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UW-Green Bay
UW-La Crosse
UW–Oshkosh
UW-Parkside
UW-Platteville
UW-River Falls
UW-Stevens Point
UW-Superior

One master’s degree. Four tracks. 100% online. 

Cyber threats are more than a business issue; they are a national security issue. Across the country, private businesses and government agencies are searching for cybersecurity professionals at an increasingly high rate, yet there is a significant shortage of candidates that have the skills to protect organizations against cyber attacks. Now is the time to discover your path to a secure future and a rewarding career in cybersecurity.

The 100% online University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Cybersecurity will provide you with skills that meet current market demands. The program’s core curriculum addresses the fundamentals of cybersecurity, featuring courses in security planning, risk assessment, and communication. Once you complete your core courses, you will choose to pursue a unique track of study. You may choose to complete more than one track. The program’s four tracks of study give you the opportunity to tailor your degree to match your interests and career ambitions. The tracks are:

  • Digital Forensics
  • Cyber Response 
  • Governance & Leadership 
  • Security Architecture

A Collaborative Program 

The online UW Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree is a collaboration among eight UW campuses, giving you access to the best talent and resources of the UW System. You will take courses taught by esteemed faculty from eight UW campuses, each contributing diverse expertise from fields including computer science, engineering, political science, communications, economics, and mathematics.

Recognized and Accredited 

As an online student, you will earn the same recognized and respected University of Wisconsin degree as on-campus students. The UW Master of Science in Cybersecurity is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accrediting body.

 

Admission Requirements 

  • Bachelor’s degree with, at minimum, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Prerequisite coursework in Introduction to Computer Science—which must include programming content, and prerequisite coursework in Calculus or Statistics.  If you are in need of prerequisite coursework, this pre-approved list of options may assist you.  Please contact an enrollment adviser for details.
  • Your resume
  • Two letters of recommendation (can be professional or academic)
  • Up to 1,000 word statement of personal intent describing your decision to pursue the degree and what you believe you will bring to the cybersecurity field

No GRE or GMAT required 

*Campuses may waive some of these requirements as part of the comprehensive application process.

Application Deadlines

Application materials must be completed two weeks prior to the semester start to be considered for admission.

Starting your application early will help ensure you have plenty of time to gather required materials (such as transcripts), transfer credits, apply for financial aid, and complete the University of Wisconsin System Online Admission Application. 

Due to COVID-19, many institutions have transitioned to remote operations.  When ordering transcripts, it is recommended to order e-transcripts only, as physical (mailed) copies may not be available in a timely manner.

Find program start dates and registration dates on our important dates page. To see course offerings by semester, see the Course Schedule.

How to Apply 

Step 1: Decide which home campus you’d like to apply to. Campus partners for the cybersecurity program include UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior.

Step 2: Visit the University of Wisconsin System Online Admission Application, login or create an account, and apply to the home campus of your choice, and select “cybersecurity” as the program.

Step 3: Send your resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation; and arrange to have your official college transcripts (from each institution you attended) sent to the graduate student admissions office of the home campus to which you applied.

Questions?

While you are free to apply on your own, many prospective students find it helpful to speak with an enrollment adviser first. Our staff is here to answer your questions, talk with you about your career goals, and help you decide if this program is a good choice for you.

Cybersecurity Master’s Curriculum

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity curriculum is comprised of 12 courses, for a total of 34 credits. As a student in the program, you will take seven core courses and three concentration courses in your track of study. You will also complete a one-credit capstone preparation course and a final project-based capstone course. You may choose to complete one or more tracks. 

Cybersecurity tracks of study include: 

  • Digital Forensics: Digital forensics uses scientific investigation methods to collect, preserve, and analyze data stored on electronic media so that it can withstand legal review. As a student in this track you will study computer criminology, network forensics, and learn digital evidence investigation techniques.
  • Cyber Response: Cyber response is an organized approach to monitoring, detecting and responding to security events through each stage of their lifecycle. It encompasses both defensive and offensive security strategies—including threat identification, management and prevention. As a student in this track, you will learn about security infrastructure, incident remediation, and active defense techniques.
  • Governance & Leadership: Cybersecurity governance provides a framework for mitigating risk by assuring that information security strategies align with business objectives, and are consistent with relevant laws and regulations. It includes executive leadership and communication at every level of the organization. As a student in this track, you will take courses in security administration, leadership, and cybersecurity management.
  • Security Architecture: Security architecture is responsible for system confidentiality, integrity, and availability in relation to an enterprise’s overall system architecture and security process. As a student in this track you will study modern cryptography, the foundations of engineering secure applications, cyber-physical systems, and secure cloud computing. Students who choose this track have the option of completing either CYB 780 or CYB 785 to satisfy track requirements. 

