Program Code: MSCYBSC
Master of Science
Availability: online, campus
Program Philosophy and Content
The digitization of commerce and much other human activity resulting from the unprecedented success of the computing revolution has had the unintended side effect of digitizing criminal activity. Digital thieves and pirates, sometimes working for various national governments, are stealing intellectual property costing individuals, organizations, and governments trillions of dollars. Cyber security is defined as the study of techniques for protecting computer information systems and networks from unauthorized use, modification, or exploitation. Given the need to protect 24x7 attacks to their most prized assets, all organizations, public and private, are looking to hire cyber security professionals. In the last few years, cybersecurity has become one of the most indemand skills in the work place. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of growth for jobs in information and cybersecurity is significantly higher than the average of all other occupations.
Mercyhurst’s online masters in cyber security has been designed to prepare students for careers as cybersecurity professionals in industry, government and non-profit sectors. Mercyhurst’s program is one of the few in the nation to address cyber threats to business as well as national and international security. Our hands-on program teaches students how to investigate and combat cybercrime and cyber terrorism and how to protect your organization’s digital assets from various security breaches. The cybersecurity science program at Mercyhurst is not just for those with previous training in computer science and engineering. Instead, our program has been designed to allow students to acquire these fundamental skills as part of the program.
Through engaging online coursework, students also learn to evaluate the legal, regulatory and ethical issues related to cyber security and privacy, and effectively communicate complex cyber security information. A master’s in Cyber Security is excellent preparation for career advancement in the rapidly growing cyber professions. Successful completion of the program should allow grads to pass the CompTIA’s Security+ certification, ISC2’s Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certification, and ISC2’s Associate designation. Grads of our program are well positioned for careers as cyber analysts and IT security specialists in virtually any industry. In just five years, students can earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Mercyhurst University through the new 4+1 Cyber Security program.
Undergraduate students in almost any discipline major of study may apply for the 4+1 program. Interested students must apply by April 1 of their sophomore year or after they have 30 credits completed on their Mercyhurst transcripts. Students of the 4+1 cyber security program will take four graduate-level courses (12 credits) during their junior and senior years. These credits will count toward the master’s degree, but will be billed at the undergraduate flat rate. These credits will only count for the Master of Science degree and students must complete at least 121 undergraduate credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. As a graduate student, students must complete 24 credits during the fifth year, charged at the graduate rate. Completing these requirements in five years may require students to take some courses during the summer.
The program chair shall conduct an annual review of the academic progress of all students enrolled in the program. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.0 or who might otherwise exhibit behavior that is not conducive to ensuring employment in this field will be placed on probation or removed from the program, depending on the outcome of review.
Graduates of the Masters of Science in Cyber Security will be able to:
Computing & Information Science studies the design, application, use, impact, and ethical implications of computational principles and technology. This foundational class prepares students for advanced courses in Data Sciences, Cyber Secutity, and Cyber Risk Management. Topics covered include: computer organization, data structures, computer programming, networking concepts, computer security, and ethics.
This course introduces students to concepts in probability and statistics including sampling distributions, normal theory estimation and hypothesis testing, regression and correlation, exploratory data analysis, logistic regression, discriminant analysis, resampling methods and linear model selection. Learning to do statistical analysis on a personal computer is an integral part of the course.
This course introduces students to fundamental concepts of computer programming. Topics include: algorithms, abstract data types, linear and non-linear data structures, and software engineering. Students will get hands-on experience with the use of a high level programming language to search and sort data.
This foundational course prepares students to better understand today's cyber networks and how they can support the requirements of organizations. It introduces networking basics and demonstrates how networks can support the increasing demands of advanced communications. The course examines networking standards, protocols, architectures, management and security.
Provides a comprehensive overview of essential concepts to better understand syber security. This course explores the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities associated with the digital world and introduces students to the principles of risk management, security standards, access controls, security audits, cryptography, compliance laws and privacy issues.
This course intorduces students to the principles and practice of digital forensics that includes computer crime, intellectual property, privacy issues, legal codes; risks, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures; methods and standards for data extraction, preservation, analysis and deposition of legal evidence in a court of law.
This course introduces students to network security and information security. The student will be introduced to network vulnerabilities and threats and how to safeguard computer networks from those vulnerabilities and threats. This course will expose the student to network security planning, network security technology, network security organization, confidentiality and authentication protocols, botnets, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and communication privacy and anonymity.
This course examines the legal aspects of the information security triad of availability, integrity, and confidentiality and prepares students to address areas where law and cyber security concerns meet. Topics include: risk analysis and incident response, intellectual property law, contracts in online transactions, tort law issues in cyberspace, the concept of privacy and its legal protections and the governance of information within organizations.
This course focuses on the security aspects of systems that are compose of components and connections and use software. It addresses the security issues of connecting components and using them within larger systems. It covers the principles, models and techniques of access control, authentication, secure communication and audit, system's virtualization, real-time systems, software and OS security.
Prepares students for planning, conducting, and reporting on research in computing and information sciences. Topics include literature survey to formulate a scientific research question; research methods used in data science, cyber security, and cyber risk management; and scientific writing and publishing. Completion of the course will provide the student with skills needed to undertake supervised thesis or research project work in the area of Computing and Information Sciences.
The capstone course experience is designed to allow students to work under the supervision of a computing and information science faculty member to solve a real world problem and present their findings to the faculty before graduation.