Cyber Ops Certificate

Cyber operations (Cyber Ops) is a specialization of information security that is in high demand within areas of the government and military, including the National Security Agency (NSA). If you have an interest in working for the NSA, or a similar organization, certification in Cyber Ops may be the right fit for you. The INI is pleased to be able to offer a certificate in Cyber Ops for students whose career interests lie within this critical area of the workforce. To participate, students must be enrolled in the Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) degree program. International students can pursue the Cyber Ops Certificate but cannot participate in the optional summer internship (the NSA Classified Summer Internship Program; see below).

The curriculum of the Cyber Ops Certificate also meets MSIS degree requirements. Therefore, MSIS students do not need to complete extra coursework outside of their degree in order to earn the certificate. They simply must ensure they register for and complete the prescribed set of courses for the certificate. All of the courses used to satisfy Cyber Ops Certificate requirements must be taken for a letter grade. Upon graduation, the Cyber Ops certificate would be issued in addition to the MSIS degree.

Curriculum for the Cyber Ops Certificate

The Cyber Ops curriculum is made up of nine required courses and at least four optional courses in the Cyber Ops Concentration. The courses satisfy MSIS requirements as described below.

Required Courses

Students must successfuly complete all of the following courses. These course units will also be applied to the core course requirements of the MSIS curriculum.

  • 14-740 Fundamental of Telecommunication Networks (12 units)
  • 18-730 Introduction to Computer Security (12 units)
  • 14-761 Applied Information Assurance (12 units) (can be considered as the additional security core course; otherwise, as a restricted elective or course option course)
  • 14-788 Information Security Policy and Management or 14-784 Information Security Risk Management II (6 units)
  • 15-605 Operating Systems (15 units)
  • 18-732 Secure Software Systems (12 units)

Students must successfully complete all of the following courses for the certificate. These course units will also be applied to the restricted electives or course option requirements of the MSIS curriculum.

  • 14-829 Mobile Security (12 units) (can be considered as the additional security core course, if needed)
  • 15-650 Algorithms and Advanced Data Structures (12 units)
  • 15-513 Introduction to Computer Systems

Students must select at least 4 courses from the following list. The units can be applied to the MSIS curriculum to the restricted electives or course option requirements of the MSIS curriculum.

  • 14-642 Introduction to Embedded Systems
  • 14-822 Host Based Forensics (12 units) (can be considered as the additional security core course, if needed)
  • 18-842 Distributed Systems (12 units) (can be considered as a core course, if needed)
  • 05-836 Usable Privacy and Security (12 units)
  • 14-814 Wireless Network Security (12 units) (can be considered as the additional security core course if needed)
  • 18-733 Applied Cryptography (12 units) (can be considered as a core course if needed)
  • 18-845 Internet Services (12 units)
  • 14-735 Secure Coding (12 units) (can be considered as the additional security course, if needed)
  • 14-819 Introduction to Software Reverse Engineering (12 units)

Other Cyber Ops Options

The Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations Summer Program (CAE-Cyber Ops SP) is the National Security Agency's (NSA) premier outreach program for students enrolled in the Cyber Operations specialization at NSA-designated universities. Selectees will be invited to participate in a 12-week summer program to gain knowledge of specific cyber-related topics and apply educational knowledge to address various real-world mission-related technical challenges. U.S. citizenship is a requirement to participate. 

  • NSA Classified Internship Program (For at least one Carnegie Mellon student). Learn more about this internship opportunity from the CAE-Cyber Ops SP website.

Sample Course Sequence

The following course sequence would be completed in 20 months. The courses representing the required courses for the certificate are in boldface, while the courses representing the optional courses are in italics. The core courses, restricted electives, and concentration courses correspond to the MSIS requirements.


Fall, Year 1:

    • 14-740 Fundamental of Telecommunication Networks
    • 18-730 Introduction to Computer Security
    • 14-761 Applied Information Assurance
    • 14-642 Introduction to Embedded Systems

Spring, Year 1:

    • 14-786 Information Security Risk Analysis
    • 14-788 Information Security Policy and Management
    • 15-513 Introduction to Computer Systems*
    • 14-822 Host Based Forensics
    • 18-842 Distributed Systems

*The INI strongly encourages students to take 15-513 in the summer prior to Year 1.

Summer, Year 1:

    • NSA summer seminar / NSA Classified Internship

Fall, Year 2:

    • 15-605 Operating Systems
    • 15-650 Algorithms and Advanced Data Structures
    • 14-829 Mobile Security

Optionally:


    • 14-814 Wireless Network Security

Spring, Year 2:

    • 18-732 Secure Software Systems
    • 18-733 Applied Cryptography
    • 18-845 Internet Services

Optionally:

    • 05-836 Usable Privacy and Security 
    • 14-735 Secure Coding
    • 18-842 Distributed Systems