Master of Science in Cybersecurity
The School of Interdisciplinary Informatics (Si2) is the academic home of the Master of Science (MS) in cybersecurity (previously information assurance). Cybersecurity is a rapidly expanding, multi-faceted science that integrates a diverse set of disciplines to address fundamental problems in the design, development, implementation and support of secure information systems. The Master of Science is a full graduate degree program balancing theory with practice in order to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect information systems. Because of the wide variety of subject areas to which cybersecurity can be applied, this degree program has two paths; cyber operations, a concentration with highly technical content, and interdisciplinary, with the opportunity for the students to tailor the degree to specific management goals. Students may also choose between a thesis or capstone exit option based on their individual interests.
Students enrolling in the degree program will be given the choice between two tracks: systems or management. The systems track is geared towards those who want to approach Cybersecurity from a more technical computer science perspective. This includes a greater focus upon technology issues such as encryption, malware, secure software, and theoretical foundations of information security. The management track is geared towards a Management Information Systems perspective and revolves around policy and management in the realm of Cybersecurity. This would include topics in the creation and enforcement of policies necessary for assurance, disaster recovery techniques, and critical business systems practices. Students enrolled in the program would be expected to make use of their previous education and experience in Computer Science or Management Information Systems depending upon the track selected.
The Master of Science degree program also provides a choice between a thesis option and capstone option. Students who want to actively engage in Cybersecurity research or pursue a Ph.D. are encouraged to select the thesis option. Students who desire a more practical education who potentially see themselves as Cybersecurity professionals may want to choose the capstone option. This option requires the students to take a capstone class in which they will work with on practical research problems related to current Cybersecurity issues. They will be expected to present their research results but are not expected to write a full thesis on the work.
Each degree path requires a 33-hour program of study and all share a set of common courses. These courses encompass the majority of the Cybersecurity common body of knowledge. In addition, non-core courses are designed to allow students to explore a wide variety of areas to which the core concepts are applicable. This includes but is not limited to topics such as information warfare, forensics, software reverse engineering, secure software engineering, and corporate information technology security policy management.
MS Concentrations in Cybersecurity
In addition to the Cybersecurity Master of Science program, the College of Information Science & Technology provides Cybersecurity concentrations for Computer Science and Management Information Systems graduate students. Students interested in an Cybersecurity concentration must still take their particular degree’s core coursework along with Cybersecurity electives. Additionally, students in the Cybersecurity program can take a core of Cybersecurity and take electives in Computer Science and/or MIS courses as needed.
Faculty and Facilities
The Cybersecurity program is maintained by NUCIA, the Nebraska University Center for Information Assurance. NUCIA is one of the Academic Centers of Excellence supported by the National Security Agency. The staff at NUCIA includes terminal degreed Information Assurance experts and certified information security professionals with the experience, expertise, and industry background to provide a strong program.
NUCIA also features a network of laboratories built specifically for Cybersecurity training and research called STEAL, Security Technology Education and Analysis Laboratories. The STEAL environment provides a place where students can conduct experiments and research in an isolated and safe setting. This also allows the students the ability to conduct experiments that would be potentially dangerous or harmful to external systems and networks. Such an environment provides students in the Cybersecurity program the hands-on experience that is all too valuable in this particular field.
Student Learning Outcomes for Cybersecurity Graduate Program
SLO 1: Analyze a problem, identify and define the security requirements appropriate to its solution, and implement the requirements.
SLO 2: Create an effective presentation for a range of audiences that explains the problem, security issues, and requirements and presents a solution.
SLO 3: Function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal in a professional, ethical, legal, and responsible manner.
Admission Requirements for MS in CYBR Graduate Program
- Complete and submit the Graduate Application for Admission form.
- Submit a detailed resume indicating your work experience and background.
- Submit a writing sample from work or previous academic experiences. Alternatively, if you do not have a writing sample, please submit a two-page double-spaced word-processed essay that addresses the following two topics:
- Discussion of two accomplishments that demonstrate your potential for success in the graduate program.
- Discussion of your unique personal qualities and life experiences that distinguish you from other applicants to our graduate program.
- One reference who can evaluate your work and/or academic achievements.
- Send official transcripts of all college coursework. The minimum undergraduate grade point average requirement for the MS in Cybersecurity program is 3.00 or equivalent score on a 4.00 scale. All applicants must have the equivalent of a 4-year undergraduate degree.
- International applicants who do not have a baccalaureate or equivalent degree from an English-speaking institution of higher education in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, English-speaking Africa, Australia, Ireland or New Zealand are required to submit TOEFL and GRE scores.
- The minimum TOEFL requirement for the MS in Cybersecurity program is 550 (paper-based) / 213 (computer-based) / 80 (Internet-based). The minimum IELTS requirement is 6.5.
- There is no minimum GRE requirement, but for international applicants the score will be one factor used in evaluating the student’s portfolio.
