Universities across the UK now have a further opportunity for their cyber security-related degrees to gain certification as part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy. After a rigorous process, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – itself a part of GCHQ – has already certified 23 Master’s degrees, three Integrated Master’s and three Bachelor’s degrees from 19 universities over the last four years.
With applications now open, the NCSC is looking for fresh candidates to increase these figures, with degree apprenticeships now also eligible. In essence, NCSC-certified degrees help universities to attract high quality students from around the world, employers to recruit skilled staff and prospective students to make better informed choices when looking for a highly valued qualification.
Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber skills and growth, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve now launched a programme for certifying degree apprenticeships. This will be a valuable addition to our certified undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Degree apprenticeships offer a flexible option for both students and employers, as we’ve seen from our own degree apprenticeship programme. I’m looking forward to seeing some more successful applications, and would strongly encourage any interested universities to contact us and find out more.”
The degree certification programme is part of a range of programmes which the NCSC and its Government partners have initiated across UK academia designed to address the knowledge, skills and capability requirements for cyber security research and education.
The other programmes include Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, Academic Research Institutes and Centres of Doctoral Training in Cyber Security.
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore observed: “The fast-paced world of technology is constantly evolving and it’s vital that young people have the option to study high quality courses in cutting-edge industries such as cyber security. We want to maximise choice and flexibility for people wishing to study in higher education, whether that’s as part of a traditional course or a degree apprenticeship. Not only will these certified degrees provide a benchmark for future cyber security professionals, but they’ll also help to ensure they’re ready for the world of work and prepare them for an exciting career.”
Testimonials from universities
“Gaining certification has led to a continual increase in student numbers” – Edinburgh Napier
“There’s no doubt that gaining certification has increased student intake” – Royal Holloway
“There has been a definite increase in the number of applicants which has more than trebled since gaining certified status… It’s hoped that the increase in numbers and the benefits associated with that will allow the Cyber Department the opportunity to revise and possibly raise the entry requirements and therefore raise the profile and quality of the applicants” – University of South Wales
“The success of this course has contributed to the university’s decision to introduce a new MEng degree in Computer Science with Cyber Security” – University of York
*Those institutions interested in applying for certification can find out further detail via https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-degree-certification-call-new-applicants-0