Maths and Cryptography Summer Students Ref 2331

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Maths & Cryptography
At GCHQ, diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.


As one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, we unlock 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. Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
GCHQ, the longest standing code-breaking intelligence agency in the UK, is offering you an exciting opportunity to join our organisation on a maths summer placement.


GCHQ is keen to invest in enhancing your talent and maths skills.  On our maths summer school placement, you’ll get an insight into how GCHQ uses innovative technologies, and work on projects which are of real, operational interest to our organisation.  

The maths summer school placement is a nine-week, paid scheme, for mathematics undergraduates. Working closely with and supported by mentors, you’ll work with other students from the placement to collaboratively conduct innovative research.

You’ll help deliver on projects which will require the application of a variety of different areas of mathematics and could involve programming high performance computers.  You’ll have a love for solving problems.  In the past these problems have included assessing cryptographic algorithms, analysing complex data sets, developing new statistical tools and researching various areas of maths to ensure that British Government communications are secure.


•    You must be a current undergraduate studying for your first degree (Bachelors, Masters or equivalent) in mathematics, or a Joint Honours subject with mathematics as the main component.   By the start date of the placement, you must have completed a minimum of three taught years of your degree (or equivalent for part-time courses) and should be on track to achieve a 1st Class Honours qualification at the end of your degree.
•    You must have an A* A-Level in Maths (or equivalent)
•    A strong mathematical grounding and ability is required, although we don’t require specialisation in any particular areas. You must have great intellectual curiosity and the ability to learn quickly. Previous programming experience is useful but not essential.


At GCHQ we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. We’ll deliberately set you problems in areas where you’re likely to have little existing knowledge. We will provide a crash course in the necessary mathematical topics and programming skills required for the placement. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you to grow your skills and perform to the best of your abilities.

At the end of your summer placement, you may be considered for another summer placement.


£25,040 pro rata (including concessionary pay)




Optionally, we will arrange accommodation for you close to GCHQ and with other summer students, which would be paid in arrears from your salary.


To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements.  You’ll find more details here.

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 our eligibility criteria, the next steps of this selection process are:

•    Personal interview
•    Drugs test (this will happen at a later stage if you are successful at interview)

The interviews will be held virtually on a digital interviewing platform called TopScore during October, therefore please keep this month free.


Disability Confident Statement:

As a Disability Confident employer, we will ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview. This is known as the Offer of Interview (OOI). To secure an interview for this role, candidates applying under this scheme must meet the following minimum criteria:

•    Eligibility questions - you will be asked a series of questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet these criteria, you will be directed to the application form.
•    You will be asked to submit the application form, if you meet the minimum requirements including A* A-Level in Maths and being on track for a 1st class honours qualification at the end of your degree, you will then be invited to an interview.

If you successfully complete these stages, you’ll receive a job offer, conditional upon you completing our developed vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to perform this vital role.

To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have the nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries (for more info link to website / JD). If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. (for more info link to website / JD). Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section.

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.