- Interview (optional): Although not required, the graduate program committee may ask to conduct a telephone interview to further assess the experiences of the applicant.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis. All applicants for the MS in Cybersecurity program must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited, four-year institution of higher learning or the equivalent foreign institution and earned a GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale). Since many factors influence the success of a graduate student, factors such as an applicant’s maturity, motivation, employment history, writing samples, work experience and other accomplishments will also be considered in making admission decisions. In addition, for international applicants, the GRE and TOEFL scores will be used along with other factors outlined above to make an admission decision.
Students interested in taking courses without admission to the MS in Cybersecurity degree program may do so with permission of the Graduate Program Committee Chair.
PLAN OF STUDY: All students should contact a Graduate Advisor in their first month of admission to complete a Plan of Study (a listing of all courses planned for the degree and the semester in which each course will be taken). If you are going to deviate from the approved plan of study (i.e. change courses or semesters), request approval from your Graduate Advisor prior to registration. Changes to the official plan of study must go through the approval process or graduation may be delayed. Students can enroll in UNO courses online at mavlink.unomaha.edu. It is highly recommended that out-of-town and international students enroll in courses before coming to Omaha, after consulting with an advisor.
The Graduate Advisor is Leslie Planos and current students can schedule appointments at mavtrack.unomaha.edu. New and prospective students can call the College of IS&T at 402.554.3819 to schedule appointments.
All students must meet with a graduate student advisor in the first semester of attendance. One of the purposes of this meeting is to complete your Plan of Study (a listing of all courses you plan to take for the degree and the semester in which each course will be taken.) If you are going to deviate from your approved Plan of Study, you will need to see an advisor prior to being able to register for the courses you want. Changes to the official Plan of Study must go through the approval process before registration. This is very important as graduation may be delayed if changes are not approved before enrollment.
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree consists of 33 hours of course content. If a student elects the thesis option, the student has a requirement of 27 hours of content, plus six hours of thesis work. If the student elects the capstone option then the degree is 30 hours of course content plus the graduate capstone class.
The degree has two concentrations: Cyber Operations, and Interdisciplinary. The Interdisciplinary track is designed for the student that is interested in cybersecurity from the policy, auditing, and business persectives, and allows a certain latitude in course selection. The Cyber Operations track is very technical in nature and matches the NSA knowledge units for the Center of Academic Excellence – Cyber Operations designation.
Detailed requirements can be found in the table below.
Foundation courses ensure all students in the MS CYBR program have a solid groundwork upon which to build the rest of the program. These courses not only provide essential prerequisite knowledge and skills for other courses in the program, but they also contain a distinct body of knowledge that is an important part of the Cybersecurity professional's education. All foundation courses are required for all students. However, students who have obtained an undergraduate Cybersecurity degree will typically already have this foundation. In such a case, most, if not all, foundation courses are usually waived. Students with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines, including Computer Science, Management Information Systems, or Engineering, will usually require one or more foundation courses. Occasionally, a student's work experience may be sufficient to waive one or more of these foundation courses.
Waivers for foundation courses are potentially granted by the chair of the graduate program committee upon the recommendation of the faculty member who is responsible for an individual course. Students requesting a waiver for a particular course should be prepared to meet with a faculty member and answer questions in the area of the course. They should bring to the meeting any relevant transcripts, course syllabi, course material, or evidence of practical experience. Some foundation courses may have an option for testing out.
Foundation courses cannot be used to satisfy the 33 semester hours required for the MS in Cybersecurity degree. Students who have not completed all the foundation course requirements may be admitted on a provisional status until those requirements have been completed. All foundation courses must be completed prior to or concurrent with the first six hours of MS in Cybersecurity graduate course work.
|Masters in Cybersecurity|
Foundation Requirements (Credit hours as needed)
CSCI 2240 – Intro to C Programming -OR- CYBR 2250 – Low Level Programming
Core Courses (12 Credit Hours)
CYBR 8366 – Foundations in Information Assurance
Concentration Courses (18 Credit Hours Capstone Option or 15 Credit Hours Thesis Option)
Cyber Operations Concentration
CYBR 8080 – Special Topics
This program of study is subject to change over time as the program develops.
A description of these classes can be found in the current graduate catalog.
Quality of Work Standards
The Graduate College's Quality of Work standards shall be applied to foundation courses as well as courses taken as part of the degree program. In particular, the GPC will recommend to the Graduate College that any student
- Receiving a grade of "C-" or below on any foundation courses will be dismissed from the program or, in the case of unclassified or non-degree students, be automatically denied admission.
- Receiving a grade of "C+" or "C" in any foundation course will be placed on probation or dismissed from the program.
- Not maintaining a "B" (3.0 on 4.0 scales) average in foundation courses will be placed on probation or dismissed from the program.
If you have questions or would like further information regarding the program please contact:
IS&T Graduate Advising