I am applying for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in order to start my job as an Assistant Professor at a Russell Group university in the UK. And I would like to know if a 1-year gap in employment/education history from 12 years ago should be mentioned in the ATAS application. The details of the gap are as follows:

After my undergraduate education, I started working in the industry. After a couple of years, I quit that job in order to study for the entrance examination for a master's degree education. This resulted in a one-year gap (from 2011 to 2012) before I started my master’s education. Should this gap be mentioned in the ATAS application? If yes, where should it be mentioned? Thank you.

  • 2
    I wouldn't bother mentioning that gap if HR or whoever conducts the job interview wants an explanation for that missing year, they will ask you during the interview.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 14, 2023 at 7:11
  • @Mari-Lou Respectfully I disagree. OP would want to avoid gaps in his/her CV. Such gaps would be avoided only by elaborating on the period in question. If OP is to be eliminated on this ground alone, it is less disappointing if it happens at the outset rather than at the end of a long selection process.
    – Trunk
    Jul 17, 2023 at 13:14
  • 3
    ATAS is a UK government application. Citizens of certain countries working in "sensitive subjects" (including most if not all of STEM) need this permission to be allowed to work/study in these fields. It is not for the interview process (from the question it sounds like the position has already been offered). Jul 17, 2023 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


I think that you should mention that year of study as it prepared you for the Master's programme you took, which assumedly in turn led to your doctorate.

The reason is that all gaps in CVs invite question marks when they are first read. These question marks will be among the first things queried during processing an application or at interview.

So I'd amend it to something like this format:

. . . 
. . .

2005 - 2009       University of Whichever, Wherever.  BS in computer science. Specialization: whatever. Final Year Project: ............

2009 - 2011       IMK Ltd       Research Engineer 

Responsible to senior research engineer for computational aspects of 4 development projects.

2011 - 2012       Took 1 year out to prepare for MS entrance examination to the very competitive Whatever School, Whatever Institute, Wherever. I felt that full-time preparation for this school was needed as my BS curriculum did not provide adequate grounding on certain subjects that would be core to my chosen MS programme.

2012 - 2014       Undertook MS programme on <topic> under <supervisor>

. . .
. . .

Just list your jobs in chronological order. No one would really care about why you did not work 12 years ago for a year. I am sure you have evolved a lot in 12 years and that would make a big difference rather than a year gap more than a decade ago. Most likely, people only pay attention to your working history, not the gap. If they ask you about the gap during an interview or sometime later, then you can explain.


ATLAS is an approval that the overseas nationals have to obtain if doing research in a field where some research potential national security implications. Most usually it is used to show that the particular piece of research has no national security implications (eg you do biology, but your research wouldn't allow you to make biological weapons). In this case, they generally care about the content of the research, not the history of the person doing it. I guess if you were doing something that might allow you to make bombs etc, then they might care more.


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