The global rise in cybercrime has created an unprecedented demand for cybersecurity professionals. As an international leader in intelligence and cybereducation, Mercyhurst University offers an online Cyber Security graduate certificate program specially designed for working professionals who have no IT background. This four-course (12-credit) graduate certificate in Cyber Security prepares students to analyze cyberthreats to computer systems, networks, and networked devices, and protect those systems from cyberattacks.

The program’s four courses are offered exclusively online. Students will enroll in one eight-week course at a time—you’ll never need to manage multiple courses at a time—completing four courses and earning the certificate in approximately nine months. The program’s flexible structure and pacing work with your professional and personal responsibilities, making it convenient to earn your graduate certificate.

A key feature of the certificate program is its close alignment with professional licenses, namely, CompTIA’s Security+ and ISC2’s System Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP). Successful completion of the program should allow grads to earn these coveted designations.

Program Overview

  • Options: Graduate Certificate, Master’s Completion
  • Location(s): 100 percent online
  • Credits: 12
  • Duration: Minimum 9 months
  • Cost: $1,026 per credit; $13,500 total
  • Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Start term(s): Fall or Spring semester
  • Careers: Cyber analyst, IT security specialist in any industry

As new threats and technologies have emerged, Mercyhurst has invested heavily in both Data Science and Cyber Security programming. 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.

Learning Outcomes

Mercyhurst graduate programs are designed to give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace. 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 cyberthreats and vulnerabilities of computer systems
  • Analyze cybersecurity threats to computer networks
  • Assess cyber risks faced by networked organizations and develop appropriate mitigation strategies

Course Requirements

  • CIS 500: Computing & Information Science Concepts
  • CIS 563: Cryptography & Network Security
  • RMGT 520: Cyber Risk Management
  • CIS 565: System & Application Security

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 Science, Cyber Security, and Cyber Risk Management. Topics covered include: computer organization, data structures, computer programming, networking concepts, computer security, and ethics.

CIS 563: Cryptography & Network Security

The Cryptography & Network 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.

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, cyberinsurance, regulatory environments, and how cyber risk management applies to the enterprise.

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, systems virtualization, real-time systems, software security, and operating systems security.

Master's Continuation

After completing the Cyber Security graduate certificate, students have the option of continuing on to earn a Master of Science in Cyber Security from Mercyhurst. Students opting to earn the master’s must complete an additional eight courses (24 credits), which are offered either on campus or online. These courses are:

  • CIS 501 Probability and Statistics
  • CIS 510 Algorithm Development
  • CIS 560 Cyber Networks
  • CIS 561 Cyber Security
  • CIS 562 Digital Forensics
  • CIS 564 Cyber Law & Policy
  • CIS 598 Research Methods
  • CIS 599 Research Project

Career Paths

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 cyberprofessionals, and they simply cannot find enough qualified applicants. In fact, a 2016 skills gap analysis from ISACA estimated a global shortage of 2 million cyber security professionals by 2019.

Our grads will be well positioned for the careers of the 21st century. Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly aggressive and savvy. The need for top-notch cybersecurity professionals to defend companies from these attackers will not wane. 

Admissions Requirements

Prospective applicants for the Master of Science in Cyber Security must fulfill the following admissions 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 admissions 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
  • International applicants whose records are written in a language other than English must have their documents translated into English and submit 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.

Explore Financial Aid

Earn an affordable graduate certificate in cyber security with competitive per-credit costs. Visit our Graduate Cost and Financial Aid webpage or contact us at or 814-824-3351.

Contact Us

Christopher Mansour, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Computing and Information Science
Office: Library 402
Phone: 814-824-2121

Colleen Hordych
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions
Phone: 814-824-2297