MASTER OF SCIENCE
The global rise in cyber crime has created an unprecedented demand for cyber security professionals. As an international leader in intelligence and cyber education, Mercyhurst University offers an online Cyber Security master’s program that will prepare you to analyze cyber threats to computer systems, networks and networked devices, and protect those systems from cyber attacks. Through engaging online coursework, you’ll also learn to evaluate the legal, regulatory and ethical issues related to cyber security and privacy, and effectively communicate complex cyber security information.
Our 36-credit Master of Science in Cyber Security is excellent preparation for career advancement in the rapidly growing cyber professions. Mercyhurst’s program is one of the few in the nation to address cyber threats to business as well as national and international security. Grads of our program are well positioned for careers as cyber analysts and IT security specialists in virtually any industry. Offered on campus in Erie, Pennsylvania, or online, the program is available to students around the world.
- Options: Master of Science, graduate certificate, 4+1 (MU Undergrads Only)
- Location(s): On campus or 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 analyst, IT security specialist
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 security
The M.S. in Cyber Security is a 36-credit program that is offered both online and on our campus in Erie, PA. Taken full time, students can complete the program in as little as two years. When taken online, the program is offered on a mini semester system, and students will never take more than one class at a time, making this program ideal for working professionals. Full-time students in the on-campus program can complete the program in as little as two years.
Our program’s unique curriculum will prepare students, even those with limited to no previous experience with computer science, for jobs with government intelligence agencies as cyber analysts as well as IT security specialists in large and small private enterprises.
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: CIS 510: Algorithm Development
Year 1, Semester 3
Mini 1: CIS 560: Cyber Networks
Mini 2: CIS 561: Cyber Security
Year 2, Semester 1
Mini 1: CIS 562: Digital Forensics
Mini 2: CIS 563: Cryptography & Network Security
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
Prospective students looking to earn a quick credential or ease into graduate school can opt for the four-course, 12-credit graduate certificate in Cyber Security. The 100 percent online program can be completed in as little as 9 months. Those credits can then be applied to the master’s degree, should you choose to continue your education. Learn More.
- CIS 500: Computing & Information Science Concepts
- CIS 563: Cryptography & Network Security
- RMGT 520: Cyber Risk Management
- CIS 565: System & Application Security
Few professionals today have the in-demand skills to keep a company’s networks and data safe. Banking, finance, and insurance companies are 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. Cyber criminals are becoming more and more aggressive and savvy. The need for top-notch cyber security professionals to defend companies from these attackers will not wane.
Mercyhurst University recently announced a new cyber alliance with two other leading institutions. 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, the 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 Security must fulfill the following admission requirements. At the discretion of the director of the cyber security 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.
Admission 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 Security graduate program is $985 per credit (2021/22 school year rates).
Estimated total program cost for the M.S. in Cyber Security 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.
CIS 510 Algorithm Development
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.
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 562 Digital Forensics
This course introduces students to the principles and practice of digital forensics, including 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.
CIS 563 Cryptography & Network Security
The Cryptography & Networks Security course covers the aspects of computer communications and networking security to secure data while in transfer or in storage. This includes cryptography, secret and public key cryptography, message digests, password-based, address-based, and cryptographic authentication, privacy, access controls, network security protocols and wireless security.
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.
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.