Core Courses

CourseCredits

Introduces fundamental concepts and design principles in cybersecurity. Students will understand what, why, and how to protect in the cyberworld. Topics include CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability), threats and adversaries, threat management techniques and defensive strategies, access control, security policies, critical controls, incident handling and contingency planning, risk assessment and management.

CYB 700 Syllabus

3 Credits

Examines network architectures, threats and attack surfaces exploited by these threats. Students will look at network traffic inspection, common attacks and defensive techniques like encryption, network segmentation, firewalls, application proxies, honeypots, DMZs, monitoring networks using: intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems, and network access control.

CYB 703 Syllabus

3 Credits

Presents the principles of applied sociology that account for the human factors in security systems. Topics include an examination of the human role in cybersecurity, the role of security in the context of an organization, and a special focus on the development and implementation of cybersecurity policies.

CYB 705 Syllabus

3 Credits

Instruction on the process used to develop and maintain appropriate security levels for an organization with a focus on implementing a comprehensive security program, a documented set of security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. Topics include security planning, strategies, controls, and metrics for measuring the effectiveness.

Prerequisite: CYB 700

3 Credits

Introduces fundamentals of applied cryptography, including encryption and decryption, symmetric and asymmetric systems, pseudorandom functions, block ciphers, hash functions, common attacks, digital signatures, key exchange, message authentication and public key cryptography. Covers implementation of cryptographic systems in approved programming language, and survey of relevant mathematical concepts, including elementary number theory.

3 Credits

Covers risk management processes and tools, risk assessment and analysis models, economic and control implications, risk measurement, and ethics of risk. Students will communicate technical and management aspects of risk, based on research of their chosen industry, regulation, recent industry reports, and risk implications to organizations, individuals and the nation.

3 Credits

Research, organize, and present technical information to audiences with varying goals and technical needs. Emphasis on ethics, critical thinking, listening skills, and feedback to develop effective messages utilizing verbal and nonverbal communication strategies and visual aids. Individual and group presentations and projects will emulate professional scenarios in cybersecurity.

3 Credits

Digital Forensics

CourseCredits

Provides instruction on the investigative and forensics processes of digital evidence with a focus on identifying indicators of compromise, the use of common forensics tools, and the preservation of forensic artifacts. Topics include forensic iconology, and the analysis of disk, memory, chip-off, mobile device, and OS artifacts.

Prerequisites: CYB 700, CYB 703

3 Credits

A primer on modern criminology with specific attention to the aspects of technology that facilitate criminal behaviors. Topics include computer crime laws, criminological theories of computer crime, court room and evidentiary procedure, idiographic and nomothetic digital profiling, computer crime victimology, habit/authorship attribution, stylometry, and case linkage analysis.

3 Credits

Covers protocol analysis, identification of malicious behavior in systems, and forensic investigations through event log aggregation, correlation and analysis. Students will analyze clips of wired and wireless network protocol analysis to discern methods of attacks and malicious activities.

Prerequisites: CYB 703

3 Credits

Cyber Response

CourseCredits

Students will learn about the phases of an incident response system, and the use of IDS and forensics, dealing with false alarms and the remediation process to minimize business impact, plan business continuity, and work with law enforcement, auditors, insurance, and compliance in how to prevent future incidents.

Prerequisites: CYB 700, CYB 703, CYB 705, CYB 707, CYB 715, CYB 720

3 Credits

Covers operating systems security infrastructure. Topics include, for a given operating system (Windows/Linux), updates and patches, access controls and account management, configuration management, hardening and securing services, and the use of scripting languages to automate security management. Additional topics may include auditing and forensics, virtualization and cloud computing.

