The BSc (Hons) Cyber Security Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship is designed to enhance and accelerate cyber skills. It is a work-based learning programme that develops advanced understanding of cyber security issues and technology solutions.

It is a structured, research-rich learning programme that includes a range of learning experiences – including classroom workshops and work-based activities. As a work-based programme, it supports development of skills needed within an organisational context.

Students will develop, update, extend and deepen their knowledge and technical competency. Combined with enhancing professional skills and behaviours, it empowers students to excel in the field of cyber security.

Level of study: Undergraduate
Award: BSc (Hons) Cyber Security Technical Professional
Apprenticeship standard: Cyber Security Technical Professional (Integrated Degree)
Awarding body: Northumbria University
Fees: This programme is fully funded by employers (levy and non-levy paying)
Mode of study: Part-Time, Blended and Work-based Learning
Duration: 4 years
Assessment methods: Coursework including portfolios, End Point Assessment (EPA)
Start date: October, January, April, July
Locations: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol

This degree apprenticeship equips people to work in a range of computing, IT, and digital technology roles where cyber security plays a vital role.

This programme uses a range of different ways to learn. Work-based activities, digital learning and online resources develop students’ knowledge throughout the programme. Students also attend face-to-face workshops at a local QA training centre to help contextualise learning. 20% of working time is required for studying – we will talk you through this.

What’s included?

On successful completion of the programme the following qualifications are gained:

  • BSc (Hons) Cyber Security Technical Professional Degree

There is no cost for degree apprentices. Degree apprenticeships are fully funded by employers.

Travel expenses to travel to QA training centres should be covered by the employer. All textbooks are provided free of charge as e-books. Any students wishing to use paper copies will need to pay for these themselves, at an average cost of £30 per book.

The entry requirements for this programme are:

A-levels or equivalent

GCSE Maths and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or equivalent

If you do not already have GCSE Maths and English qualifications, you may still enter the programme but will need to complete Level 2 Maths and English qualifications as part of the programme.

Non-standard entry requirements

Applicants who can demonstrate their ability to benefit from the programme in other ways (for example mature students without formal qualifications), will always be considered and will be invited to contact the Programme Leader to discuss their application. The University welcomes applications from students with different qualification types – for example an A level and a BTEC qualification in combination – and if you are made an offer you will be asked to achieve UCAS Tariff points from all of the qualifications you are studying at level 3.

Informal interviews

Informal interviews will be held where:

  • The suitability of a candidate is in doubt and further evidence is sought.
  • The candidate presents an unusual set of qualifications taken or pending, and an appropriate conditional offer needs to be determined.
  • Candidates may need advice on the appropriateness of the programme.

Applicants invited for an informal interview will always be informed of its purpose.

We teach people in the way they tell us they want to learn. Life is busy. People need tech-enabled apprenticeship programmes that resonate with their day-to-day life.

We’ve invested in technology and digital content creation to deliver a ‘high-tech, high-touch’ approach to challenge-based learning for apprenticeships.

‘High tech’ refers to the innovative use of digital technology we use to facilitate our blend of learning methodologies. We deliver ‘mobile-first’ education – this means learning can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device, so students get high-quality learning content on the go.

‘High touch’ refers to the many touch points students receive to interact with learning, and get support from expert QA training teams through workshops, coaching and online support.

This programme teaches skills across Levels 4, 5 and 6:

Level 4

  • Computer Systems and Digital Logic (Core)
  • Algorithms and Mathematics (Core)
  • Software Development (Core)
  • Operating Systems and Server Administration (Core)
  • Human Computer Interaction and Cyber Security (Core)

Level 5

  • Computer Security (Core)
  • Web and Mobile Application Security (Core)
  • Network Security (Core)
  • Data Science and Cyber Security (Core)
  • Ethical Hacking (Core)

Level 6

  • Digital Forensics and Incident Handling (Core)
  • Information Security Management (Core)
  • Cyber Offensive Defence (Core)

Empowering roles like:

  • Cyber Risk Manager
  • Cyber Risk Analyst
  • Cyber Research Analyst
  • Cyber Incident Manager
  • Cyber Security Engineer
  • Cyber Security Design Engineer

All modules are 20 credits unless otherwise stated.

Level 4

Computer Systems and Digital Logic (Core)

This module covers computer architecture, digital logic, and machine-level representation of data. In testing, it also covers how to debug programs in low-level language. Students will learn to apply this knowledge in a business context to solve problems and recommend future improvements. It develops a combination of technical competencies and knowledge including professional, academic, digital logic and assembly-language focussed skills.

