'Cybersecurity' master's programme launched at KU Leuven

'Cybersecurity' master's programme launched at KU Leuven
A student in his dorm. Credit: Belga.

Starting this academic year, students can apply for a Master's Degree in "Cybersecurity" at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), a first among Flemish-speaking universities.

The programme focuses on the vulnerabilities of online systems and risks involved with digitisation and was created in light of the growing demand for cyber security experts at both companies and the government, especially as this form of criminal activity is increasingly presenting serious risks to the country, as a recent attack of the Defence network showed.

"Working on educational quality also means working on quality new courses," Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts said in a statement. "This is certainly the case in a critical sector such as cybersecurity, where our safety online is at stake."

As many as one in eight Flemish companies experienced a cyber attack last year, which especially among SMEs with weaker protection mechanisms, led to unusable ICT systems. These security problems lead to financial and reputational damage, Weyts stressed.

A bachelor's degree titled "Cyber Security Professional" was previously set up at the Howest in Flanders, but until this academic year, there was no master's programme specifically focusing on cybersecurity.

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It is primarily intended for students who have recently obtained a master's degree in engineering or computer science. Students graduating in mathematics or physics, provided they have a background in computer science, can also start the programme.

"We are filling a gap with this specialised programme," said Weyts. "Flanders cannot afford not to excel in digitalisation and cybersecurity. Together with the education partners, we want to respond to the needs of the labour market in the best possible way," he concluded.

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