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Master of Science in Security Studies: Cybersecurity Concentration

Get ready to meet the challenge of today's ever-increasing cyber threats with UMass Lowell's Master's in Security Studies, Cybersecurity online degree.

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Masters in Security Studies, Cybersecurity online degree graduate Andrew Finneran
Alarm Clock Next Start Date: September 4

Master's in Security Studies, Cybersecurity Online Degree

Develop the ability to address the technology, security and human weaknesses that leave organizations vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks with UMass Lowell's Master's in Security Studies, Cybersecurity online degree.

This 10-course program offers a combination of criminal justice and information technology courses. You will learn about contemporary issues in security management, intelligence policy, national security and cybercrime trends. Simultaneously, you will explore computer and network security topics such as virtual systems management, secure mobile networks, cloud computing and digital forensics.

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Career Outlook

957,156
Jobs (2020)
+9.2%
% Change (2020-2021)
$104.2K/yr
Median Earnings
119,153
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast, 2022

Occupations

  • Cyber investigator
  • Chief information officer (CIO)
  • Information security analyst
  • Information security specialist
  • Digital forensic examiner
  • IT auditor
  • Security systems administrator
  • Security architect
  • Cryptography engineer
"The median annual wage for information security analysts was $102,600 in May 2021. Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 35 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations."
— U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information Security Analysts (2023).

Key Takeaways

Deepen knowledge on a range of topics, including:

  • Computer network security principles
  • Intelligence collection and analysis
  • The history and evolving nature of the relationship between technology, crime and security
  • Domestic and international security threats and responses
  • Critical infrastructure protection
  • Strategies and agencies (federal and state) that aim to protect the nation from cyber attacks

Our faculty is comprised of top academics in the area of security studies, as well as industry experts who hold security clearances with the U.S. military and have worked in law enforcement or for intelligence and justice agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Department of Defense.

Our courses and programs of study enroll students from very diverse educational and professional backgrounds, and our alumni are employed in a wide variety of positions.

Leaders in Terrorism and Security Studies Research

The Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) was established in 2013 to bring together faculty from several colleges at UMass Lowell and other institutions and organizations in the Commonwealth. The CTSS collaborates on research projects addressing the evolution, convergence and complexity of domestic and foreign security challenges such as terrorism, cyber security, transnational crime and weapons of mass destruction.
Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Program in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #3 Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Programs in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report
National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security Badges
UMass Lowell has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Curriculum Outline

- Total Number of Courses: 10 (30 credits)

Course Descriptions

CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies (3cr)

This course examines the complex nature of key domestic and international security threats and responses. Topics include terrorism and insurgency, transnational organized crime, WMD proliferation, cyber-security, intelligence, national and homeland security strategies, critical infrastructure protection, and theories of international security.

CRIM.5780 Intelligence Analysis Policy and Practice (3cr)

Students will examine the tradecraft of intelligence collection and analysis from various perspectives. Topics will include strategies, tactics, legal and ethical implications, sources, means, methods, limitations, covert action, methods of analysis, and case studies of prominent intelligence successes and failures in the last half century.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5910 Research Design (3cr)

Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6580 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security (3cr)

This course will examine the history and evolving nature of the relationship between technology, crime, and security, with a particular focus on legitimate and illegitimate Internet commerce, and cyber criminal methodologies and techniques. We will study major issues in cyber security including criminal and state-sponsored hacking; data, intellectual property, and identity theft; financial and personal data security; cyber-terrorism; tools and methods used to exploit computer networks, and strategies to protect against them; and new and emerging technologies. This course will be taught specifically for non-computer science majors, although students with computer science backgrounds are welcome for the experiences that they can bring to the class discussions.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6680 Scientific & Technological Dimensions of National Security (3cr)

In this required course for the MS in Security Studies program, students will take this course to learn all about the efforts in the public and private sector to design new sensors, scanner, and the general role of science and technology in homeland and national security.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.7100 Advanced Research in Terrorism (3cr)

This course focuses on describing and understanding how research and evidence-based analysis helps us to understand, explain and predict changes in terrorist behavior. The course makes use of case studies to illustrate quantitative and qualitative research methods, and to approach research questions on terrorism from multiple levels of analysis. The course will also examine successful examples of interdisciplinary research and will help students navigate the pathway from theoretically informed research on terrorism to policy and practitioner-relevant counter-terrorism.

Requirements:

PhD Students only, or Instructor Permission.

MSIT.5110 Network and Systems Administration (3cr)

This course introduces the concepts and techniques of systems and network administration. The course covers topics in a wide range from host management, network management, host and network security to automating system administration. In this course learners will be installing and configuring various popular network based services in a Linux environment.

