Specially designed for working professionals who have no IT background, this four-course (12-credit) graduate certificate in Cyber Security prepares students to analyze cyber threats to computer systems, networks and networked devices, and protect those systems from cyber attacks.

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 eight 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.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Cyber Security Graduate Certificate program will be able to:

  • Analyze cyber threats and vulnerabilities of computer systems
  • Analyze cyber security 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 Sciences, 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 & 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.

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 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.

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 also offered 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

The Ridge Advantage

Mercyhurst University pioneered the field of intelligence studies in the mid-1990s and is home to the largest and oldest academic intelligence enterprise in the United States. Founded in 1996, the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences has earned a reputation throughout the world for the quality and cutting-edge skills of its graduates. Mercyhurst intel alumni work in all 17 federal intelligence agencies and dozens of Fortune 500 companies, working to assist corporate and government leaders and decision-makers around the globe.

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, these programs harness our national security bona fides to offer unparalleled instruction in some of today’s most dynamic fields.

“The construction of new cyber training facilities ensure Mercyhurst remains the vanguard of the field.”—Tom Ridge

Online Access

All four courses in the Cyber Security certificate program are offered online. Online students have access to the university’s full range of learning resources, and opportunities to connect with classmates and instructors contribute to engaging student experiences. Flexible course pacing allows students to complete coursework around family or professional responsibilities, and the curriculum is structured such that students will never take more than one class at a time.

Contact Us

M. Afzal Upal, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Computing and Information Science
Office: Library 412
Phone: 814-824-2117

Meet the Faculty

Cyber Security
M. Afzal Upal, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Computing and Information Science
Gary Sullivan, MBA, CPCU, AIC, AIM, AIS
Program Director, F.W. Hirt Erie Insurance Risk Management, Assistant Professor