CYBER RISK MANAGEMENT
ONLINE MASTER OF SCIENCE
Minimizing cyber threats, maximizing security.
The rapid growth of online environments and global networks of interconnected devices (Internet of Things) leaves governments, businesses, and organizations exposed to new types of cyber security risks. As costs of global cyber crimes continue to skyrocket, demand for professionals skilled at assessing and managing cyber risk is growing rapidly as well.
Our 36-credit Master of Science in Cyber Risk Management program integrates traditional elements of risk management with cutting-edge science in big data and cyber security, providing you with the skills to assess and mitigate cyber risks and protect intellectual property. Coursework highlights the technical, legal and business aspects of cyber risk management, with special emphasis on monetizing cyber risk through insurance. Offered 100 percent online, the program is available to students around the world.
- Options: Master of Science, 4+1 (MU Undergrads Only)
- Location(s): Online
- Credits: 36
- Duration: Minimum 24 months
- Cost: $985 per credit; $38,000 total
- Deadline: Rolling admissions
- Start term(s): Fall or Spring semester
- Careers: Cyber or risk analyst in insurance, finance, banking, and more
As new threats and technologies have emerged, Mercyhurst has invested heavily in both data science and cyber security, developing new online master’s programs in Cyber Risk Management and Cyber Security. Drawing on the diverse learning resources and experienced faculty of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, home to our world-renowned applied intelligence studies department, these programs harness our national security bona fides to offer unparalleled instruction in some of today’s most dynamic fields.
Mercyhurst graduate programs are designed to give our students a competitive edge in the market place. Beginning with your first course, you will gain knowledge applicable to problem solving in your field. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to:
- Analyze various types of cyber threats to individuals and organizations and their cyber networks
- Perform risk management review for organizations; apply appropriate data analytics in the process
- Distinguish among the varying risks that threaten an organization’s business model and strategic plan; and make recommendations on how to identify, assess, manage, and monitor those threats
- Analyze techniques for assessing, monetizing, and mitigating traditional and cyber risks through insurance
- Evaluate the U.S. and international legal, regulatory, policy, and ethical issues involved in cyber risk management
The M.S. in Cyber Risk Management is a 36-credit program offered 100 percent online. Taken full time, students can complete the program in as little as two years. Offered on a mini semester system, students will never take more than one class at a time, making this program ideal for working professionals.
Our program’s unique curriculum will prepare students, even those with limited to no previous experience with computer science, for jobs as cyber risk analysts. Whereas most risk management programs focus on financial risk, this program addresses the insurance side as it relates to cyber risk and intellectual property on computer systems, which tend not to be insured or protected well.
Year 1, Semester 1
Mini 1: CIS 500: Computing & Information Science Concepts
Mini 2: CIS 501: Probability and Statistics
Year 1, Semester 2
Mini 1: RMGT 520: Cyber Risk Management
Mini 2: RMGT 530: Advanced Property & Liability Insurance
Year 1, Semester 3
Mini 1: CIS 560: Cyber Networks
Mini 2: CIS 561: Cyber Security
Year 2, Semester 1
Mini 1: RMGT 540: Advanced Finance & Accounting for Insurance Professionals
Mini 2: RMGT 550: Enterprise Risk Management
Year 2, Semester 2
Mini 1: CIS 564: Cyber Law & Policy
Mini 2: CIS 565: System & Application Security
Year 2, Semester 3
Mini 1: CIS 598: Research Methods
Mini 2: CIS 599: Research Project
Few professionals today have the in-demand skills to assess and monetize cyber risk. Banking, finance, and insurance companies are the the largest employers of cyber professionals, and they frequently have difficulty finding qualified applicants. In fact, A 2016 skills gap analysis from ISACA estimated a global shortage of 2 million cyber security professionals in the next few years.
Our grads will be well positioned for the careers of the 21st century. As cyber coverage becomes more popular in the insurance marketplace, insurers and businesses are discovering a shortage of professionals with the cyber security and risk management skills needed to excel in this emerging field.
In February 2018, Mercyhurst University announced a new cutting-edge cyber alliance between Mercyhurst, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland State University. Known as the North Coast Cyber Research and Training Alliance, this cooperative enterprise includes an agreement to jointly develop cyber security education, research and training programs will leverage the unique combination of strengths of the three schools: cyber intelligence threat analysis from Mercyhurst, cyber engineering from Case Western, and regulatory and policy analysis from Cleveland State’s law school.
