Online Master of Science in Security Studies: Cyber Security Concentration

Person monitoring cyber security 

Available entirely online!

Cyber security is an increasingly important concern for government agencies, defense contractors, e-commerce companies, bio-tech research firms, and numerous other business entities that are concerned with the protection of their information capital. Students pursuing this area of concentration will develop an understanding of computer network security principles, human behavior, systems, cyber forensics, and the strategies and agencies (federal and state) that are intended to secure the nation from "cyber attacks."

Offered through UMass Lowell's Division of Online and Continuing Education and taught by faculty in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, this 10-course Master's Degree program is available entirely online, providing a convenient format for busy professionals who may be juggling work and family responsibilities.

Program Outline

Total Credits: 10 courses / 30 credits

Required Courses: (7 courses)

  1. 44.568 Contemporary Security Studies - Available Fall 2014!
  2. 44.578 Intelligence Analysis - Available Fall 2014!
  3. 44.590 Research Design - Available Fall 2014!
  4. 44.642 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security
  5. 44.569 Scientific & Technical Dimensions of National Security - Available Fall 2014!
  6. 44.697 Security Studies Project Design and Defense
  7. 94.561 Computer Network Security - Available Fall 2014!

Elective Courses: (choose 3)

  1. 94.511 Network and Systems Administration
  2. 94.519 Managing Virtual Systems
  3. 94.560 Network Infrastructures
  4. 94.562 Digital Forensics
  5. 94.563 Secure Mobile Networks - Available Fall 2014!
  6. 94.565 Cloud Computing - Available Fall 2014!

Note: Additional elective courses may be available on-campus for students who are interested in taking a mix of on-campus and online courses. Call 978-934-4106 or send an email to CJGradAdvisor@uml.edu for an extended list of on-campus courses. Additional electives may be available online at a later date. Check back periodically for program updates.

How to Apply

Applications to the Graduate Program in Security Studies are accepted and processed year-round. Students accepted into the program can begin their courses in the Fall, Spring or Summer terms. To be considered for admission to this program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, with a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. A wide variety of undergraduate degree programs qualify as an appropriate foundation for this master of arts degree, particularly those in the behavioral and social sciences such as political science, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, history, international relations, and many others.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed application - Apply Online or use the paper application form (pdf) plus the $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts: An undergraduate degree in computer science or relevant professional experience is required for many of the technical courses in this graduate degree program.
  • A statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Official test scores for either the GRE or MAT. Have your official test scores sent to UMass Lowell's Office of Graduate Admissions at the address below. UMass Lowell's school code is 3911.
  • International students: Submit your official test results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. See Graduate Admissions International Graduate Application Requirements page for additional details.

Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions website for detailed information about each of these requirements.

Submit all required items to:
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Office of Graduate Admissions
820 Broadway Street
Lowell, MA 01854-5130

Course Descriptions

44.568 Contemporary Security Studies

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. 3 credits.

44.569 Scientific & Technical Dimensions of National Security

In this required course for the Master's Degree in Security Studies, students will learn all about the efforts in the public and private sector to design new sensors, scanners, and the general role of science and technology in homeland and national security. 3 credits.

44.578 Intelligence Analysis

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. 3 credits.

44.590 Research Design

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. 3 credits.

44.642 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security

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. 3 credits.

44.697 Security Studies Project Design and Defense

Under faculty supervision, students in the MS in Security Studies program will design a science or technology-related project that demonstrates mastery in a subject relevant to security. Examples could include chemical or biological sensors, computer firewall intrusion detection system, baggage scanners, signals interception device, etc. 3 credits.

94.511 Network and Systems Administration

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.519 Managing Virtual Systems

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.560 Network Infrastructures

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.561 Computer Network Security

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.562 Digital Forensics

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.563 Secure Mobile Networks

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

94.565 Cloud Computing

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. 3 credits. Prerequisite: BS in IT or equivalent. This course may be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. in Information Technology; it cannot be used towards UMass Lowell’s M.S. or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

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