CyberFirst Bursary Scheme Ref.1878

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CyberFirst is a Student Bursary scheme inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which aims to help, support and prepare undergraduates for a career in cyber security. NCSC will partner with other government departments and selected industry members to offer students a comprehensive package of financial assistance and cyber skills development opportunities whilst studying for an undergraduate degree.  


As a part of GCHQ, the NCSC unlocks the complex world of communications to keep our nation safe. We work closely with MI5 and MI6, our partners in the intelligence community, to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats.  


With a number of varied roles in our CyberFirst Student Bursary and Development Scheme, it’s a unique opportunity to be allocated an exciting challenge that rewards you for your talent and commitment. Quite simply, this is a student development opportunity like no other.  Working with GCHQ, the NCSC, as well as over 70 industry members and other government departments, you’ll gain unrivalled insight into the constantly evolving world of cyber security, taking on some seriously unique, real-world research tasks and projects.  Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime.  It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find anywhere else while gaining your degree of choice.

The programme could potentially lead to exciting roles within government and industry, particularly in intelligence and national security organisations or their industry partners, where you’ll help to shape and further advance our technical capability, including our ability to tackle national security threats.

You’ll be working with some of the most advanced technology and will develop a broad range of skills including teamwork, communication and leadership. Throughout the scheme you’ll be part of a close-knit cohort, providing opportunities for support and learning within this community. Ultimately, you’ll be making a real contribution towards tackling threats to national security in years to come.

During the years you study at University, you’ll receive a Bursary of £4,000 per year, tax free*.  Each summer, you’ll complete either training at a CyberFirst Academy or an 8-week training placement with the NCSC, a government body or one of our industry members. Wherever you are placed for the summer, you will receive a summer placement payment equivalent to £2,000. In addition, you will receive expenses towards accommodation and travel. There’s also the potential for a year in industry placement, which we can help to facilitate, if this is required by the university and course that you chose.  If at the end of your degree course, you would prefer to continue with academic study, we may be able to facilitate post graduate research in cyber security with the possibility of funding.

* The maximum bursary available during your studies is £16,000

Upon completion of your degree studies we will aim to place you in a paid cyber security role within UK national security, government or industry with the expectation that you would stay for a minimum of three years.


To apply for the CyberFirst Student Bursary and Development Scheme you must:  

• Be a UK National

• Have (or expect to have) 3 ‘A’ levels in any subject at Grade B or above (or qualification equivalent to 120 UCAS tariff points*) and have an offer (or be applying) to study an Undergraduate Degree or Integrated Masters in any subject at a UK University from September 2020

OR: Already be studying an Undergraduate Degree or Integrated Masters in any subject at a UK University, with a minimum of 2 years of full-time study remaining^ from September 2020 and have (or expect to have) attained a minimum 2:1 equivalent at the end of academic year 2019/20

*A list of equivalent qualifications can be found on the UCAS Tariff Calculator here.

^Please note that the two years can not contain overseas study, industry placements or gap years. Study must be at the university you are studying at in the UK

You may choose any course you wish to study, although we recommend these NCSC certified degrees, further information can be found here.

We’re looking for motivated and committed individuals, from all backgrounds, with an aspiration for a career in cyber security. As part of the selection process, you will be expected to demonstrate that you have the aptitude to develop an understanding of computers, how they work and how to secure them.  

If you’re excited about working with us and think you have some of what we’re looking for but aren’t sure if you’re 100% there yet… why not just give it a go!


At GCHQ we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential.  With comprehensive training and development opportunities, tailored to your needs and the requirements of your work, we’ll enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities.


• The UK University of your choice
• Summer Cyber Security placements are in various locations across government or industry between years of study


To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements. You must be 18 years of age on or before 28 February 2021.  You’ll find more details here.

Applications will open on 2nd September 2019 and close on 11th November 2019.

Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes to completing your application. We’re conscious this might be more time than you expected, so our system will allow you to save your application at any time and come back to it later. But remember to submit your full application before the closing date.

Once we’ve established that you meet the eligibility criteria, the next steps of the selection process are:

• Application Form

• Online Exercise – Please note, the link to the online exercise platform will be emailed to you following confirmation of eligibility and will be available from 2nd September 2019.  This must be completed no later than 1st December 2019

• Assessment Centre / Interview*

*Assessment Centres will be held on the 3rd - 7th & 10th - 12th February 2020 in Gloucester and on the 17th - 21st February 2020 in Scarborough.
If successful, you’ll receive a CyberFirst Bursary and Development Scheme offer, conditional upon exam results, university offer and you completing our Security Check (SC) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this offer.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.