3 Credits

Preemptively secure computer and network resources by utilizing information about threats, actors and attack vectors, and processes including red, blue, and purple teaming, and the ethics behind using this data. Topics include active defenses such as penetration testing, log management, hacking, threat management and system posturing.

Prerequisites: CYB 700, CYB 703

3 Credits

Governance and Leadership

CourseCredits

Covers the policy and governance aspects of security. Topics include application of security policies, standards, procedures and guidelines to administration of IT and communications, assessment of compliance including contractual, legal, industry standard, privacy and regulatory requirements, and implementation of security audits and assessment of security performance and security policy efficacy.

Prerequisites: CYB 700, CYB 703, CYB 705, CYB 707, CYB 715, CYB 720

3 Credits

Focuses on leadership best practices and the interpersonal processes and structural characteristics that influence the effectiveness of teams. Emphasis will be placed on leadership models, principles of team building, group dynamics, problem solving, and crisis management in cybersecurity issues. Course will include case studies of modern security incidents.

3 Credits

Covers management of cybersecurity policies and strategies at the organizational, national, and transnational levels. Examines the convergence of information technology, communications/telecommunications, and policy making with regulatory branches and key domestic and international bodies. Includes development of organizational security preparation, process, and responses, and developing a disaster recovery program.

Prerequisites: CYB 700, CYB 703, CYB 705, CYB 707, CYB 715, CYB 720

3 Credits

Security Architecture

CourseCredits

Focuses on security architectures for the protection of information systems and data. Students completing this course can identify potential vulnerabilities in system architectures and design secure architectures. Topics include common enterprise and security architectures and their key design elements, such as secure cloud computing and virtualization infrastructures.

Prerequisites: CYB 703

3 Credits

An in-depth study of modern cryptography. Topics include public key and private key cryptography, types of attacks, cryptanalysis, perfect secrecy, hashing, digital signatures, virtual private networks, and quantum key cryptography. Topics from number theory and discrete probability necessary for understanding current cryptosystems and their security will be covered.

Prerequisites: CYB 710

3 Credits

Covers the foundations of engineering secure applications, including techniques used to engineer secure software and assess the security of applications. Topics include exploiting web vulnerabilities, secure development processes, implementing security features such as secure data storage and transmission, threat modeling, security requirements, code analysis, and penetration testing.

Students may choose to take CYB 780 or CYB 785 to satisfy Security Architecture track requirements. 

3 Credits

Covers the fundamentals and techniques to design and implement cyber-physical systems. Topics include the architecture of cyber-physical systems, exploiting software vulnerabilities, secure coding, microservices security, cloud services security, reverse engineering, security assessment of cyber-physical systems, and data analytics for security.

Students may choose CYB 780 or CYB 785 to satisfy the Security Architecture track requirements. 

Prerequisites: CYB 775

3 Credits

Capstone Courses

CourseCredits

Prepares student for capstone experience. Drawing on skills learned, students will submit a written project proposal – with organization, timeline, learning objectives, and specific deliverables identified – for faculty approval. This course is a pre-requisite for the capstone course.

Prerequisites: All seven core courses must be completed 

1 Credits

Students present project identified in Capstone Preparation and submit a written report plus oral presentation to both faculty and host organization. Students will be assessed on clarity and content of written report and presentation. Host evaluation will account for a significant percentage of student’s final grade.

Prerequisites: CYB 789

3 Credits

Anticipated Course Offerings 

*Course offerings are subject to change due to fluctuating enrollments.

Fall 2020

Preview Week Begins September 1, 2020
Course Dates: September 8, 2020 – December 18, 2020

CourseCredits

Introduces fundamental concepts and design principles in cybersecurity. Students will understand what, why, and how to protect in the cyberworld. Topics include CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability), threats and adversaries, threat management techniques and defensive strategies, access control, security policies, critical controls, incident handling and contingency planning, risk assessment and management.

CYB 700 Syllabus

3 Credits

Examines network architectures, threats and attack surfaces exploited by these threats. Students will look at network traffic inspection, common attacks and defensive techniques like encryption, network segmentation, firewalls, application proxies, honeypots, DMZs, monitoring networks using: intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems, and network access control.

