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Ethical Hacking
BSc (Hons)

Demand for qualified ethical hackers is expected to rise to six million by 2019. Study our world-renowned Ethical Hacking degree and discover a fascinating field with great career prospects.

Course detail

Start Date

September

Duration

4 years (full-time) or 3 years (accelerated)

Degree Classification

BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code

GG45

Why study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Ethical Hacking?

Cybercrime is a growing threat. Consequently, the world is seeing a rapid increase in the demand for ethical hackers – experts who break into computer systems and networks in order to find and fix security weaknesses.

Since launching the world’s first Ethical Hacking degree in 2006, Abertay University has been at the forefront of new developments in cybersecurity, producing highly-skilled and in-demand graduates.

Degree highlights

  • The first Ethical Hacking degree in the world.
  • Recognised as one of the UK’s leading cybersecurity programmes.
  • The programme takes an offensive approach to security, which means you will learn how to break systems and circumvent security defences – not just study encryption.
  • Accredited by BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT.
  • Great industry links and recruitment opportunities.

What makes Abertay’s BSc (Hons) in Ethical Hacking unique?

Abertay students and staff talk about why they love the course and what makes it different from other cybersecurity degrees.

Entry Requirements

Please note:  All applicants must have a pass in Maths - National 5 grade C or GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.  National 5 Lifeskills Maths not accepted in lieu of Maths.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher ABBB One of the following: Computer Science, Maths, Architectural Technology, Human Biology, Biology, Building Construction, Chemistry, Engineering Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Physics or ICT. Graphic Communication is NOT a Technical Subject.
A-Level BCC One of the following: Computer Science, Maths, Architectural Technology, Human Biology, Biology, Building Construction, Chemistry, Engineering Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Physics, ICT or Digital Technology
Irish Highers H2H3H3H3 One of the following: Computer Science, Maths, Architectural Technology, Human Biology, Biology, Building Construction, Chemistry, Engineering Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Physics and ICT
International Baccalaureate 29 Points One of the following: Computer Science, Maths, Architectural Technology, Human Biology, Biology, Building Construction, Chemistry, Engineering Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Physics and ICT at S5 or H4
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Creative Media Production, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Engineering, IT
AHEAD - Successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAP ABB Access to Physical Sciences, Access to Engineering
Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Advanced Higher ABB Computer Science
A-Level ABB Computer Science
BTEC Extended Diploma D*DD IT (Networking and Systems Support)
HNC/HND Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses

Don’t have the grades listed above?

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

We encourage you to submit an application if you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either:

  • Been in care.
  • Participated in an aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North.
  • No family background of going to university.
  • Attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university.

1st

We launched the world's first Ethical Hacking degree in 2006

6m

The demand for ethical hackers is expected to rise to six million by 2019

70

The number of customised PCs in our dedicated Hack Lab

Your Career

The worldwide shortage of cybersecurity specialists means that our graduates have little difficulty finding employment, with many Ethical Hacking students headhunted before graduation.

Our graduates work for Dell Secure Works, Goldman-Sachs, GCHQ, NCC Group, Firstbase Techies, Nettitude, Portcullis, MWR, NCR, Prudential and many other prominent organisations.

A lot of our graduates become security testers, but some prefer working in defensive roles in areas such as network management and software development. Others set up their own ethical hacking consultancy businesses.

Female Ethical Hacking student Cheryl Torano

Colin McLean, Programme Leader

 

In 2005, Colin developed the idea for the BSc (Hons) in Ethical Hacking at Abertay. As the programme leader, Colin manages the day-to-day running of the programme and is there to help you if you have any issues while studying at Abertay. Watch Colin demonstrate a ransomware attack.

 

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.

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English Language Courses

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

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined below, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules. 

Key Modules (2017/18)

Computer Hardware Architecture and Operating Systems (CMP101)

An introduction to the core ideas of computer architecture for students studying the subject of computing, building a mental model of the functioning of a typical computer system that can be used to reason about system (hardware/software) behaviour.

