in Security

Ten UK universities gain NCSC recognition for their postgraduate degrees

Posted 12 April 2021 · Add Comment

Ten universities around the UK have become the latest to receive official recognition for their postgraduate degrees in cyber security from the country’s leading experts, with their degrees certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Image courtesy NCSC

The institutions were successful in the latest round of the NCSC's degree certification scheme, which recognises high quality in cyber security education.

As a result, more than a third of UK universities offering postgraduate degrees in cyber security now offer courses recognised by the NCSC, which is a part of GCHQ.

The most recent recipients are spread around the country, from Aberdeen to Plymouth and Swansea to East Anglia, and offered modules including cryptography, digital forensics and automotive cyber security.

The NCSC runs the certified degree programme to help students make informed decisions about the range of courses on offer at UK universities and to help set a high standard of cyber security teaching across higher education.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “It’s great to see more UK universities being recognised for their work in developing skilled cyber security professionals.

“Offering a certified degree helps prospective students make more informed choices about their future careers and employers can rest assured that graduates will be well-taught and have valued industry skills.

“I encourage all institutions offering undergraduate or postgraduate courses to consider applying for certification.”

In the latest round of the certification scheme, ten universities had a cyber security-related course certified for the first time and four had courses recertified. This means that out of 79 universities in the UK offering postgraduate degrees in cyber security-related subjects, 35 courses at 31 universities have now received NCSC certification.

Since 2014, the NCSC has certified Master’s courses offered by institutions in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, as well as 6 Bachelor’s degrees and 3 Integrated Master’s degrees. 

Offering a NCSC-certified course can also benefit institutions by raising their profile and improving the quality and number of applicants. Official data shows more than half of UK students (52%) pursuing a cyber security-related Master’s degree chose a NCSC-certified course.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman, said: “The UK boasts some of the world's top universities and it's great to see even more offering specialist postgraduate courses certified by our world-class cyber security experts.

“As we build back better from the pandemic we are making sure our thriving cyber sector has the talent and skills to continue keeping people and businesses safe online.”

Certification is available at two levels – full and provisional, where full certification indicates a course has run in the previous and current academic years, and provisional indicates the course may not have started yet. The standard being recognised is the same at both levels.

The successful universities and courses in the latest round of applications are:

  • Cardiff University Cybersecurity (provisional)
  • City, University of London Cyber Security (full)
  • Coventry University Cyber Security (provisional)
  • University of East Anglia Cyber Security (provisional)
  • Heriot Watt University Computer Science for Cyber Security (provisional)
  • King’s College London Cyber Security (full)
  • Leeds Beckett University Cyber Security (provisional)
  • University of Plymouth Cyber Security (provisional)
  • Robert Gordon University Cyber Security (full)
  • Swansea University Cyber Security (full)

Recertified Master’s degrees (all receiving full certification)

  • Edinburgh Napier University Advanced Security and Digital Forensics
  • Lancaster University Cyber Security
  • Royal Holloway, University of London Information Security: campus-based
  • Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of London Worldwide Information Security: via distance learning
  • University of York Cyber Security

A full list of NCSC-certified Master’s degrees can be found on the NCSC website.

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