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M.S. Cybersecurity

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Norfolk State UniversityMaster of Science in Cybersecurity

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is an “all online” program that focuses on computer and information security, and on increasing the pool of well-educated security professionals. Students engage in theoretical studies and practical training like digital forensics, while developing the critical thinking and communication skills required by professionals in the cybersecurity field. Students are prepared to defend US citizens and public, private and government organizations against cyber attacks.


The Master of Science in Cybersecurity empower graduates from multidisciplinary backgrounds with the knowledge and skills to realize their full potential as next generation technical and organizational leaders in the ongoing war against cyber crime and cyber terrorism.

What to Expect as a Student

·     Apply to this program online

Students who have succeeded in this program come from a wide variety of backgrounds including CS and IT, but also law enforcement, teaching, music, sociology and nursing to name just a few. Ideally, students should begin the application process at least six months prior to the start of the desired first semester.

Applications to this program are accepted year-round and vetted by an admissions committee on a rolling, monthly basis. Since the committee is in recess during Winter and Summer breaks, applications received from 16 November to 15 April are considered for the subsequent Fall semester; and those received from 16 April to 15 November are considered for the subsequent Spring semester. Students still completing another degree may apply with unofficial transcripts and receive decisions conditional upon successful completion of the prior degree.

Graduate assistantships are awarded on a per-semester basis and generally require recipients to be enrolled full-time (9 credit-hours), maintain a 3.0 or better GPA, and to work 15 to 20 hours weekly during the academic term. Since many MS Cybersecurity students are already in the workforce, few are eligible for these opportunities. The NSU Financial Aid Office can provide more information about tuition and additional options such as federal, state and institutional scholarships and grants, student work-studies and loans.

Program at a Glance

The curriculum for the Master of Science in Cybersecurity is comprised of 10 three-credit-hour courses, and one six-credit-hour capstone experience. New students begin in the Fall or Spring semester and take two or three courses each semester. One or two courses may be offered during the Summer mini-terms subject to demand and faculty availability. Most students complete the program in 2 to 3 years.

All courses must be passed with a B or better. There is a four-year time limit to complete the curriculum, and a maximum of two equivalent courses (6 credit hours) can be transferred into the program. Throughout their studies, students are made aware of professional conferences, symposiums, job fairs and internships that may lead to employment offers and additional educational opportunities.

Foundation Courses

All courses are required.

  • CSC 535 Computer Security I

    Course Description

    This course is designed for IT professionals to learn computer and network security theories and practices that can be used to significantly reduce the security vulnerability of computers on internal networks or the Internet. The course assumes some familiarity with various operating systems and computer networks. Topics include cryptography, program security, operating systems security, database security, network security, security administration, computer ethics, and legal issues.

  • CSC 555 Management of Information Security

    Course Description

    This course is designed to prepare students to become Security Systems Administrators and Managers who are responsible for the design, planning and management of security installations in business and Government Institutions. Topics include Management of Information Security, security planning, security protection (technical and procedural) best practices, risk management, Operations Security (OPSEC), legal issues and certification and accreditation. The course assumes some familiarity with various topics taught in an Introduction to Information Security course.

  • CYS 564 Secure Operating Systems

    Course Description

    This course introduces students to Operating Systems with the special emphasis on the security of these systems. Students will be introduced to the foundations of Operating Systems, the vulnerabilities of Operating Systems, the threats from attackers and the potential harm that can be caused by these attackers. Defense of these systems as well as the risk mitigation will be covered. The notion of a trusted Operating System will be introduced and will be a pivotal standard used to compare various Operating Systems.

  • CYS 573 Network Fundamentals

    Course Description

    This is an introductory course that covers the basics of how networks work, including the topics of OSI model, Internet model, network components, LANs, WANs, routers, switches, wireless communication, network security, TCP/IP Internet protocols, and network applications such as web and email. It also provides  hands-on experiences for configuring and troubleshooting network features on a Windows or UNIX workstation.