Computer Networking 1 (CMP109)

An introduction to computer networks through an analysis of basic networking fundamentals. Module content includes: networking fundamentals; network layers; network models, protocols and applications.

Programming with C++ (CMP104)

An understanding of software development through learning to design and implement applications in C++. This module covers the fundamentals of classes and objects, including key features such as class descriptions, constructors, methods and field, together with method implementation through assignment, selection and iterative control structures.

Introduction to Security (CMP110)

Provides an understanding of the issues and practicalities involved in securing computer systems and the framework within which the computer security specialist/ethical hacker/digital forensic investigator would need to operate.

Software Design (CMP102)

This module complements the programming modules that students take at Level 7 by introducing, in a practical rather than theoretical way, some of the fundamental ideas of software engineering, enabling students to develop and communicate designs for small and large scale software systems.

Data Structures and Algorithms 1 (CMP201)

An introduction to the standard data structures and algorithms that form the core of algorithmic thought in computer science that familiarises students with the idea of reasoning about the behaviour and performance of a computer programme.

Dynamic Web Development 1 (CMP204)

Provides the necessary skills to implement dynamic web applications that provide effective interaction on both the client and server sides. Module content includes: web standards; user interfaces through javascript; design techniques for dynamic web applications; data persistence; security and legal issues; practical aspects of security.

Ethical Hacking 1 (CMP210)

Provides a critical understanding of the tools used by ethical hackers to examine the security of a device or network. Students will systematically investigate a computer network for possible vulnerabilities.

Data Structures and Algorithms 2 (CMP202)

An introduction to some of the practical performance concerns in the selection and implementation of algorithms, using a range of case studies drawn from typical real-world applications.

Digital Forensics 1 (CMP209)

An examination of the basic technology and techniques used to investigate cybercrime. Students are provided with the ability to carry out computer forensic investigations and appraise forensic software with a view to develop appropriate investigation strategies in the light of emerging digital technologies.

Computer Networking 2 (CMP314)

An introduction to the ideas and concepts of how computers, mobile devices and gadgets communicate with each other and other devices such as Ethernet, VLANS, STP, Wireless, Routing, Subnetting, IPv6, SNMP, DCHP, DNS, Firewalls and Network Management.

Ethical Hacking 2 (CMP319)

Develops a critical understanding of the advanced techniques used by ethical hackers to examine the security of web applications and mobile devices.

Professional Project Planning and Prototyping (CMP308)

Working within a team, students will learn about project management concepts that enable them to create a project proposal in a professional manner and present their work in a client pitch to a stakeholder. Project briefs are provided by industry/or research based problems. Students work within their team and interact with project stakeholders and gain an understanding of the principles of project management.

Ethical Hacking 3 (CMP320)

Provides an understanding of the broad area of binary auditing. Students will also gain an understanding about the countermeasures that a company can take to minimise the effect of vulnerabilities.

Software Development for Mobile Devices (CMP309)

Provides a critical understanding of software development practices which can be used to develop applications for a range of smart and mainly mobile devices. Students will develop and evaluate the techniques used to implement mobile applications.

Professional Project Development and Delivery (CMP311)

This module involves completing a team based development project or other technical investigation project, which was planned and initially developed in CMP308 (Professional Project Planning and Prototyping).

Digital Forensics 2 (CMP416)

An overview of the forensic investigation of computer (e.g. TCP/IP) and mobile phone networks. Provides an understanding of the underlying communications technologies and develops a comprehensive, systematic approach to the discovery and examination of evidence from both end-user devices, such as phones or tablets, and the networking infrastructure itself.

Honours Project Scoping and Proposal (CMP401)

Students are provided with the opportunity to propose and plan a major, in-depth individual project in an aspect of their programme to develop and exercise research skills and to encourage self-managed learning, planning and professional competence.

Honours Project Execution (CMP402)

Students are provided with the opportunity to undertake the practical and development work for a major, in-depth individual project in an aspect of their programme. During term 1 proof of concept development will be undertaken to support the specification of a well-researched project proposal document. During term 2 the main development work for the project will be undertaken and completed.