MSIT.5140 Systems Security and Auditing (3cr)

This course examines the strategies for deploying and auditing secure systems. IT auditors primarily study computer systems and networks form the point of view of examining the effectiveness of their technical and procedural controls to minimize risks. Risk analysis and the implementation of corresponding best practice control objectives will be studied. The material will include methodologies that help auditors to: Discover what's really going on at a point in time; Find out about potential problems, before it's too late to fix them; Evaluate business situations objectively; Make informed, if difficult decisions; Implement corrective actions, changes and improvements where needed.

MSIT.5190 Virtual Systems (3cr)

This course will investigate the current state of virtualization in computing systems. Virtualization at both the hardware and software levels will be examined, with emphasis on the hypervisor configurations of systems such as Vmware, Zen and Hyper-V. The features and limitations of virtual environments will be considered, along with several case studies used to demonstrate the configuration and management of such systems. Para-virtualized software components will be analyzed and their pros and cons discussed. Processor and peripheral support for virtualization will also be examined, with a focus on emerging hardware features and the future of virtualization.

MSIT.5410 Information Security, Privacy and Regulatory Compliance (3cr)

This course focuses on enterprise-level information security, privacy and regulatory compliance through study of the rapidly emerging Information Governance (IG) discipline which is applied to electronic documents, records management and output of information organization-wide. The key principles of IG will be examined including the security, privacy and compliance of corporate e-documents/records as well as email, social media, instant messaging, cloud computing, and mobile computing. The student will learn how IG leverages existing information technologies to enforce policies, procedures and controls to manage information risk in compliance with legal and litigation demands, external regulatory requirements, and internal governance objectives.

MSIT.5430 Intrusion Detection Systems (3cr)

Intrusion Detection Systems is a survey of the hardware and software techniques that are applied to the detection, identification, classification and remediation of compromised information systems. From this introduction to intrusion detection systems, students will develop a solid foundation for understanding IDS and how they function. This course will give students a background in the technology of detection network attacks. It will introduce all the concepts and procedures used for IDS (intrusion Detection Systems) and IPS (intrusion Prevention Systems). Students will have hands-on experience with implementing and configuring software and hardware based IDS in a network infrastructure. This course is designed with a network administrator in mind.

MSIT.5450 Designing and Building a Cybersecurity Program (3cr)

This course focuses on best practices for designing and building a comprehensive Cybersecurity Program based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity ("The Framework"). The Framework was issued on February 12, 2014, as directed by President Obama in Executive Order 13636. This framework provides guidance for reducing cybersecurity risk for organizations, and this course will examine its basic tenets of: "Cybersecurity Fundamentals", techniques applied to "Building a Controls Factory", "Cybersecurity Programs" "Establishing Cybersecurity Centers of Expertise" and "The Cybersecurity Program Implementation Roadmap".

MSIT.5460 Introduction to Malware Analysis (3cr)

This course introduces the use of reverse engineering techniques to find and analyze the behavior of malware in binary form. The topics include basic static analysis, basic dynamic analysis, advanced static analysis, advanced dynamic analysis, shell code analysis, malware behavior and anti-reverse engineering. To take this course, students shall have experience in the C programming language. Knowledge of assembly language is preferred although not necessary since the course will have a crash mini-course in X86 disassembly covering assembly language. The students will do the assignments and labs on either their own computers or in a virtual lab environment. Students must already have completed a bachelor's degree in a related discipline and must meet all undergraduate prerequisite requirements specified for graduate IT programs to enroll in this course and in a graduate career.

MSIT.5470 Protecting against Ransomware Attacks (3cr)

This course focuses on the best approach for organizations to develop a ransomware protection strategy, plan / program and operational practices to defend against damaging ransomware attacks. The class includes an overview of recent ransomware attacks, the top trends of today's ransomware variants, a model for describing common tactics and techniques used by ransomware gangs (based on the MIRE ATT&CK framework, tools and playbooks used by the top ransomware families. The class discusses common ransomware controls models (NIST Risk Management Framework and Cybersecurity Framework), ransomware best practices (NIST SP1800 Ransomware Practice Guides and CISA MS-ISAC Ransomware Guide), as well as training and workshops based on Red Team, Blue Team and Purple Team Exercises.

Requirements:

Students must already have completed a bachelor's degree in a related discipline to enroll in this course and in a graduate career.