Prospective applicants for the Master of Science in Cyber Risk Management must fulfill the following admissions requirements. At the discretion of the director of the cyber risk management graduate program, acceptance may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admission requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.
Admissions decisions are made by the program director on a rolling basis after a holistic review. Applicants can choose to start in either the Fall (preferred) or Spring semester.
- Completed (free) online application
- A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited school with a preferred overall minimum GPA of 3.0
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended
- A current resume
- A 500- to 750-word personal statement outlining your reasons for enrolling and personal and professional goals
- A letter of recommendation (1) from a professional or academic source (ex. employer or professor)
- International applicants whose records are written in a language other than English must have their documents translated into English and a notarized statement attesting to the accuracy of the translations
- International applicants whose primary language is not English must attain a TOEFL score of at least 79 on the internet-based exam OR an IELTS score of at least 6.5 OR a Duolingo English Test score of no less than 100.
Cost and Financial Aid
Mercyhurst graduate programs are competitively priced. Our goals it to provide you with an education that earns you an excellent return on your investment.
Tuition for the M.S. in Cyber Risk Management graduate program is $985 per credit (2021/22 school year rates).
Estimated total program cost for the M.S. in Cyber Risk Management is $38,000.
- Graduate Assistant (GA) positions
- Graduate Employment (GE) positions
- Corporate partner tuition rates
- Veteran benefits
- Employer reimbursement
- Federal direct loans
CIS 500 Computing & Information Science Concepts
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 Security, and Cyber Risk Management. Topics covered include: computer organization, data structures, computer programming, networking concepts, computer security, and ethics.
CIS 501 Probability and Statistics
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.
RMGT 520 Cyber Risk Management
This course covers the introduction to Risk Management to understand and mitigate cyber risk exposures. This course will review the risk management process, cyber risk exposures, cyber insurance, regulatory environment and how cyber risk management applies to the enterprise.
RMGT 530 Advanced Property & Liability Insurance
The course goal is for students to learn how risk management techniques can be used to address a commercial operation’s property and liability loss exposures. Specifically, this course will provide instruction on industry trends related to all aspects of commercial property and liability insurance, including policies, premium structure, constitution of insurable risks, underwriting, cyber risks and claims.
CIS 560 Cyber Networks
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.
CIS 561 Cyber Security
This course provides a comprehensive overview of essential concepts to better understand cyber 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.
CIS 564 Cyber Law & Policy
The Cyber Law & Policy course covers different aspects of national and international legal issues concerning cyberspace. This includes computer-related crimes, legal rights and liabilities associated with computer security, computer fraud and unauthorized computer use, information privacy, espionage, HIPPA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, GDPR and Digital Rights Management.
CIS 565 System & Application Security
This course focuses on the security aspects of systems that are composed of components and connections, and use software. It addresses the security issues of connecting components and using them within larger systems. It covers the concepts, principles, models and techniques of access control, authentication, secure communication and audit, system’s virtualization, real-time systems, software security, and operating systems security.
RMGT 540 Advanced Finance & Accounting for Insurance Professionals
This course provides students with an overview of insurance company financial concepts, including the differences between Statutory Accounting Principles and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, cash flows, investment portfolio analysis, and the underwriting cycle. The students will work on a project that will apply the materials to analysis providing a practical view of insurance company finances.
RMGT 550 Enterprise Risk Management
Enterprise Risk Management involves identifying the risks and opportunities faced by a firm, assessing them, developing and implementing a plan to address them, and then monitoring progress. In this course, students will learn the basics of ERM to identify elements of effective ERM systems and progress to analyze how companies can use ERM systematically to advance business objectives. Risk assessment, risk modeling and data analytics can be employed in addressing strategic planning and ERM.
CIS 598 Research Methods
This course prepares students for planning, conducting, and reporting on research in 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 Information Sciences.
CIS 599 Research Project
The capstone course experience is designed to allow students to work under the supervision of a cyber risk management faculty member to solve a real world problem and present their findings to the faculty before graduation.
Successful completion of the Cyber Risk Management coursework will earn students two course waivers toward the prestigious Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation from The Institutes.