Penetration Testing 1 (CMP411)

An examination of the methodological framework for security testing via ethical hacking of computer systems and networks including countermeasures to flaws found by penetration testing. Module content includes: design of a vulnerability assessment and analysis test; rapid penetration testing; methodologies.

Honours Project Dissertation (1) (CMP403)

Students are provided with the opportunity to present a major, in-depth individual project in the form of a dissertation in an aspect of their programme. The dissertation involves presenting the work in a structured and coherent manner which allows for critical and insightful review and evaluation.

Degree content

How do hackers break into computer systems? Is it easy to breach a corporate network and steal secrets? What steps can organisations take to prevent attacks? These are just some of the questions the programme will answer.

Abertay students learn how to take a practical and offensive approach to cyber security by deliberately breaking systems and circumventing security defences.

This degree arms you with the skills you need to:

  • Understand the process behind hacking attacks.
  • Develop appropriate countermeasures.
  • Gain the technical knowledge to undertake security audit testing on computer networks and systems.

Ultimately, our Ethical Hacking degree, which is accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, provides you with a deep understanding of how illegal computer attacks can be performed and how they can be stopped.

For more detailed module and course information, download the BSc (Hons) in Ethical Hacking programme flyer.

How you learn

You’ll learn through a blend of lectures, tutorials, practical work and reading. The majority of modules make use of online learning resources. Real world case studies of major attacks and data breaches are used provide the opportunity for critical analysis and evaluation in class.

During practical exercises, you’ll be expected to evaluate your own work to make sure that products are functional and fit for purpose.

Knowledge and skill are assessed through project work, reports, portfolios and practical assessments. Approximately 20% of the programme is assessed by examination.

Accreditation

Accelerated Degree

If you’re keen to undertake the accelerated degree, you’ll complete the first two years of the degree programme alongside those students following the non-accelerated route.

Acceleration starts in May at the end of second year. The table below illustrates the difference between the two routes.

Academic Year Term Accelerated Route Non-Accelerated Route
Year 1 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 1 Term 1
Year 1 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 2 Term 2
Year 1 Term 3 (May-Aug) - -
Year 2 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 3 Term 3
Year 2 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 4 Term 4
Year 2 Term 3 (May-Aug) Term 5 -
Year 3 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 6 Term 5
Year 3 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 7 Term 6
Year 3 Term 3 (May-Aug) Term 8 (Honours degree completed) -
Year 4 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) - Term 7
Year 4 Term 2 (Jan-May) - Term 8 (Honours degree completed)
Year 4 Term 3 (May-Aug) - -

Securi-Tay

As an Abertay Ethical Hacking student, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in Securi-Tay. The largest information security conference in Scotland, Securi-Tay features talks and workshops from industry experts, giving you the chance to learn more about the latest industry developments and speak to recruiters from companies like Dell Secure Works, Goldman-Sachs, GCHQ, NCC Group, Firstbase Techies, Nettitude, Portcullis, MWR, NCR, Prudential. Securi-Tay is run by Abertay’s Ethical Hacking Society.

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

The Hack Lab

As an Ethical Hacking student, you’ll have full access to Abertay’s custom-built Hack Lab. 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.  You’ll be aggressively exploiting flaws in realistic websites and networks, so removing the ability to cripple the university network is crucial!

Ethical Hacking Laboratory - room full of Desktop computers

Programme Fees for 2019

Scottish & EU students

£1,820

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

£9,250

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

International Students

£14,800

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. . 

Scholarships

Rest of UK Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

International Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from international countries (outside of the EU) to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

In addition, we offer a range of corporate/philanthropic scholarships shown below, which are available to all students to support your studies with us. 

The Lothian Family

A £5,000 award for undergraduate students with financial or social difficulties which may prevent them from studying at Abertay.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £500 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Unistats

Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

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Ciaran Gallagher

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Dan Mosca

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Grant Douglas

BSc (Hons) Ethical Hacking, 2013

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Programme Leader - Ethical Hacking

Mr Colin McLean

Mr Colin McLean

School of Design and Informatics | Lecturer

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