Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security

Practical Masters degree fully certified by the National Cyber Security Centre - part of GCHQ.

Course detail

Start Date



1 year (full-time)

Award Title



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Why Study Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security?

Provisionally certified by the National Cyber Security Centre - part of GCHQ - this Masters degree develops the skills and mind set needed to tackle the growing threat of computer hackers. Computer security is a growing concern for organisations of all sizes. This Masters will put you in the ideal position to pursue a successful and often lucrative career. It’s not unusual for the salaries of graduates from this programme to start at £35,000-£40,000. The industry is currently experiencing a major skills gap and global demand for ethical hackers is expected to rise to six million by 2019.

We’re the only university in the UK to offer a Masters programme in ethical hacking. We want to change the way you view cyber security to adopt an offensive approach. The best way to beat a hacker is to be able to think like one!  

Aimed at Computing/IT graduates, our MSc Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security covers a wide range of subjects, including penetration testing, digital forensics, information security management, Malware analysis, port scanning, buffer overflows and password cracking. Our research-active teaching staff are at the forefront of new developments, allowing the programme to evolve to cover the latest techniques and guidelines.

In recent years, class sizes have been around 10-15 people, and they’re unlikely to go higher than 20. This allows for closer relationships with academic staff and fellow postgraduates.

Abertay graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as:

  • Dell Secure Works
  • Goldman-Sachs
  • NCR
  • GCHQ

Others have gone on to set up their own successful information security businesses.

Join us and start your career in a fascinating, rewarding and hugely in-demand industry.


Request a Prospectus

A postgraduate qualification can prepare you for a more senior position and a considerably higher starting salary.

Information and advice is key to making sure you make the right decision for you. Thankfully, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about stepping into the world of postgraduate study.

Download our prospectus and find out the fantastic options available to you.


Request a Prospectus

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of a lower second-class (2:2) honours degree in the field of computing. The course is designed for students whose degree comprises a significant component of software development or networking.

Applicants who do not cover the appropriate subjects during their degree will be considered if they have relevant industry experience. This would normally be a minimum of two years’ experience of working in the area of software development or networking in either a promoted post or with a significant level of responsibility.


How to Apply

Students smiling whilst working in the Hacklab

Overseas and EU

Overseas students are encouraged to apply at least three months before the programme begins to allow enough time to apply for a Student Visa should you be successful at securing an offer from us.

All applicants are required to provide certified proof of competence in English Language. The University's minimum requirements are:

Overseas and EU: IELTS 6.0 (no individual test less than 5.5) or equivalent.

How to Apply

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Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

Find out more

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

Find out more

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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How the Course Works

You’ll learn how to evaluate the impact of security problems and recommend improvements to a network’s security within a legal and ethical framework. You’ll also conduct a master’s project within an area of cybersecurity that’ll allow you to build on your existing skills.


This programme is fully certified by GCHQ and accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, as meeting the educational requirement for CITP Further Learning and partially meeting the educational requirement for CEng/CSci registration.

EthicalHacking and Cyber Security Accreditations



Teaching is focused on lectures and practical sessions in dedicated classrooms. Lectures are used to present the key concepts, while practicals increase your understanding of the subject and allow you to develop your competence in technological and theoretical work.

You’re taught using a problem-based learning approach. You’ll spend around 12 hours per week attending classes and around 30 hours a week of private study.


The taught course will be assessed using a combination of written coursework, presentations and seminars, with a written dissertation at MSc level.

Modules (Subject to change)

Computer Security (CMP506)

An introduction to issues relating to computer security and ethical hacking, including techniques to improve vulnerabilities and computer defence. You’ll analyse how malicious hackers can gain unauthorised access and explore how to improve security.

Digital Forensics 3 (CMP507)

Provides you with the ability to carry out and critically evaluate computer forensic investigations and appraise forensic software with a view to develop appropriate investigation strategies in the light of emerging digital technologies.

Information and Network Security Management (CMP508)

An examination of the many forms of threats to information systems and appropriate countermeasures. This provides you with an understanding of the architecture and management of modern computer networking and of the security implications of the many possible architectural structures.

Engineering Resilient Systems 1 (CMP417)

Social and technical approaches to better security resilience in systems through consideration of methods of attack and defence. Module content: The Ingredients of Machine Learning; Support Vector Machines for Cyber Security; Neural Networks for Cyber Security; Authentication Design; Principles of Secure Software Development; Language and API Design for Security; Secure Software Engineering.

