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Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security

This postgraduate course builds on your existing graduate skills by providing detailed knowledge of electronic attacks and how to defend against the methods used to gain access and exploit a system.

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: MSc/PGDip

UCAS Code: Apply directly

Duration: Full time: 1 year


Postgraduate funding (tuition fee and living cost loan) may be available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for those who meet the eligibility criteria.  Visit the SAAS website for more information.

Interested in this course?  Why not participate in our MSc Virtual Open Day.  More details can be found on our Skype Live and Interactive and MSc Virtual Open Day web pages.

Why choose this course?

  • Abertay is the only university in the UK that offers a Masters programme in Ethical Hacking.
  • It provides the core skills to allow you to take positions in a variety of companies where computer security is a major issue.
  • Graduates will be at the forefront of new developments in security.
  • Benefit from an active teaching group with a growing reputation based on industry links and Knowledge Transfer projects.
  • It is delivered in a project based, entrepreneurial and enterprise culture.

Our students are passionate about their subject area and developing their knowledge. Ethical Hacking is the process of evaluating the security of a computer system by simulating an attack by a malicious hacker. The course is designed to teach students how to think like a hacker, providing them with a deep understanding of security issues and concerns.

We aim to change the way you think. We encourage lively debates about pertinent ethical and security issues. Students develop the hacker mindset, determined to ‘do their bit’ to improve security in the world of Computing.

Join our 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.

When you join us as a postgraduate student or researcher, you’ll be joining a community of creative like-minded 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.

Find out more about our Graduate School.

Making the Most of Masters

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

Read a Making the Most of Masters Case Study – Ethical Hacking & Cyber Security


What you study

From forensic computing to network security, the course covers a wide range of subjects. Within these, you will learn about web hacking, password cracking, malware analysis, port scanning, buffer overflows and much more.

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

How you learn

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. The course is taught using a problem-based learning approach. You will spend about 12 hours per week attending classes and about 30 hours a week of private study.

How you are assessed

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

What our students say about this course

"This is a great course and is everything I expected it to be. I came from a traditional computing background; programming, networks and the normal stuff, but I wanted to do some sort of course that would set me out from the crowd and greatly improve my job prospects.

"I’ve always been interested in computer security and hacking but was disappointed that it wasn’t really covered in my undergraduate degree. I was taught how to be a programmer, but didn’t really know how to write secure programs, or why that was important. This course covers everything that I think I’ll need to get a job, and most importantly, a job I’ll love!"

Entry routes

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.


All applicants are required to provide certified proof of competence in English Language and the University's minimum requirements are listed here

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current Fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current Fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current Fees

Overseas Scholarships

Fee quoted is the total cost providing that the MSc follows on immediately after the PG Dip element and is completed within the same academic year as started.  Fees may be subject to increase.

Further info

Your future

There is 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.

Professional accreditation

The course is 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.

Want to know more?

Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081

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