Master of Science Programs in Cybersecurity
Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to questions about UMUC's cybersecurity programs, including our master's degrees in cybersecurity policy, cybersecurity technology, and digital forensics and cyber investigation.

Choosing a Program

What is the difference between information assurance and cybersecurity?

Information assurance focuses on the confidentiality, integrity, availability, authentication and validation of data. These are all accepted, well-understood and mostly technical issues. Cybersecurity focuses on securing the safety of computers and computer systems in a networked environment—security issues typically are approached from a broader background (socio-economic, political, psychological etc.).

What is the difference between the MS in Information Technology with Information Assurance specialization and the MS programs in cybersecurity?

The two disciplines are interrelated, but differ in the approaches adopted, the methodologies used and the areas of emphasis.

The information assurance program focuses on individual solutions, such as access control, encryption or compliance, while the cybersecurity programs focus on coherent solutions comprising the effectiveness of integrated and coordinated security measures, as well as multi-level and multi-aspect controls. For this reason, cybersecurity requires an interdisciplinary approach to consolidate cyber defense efforts, break down barriers to collaboration, develop new security technologies and facilitate increased national public awareness of cybersecurity issues.

Who should consider a degree in cybersecurity?

The graduate cybersecurity programs are designed for mid-career professionals who wish to help meet the challenges posed by increasing cyber-threats. With a degree in cybersecurity, you may qualify for the following career paths:

  • Chief security officer
  • Cyber policy analyst
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Cybersecurity engineer
  • Cybersecurity operator
  • Cybersecurity software engineer
  • Digital forensics expert
  • Information systems security administrator
  • Senior systems manager

Graduate Program Details

Can I complete the graduate program online, or will I be required to attend on-site classes?

All of the MS in cybersecurity programs are available online only.

Will I be able to successfully complete the graduate degree program without prior computer science or cybersecurity experience?

Yes, it's possible. The graduate cybersecurity program covers many technical topics, but assumes no previous experience in cybersecurity or computer science. You may also want to consider the MS in Cybersecurity Management and Policy program, which is less technical in nature and, therefore, does not require prior technical expertise.

I'm receiving financial aid. Will the cybersecurity courses be 3 or 6 credits?

All courses in the MS programs are worth 6 credits.

Will I be required to purchase a new computer or equipment?

Because most of our courses are completely online, you will need a computer that meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for applications, such as Microsoft Office products, and internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Although these requirements vary as products are updated, the minimum requirements currently fall within the following specifications:

  • Computer Processor: Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon 64, running at least 1 GHz or higher
  • Computer Memory: 2 GB RAM or higher
  • Operating System: Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.6, or higher (Linux operating systems can also be used, but require more technical knowledge of Linux from the student.)
  • Hard Drive: At least 5 GB free hard drive space
  • Accessories: Microphone, speakers, headset with speakers, or equivalent device(s)
  • Internet Connection: High-speed internet connection, either wireless or wired

Please note that the higher your computer's processor speed (e.g. 2.4–3.4 GHz) is, the larger the amount of memory (e.g. 4–12 GB) and hard drive space (e.g. 5–20 GB) you will have available. Your computer will perform better and your experience with course delivery will be smoother as well.

MS in Cybersecurity Management and Policy

What will I get from the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy?

As the name of the program suggests, this program will help you develop your skills and competencies in management and policy. The focus of the program is on policies, procedures, and management approaches that keep networks and computer assets safe from intrusions as well as public policy relating to cyber security. These include both national and international policies by governments and organizations. The program does require that you become familiar with computer and network technologies at a foundational level.

Who is the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy geared toward?

This program is for people who want to become managers working with policies and procedures to protect networks and computer assets within a private or public organization. It is also for those who want to work with national and international cyber security policy.

What do I need to do to succeed in the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy?

This program is open to anyone. You do not need any specific background in IT. However, if you have no background in IT, you may find it helpful to take a non-credit preparation course in information technology that will give you some basic IT foundation.

MS in Cybersecurity Technology

What will I get from the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology?

This program will help you develop your skills and competencies in implementation of technology measures to protect an organization's network and computer assets from intrusions. The program focuses on techniques and technologies of cyber defense. The program will require that you become adept with computer and network technologies at a high level.

Who is the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology geared toward?

This program is for those who want do the technological implementation of measures and processes to protect networks and computer assets within an organization. It is intended to develop those who do the actual hands-on work and those who manage them.

What do I need to do to succeed in the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology?

This program is open to anyone and while you do not need a specific background in IT, it is certainly very helpful. If you do not have a background in IT, it is strongly recommended that you take our non-credit preparation courses in information technology and coding. These will give you a foundation that will help you succeed in the program.

MS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation

What will I get from the Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation?

This program focuses on the investigation area of a cyber attack and collecting evidence from digital assets of other specific activity. It will help you develop your competencies in finding, accessing and analyzing digital evidence left on a variety of devices from computers to smartphones and tablets. The program will require that you become adept with network, computer, and digital analysis technologies at an intermediate level.

Who is the Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation geared toward?

This program is designed for those who want to develop skills and competencies in the analysis of digital evidence. This may lead to positions tracking cyber intruders or digital evidence within government and private organizations as well as law enforcement.

What do I need to do to succeed in the Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation?

This program is open to anyone but some basic knowledge of IT is helpful. If you have no IT background, it is strongly recommended that you take the non-credit preparation course in IT prior to taking CYB 610.

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