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MS in Cybersecurity

The Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students with both the academic and practical training to be competitive in the ever-changing technical landscape of cybersecurity. The program is designed for students with backgrounds in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering or other related technical fields and aims to provide deeply technical and specialized training to develop professionals that are able to understand, adapt, and develop new techniques to confront emerging threats in cybersecurity. The program consists of core courses designed to build theoretical foundations in computer networking, mathematics, policy, ethics, privacy and legal issues along with electives in specialized technical areas. Electives are selected in consultation with an academic advisor to provide depth in one or more technical areas. In addition, students in this program have a unique opportunity to gain valuable hands on experience by participating in Drexel's well established graduate co-operative education program as well as a unique, program-specific research rotation program that allows students to perform research in two or more university laboratories that focus on contemporary cybersecurity topics.

Curriculum

The MS in Cybersecurity curriculum encompasses a minimum of 45 or 48 (with the two-term graduate co-op participation option) approved graduate quarter credit hours, chosen in accordance with the following requirements and a program plan arranged with the graduate advisors in consultation with the student's supervising professor, if applicable.

The general structure of the program is outlined below.

Curricular Requirement Credits
Total 45 cr.
Core Courses 15 cr.
Cybersecurity Technical Electives 18 cr.
General Electives 12 cr.

What follows are more detailed explanations of the key curricular components of the MS Cybersecurity degree program.

Core Courses

The core courses provide students with a theoretical foundation in the field of cybersecurity and a framework to guide the application of knowledge gained in technical electives to the practice of cybersecurity. All students pursuing the MS in Cybersecurity degree must take 15 credits of core courses, broken down in the following manner:

Course Requirement Credits
Core Courses Total 15 cr.
INFO 517 Principles of Cybersecurity 3 cr.
CST 510 Ethics, Privacy & Legal Issues in Cybersecurity 3 cr.
INFO 725 Information Policy 3 cr.
Networking Foundation 3 cr.
Select one of the following:
CS 544 Computer Networks
ECEC 631 Principles of Computer Networking
Mathematical Foundation 3 cr.
Select one of the following:
CS 521 Data Structures and Algorithms I
ECES 521 Probability & Random Variables

Cybersecurity Technical Electives

Cybersecurity technical electives are used to build a deep understanding of one or more areas of technical expertise within the field of cybersecurity. All students pursuing the MS in Cybersecurity degree are required to take a minimum of 18 credits of cybersecurity technical electives. Students should choose cybersecurity technical electives from the graduate course offerings of the Department of Computer Science; the Department of Computing and Security Technology; and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Cybersecurity technical electives should be chosen from the following list:

  • CS 522: Data Structures and Algorithms II
  • CS 543: Operating Systems
  • CS 575: Software Design
  • CS 576: Dependable Software Systems
  • CS 645: Network Security
  • CST 604: Technology for Homeland Security
  • CST 609: National Security Intelligence
  • CST 614: Counterintelligence
  • ECEC 621: High Performance Computer Architecture
  • ECEC 622: Parallel Computer Architecture
  • ECEC 623: Advanced Topics in Computer Architecture
  • ECEC 632: Performance Analysis of Computer Networks
  • ECEC 633: Advanced Topics in Computer Networking
  • ECES 522: Random Processes & Spectral Analysis
  • ECES 523: Detection & Estimation Theory
  • ECES 621: Communications I
  • ECES 631: Fundamentals of Deterministic DSP
  • ECES 632: Fundamentals of Statistical DSP
  • ECES 682: Fundamentals of Image Processing
  • ECES 811: Optimization Methods in Engineering Design
  • ECET 501: Foundations of Communications Engineering
  • ECET 511: Physical Foundations of Telecommunications
  • ECET 512: Wireless Systems
  • ECET 602: Information Theory and Coding
  • ECET 604: Internet Laboratory

The following special topics courses, when offered, may also be taken as cybersecurity technical electives:

