Security professionals will soon be able to get a degree in hacking when a Scottish university launches the U.K's first ethical hacking degree this September.

The BSc (Hons) in Ethical Hacking & Countermeasures is being offered by Abertay University of Dundee's School of Computing & Creative Technologies. It said it will teach students “skills and techniques used by criminal hackers to crack government and private sector security systems causing billions of pounds worth of damage and loss every year.”

It claimed that graduates will be able to advise organizations on how to counter such attacks and protect their networks.

The university also said that any students wanting to start the course, will have to submit to background checks and vetting by the U.K.'s Home Office to weed out anyone who might be tempted to put their skills to criminal use.

Professor Lachlan MacKinnon, head of Abertay’s school of computing and creative technologies, said the basic aim of this course is to provide a graduate with knowledge of how illegal computer attacks can be performed and how they can be stopped.

“In the same way that police detectives need to know how thieves can steal, computer systems administrators need to know what hackers can do,” he said. “They also need to know how to test their system security and how to trace any security breaches when they do occur. Only then, can illegal activity really be stopped.”

Industry insiders welcomed the new degree and railed against commentators in media reports dismissing the course.

“Many commentators are jumping up and down in alarm. Aren’t they just training a future generation of 'black hats?' The answer is an emphatic ‘no,'” said Mike Murray, director of the Vulnerability and Research Exposure Team at security company nCircle. “On the contrary, prospective ‘white hats’ are being equipped to do a better job against the bad guys.”