Algorithms and Mathematics (Core)

This module develops basic knowledge of algorithms and mathematics which can be applied in the cyber security domain. Students will apply this knowledge in their own context as a Cyber Security Technical Professional. Relevant computational mathematics principles, models and terminologies are also taught – in context of solving real-world problems.

Software Development (Core)

This module introduces the practical aspects of developing a software application –following a well-defined process and using industry-standard techniques.

Learners will gain experience in the software development cycle including; requirement analysis, design and implementation. Learners will also gain the skills to exploit implementation support technologies. Topics covered include; software development methodologies such as waterfall and Agile; design tools such as Unified Modelling Language (UML) and object-oriented (OO) programming language and the concepts of software testing.

Operating Systems and Server Administration (Core)

This module develops introductory knowledge and skills in operating system security and server administration. It develops understanding of operating system behaviour and its functions.

This will help students appraise and select the features of current operating systems; and understand how they are configured and integrated to provide enterprise-level services. The concepts of operating systems security will be introduced so students can use techniques to secure operating systems from hijacking, malicious bugs and viruses.

Human Computer Interaction and Cyber Security (Core)

This module covers key theories, design issues and topics in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Students will apply their knowledge in the context of developing usable, interactive and secure computer systems. Students will develop prototypes in accordance to key usability standards and user needs.

This module will also emphasise the technical aspects of prototyping and HCI. Topics covered include; user-centred design, the design process, prototyping and evaluating the user experience – for the needs of multiple platforms and emergent devices.

Professional Practice 1 (Core)

Professional Practice 1 is an opportunity to tailor the skills learned within Level 4 of the programme to the working environment. This is a self-guided module to develop skills and knowledge related to the student’s own professional development needs, and work context.

Working with QA’s academic team and their employer, students will conduct a skills analysis to identify relevant training. It can take a number of forms, for example:

  • Technical training delivered within the workplace, or class environment.
  • Structured online learning.
  • A mini project.
  • Or, another appropriate form (as long as it is approved by the academic team).

When training is complete, the acquired skills will be focused towards a specified project or business challenge, which should include:

  • Developing a cyber-security-focused system
  • Analysing the system
  • Taking a holistic view of the system – including the wider human elements of cyber security, and legal and ethical issues.

Level 5

Computer Security (Core)

This module develops knowledge and skills in computer security. Students will apply their knowledge and skills in context at work – applying and analysing implementation and recommending potential future improvements.

It provides an overview of computer security techniques and fundamental knowledge of countermeasures. It covers relevant cutting-edge computer security principles, models and terminologies required to secure modern computers.

Web and Mobile Application Security (Core)

This module develops fundamental knowledge and skills in web application and mobile security concepts.

Students will gain insight into different web and mobile security threats such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and session hijacking. Students will also learn how to apply essential security techniques to test and protect web and mobile applications from these attacks.

Students will apply their knowledge in the design, implementation, testing and use of secure web and mobile applications. They will analyse their implementation and recommend future improvements.

Network Security (Core)

This module covers network security principles, tools and techniques – to proactively secure the perimeter against adaptive threat vectors. A blended learning approach of theory and practical explications will be used throughout this module.

As apprentices, students will experience hands-on exercises that emulate real-life scenarios in proactive network defence, monitoring and prevent strategies. As a result, they will be able to make better links to real-life work scenarios.

Data Science and Cyber Security (Core)

This module develops fundamental knowledge and skills in big data analysis for cyber security – using algorithms and statistical analysis to deal with large, diverse data sets.

Students develop the skills required for maintaining data, efficient querying, accessing data and adding semantic interoperability to meet cyber security objectives – such as investigation, building intelligence and decision making.

Students will be able to analyse the implementation and recommend future improvements.

Ethical Hacking (Core)

This module develops fundamental knowledge, understanding and skills in ethical hacking. Students will apply their skills in an organisational context so they can analyse implementation and recommend future improvements.

The module develops a combination of skills: technical competencies, professional and cognitive skills, academic knowledge and understanding of specific cyber security concepts, threats and vulnerabilities to information systems.

Professional Practice 2 (Core)

Professional Practice 2 is an opportunity to tailor the skills learned within Level 5 of the programme to the working environment – building on what students have learned so far. This is a self-guided module to develop skills and knowledge related to the student’s own professional development needs, the needs of the degree and their work context.

Working with QA’s academic team and their employer, students will conduct a skills analysis to identify relevant training. It can take a number of forms, for example:

  • Technical training delivered within the workplace, or class environment.
  • Structured online learning.
  • A mini project.
  • Or, another appropriate form (as long as it is approved by the academic team).

