GCHQ moves to certify more UK Master’s degree courses in Cyber Security

Six more university courses have now been certified by GCHQ

Six more university courses have now been certified by GCHQ

GCHQ has certified a further six Master’s degrees in cyber security run by universities across the country to support cyber security education in the UK. This move represents another significant step in the development of the UK’s knowledge, skills and capability in all fields of cyber as part of the National Cyber Security Programme1.

By bringing the total number of certified Master’s degrees to 12, GCHQ – as the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance – is continuing to set the standard for good cyber security education in the UK, using its own unique role to help promote quality and choice for the benefit of the cyber security sector.

Building on the certification of six Master’s degrees last year, the further six now announced will continue to help prospective students make better informed decisions when looking for a highly valued cyber security qualification, enable the successful universities to continue promoting the quality of their degrees and also assist potential employers with recruitment and development of their staff.

The successful six universities who submitted their Master’s degrees for assessment earlier this year (a total of 18 applications were received from 16 universities) had to meet the rigorous assessment criteria which demand a well-defined and appropriate degree content demonstrably delivered to the very highest standard.

Representatives from a combination of industry, academia and professional bodies – as well as GCHQ and other Government departments – worked in partnership to select the successful Master’s degrees.

The six Master’s degrees certified2 in this second round are as follows:

Full certification

*Royal Holloway, University of London and University of London International Academy – MSc in Information Security (Distance Learning)

*University of York – MSc in Cyber Security

Provisional certification

*University of Birmingham – MSc in Cyber Security

*University of Southampton – MSc in Cyber Security

*University of Warwick – MSc in Cyber Security Engineering

*University of Warwick – MSc in Cyber Security and Management

​Chris Ensor, deputy director for the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance at GCHQ, said: “As the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, GCHQ recognises the critical role academia plays in developing the UK’s skill and knowledge base. I’m delighted that six more Master’s degrees in general cyber security have been certified. I’d encourage those who were not successful on this occasion to explore how best to invest in order to be able to maximise chances of success in future calls.”


1The National Cyber Security Programme is run by the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance within the UK’s Cabinet Office and co-ordinates work undertaken by Government departments to implement the UK Cyber Security Strategy

2Full certification is for those Master’s degrees which are currently running and had a cohort of students complete the degree in the academic year 2013 to 2014. Provisional certification is for those Master’s degrees which are currently running but did not have a cohort complete in the academic year 2013 to 2014 or for new Master’s degrees due to start by October 2016

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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