The University of Southampton

GCHQ Certifies Master's Degree in Cyber Security

Published: 2 July 2015

Southampton’s MSc in Cyber Security is one of just six UK university degree programmes to receive certified status by GCHQ in 2015.

British intelligence agency GCHQ, as the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, sets the standard for good cyber security education in the UK. Its certification programme recognises the MSc in Cyber Security from Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) as providing well-defined and appropriate degree content, delivered to the highest standard, based on GCHQ’s rigorous assessment criteria. This assessment included expert views of industry, academia, professional bodies, GCHQ and other government departments.

This endorsement further demonstrates the high quality of Southampton’s work in cyber security. The University’s’ Cyber Security Research Centre is one of only thirteen Academic Centres of Excellence status identified by to help make the UK government, businesses and consumers more resilient to cyber-attack by extending knowledge through original research and providing top-quality graduates in the field of cyber security.

Professor Vladimiro Sassone of ECS and leader of the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security, said: “We are very pleased to have our Master's degree recognised through GCHQ’s certified status, which complements the world-leading research undertaken through our Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security. Students on this programme will benefit from a very high quality learning experience while future employers can be assured of their skills in cyber security.”

Dr Tim Chown of ECS and Programme leader for the MSc in Cyber Security, added: “Our Cyber Security MSc has proved to be very popular, with students enrolling from all around the world."

The MSC in Cyber Security has achieved provisional status. Provisional certification is for those Master’s degrees which are currently running but have not yet had a cohort complete in the current academic year. It is based on students’ module choice including Foundations of Cyber Security; Implementing Cyber Security; Software Engineering and Cyber Security; Cyber Crime, Insecurity and the Dark Web; Secure Systems; Cryptography.

This round of accreditation by GCHQ brings the total number of UK Master’s degrees in Cyber Security with certified status to 12.

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 am delighted that six more Master’s degrees in general cyber security have been certified.”

For more information on GCHQ’s work with universities see UK Cyber Security Research and Education.

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