MSIT.5600 Network Infrastructures (3cr)

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts in the design and implementation of computer communication networks, their protocols, and applications. Topics to be covered include: an overview of network architectures, applications, network programming interfaces (e.g. sockets) , transport, congestion, routing, and data link protocols, addressing, local area networks, network management, and emerging network technologies. Cannot be used toward MS or D.Sc. in Computer Science.

MSIT.5610 Computer Network Security (3cr)

This course is aimed to provide students with a solid understanding of key concepts of computer network security and practical solutions to network security threats. Topics to be covered include common network security attacks, basic security models, data encryption algorithms, public-key cryptography and key management, data authentication, network security protocols in practice, wireless network security, network perimeter security and firewall technology, the art of anti-malicious software, and the art of intrusion detection. Pre-Req: BS in IT or Equivalent. Cannot be used toward MS or D.Sc. in Computer Science.

MSIT.5620 Digital Forensics (3cr)

Identifying, preserving and extracting electronic evidence. Students learn how to examine and recover data from operating systems, core forensic procedures for any operating or file system, understanding technical issues in acquiring computer evidence and how to conduct forensically sound examinations to preserve evidence for admission and use in legal proceedings.

MSIT.5630 Secure Mobile Networks (3cr)

This course covers principles and practices of wireless networks, including cellular networks, wireless LANs, ad hoc mesh networks, and sensor networks. The potential attacks against these wireless networks and the security mechanisms to defend these networks will be discussed. Topics to be covered include cellular network architecture, wide-area mobile services, wireless LANs and MACs, introduction to emerging wireless networks, survey of malicious behaviors in wireless networks, securing wireless WANs and LANs, securing wireless routing, securing mobile applications, wireless intrusion detection and prevention, challenges in securing next-generation wireless networks, and privacy issues in wireless networks.

MSIT.5650 Cloud Computing (3cr)

This course starts with an overview of modern distributed models, exposing the design principles, systems architecture, and innovative applications of parallel, distributed, and cloud computing systems. The course will focus on the creation and maintenance of high-performance, scalable, reliable systems, providing comprehensive coverage of distributed and cloud computing, including: Facilitating management, debugging, migration, and disaster recovery through virtualization. Clustered systems for research or ecommerce applications. Designing systems as web services. Principles of cloud computing using examples from open-source and commercial applications.

MSIT.5660 Advanced Cloud Computing (3cr)

This course is a continuation of the MSIT.5650 Cloud Computing course and will cover in further detail such topics as Cloud Based Storage, Virtualization, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), High Availability, Scaling, and Mobile Devices. The course will also study the role of Open Source cloud software such as Hadoop, OpenStack and others. Similar to the first course where hands-on projects included the use of Cloud Services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Apps and App Engine, and Windows Azure, this course will continue with those services and add others such as Rackspace and VMware. Current articles and publications in this fast moving field of Cloud Computing will also be followed.

Requirements:

MSIT.5650 Cloud Computing, or Permission of the Instructor.


Program Requirements

To be recommended for a University of Massachusetts Lowell master's degree, candidates must satisfy all of the general requirements below, plus any additional requirements that may be required by the department through which the program is offered. Any additional requirements for this program are either listed below or may be found in the University's Graduate Program Catalog.

General Requirements:

  • Students must complete the program of study designed by the Department in which they are enrolled and approved by the University.
  • Satisfactory grades in all subjects offered for the degree must be earned. See Academic Standing.
  • All financial obligations, including tuition, fees and expenses, must be satisfied as evidenced by completion.
  • Upon completion of all their courses, graduate degree candidates must submit a signed Declaration of Intent to Graduate (DIG) form to their coordinator. The coordinator will apply them in SIS, Graduation Tracking.

Graduate Program Policies

In applying for a degree program or registering for courses, each student assumes full responsibility for knowledge of and compliance with the definitions, regulations and procedures of UMass Lowell as set forth on our website. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Program Policies found within the UMass Lowell Graduate Catalog.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Summer 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*

Graduate

Online and Virtual $600 $1,800
Online Business1 $655 $1,965
Online Education2 $470 $1,410
Online 7000-Level Education $655 $1,965
Select Online Nursing M.S. courses3 $750 $2,250
Select On Campus courses4 $600 $1,800
All other On Campus courses5 View Here
*Tuition is priced on the listed credit hour unless the contact hour is different. Tuition is then based upon the listed contact hour.
1Applies to ACCT, BUSI, ENTR, FINA, MGMT, MKTG, MIST and POMS courses.
2Applies to EDUC courses excluding 7000-level courses.
3Applies to NURS.6510, NURS.6511, NURS.6512 and NURS.6513 courses.
5Applies to graduate on campus courses excluding select courses

Additional Costs

Cost
Term Registration Fee $30
Returned Check Fee $30
Graduate Degree and Certificate Application $50

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Looking for Financial Assistance?

