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Developing the Cyber Experts of the future – GCHQ set to certify Master's Degrees in Cyber Security – including Oxford’s MSc in Software and Systems Security


The intended certification of six Master’s degrees in Cyber Security was announced by Rt.Hon Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he visited GCHQ today.

This marks another significant step in the development of the UK’s knowledge, skills and capability in all fields of Cyber Security as part of the National Cyber Security Programme.

The National Cyber Security Strategy recognises education as key to the development of Cyber Security skills and, earlier in the year, UK universities were invited to submit their Cyber Security Master’s degrees for certification against GCHQ’s stringent criteria for a broad foundation in Cyber Security.

Partnerships have been key throughout the process with the assessment of applicants based on the expert views of industry, academia, professional bodies, GCHQ and other government departments.

The six successful Master’s degrees were judged to provide well-defined and appropriate content, delivered to the highest standard.

The development of GCHQ-certified Master’s degrees will help the successful universities to promote the quality of their courses and assist prospective students to make better informed choices when looking for a highly valued qualification. It will also assist employers to differentiate between candidates when employing Cyber Security staff.

A further call for Master’s certification will take place in late 2014 and will be extended to degrees which are focused on critical areas of Cyber Security such as digital forensics.

The six successful universities, whose Cyber Security Master’s degrees have been awarded GCHQ-certified status, are:

Full certified status:

  • Edinburgh Napier University - Degree - MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics
  • Lancaster University - Degree - MSc in Cyber Security
  • University of Oxford - Degree - MSc in Software and Systems Security
  • Royal Holloway, University of London - Degree - MSc in Information Security

Provisional certified status:

  • Cranfield University - Degree - MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance
  • University of Surrey - Degree - MSc in Information Security

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office said: "Every time I visit GCHQ I see first-hand their tremendous work on Cyber Security. Cyber Security is a crucial part of this government's long term plan for the British economy. We want to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online. Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware." 

GCHQ Press release – 1st August 2014.

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