employees
  • prospective students to make better informed choices when looking for a highly valued qualification
The 22 Master’s degrees currently certified by GCHQ are:
 
Full certification​ ​
University of Birmingham MSc in Cyber Security*
Cranfield University​​ MSc in Digital Forensics
Edinburgh Napier University​

MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics​* - available as full-time, part-time or part-time, distance learning

Lancaster University​ MSc in Cyber Security
University of Oxford​ MSc in Software and Systems Security*
Royal Holloway, University of London​ MSc in Information Security
Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of London International Academy​ MSc in Information Security — Distance Learning
Queen's University Belfast MSc in Cyber Security*
University of Southampton MSc in Cyber Security
University of South Wales MSc in Computer Forensics*
University of Surrey MSc in Information Security​*
University of York​​ MSc in Cyber Security*

*Certification is awarded to a specific pathway through the degree.

Provisional certification​ ​
University of Bradford MSc Cyber Security
Cranfield University MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance​​
University of Kent MSc in Cyber Security
Kingston University MSc in Network and Information Security (Cyber Pathway)
Oxford Brookes University MSc Computer Science for Cyber Security
Royal Holloway, University of London Integrated Master's degree (MSci) in Computer Science (Information Security)
University of Southampton Integrated Master's degree (MEng) in Computer Science with Cyber Security​
University College London MSc in Information Security*
University of Warwick MSc in Cyber Security Engineering​
University of Warwick MSc in Cyber Security and Management*
*Certification is awarded to a specific pathway through the degree. 
 
The two Bachelor’s degrees currently provisionally certified by GCHQ are:
 
Provisional Certification
Royal Holloway, University of London BSc Computer Science (Information Security)
University of Warwick BSc Cyber Security (from October 2018)
 
Universities wishing to apply for certification must submit an application which includes details of:
 
  • the academic team delivering the degree
  • the subject areas taught
  • the examinations used for assessment of students
  • how students undertake their original research dissertation
  • entry requirements for the degree
  • example dissertations**
  • student numbers**
  • grades achieved by students, and student feedback**
**Not required in applications for provisional certification.
 
For more information contact MastersCertification@ncsc.gov.uk, or BachelorsCertification@ncsc.gov.uk.
 

Background

The vision of the UK Cyber Security Strategy 2016-21 is that:
 
  • "the UK is secure and resilient to cyber threats, prosperous and confident in the digital world."
Section 7 of the Strategy ('Develop') states that:
 
  • "the UK requires more talented and qualified cyber security professionals”.

In particular, objective 7.1 is “to ensure the sustained supply of the best possible home-grown cyber security talent”.

Over the past few years, GCHQ and its partners across government (BIS, OCSIA, EPSRC and CPNI) have initiated a number of programmes across UK academia which are designed to address the knowledge, skills and capability requirements for cyber security research in Section 7.
 
These include the certification of degrees discussed on this page and:

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