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M.S. Cybersecurity

We See Your Future Leadership in Cybersecurity
Protect individuals and organizations from cyberattacks with a master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Norfolk State University. 
Norfolk State UniversityMaster of Science in Cybersecurity

Cyberthreats are on the rise and organizations, including nonprofits, health care, education, big business and government, are looking for strong leaders who are equipped to keep their data and systems safe. Public, private and government agencies all cite information security as a business priority. A master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Norfolk State University gives you the knowledge, skills and experience to design and manage security systems that will help keep organizations safe.

Our graduates come from a variety of backgrounds to learn how to defend computer systems and protect company data from cybercriminals. Through engaging lectures from experienced faculty and hands-on training, you will understand the tools hackers use to penetrate systems as well as the programs used to stop them. You will also participate in cybersecurity research as part of a capstone project to apply what has been learned in courses to a real-world scenario.

Online but never alone

Our master’s degree in Cybersecurity is 100% online, where you’ll have plenty of access to faculty mentors and advisors who will support you throughout the program. As an online Cybersecurity degree student, you can utilize our multimillion-dollar cybersecurity complex to conduct research virtually, alongside both faculty and peers.

M.S. Cybersecurity Degree at a Glance

  • Time to Completion: 2–3 Years
  • Formats Offered: Online
  • Total Credit Hours: 36
  • 100% of faculty have a Ph.D.

View M.S. Cybersecurity plan of study | Request more information | Apply now

Why Study Cybersecurity at NSU? 

Norfolk State University’s online Cybersecurity degree program is a recognized leader in the industry. As a graduate student in our Cybersecurity degree program, you’ll learn from experienced faculty who all have technical Ph.D. degrees and connections to organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA). Benefit from their experience and professional network while preparing for a successful career in your cybersecurity job of choice through practical research, experiential learning and access to advanced technology.

Conduct cybersecurity research

You’ll work with a faculty research advisor for your capstone project to conduct original research on your preferred cybersecurity topic. This helps to connect concepts learned while gaining practical experience writing a research proposal, conducting research, developing solutions and communicating key learnings. You can apply this research to your existing cybersecurity job to advance in a leadership role or use it as a resume builder to launch a new career in cybersecurity.

Get hands-on experience in your field

Work with the tools and systems used by professional intelligence organizations, such as Nmap, Nessus and others, for network scanning and cracking passwords. You’ll also have access to our Cybersecurity Complex, which offers advanced technology for research and analytics.

Access first-class facilities

Our multimillion-dollar Cybersecurity Complex offers big data analytics computing capabilities for research, state-of-the-art classrooms and one of Virginia’s most progressive simulation labs. Many of these capabilities are accessible virtually for our online students, and local students can access the facility or work at the Complex as research assistants.

What Courses Will I Take as a Cybersecurity Graduate Student?

Our master’s degree in Cybersecurity consists of 10 foundational courses, plus a two-semester capstone class, covering a wide variety of topics related to cybersecurity. Classes are offered in the fall and spring semesters — most students do not take courses during the summer. While our online Cybersecurity degree program does not include electives, you’ll have an opportunity to explore specific topics within cybersecurity during your capstone project.

A sample of coursework includes:

  • Network Fundamentals
  • Computer and Network Forensics
  • Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing
  • Database Security

View the full course catalog for M.S. Cybersecurity.

Where Will My Online Cybersecurity Degree Take Me?

When you get your online Cybersecurity degree from NSU, you develop the competencies to be successful in a variety of settings. Students are trained not only in how to defend against cybercriminals but also in how to use digital forensics to identify hackers and mitigate the likelihood of successful attacks. These skills are applicable to a wide variety of industries and make you a highly marketable candidate for a cybersecurity job.

Some of our graduates have backgrounds in education, health care or criminal justice and use their degrees to defend their organizations against cybercrimes. Others look for new opportunities outside their current organization. Overall, graduates from NSU’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program are highly successful in landing jobs with great starting salaries in institutions across the nation, including:

  • Accenture
  • Air Force Research Lab
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • FBI
  • U.S. Navy

Career outlook for M.S. Cybersecurity graduates

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. In fact, cybersecurity jobs are far outpacing other industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and offer an average annual salary over $100,000. Many of our graduates have multiple job offers prior to graduation. If you need help landing a cybersecurity job, our Career Services office is ready to assist you with resume writing, job search and interview preparation.

How Do I Get Started on the M.S. Cybersecurity Degree at NSU? 

Students from any background are welcome to apply for our M.S. Cybersecurity degree program — in fact, about half of our students do not have prior experience in computer science. You’ll need to submit the NSU online application along with supplemental materials, including official undergraduate transcripts. The GRE is not required. You will receive an admissions decision within six to eight weeks after we have received all your application materials. Applications completed from 16 November through 15 April are considered for the subsequent Fall semester; and those completed from 16 April through 15 November are considered for the subsequent Spring semester. Students who miss cut-off dates may be eligible to take courses in a non-degree-seeking status while their applications are pending.

We know that financing your education is an important consideration. Norfolk State University offers a wide variety of financial aid programs, including federal, state and institutional scholarships and grants, student employment and loans. Once you are accepted, contact our Financial Aid Office for help identifying available financing options for your NSU graduate degree in Cybersecurity.

Degree Programs Related to M.S. Cybersecurity

Accreditation for M.S. Cybersecurity at NSU

Norfolk State University holds the following designations for its education and research programs in cybersecurity:

  • Cybercorps Scholarship for Service
  • Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence
  • National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research
  • DHS/NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

Norfolk State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Norfolk State University also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Norfolk State University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Foundation Courses

All courses are required. CYS 688 and CYS 721 typically are offered in Spring only; CYS 697 and CYS 755 typically are offered in Fall only.

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.