UMass Lowell offers a variety of financial aid and scholarship options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Cybersecurity is among the most in-demand professions in the United States. As of 2023, there is a shortage of millions of these professionals in the country, which has increased the median salary. Fortune Education writes, “As the need for cybersecurity talent grows, wages and other benefits should follow. Currently, the median salary for cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. is $135,000.”

    In addition to a very high demand for workers and competitive, six-figure salaries, many cybersecurity professionals find their work meaningful. They are the guardians of the digital landscape. They protect sensitive information, secure networks and ensure the integrity of digital infrastructure. By preventing cyberattacks and minimizing their impact, they safeguard businesses, governments and individuals from the devastating consequences of data breaches and hacking incidents.

  • The field of cybersecurity offers a wide range of career opportunities. With the increasing frequency and severity of cyberattacks, organizations are investing heavily in cybersecurity talent. From cybersecurity analysts and engineers to consultants and managers, there is a wide range of roles to choose from.

    Graduates from UMass Lowell's Master's in Security Studies, Cybersecurity concentration may find jobs as:

    • Cyber investigators
    • Chief information officers (CIO)
    • Information security analysts
    • Information security specialists
    • Digital forensic examiners
    • IT auditors
    • Security systems administrators
    • Security architects
    • Cryptography engineers

    Moreover, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. As technology advances and our reliance on digital systems increases, the need for skilled cybersecurity experts will become even more critical. This presents exciting prospects for individuals looking to enter or advance their careers in this dynamic field.

  • Although the field of cybersecurity does not require intensive math, it does require strong analytical and quantitative skills. Students in the Master of Science in Security Studies, Cybersecurity concentration at UMass Lowell are not required to complete any math specific courses, but some of the courses in the curriculum are either IT based or require a strong background in information technology as a prerequisite. Students who are interested in security studies but lack the technical background required, may find the Master of Arts in Security Studies with concentrations in Homeland Defense, Industrial and Economic Security, or International Security appealing.

  • In today's technologically advanced world, cybersecurity professionals are the unsung heroes ensuring our digital safety. They protect personal information, safeguard critical infrastructure and defend against cyber threats.

    These professionals possess a unique combination of skills and knowledge to anticipate, detect and respond to ever-evolving cyber threats. With expertise in areas such as network security, encryption and forensics, they aim to prevent cyberattacks and minimize their impact. They are at the forefront of technological advancements, constantly adapting and staying ahead of cybercriminals.

  • A common misconception about cybersecurity professionals is that cybersecurity is solely a technical field. Although technical expertise is essential, this role requires strong communication and problem-solving skills. You must be able to effectively communicate complex security concepts to non-technical stakeholders and think critically to anticipate and respond to cyber threats.

    Another misconception is that cybersecurity professionals are solely responsible for preventing cyberattacks. In reality, maintaining cybersecurity is a collective effort that requires collaboration between professionals, organizations and even the government.

  • One of the biggest challenges cybersecurity professionals encounter is the constantly evolving nature of cyber threats. Cybercriminals always find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, making it essential for cybersecurity professionals to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies.

    Another challenge is the nationwide shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers. The demand for cybersecurity expertise far outweighs the supply, leading to a skills gap in the industry. This shortage makes it difficult for organizations to find qualified professionals.

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Applying into a Graduate Degree Program

You can apply anytime. There are no deadlines. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

All applicants must submit:
    • An application
    • An application fee ($50)
    • A statement of purpose
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Offcial test scores
        • GRE not required
        • If English is NOT the national language in your home country, please submit one of the following English proficiency tests:
            • TOEFL: minimum acceptable score is 79
            • IELTS: minimum acceptable score is 6.5
            • Duolingo: minimum acceptable score is 115
            • ASC English: minimum acceptable level is 6
            • Pearson Test of English: minimum acceptable score is 53

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.000 GPA from an accredited institution
  • Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree in a science, technology or engineering discipline from an accredited institution of higher education. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in behavioral and social sciences will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Additional Information

F1 student visas are not issued for this program.

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Questions Regarding Your Graduate Application?

Email Graduate_Admissions@uml.edu or call 800-656-4723 (for U.S. students) or 978-934-2390 (for international students).

For General Assistance:

For general questions about registering for courses or to find out who the advisor is for your graduate program, call 800-480-3190. Our admissions and advising teams are here to help!

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