Ethical Hacking BSc Applicants

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I received an unconditional from Abertay for BSc Ethical Hacking today. I am trying to find out why this degree is not fully certified by the NCSC like Napier's BEng Cybersecurity and Forensics. Abertay's Masters is certified however. All my other choices are just regular computer science courses in scotland (to avoid tuition fees). I am yet to go to Napier's offer holders day. I went to the Abertay open day and one of the teachers said he had studied cybersecurity at Napier and that Abertay was much better but this is only anecdotal. I was very impressed with the small community at Abertay and the hacking labs. The module content looks excellent covering 100 credits of pure computing in first year out of 120. This is often overlooked and great for people who know what they want to specialise in rather than the traditional scottish university first year with fewer credits of your chosen degree. This post also be useful for those struggling to decide between computer science or cybersecurity as a course. This has been useful for me: Reddit

I would recommend checking out when comparing universities. How many international students on the course has a lot to do with the community feel also. These stats are from HESA on the Which pages.

This is a response from the head of the cyber security division at Abertay:

I am currently writing our documentation for the masters NCSC certified programme, so your email is very pertinent! I often sit on the assessment panel for other universities’ applications to the NCSC certification scheme, and am very familiar with both the MSc and BSc criteria.

There are two different BSc pathways for the certification: one for Computer Science AND Cybersecurity degrees, and one for Computer Science FOR Cybersecurity degrees. When the NCSC first released their criteria for the BSc programmes, we reviewed this and made the decision not to apply for BSc certification. This was because in order to meet the criteria, we would need to change what we teach by diluting some of the ethical hacking content, and replace this with broader cybersecurity topics. The current criteria encourages universities to focus on a breadth of cybersecurity topics within their modules, rather than having modules that look more in depth at specific topics (in our case, offensive security, i.e. ethical hacking). At the moment, we are very confident that our degree meets industry demands, and we didn’t want to risk “breaking” the degree by chasing certification.

However, the NCSC have recognised that there are some limitations with their requirement to map onto a breadth of topics, so they are changing the criteria from this year for new applications. I have seen a draft of the criteria and the anticipated requirements, and believe that it will be easier for us to map our current content onto the new criteria without diluting the offensive security modules. Depending on timescales and when the next call for applications is published, we may consider submitting an application for NCSC certification for the BSc Ethical Hacking this year.

You may be interested to know that we are also in the process of writing a new undergraduate degree programme that has been designed specifically to map onto the Computer Science FOR Cybersecurity criteria. This programme is designed to bridge the gap between our current BSc Computing programme, and our BSc Ethical Hacking programme. It will appeal to those students who want to program, and be software developers, rather than those who are looking for jobs in the cybersecurity industry.

Some students prefer to study a degree that covers a breadth of topics, and some prefer to study a degree that covers less topics but more in depth. If you are not sure if offensive security is right for you, then I would advise against studying our Ethical Hacking degree and I would have no hesitation in recommending Napier (their degree provides good coverage of a breadth of cybersecurity topics). If offensive security does appeal, then I would recommend studying at Abertay where you will have the opportunity to graduate with a deeper knowledge in an area of cybersecurity that is very much in demand.
Last edited by notahumanist; 2 years ago

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