In 2019, Mercyhurst’s F. W. Hirt Erie Insurance Risk Management Program established the Risk Management Advisory Board, with volunteer members recognized for their industry expertise, to provide feedback on the university’s risk management programming. The board offers insight on the undergraduate B.A. in Risk Management, as well as the graduate M.S. in Cyber Risk Management, helping to ensure our curricula are relevant, our students are learning valuable skills and competencies, and our students are entering fields with positive job outcomes. Overall, this relationship with the board allows us to be on the cutting edge of trends in the field.
Board members include:
- Robert W. Bowers, Westfield Insurance
- Marco Cercone, Esq., Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC
- Frederick G. Fiedler, USI Insurance Services
- Keith Gillin, Pfister Insurance Agency
- Christina Multari, Synergy Comp Insurance Company
- Leah Ohodnicki, Argo Group
- Doug Smith, Erie Insurance
- Marshall Wunderlich, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc.
Robert W. Bowers, MBA, CPCU, serves as Chief Claims Officer and National Claims and Customer Service Leader for Westfield Insurance.
In his capacity as Chief Claims Officer, Bowers is responsible for multiple property and casualty functions, including leading the corporate claims department, as well as claims reporting, billing customer service and collections, and premium accounting activities. He is a leader in driving a customer service culture within Westfield’s property and casualty operations, as well as partnering with organizational entities to develop and implement strategies to further customer experience, customer effort, and brand goals.
Since joining Westfield Insurance in 1996 as a claims specialist, Bowers has served in many capacities. Most recently, he was National Claims Strategy Leader (2010-2015), Claims Home Office Operations Leader (2007-2010), Organization Change Leader – Business Intelligence (2008-2010), Regional Executive – Central and Western Divisions (2002-2006), and Director of Claims Research and Development (2001-2002).
Bowers holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Geneva College and a Master of Business Administration from Ashland University, and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society. Additionally, he holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, is certified in Prosci ADKAR Change Management, and was named 2018 CLM Claims Professional of the Year—Management.
Marco Cercone is a partner with the law firm Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, practicing in the areas of first-party insurance coverage, claim investigation and litigation; subrogation; appellate practice; commercial litigation; antitrust matters; litigation of contested foreclosure cases; and wills and estate administration. As head of the property litigation practice group, he brings extensive trial and appellate experience, as well as specialized expertise in New York State’s Broad Evidence Rule.
Marco has deep experience in a number of areas, including arson, insurance fraud, appraisal under fire insurance policies, mortgagee claims, housing court defense, commercial and contract disputes, contested foreclosure cases, and antitrust matters involving the price-fixing of goods and commodities.
His mentorship goes beyond the associate attorneys and partners within his practice—he’s an adjunct instructor within Daemen College’s paralegal program. Marco also is a frequent lecturer and presenter on a number of topics related to property litigation, including fraud arson, appraisal, and material misrepresentation claims.
He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Duquesne University, and holds an MPA from George Washington University and J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.
Frederick G. Fiedler, ARM, is the Operating Company President, of USI Insurance Services Erie, Pennsylvania, office. USI Insurance Services is a full-service Insurance Brokerage & Risk Management Consulting firm and the nation’s ninth largest insurance broker with 145 offices throughout the United States.
As the Operating Company President, Fred is responsible for the overall financial performance of the office and for managing the quality of risk management services provided to their middle market clients. Fred is also the Senior Relationship Manager for many of the largest accounts and has more than 30 years’ experience with transportation, hospitals, nursing homes, specialty contactors, financial institutions, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, public entity, and hospitality accounts.
Fred came to USI with an extensive background in the Commercial Property and Casualty industry. Prior to joining USI in May of 2014 through an acquisition, he was the Managing Director and Vice President for Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. since November of 1999. Fred was responsible for the financial performance of the Erie office and managed the delivery of Brokerage and Risk Management services to the larger middle market clients.
Fred was Marketing Manager for the EBI Companies from 1998 to 1999, a National mono-line writer of Workers’ Compensation products and services. Over a ten-year period prior to joining EBI Companies, Fred held various sales and sales management positions at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, including Account Executive, Resident Manager, and Regional Sales Manager of the Western Pennsylvania Region.