Ethical Hacking 4 (CMP509)

Provides you with specialist knowledge and experience of advanced hacking techniques and their countermeasures.

Research Methods (1) (GRS501)

An introduction to research methods and statistical analysis. Combines theoretical, historical and statistical concepts with hands-on practical lab sessions using both qualitative and quantitative techniques to put theory into practice.

Masters Project (CMP504)

Select, plan, conduct and write up a research based investigation for the Masters Project. The project will include the selection of appropriate research and experimental methods, the collection and analysis of data/information and the evaluation and communication of findings. The result is a solution appropriate to the project aims and a dissertation.

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you depends on factors such as your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. Visit the links below and scroll down to find the Postgraduate section.

More information

Find out about grants, bursaries, maintenance loans and living costs in our postgraduate taught fees and funding section.


The scholarships below are open to international students and those applying from England, Wales & Northern Ireland, with a 2.1 or above for a postgraduate course.  

Abertay Postgraduate Taught rUK Scholarship

This £2,000 award is open to all prospective new postgraduate students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

International Postgraduate Abertay Scholarships

This £3,000 award is open to all prospective new international (non-EU) postgraduate students at Abertay University.

Career Opportunities

There’s an emerging job market for ethical hackers as companies become increasingly aware of security risks. Some large organisations employ security testers and others use contractors to audit their systems. Graduates can also set up their own companies offering ethical hacking services.

Graduates from this programme will also be able to use their existing knowledge of programming, databases, networks or web development to find employment in these fields, with a deep understanding of security issues.


Female Ethical Hacking student Cheryl Torano with a hacked Cayla Doll

The Hack Lab

You’ll be granted access to our state-of-the-art Hack Lab, which has been created especially for security work. Every PC in the Hack Lab is isolated from the main university network, allowing you to experiment with all aspects of ethical hacking in a safe, controlled environment.

Considering this space is where you’ll be examining how viruses are made undetectable by malicious hackers, or aggressively exploiting flaws in realistic websites or mobile apps, removing the ability to cripple other networks is crucial.

Ethical Hacking Laboratory - room full of Desktop computers

Ethical Hacking Society

You’ll also have the option to join our Ethical Hacking Society (HackSoc) and build industry contacts while studying thanks to the society’s organisation of Securi-Tay, Europe's only student-run information security conference.

Picture of male and female from behind - male is wearing an Ethical Hacking Society hoody

Graduate School

Our Graduate School is a dedicated facility providing support, training and professional development opportunities to our vibrant postgraduate community. Specially designed to promote integration and inculcation of interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers, postgraduates study and learn together at Abertay – from Environmental Management to Law, Psychology, Bioscience, Economics and Business, Cybersecurity and Computer Games Development.



Learn more about our Graduate School

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When Joining as a Postgraduate Student, You Will

When you join us as a postgraduate student or researcher, you’ll be joining a community of creative likeminded scholars and will automatically be provided with access to our dedicated study and social spaces – a forum in which you can meet, work and learn with other researchers and postgraduates from across the University.

You’ll benefit from training and professional development opportunities, as well as support with funding applications, placement opportunities, teaching support, public engagement and outreach activity.

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Making the Most of Masters

The Making the Most of Masters project provides opportunities for master’s students to undertake work based projects, allowing you to enhance your employability at the same time as studying for your master’s degree.

Working with external organisations and employers, the projects are an integral part of your academic programme, and address real needs within an organisation, meaning you’ll have the opportunity to add valuable experience to your CV.

Find out more about‌ Making the Most of Masters

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Explore our Dundee Campus

Abertay is conveniently located on a city centre campus, with all of its buildings within a quarter of a mile of each other. Shops, recreational facilities and the main bus and train stations are a short walk away.

Our Campus

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Why Abertay?

We're proud of our students and graduates, and we believe there's no better place to study if you're looking for a degree that helps you stand out as an exceptional candidate in an increasingly competitive job market.

Why Abertay

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Living in Dundee

Dundee is a city of contrasts. It's vibrant and cosmopolitan, but also friendly, compact and affordable. The first UK city to be awarded UNESCO City of Design status, Dundee has a rich history of innovation and creativity, and, in recent years, has become a hub for the digital industries.

Living in Dundee & Scotland

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