Post-graduate degree in offensive cyber security offered by Canadian university

A Canadian university is adding to its cybersecurity-related graduate programs for infosec pros who want to beef up their resumes.

Toronto’s York University said its school of continuing studies is launching a Post-Graduate Certificate in Offensive Cyber Security to help infosec pros be proactive in protecting organizations’ networks and computer systems from cyberattacks.

The full-time, eight-month course brings the continuing education department’s suite of cyber offerings to five.

The first class of students will start May 4, 2023. Tuition for Canadian residents is $7,992, while international students will pay $18,264.

Applicants should have an undergrad degree in computer science, IT, or a related field, or have completed a post-grad certificate in cyber security operations, or hold one of several certifications such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).

In addition, they should have at least two years of technical experience in cybersecurity as a practitioner, and a strong foundational knowledge of operating systems, system architecture, and networking.

Offensive cybersecurity, the university says, is a specialization that uses ethical hacking techniques to mimic cyberattacks. It exploits security vulnerabilities, allowing cybersecurity professionals to anticipate what may happen during an attack and how to block or intercede against a real threat should one occur.

“The demand for cybersecurity professionals is high, but the job market is also highly competitive,” Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, York’s assistant vice-president of continuing studies, said in a statement. “Employers want candidates with an educational background in cybersecurity and practical experience. The Post-Graduate Certificate in Offensive Cyber Security provides exactly that.”

“Our students will learn from offensive cybersecurity professionals at the top of their field and gain first-hand experience performing essential offensive security duties like penetration testing, conducting a vulnerability assessment, producing an offensive security report with recommendations, and more. Students who graduate from this program are positioned for successful careers in an area facing critical labour shortages.”

Ed Dubrovsky, managing director of the incident response firm Cypfer and academic advisor and program advisory committee member for the new certificate, said that the most effective way to learn offensive cybersecurity combines subject matter experts, learning processes, and deep hands-on experiential learning. “Offensive security demands tenacity, commitment, intelligence, and technical knowledge in the field,” he said in a statement. “But one must also possess certain ‘soft skills,’ which include verbal and written communication and the ability to convince an audience to act.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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