Fred graduated from Mercyhurst University in Erie with a B.A. in Business Administration/ Marketing. He holds the Associate Risk Management Designation (ARM) and is a licensed Property and Casualty agent in Pennsylvania and a nonresident agent in New York, Florida, California, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Iowa, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Ohio, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Keith Gillin has been servicing the needs of insurance clients since 1992. Keith started his insurance career with the Westfield Insurance Company working in the Claims Department, managing offices in Illinois and Ohio, prior to moving to the Personal Lines Underwriting Department as a Division Manager. Keith joined the Pfister Insurance Agency in 2009 as a licensed independent agent. His areas of focus include Personal and Commercial Insurance, along with Life Insurance needs of our Pfister clients. Keith was born/raised in Johnstown, PA and graduated from Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, OH, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. He resides in Sharon Township (Medina County) with his wife, Anne, and three children, Nathan, Julia and Ella. He enjoys playing/coaching all sports activities and spending time with his family.
Christina Multari graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Christina began her insurance career in 2008 with Synergy Comp Insurance Company as a claims adjuster, implementing the claims model working hand and hand with SOS Consulting.
In 2012, Christina took a lead role as Claims Department Supervisor, where she was tasked with oversight of the claims staff and department results. In 2014, Christina moved into her role as AVP of the Claims Department. In this role, Christina was heavily involved in the pricing of new and renewal business accounts, oversight of department processes and procedures, staff development and management of the department vendors, and results. In 2016, Christina took the lead in oversight of the production underwriters. In addition to her claims responsibilities, Christina was tasked with the company’s profitable growth.
In 2017 Christina formally moved over the Underwriting and Marketing Departments and was made a Vice President. Christina continues to oversee the Claims, Marketing and Underwriting Departments with a focus on model implementation, client and agent relationships and profitable growth.
Christina is active in the community, serving as a Steering Committee Member for Leadership Shenango, an active board member for the United Way of Mercer County, Vice President of the Synergy Community Foundation; and previously a member of the Penn State Shenango Alumni Board.
Leah Ohodnicki is a senior vice president and the head of marketing and producer management in the Americas at Argo Group. In this role, Leah leads a talented team of marketers who are responsible for developing and executing strategies to achieve top and bottom line growth in Argo’s Americas region. Prior to Argo, Leah started her career in the insurance industry when she accepted a business development coordinator role at Marsh USA. During her nearly 10 years at Marsh, Leah served in local, regional and national roles within their marketing organization.
Leah is passionate about growth. At work, you can find her spearheading change to drive continuous improvement. Within the insurance industry, she’s focused on attracting talent to the industry through her participation on WSIA’s Career Development Committee. At Argo, she and her team recently launched the Ascend With Argo program, offering early-career producers the education, insight and connections they need to develop and thrive in the insurance industry.
At home, Leah is a proud wife, mother of two awesome boys and the world’s best beagle. In her spare time, Leah is a lover of musical theater and serves on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh CLO. She’s actively involved in the audience development and cabaret theater committees. Leah earned a BSBA from Duquesne University.
Doug Smith, CPCU, FCAS, MAAA, serves as executive vice president, Sales & Products, Erie Insurance. He oversees ERIE’s Sales & Marketing, Product and Underwriting divisions.
Smith joined The ERIE in 1999 as a commercial actuarial analyst. He was promoted to supervisor of the Personal Pricing and Modeling Section in 2003. In 2008, Smith was named senior vice president, Personal Lines—a position he held until joining executive leadership in 2016.
Smith serves on the Board of Directors of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety as chair of the Research Advisory Committee. He also serves on and is former chair of the Young Leaders Council (YLC) Steering Committee for United Way.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS), a member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).
Marshall Wunderlich is the area president, western Pennsylvania, of Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc.
His current responsibilities in that role include management and oversight of Arthur J. Gallagher's Property/Casualty brokerage operations and growth strategy in western Pennsylvania. Gallagher's western Pennsylvania operation focuses on niche expertise in the areas of Higher Education, Public Sector, Food, Risk Management, Construction, Energy, Captives, and Manufacturing.
Additional responsibilities include development and execution growth and retention strategies, employee performance and development, budget development and accountability, oversight of professional standards, and execution of merger and acquisition strategies.
Wunderlich is a graduate of Allegheny College and the Duquesne University School of Law.