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CyberFirst Student Bursary and Development Scheme for Under Graduates

Contract Type
Defence & Security
Expiry Date
What do you call a STEM student with a £4,000 annual bursary? You might call them lucky. We call them cyberists.

Job Description

CyberFirst Student Bursary and development scheme for Under Graduates

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, and our industry partners are offering you an exciting opportunity to benefit from a generous annual bursary, paid summer activities and the potential for 3 years’ employment in National Security.


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. Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find anywhere else.


With a number of varied roles in our CyberFirst Student Bursary scheme, it’s a unique opportunity to pick an exciting challenge that rewards you for your talent and commitment. If you’re starting your first or second year of undergraduate study in September 2018, you could benefit from a mix of financial and development support for the first few years of your career.

Quite simply, this is a student development opportunity like no other. Working with GCHQ, the NCSC, as well as industry 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. While gaining your choice of STEM degree, you’ll develop your career in a way that you couldn’t do anywhere else.   

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 to tackling threats to national security in years to come.


We’re looking for motivated and committed individuals from all backgrounds, with a technical aptitude and real passion for all things cyber. 

To apply for the CyberFirst Student Development Scheme, you have, or expect to have by September 2018:

a place at a UK university to study a STEM undergraduate degree and 3 A-Levels at grade B or above (or equivalent qualifications such as Advanced Highers) in any subject;


 be starting your second year at a UK university, studying a STEM undergraduate degree, and have attained a minimum 2:1 equivalent in your first year of that degree, at a UK university.

The STEM course that you choose to study is down to your own choice, although we recommend these NCSC certified degrees: 

As part of the selection process, you will be expected to show clear evidence of understanding computers, how they work and how to secure them.

Due to the high number of applications expected for this campaign, we reserve the right to close before the advertised date.


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. To support your studies in a STEM subject, you’ll receive a bursary of £4000 per annum, tax-free. 

Each summer, we’ll arrange for cyber security related paid employment activities within government or with industry partners, for which you’ll receive payments of £250 per week and contribution towards living accommodation or travel costs. Placements will be tailored to your interests wherever possible. 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.  

After graduation we’ll aim to place you in a paid Cyber Security role within UK national security, government or industry, for the next three years. After successful completion of the three years’ employment and subject to suitable vacancies, you may be offered a permanent position (although you are not obliged to accept it.) If after the end of your degree you would prefer to continue your academic studies, there may be opportunities for approved post graduate cyber security research. 


  • Bursary of £4,000 per annum for each year of study*
  • 2 x paid summer work activities at £250 per week (Plus a contribution towards living accommodation or travel costs)**

*Up to £16,000 if completing a Master’s Degree
**Summer placements are normally 8 weeks @ £250 per week


  • The UK University of your choice
  • Summer Cyber Security placements are in various locations across government or industry each summer.


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 2019.  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:

  • - Application questions
  • - Online proficiency test
  • - Interview*

*Interviews will be held in Gloucester. 
If you successfully complete these stages, you’ll receive a CyberFirst Bursary offer, conditional upon you completing our Secret Clearance (SC) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this offer.