Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Phoenix Fang

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


As the field of computer security continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to educate the next generation of security professionals. However, much of the current education landscape primarily focuses on teaching defensive skills. Teaching offensive security, otherwise known as ethical hacking, is an important component in the education of all students who hope to contribute to the field of cybersecurity. Doing so requires a careful consideration of what ethical, legal, and practical issues arise from teaching students skills that can be used to cause harm. In this thesis, we first examine the current state of cybersecurity education in the United States through a holistic view of funding, certifications, and course offerings. We then offer a framework to navigate the ethical and legal issues of teaching offensive security, as well as serve as a technical reference of useful tools for configuring and conducting a course in ethical hacking. Together, these contributions can be a baseline for educators looking to create courses on ethical hacking topics.