four students looking at computers

Cyber Security Graduate Certificate

Online Graduate Certificate

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% 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

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.

Course Requirements

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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

navy blue background