When training is complete, the acquired skills will be focused towards a specified project or business challenge, which should include:

  • Developing a cyber-security-focused system
  • Analysing the system
  • Taking a holistic view of the system – including the wider human elements of cyber security, and legal and ethical issues.

Level 6

Digital Forensics and Incident Handling (Core)

This module develops critical knowledge and skills in incident handling and digital investigations. It covers the legal, ethical and professional implications and responsibilities of the digital investigator.

Students will become competent in professionally acquiring and analysing digital evidence using effective tools and techniques.

Students will apply their knowledge and skills in an organisational context – to critically analyse its implementation and recommend future improvements.

Information Security Management (Core)

This module develops critical knowledge and skills in information security management. It covers principles and techniques that underpin managing an organisation’s information assets.

Students will critically analyse the key concepts, theories, standards and frameworks of information security management including; risk assessment, people, resources, assets and processes. This will help organisations reduce the likelihood of a data breach occurring and find ways to limit their liabilities.

Students will be able to:

  • evaluate an organisation’s current approach to managing information security
  • advise on designing and implementing an appropriate strategy for managing an organisation’s information assets
  • meet legal, regulatory, organisational and/or societal needs for information governance and security

Cyber Offensive Defence (Core)

This module develops critical knowledge and skills in cyber offensive defence using penetration testing. Students will apply their knowledge and skills in an organisational context – critically analysing its implementation and recommending future improvements.

The module covers a combination of skills including; technical competencies, and professional and cognitive skills in penetration testing methodologies and frameworks.

Cyber Security Project (Core, 30 credits)

This final applied research project will present critical knowledge, academic ability and skill in the field of cyber security. This will be an individually-negotiated project – relevant to the student. Students will carry out a significant investigation, discovering a new problem that requires an appropriate solution to be produced. Successful completion of the project is an essential requirement for the degree award.

Students will learn how to engage with and critically review research literature and, from this, develop relevant research objectives and questions as part of a research proposal. Students will also learn about and evaluate different research methodologies and project management approaches.

On this basis, students will be prepared to make justified choices for their research strategy and use appropriate project management tools and approaches. They will be equipped with the practical skills needed to execute and write a coherent piece of research, relevant to the degree.

Through the module, students will be made aware of the ethical principles that govern cyber security research. Students will develop a combination of knowledge and skills including; competencies, professional and cognitive skills, and academic knowledge – all specific to the cyber security field. This is so they can apply the formal method of scientific enquiry, research and reporting.

Professional Practice 3 (Core)

Professional Practice 3 is an opportunity to tailor the skills learned within Level 6 of the programme to the working. This is a self-guided module to develop skills and knowledge related to the student’s own professional development needs, the needs of the degree and their work context.

Working with QA’s academic team and their employer, students will conduct a skills analysis to identify relevant training. It can take a number of forms, for example:

  • Technical training delivered within the workplace, or class environment.
  • Structured online learning.
  • A mini project.
  • Or, another appropriate form (as long as it is approved by the academic team).

When training is complete, the acquired skills will be focused towards a specified project or business challenge, which should include:

  • Developing a cyber-security-focused system
  • Analysing the system
  • Taking a holistic view of the system – including the wider human elements of cyber security, and legal and ethical issues.

Cyber Security Technical Professional End-Point Assessment (Core, 10 credits)

The end-point assessment (EPA) is the culmination of the apprenticeship and gives the learner the opportunity to demonstrate attainment of the skills, knowledge and behaviours set out in the Cyber Security Technical Professional apprenticeship standard.

Passing the EPA is a requirement to complete the BSc (Hons) programme. There are two parts to the end-point assessment:

1. A practical test (this consists of four exercises to be assessed against the defined set of knowledge, skills and behaviours in the standard).

2. A technical discussion (informed by a portfolio developed throughout the programme).

Before attempting the EPA students will have met the following requirements:

  1. Passed all the other modules in the BSc (Hons) Cyber Security Technical Professional degree.
  2. The employer will have confirmed that the apprentice is ready for the EPA and has met the knowledge, skills and behaviour requirements set out in the occupational standard.
  3. Completed the e-portfolio (which may be digital or online) in relation to the skills, knowledge and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard, on which the substance of the EPA technical discussion shall be based. The technical discussion is based on the portfolio of evidence developed throughout the apprenticeship and is used to map achievements against the apprenticeship standard. Students will be provided with guidance on preparation for the EPA and the specific details of the assessment requirements.
  4. The apprentice has passed Level 2 English and maths (if not already achieved).

For more information download the handout

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