  • CS 680: Special Topics: Privacy
  • CS 680: Special Topics: Risk Analysis/Policy
  • CST: Special Topics: Applied Cryptography
  • CST: Special Topics: Intrusion Detection
  • ECEC 690: Special Topics: Web Security I
  • ECEC 690: Special Topics: Web Security II
  • ECES 690: Special Topics: Data Fusion and Network Anomaly Detection
  • ECET 690: Special Topics: Information Theoretic Secrecy
  • ECET 690: Special Topics: Physical Layer Security
  • ECET 690: Special Topics: Wireless Network Security Lab

General Electives

The remaining courses needed to reach the minimum credit hour requirement for the degree program are considered general elective courses. General electives can be chosen from among the graduate course offerings of The iSchool, College of Information Science and Technology; the Department of Computer Science; the Department of Computing and Security Technology; the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and the Department of Mathematics. In order to have courses outside of these departments and schools count towards degree completion, they must be approved by the graduate advisors prior to registration for said courses.

Master's Thesis, Research Rotations & Independent Research

Although not required, students pursuing an MS degree, especially those interested in eventually pursuing a Ph.D. or entering a research-intensive career, are encouraged to complete a Master's Thesis as part of their MS studies. For more information regarding the Master's Thesis process, please visit the thesis information page.

Students enrolled in the MS in Cybersecurity program have the opportunity to gain research experience across multiple sub-disciplines through research rotations. The research rotation model, inspired by medical school clinical rotations, allows students to gain exposure to research that cuts across conventional departmental barriers and traditional research groups, prior to identifying and focusing on a specific interdisciplinary project or thesis topic. Students choosing to participate in research rotations would participate in the research activities of two labs for each three credits of research rotation they undertake. There are currently two research rotations courses:

  • CS 695: Research Rotations in Cybersecurity
  • ECE 695: Research Rotations in Cybersecurity

Selection of the course in which a student enrolls should match the departmental affiliation of the faculty members under which research is being completed. If the faculty members' departmental affiliations vary, please consult the the graduate advisors for more guidance. Students interested in participating in research rotations under the ECE 695 course number, should read more about their options on the graduate student-initiated courses information page.

It is also possible for MS students to engage in research for academic credit outside of the scope the thesis option. This research is still performed under the supervision of a faculty member; however, the end result is not submission of a Master's Thesis. This option is best suited for those students interested in gaining exposure to the research process and environment without the commitment to writing a thesis or for those students interested in delving deeper into a topic that is outside the scope of the normal graduate course offerings. Students interested in engaging in research for academic credit should read more about their options on the graduate student-initiated courses information page.

Regardless of whether or not a Master's Thesis is being completed, a total of 9 credits of research-oriented coursework (CS 695, ECE 695, ECEx 697, ECEx 898, ECEx 997, ECEx 998, or equivalent classes in other approved departments) may be counted towards the minimum credit hour requirement for the MS degree program. These credits are counted as general electives.

Graduate Co-op Program

Students pursuing an MS degree may choose to participate in the graduate co-op program, where up to 6 credit hours can be earned for up to two terms of full-time co-operative education experience in industry, working on curriculum related projects. Students participating in a single-term full-time co-op experience will earn 3 credits, which are considered a general elective course. Students engaging in a two-term full-time co-op experience will earn 6 credits, 3 credits of which are considered a general elective course; the other 3 credits are considered as an additional course, increasing the total minimum credit requirement for graduation from the MS degree program with a two-term full-time graduate co-op to 48 credits. For more information regarding the graduate co-op program, please visit the graduate co-op information page.

Transfer Credit

All approved transfer credits are considered general elective courses, regardless of content equivalency. If a transfer credit request is approved for one of the required core courses or cybersecurity technical electives, the student is exempt from taking said course but must make up the credits by taking a different course from among the graduate course offerings of the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Computing and Security Technology, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University. More information about the transfer credit process can be found on the transfer credit information page.

Program Plan

Every MS student is required to construct a program plan in consultation with the graduate advisors and the student's supervising professor, if applicable. This program plan will outline the student's path to degree completion, including at minimum all courses the student plans to take and the term in which those courses are to be taken.

For more information about the planning, submission and approval process for program plans, please visit the Constructing an MS Program Plan page.