cybersecurity

Cybersecurity (M.S., C)

Graduate
  • Online
  • Certificate
  • Master's

About this Program

Our program provides a comprehensive cybersecurity education, preparing graduates for advanced technical and management positions in cybersecurity. It addresses the core subject areas and skill sets identified in the Cybersecurity Workforce Framework by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS).

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is a 30-credit program designed for both technical and non-technical students with a bachelor’s degree. A prior background in information technology (IT) or computing is desirable, but not required to enter this program. Individuals without such background can enter the degree program by enrolling in two prerequisite foundation courses. The structure of the program allows students to enter from different disciplines, provides a common foundation and robust subject matter training necessary in today’s Cybersecurity job market.

The Master’s in Cybersecurity is designed to allow partnerships with local technology companies and government organizations. Students will be required and supported to pursue experiential learning and research opportunities during their studies. The program culminates with a team-based capstone project, linked to local industry and government partners. Students will work with faculty and partners to develop suitable research and project questions; collect data, design systems, develop software, protocols, methods and techniques; synthesize their findings or work artifacts into a final product; and present their findings to the partners and scholarly venues.

Explore current IT issues

The curriculum deepens knowledge of the procedures, tools and standards used in Cybersecurity. Students learn systems and network security, computer forensics, cryptography, ethical hacking and contemporary technologies and techniques in web, wireless and mobile security. They also explore current trends and issues and in the process gain valuable insights into Cybersecurity’s role and impact in day-to-day business operations.

Boost professional marketability

Grounded in a thorough understanding of the technical and managerial aspects of Cybersecurity, graduates leave Hood ready to tackle the complex cyber challenges in business, industry, government, education, health and other fields. For students who want cyber training, but not the full master’s degree, there is a stand-alone certificate in Cybersecurity.

Part-time or full-time

By taking one or two courses a semester, students can complete the 30-credit program in three years, or as full-time students, they can take on-campus classes and graduate in 18 months. Both formats provide instruction from highly qualified faculty and adjunct instructors with proven Cybersecurity experience.

Academic Planner/Program Planning Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Admission
  1. How do I apply for admission?
  2. Students apply for admission following the directions here.
  3. What are the admission criteria for the program?
  4. You can find the admission criteria here.
  5. Do you offer probationary or conditional admission if I don't meet one or more of the admission criteria ?
  6. We don't offer probationary or conditional admission. After admission, if a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, the student must restore their GPA to a 3.0 within 9.0 credit hours to avoid dismissal from the program. The application review is designed to ensure that admitted students will be well-prepared to succeed in the program. Based on an applicant’s background, the program director may require registration in specific foundational coursework and/or limit the number of credits for enrollment during the student’s first semester.
Program
  1. How many courses do I need to complete the MS in Cybersecurity?
    Students must complete ten (10) courses above the Foundation courses (see the Program Planning Guide).  
  2. Is the program offered part-time or full-time?
    Both. Students may study in the program either part-time or full-time.
    NOTE: International students in the US with a student visa are required to be full-time.
  3. Is the program offered on-campus or online?
    Both. Students may study in the program either on-campus or online.
    NOTE: International students in the US with a student visa are not allowed to take any online courses.
  4. What is the typical course structure in the program?
    Students can expect a carefully integrated mix of lectures, hands-on laboratory assignments, computer-based simulations, individual and small group projects, discussions along with guest lectures by local cybersecurity government and industry leaders and world-renowned experts (see: Cotton Lecture Series).
  5. What is the typical class size?
    Most classes have an average of 14-16 students however there are some very popular courses that average 24 students. At Hood College, in person or online, you will never be in a class that your instructor doesn't know your name or how you are doing in class (that is a good thing!).
Courses
  1. What are the Foundation courses?
    Foundation courses aim to help students with partial or no preparation in computing or information technology get ready to be successful in the program. There are two such courses: IT 510 Computing Hardware & Software Systems and CSIT 512 Elements of Computer Programming (Python).

  2. How many courses can I take each semester?
    In graduate school, three courses (9.0 credits) is considered a full-time load. Part-time students may take anywhere from one to three courses each semester. Full-time students must take three courses each semester. NOTE: International students are required to maintain a full-time course load in order to comply with US student visa requirements.

  3. How much time can I expect to spend on each course each week?
    On average, for each course, you will spend about three hours each week in the classroom. The rule of thumb is that you should estimate spending no less than three hours per week for each hour you are in the classroom to study, do homework and work on projects. 

  4. What are the easy courses in the program?
    There is no such thing as "easy" courses. All the courses are challenging in their own way. There are courses some students find more enjoyable than others but it is subjective and mostly based on personal interests and prior background. If a student is admitted to the program, we make sure they have the right preparation to succeed.