CYB 703 Syllabus

3 Credits

Spring 2021

Registration Permission Numbers Opens November 9, 2020
Preview Week Begins January 19, 2021
Course Dates: January 26, 2021 – May 7, 2021

CourseCredits

Introduces fundamental concepts and design principles in cybersecurity. Students will understand what, why, and how to protect in the cyberworld. Topics include CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability), threats and adversaries, threat management techniques and defensive strategies, access control, security policies, critical controls, incident handling and contingency planning, risk assessment and management.

CYB 700 Syllabus

3 Credits

Examines network architectures, threats and attack surfaces exploited by these threats. Students will look at network traffic inspection, common attacks and defensive techniques like encryption, network segmentation, firewalls, application proxies, honeypots, DMZs, monitoring networks using: intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems, and network access control.

CYB 703 Syllabus

3 Credits

Presents the principles of applied sociology that account for the human factors in security systems. Topics include an examination of the human role in cybersecurity, the role of security in the context of an organization, and a special focus on the development and implementation of cybersecurity policies.

CYB 705 Syllabus

3 Credits

Instruction on the process used to develop and maintain appropriate security levels for an organization with a focus on implementing a comprehensive security program, a documented set of security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. Topics include security planning, strategies, controls, and metrics for measuring the effectiveness.

Prerequisite: CYB 700

3 Credits

Introduces fundamentals of applied cryptography, including encryption and decryption, symmetric and asymmetric systems, pseudorandom functions, block ciphers, hash functions, common attacks, digital signatures, key exchange, message authentication and public key cryptography. Covers implementation of cryptographic systems in approved programming language, and survey of relevant mathematical concepts, including elementary number theory.

3 Credits

Covers risk management processes and tools, risk assessment and analysis models, economic and control implications, risk measurement, and ethics of risk. Students will communicate technical and management aspects of risk, based on research of their chosen industry, regulation, recent industry reports, and risk implications to organizations, individuals and the nation.

3 Credits

Graduate with Cybersecurity Skills Employers Need 

The UW Master of Science in Cybersecurity was developed with input from industry leaders to ensure our curriculum lines up with the demands of today’s employers. Upon completion of the graduate program, you will possess the following cybersecurity skills and knowledge:

Analyze and resolve security issues in networks and computer systems to secure an IT infrastructure 

  • Interpret and analyze operation system and machine level structures
  • Interpret and analyze network protocols
  • Design, evaluate, and test systems including networks, computers, and hardware for security requirements.

Design, develop, test and evaluate secure software

  • Implement best practices in secure software development
  • Implement effective cryptographic systems and assess their vulnerabilities
  • Assess security implications for emerging software technologies

Develop policies and procedures to manage enterprise security risks

  • Conduct security risk management assessments
  • Develop and implement threat management framework
  • Evaluate and create security policies and processes for an organization and apply appropriate security frameworks
  • Implement identity and access management controls

Evaluate and communicate the human role in security systems with an emphasis on ethics, social engineering, vulnerabilities, and training 

  • Assess trends in computer criminology and social behaviors related to technology use, including physical security
  • Engage in ethical decision-making and apply ethical principles to cybersecurity
  • Engage in professional collaboration and communication with technical and nontechnical stakeholders on issues related to security

Interpret and forensically investigate security incidents 

  • Develop and implement an incident response strategy
  • Identify and assess attacks through forensics
  • Interpret legal implications of security incidents and conduct investigations using industry best practices

Graduate Tuition

Tuition for the UW Master of Science in Cybersecurity is a flat fee per credit whether you live in Wisconsin or out of state. Cost per credit is $850.

Textbooks are purchased separately and are not included in tuition. Being an online program, there are no additional course or program fees such as segregated or technology fees. If software or special technology is required in one of your courses, it will be provided to you and is included in your tuition.

Financial Aid 

Financial aid may be available to you and is awarded by your home campus. Contact your home campus financial aid office to see if you qualify for aid as a full or part-time student.

Visit our financial aid page to learn more about FAFSA and other sources of financial aid.

Veteran Benefits 

Benefits are available to qualifying veterans and those currently serving. Contact your home campus veteran services office for details.