Cyber Security for Public Leadership: Planning, Policy and Strategy

Make cyber security a keystone of your strategy

From protecting personal information and intellectual property, to safeguarding systems and critical infrastructure against cyber attacks, the need to be cyber aware has become increasingly important in our technology-driven world.

Cyber security professionals stand on the front-line, but they are not the only ones who hold responsibility for looking after our data and technology. If you are in a leadership or decision-making position – whether it is within the public sector, in a private company providing public services or beyond – keeping your organisation and your customers safe from cyber criminals is now a vital aspect of your role.

This non-technical online short course from the Blavatnik School of Government will teach you how to consider a cyber security as an integral part of your operations, policies and planning, and build resilience into your organisation as well as the wider digital economy and society.

Cyber Security for Public Leadership is certified by CPD UK’s (Continuing Professional Development) Certification Service.

Find out how the skills built on this course can be combined with those gained on our other courses for maximum impact in government and public policy. Discover our multi-course pathway and discounts.


8 weeks (3-5 hours of study per week recommended)


May, August, October 2024

Next start date:

4 May 2024 (deadline 1pm (GMT) on 3 May)


£1740 (inclusive of VAT)*

*Discounts are available to alumni, those working in the public sector and certain geographical regions. Register your interest to learn more.




Certificate of completion

CPD logo that reads: CPD CERTIFIED - The CPD Certification Service


If you are in a non-technical leadership role and need to understand cyber security in an operational and strategic context yet have a gap in your knowledge, this course is designed for you.

You should consider this online distance learning course if:

  • you are a leader or aspiring leader of a public sector department, function or within the civil service;
  • you are a leader in a private organisation which provides public services;
  • you are a leader in any organisation that stores substantial amounts of personal or sensitive data.
  • This course is not suitable for anyone with a technical background who deals with cyber security threats directly.


There are no specific entry requirements. However, please be aware this course will take a certain level of commitment. Learners are expected to dedicate 3–5 hours a week to their studies, with all activities and tasks taking place online.

About this course

Organisations are ever more dependent on technology to carry out their work, with systems and databases at risk of cyber attacks.

This eight-week course aims to help you build the skills you need to plan for and respond to potential threats – including phishing, malicious software, distributed denial of service (DDOS) and security breaches – in a more strategic way.

Through a mixture of activities, including simulation exercises and the analysis of real-world case studies, you will explore how and why cyber attacks happen, common types of malicious practice, who may be responsible for them and the sorts of harm they can cause. You will also examine cyber security as an operational risk and how to manage it, covering both technical and human-related factors.

Watch the short video (under 2 minutes) below for an overview of the course.

“I’ve found this course to be incredibly useful in helping me learn how to better safeguard my own data and the data of others.”

Sami Almaddan, Senior strategist and advisor


Course outcomes

After taking this course, you will be better equipped to integrate cyber security strategy into your operations, policies and planning, helping to keep your organisation and your customers safe from cyber criminals. You will also receive a certificate to support your career progression.

This programme is also certified by CPD UK. Learners will be able to request their CPD certificate after successfully finishing the course, using their certificate of completion as proof of eligibility. The course has an estimated 40 hours of learning, equating to 40 CPD points.

Note, the onus is on students to request these CPD certificates at the end of their studies. The University and its partners accept no responsibility, and cannot be held responsible, for the claiming or validation of hours or points.

Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate that will support your career progression and enhance your resume. You will have developed practical skills and solutions that you can take into your workplace, where they will have an immediate impact on your organisation. This programme is also certified by CPD UK.

After taking this course, you will be better equipped to:

  • identify appropriate cyber risks for your organisation;
  • make well-informed decisions when procuring new technologies;
  • accurately assess the levels of security risk facing your organisation;
  • work with technology experts to develop and implement strategies to mitigate cyber threats;
  • respond effectively and efficiently to cyber security incidents.


You will study eight modules over the course of eight weeks. It is a collaborative learning process, week-by-week, so you will have ample opportunity to discuss key policy topics with your peers and a course Facilitator.

Activities will include set readings, reflection exercises, multiple-choice questions and discussion forums. Your Facilitator will guide you through these activities and provide feedback at each stage. These activities are not formally graded but you will need to participate in each to successfully complete the course and qualify for your certificate.

The final assessment, completed in module eight, will be your main summative assignment. It will be marked by your Facilitator and will be worth 50% of your final grade.

  • Fees and Funding

    Fees and funding
    The total cost of this short course is £1,740 (inclusive of VAT), with discounts available to Oxford University alumni, those working in a public sector role (evidence is required) and those who choose to study more than one of our online courses (our multi-course pathway).

    It is possible to pay your fees in two instalments, laying down a deposit (and reserving a space) before settling the final balance and securing your place on the course ahead of its start.

    For more information about our deposit scheme or discounts you may be entitled to, please feel free to email us.

    Considering asking your employer to fund your studies? Read our blog on the best way to approach them for sponsorship.

  • Learning experience

    In addition to learning from our world-leading academics, you will also benefit from a course Facilitator. Coming from a professional cyber security background, they will provide support throughout your learning journey, be present during weekly discussions and offer guidance and feedback on tasks and assessments.

    This online course will bring theory to life, using practical examples and activities that you can apply to your own role. These may include a combination of:

    • interactive simulations;
    • knowledge checks;
    • case studies;
    • discussion forums;
    • practical exercises.


Frequently asked questions

What are the entry requirements for Oxford's Cyber Security for Public Leadership course?

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