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GCHQ names the Hogwarts for Hackers

Security agency certifies Master of Cyber Security degree at 6 Brit universities

GCHQ road sign

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has certified six Masters of Cyber Security degrees.

The certifications were issued under the UK's Cyber Security Strategy that, among other things, calls for the nation to “Strengthen postgraduate education to expand the pool of experts with in-depth knowledge of cyber.” With more postgraduates qualified in security disciplines, the argument goes, the UK will have more expert practitioners that can keep the nation safe by offering superior security services to public and private sector organisations.

While the Strategy was issued in 2011, it was only earlier this year that Universities were asked to put their courses under the microscope for assessment. That process saw at least three assessors, including one academic, run their eyes over each tertiary institution's applications. Four made the grade, namely:

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

Cranfield University's MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance and the University of Surrey's MSc in Information Security won provisional certification, which means the courses look great but as there hasn't been a cohort complete the qualification GCHQ is reserving final judgement.

The announcement of this batch of certifications isn't the end of things, as GCHQ plans to open the books to universities again later in 2014. The agency also plans to continue identifying security centres of excellence to advance research and defensive efforts. ®

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