  • CYS 672 Computer and Network Forensics

    Course Description

    The topics covered in this course include fundamentals of digital forensics, forensic duplication and analysis, network surveillance, intrusion detection and response, incident response, anti-forensics techniques, anonymity and pseudonymity, cyber law, computer security policies and guidelines, court report writing and presentation, and case studies. The course will include lecture and demonstrations, but is designed around a virtual lab environment and scenario that provides for robust and realistic hands-on experiences in dealing with a range of cybersecurity topic areas. Students will be provided numerous practical opportunities to apply information security practices and technologies to solve real-world cybersecurity problems.

  • CYS 688 Human Aspects of Cybersecurity

    Course Description

    This course surveys the human aspects of cyber security. Topics include ethics, privacy, usability security, cyber crime and the social, psychological and cultural aspects of cyber crime. Emphasis will be placed on the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of human security.


  • CYS 697 Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

    Course Description

    This course is designed for students pursuing a graduate degree in cyber security with particular interest in working as a white hat hacker. Students will be trained theoretically and practically in understanding vulnerabilities in network architectures, operating systems, database management systems and web servers. They will learn how exploits are designed by an adversary attacker to penetrate into vulnerable systems. Students will also learn how the hacker can move into a hacked system and remove her/his footprints. The course will expose students to a host of tools used for network scanning, finger printing and password cracking. These tools include Nmap, Nessus and Backtrack among others. There will be a thorough discussion on the emerging hack technology for wireless LANs and defenses against them.

  • CYS 721 Database Security

    Course Description

    This course focuses on the theory and practice of implementing secure database systems. Emphasis will be placed on security in database design, database security principles, database application security models, database auditing models, database auditing and testing.


  • CYS 755 Healthcare Information Security

    Course Description

    This course is designed for students seeking to learn more about the field of healthcare information security. It covers the fundamentals of computer and network security theories and practices that can be used to significantly reduce the security-related vulnerabilities of healthcare information on internal networks or the Internet. An in-depth view of healthcare information is provided by examining healthcare regulatory requirements and the functions of a healthcare organization, including its medical business operations, hardware, software, networking, and security. Topics include electronic health records, security policy, web security, database security, security administration, and healthcare ethics, privacy, and law.


  • CYS 765 Advanced Topics in Cybersecurity

    Course Description

    This course covers state-of-the art advances, emerging trends, and threats in cybersecurity. Topics to be covered include current topics in Cybersecurity, advanced digital forensics, new approaches to the management of cybersecurity and new threats, vulnerabilities and controls.

  • CYS 798 Cybersecurity Capstone I

    Course Description

    This course prepares graduate students for their capstone experience in the Cybersecurity MS degree program. Capstone I provides students the opportunity to hone the skills needed to accomplish in-depth research and career growth; to choose a specific topic in cybersecurity as the focus for their research; to identify a CYS faculty advisor who agrees to oversee their capstone project; and to develop a viable research proposal.

  • CYS 799 Cybersecurity Capstone II

    Course Description

    This course is the capstone experience for graduate students in the Cybersecurity MS degree program. Capstone II provides students the opportunity to carry out in-depth research on a specific topic in cybersecurity. The student’s project will reflect the integration and application of the cybersecurity knowledge and skills gained over the course of the program.

Where Will My Degree Take Me?

Graduates from NSU’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program are very successful in landing jobs with great starting salaries in industry, government and academic institutions across the nation, including such prestigious employers as Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, the FBI, the U.S. Navy, SPAWAR, Air Force Research Lab and Perdue. Many have multiple offers before even graduating.

Associations and Affiliations


MS Cybersecurity Graduate Program Student Handbook

Limited IT background? Switching careers? Returning to school after a break?

Use this Jumpstart Sheet to find resources to brush-up or learn some computer science, technology and cybersecurity basics before you begin this program.

Informational Videos


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