  5. Do I need to always follow the course prerequisites?
    Yes.

  6. What is the CYBR 560 Cybersecurity Capstone about?
    Read a sample syllabus (PDF) that explains the Capstone, the process and the student responsibilities and methods of evaluation.

  7. What is the CYBR 599 Special Topics  elective course about?
    This is a designation for courses covering specialized topics that are not taught on a regular basis. When a CYBR 599 course is offered, students will see it on the schedule along with a meaningful title describing the course.

  8. What is the CYBR 597 Cybersecurity Practical Training elective course about?
    This course is designed to provide cybersecurity stduents with a working knowledge and practical application of the topics covered in our cyber courses. The students will apply current research and accepted practices of the cybersecurity field in a variety of professional settings and will perform work supervised by both a professional advisor and a Hood advisor. Based on the description for the external position, students will craft an appropriate research/professional plan, in consultation with their Hood advisor. This course will help students synthesize previous concepts and training as they transition to the role of a professional. Students should contact the Hood College Career Center to get help in locating potential, relevant positions that could be used to serve as Practical Training sites.

 

The Cotton Cyber Lecture Series

Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59 and her husband, John Cotton, have given the new cybersecurity master’s program a generous gift by establishing the Cotton Cyber Lecture Series, which will bring nationally and internationally recognized leaders in cybersecurity to campus to speak.

The October 2018 event featured Ronald S. Ross, Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology, which took place on October 18th at the Hood Auditorium, Rosenstock Hall

In April 2019, Hector Monsegur spoke to guests in Hood College's Hodson Auditorium regarding the lack of preparedness of the cybersecurity industry to thwart major attacks. Hector is a former hacker who breached major corporations and governments. He is currently Director of Assessment Services at Rhino Security Labs and has helped the FBI prevent more than 300 cyber-attacks on systems controlled by the military and NASA. 

Program Contact

George Dimitoglou

Program Director

Phone
301-696-3980
Larbi Bricha

Larbi Bricha

Assistant Director Graduate Admission

Phone
301-696-3601

Degrees Offered

  • MS
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Faculty Focus | Professor Richard Roth Discusses Cybersecurity

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For students applying to the masters or certificate in cybersecurity program, please submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • One copy of official transcripts from each institution attended
  • Résumé/CV that provides educational and professional experience (required only for master's program)

This program is designed for students who have a solid background in computer science or information technology, including database and telecommunications concepts, either through formal study or professional experience. Students who do not have the necessary background will be required to complete one or both of the foundation courses in addition to ensure they are well prepared for the required coursework. The program director determines the required foundation courses based on a thorough evaluation of transcripts and other supporting documents. 

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity requires completion of foundation courses designed to provide the appropriate background knowledge.  Students with undergraduate degrees in computer science or a related field may be waived from one or both of these courses at the time of application review.  If these courses are required, they are in addition to the 30 credits required for program completion (24 credits of core courses, 3 credits of elective, 3 credits of capstone).

Core Requirements

CYBR 555Information Systems Security

3.0

CYBR 548/IT 548Telecommunications & Networking

3.0

IT 530Applied Database Concepts

3.0

CYBR 534Network and Internet Security

3.0

CYBR 521Information Assurance & Risk Assessment

3.0

CYBR 532Computer Forensics

3.0

CYBR 535Security Policies, Ethics and Law

3.0

CYBR 566Ethical Hacking

3.0

CYBR 560Cybersecurity Capstone

3.0

Elective

CYBR 537Applied Encryption & Cryptology

3.0

 or

 

CYBR 599Special Topics

3.0

 or

 

CYBR 597Cybersecurity Practical Training

1-6

Foundation Courses

Any foundation courses required are in addition to the 30 credits required for program completion.

IT 510Computing Hardware & Software Systems

3.0

CSIT 512Elements of Computer Programming

3.0

ABC graphic

Academic Blazer Chat: Cybersecurity

George Dimitoglou, director of the cybersecurity program, and Michelle Giambruno, a cybersecurity student, discuss what cybersecurity is and what students can expect during the program and after graduation.

Fast Fact

100% expected cybersecurity employment rate through 2021.

All Faculty
George Dimitoglou

George Dimitoglou

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science
  • Chair, Department of Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Program Director, Master's in Cybersecurity and Director of the Center for Computer Science and Information Assurance
Carol Jim

Carol Jim

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Bill Pierce

Bill Pierce

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Coordinator, Computer Science Minor

Ahmed Salem

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Program Director, Master's in Information Technology and Cybersecurity Certificate