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Cybersecurity BS

College of Sciences
Undergraduate major

Cybersecurity Student in Lab

Program accredited by

Na National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Logos

Cybersecurity is a computing-based field that prepares individuals for careers in securing computer systems. It is an interdisciplinary course of study, including instruction in information technology and assurance, computer architecture, programming and systems analysis; cryptography; security system design; applicable law and regulations; risk assessment and policy analysis; contingency planning; investigation techniques; and troubleshooting, often in the context of adversaries.

Learn more about the accelerated combined (BS + MS) degree in Cybersecurity Operations.

Students completing the BS in Cybersecurity major will learn to assess the security needs of computer and network systems, recommend safeguard solutions to prevent unwanted security breaches, and manage the implementation of security devices, systems and procedures.  The program emphasizes lab-based courses designed to provide students with the conceptual and technical background necessary to secure jobs in cybersecurity and related areas.  

Metropolitan State University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CAE-CDE institutions receive formal recognition from the U.S. Government as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our Nation's information systems. The Cybersecurity program curriculum also conforms to the NSA requirements for maintaining the CAE-CDE designation.

Are you interested in a Cybersecurity degree? Sign up to learn more at our information session on October 13 at 5 p.m.

Program Oversight

Positioned under the College of Sciences, MN Cyber Institute is a statewide initiative to position Minnesota as a national leader in cybersecurity through education, innovative public/private partnerships, interdisciplinary research, and community engagement. MN Cyber advisory board comprises of representatives from public/private sectors who provide advice and guidance on the Institute’s strategic plans and performance as well as ensure that Metro's cyber-related program offerings are relevant, valuable, and targeted to meet workforce needs.

Prospects

Cybersecurity is in very high demand as a career field, with the projected number of jobs growing 28% over the next decade and starting salaries for well-qualified BS graduates approaching $100,000/year.   

Potential cybersecurity career titles include Security Auditor/Manager, Security Administrator, Security Analyst/Architect/Engineer, Penetration Tester, Vulnerability Assessor, Incident Responder, and Secure Software Developer.

Program Educational Objectives

The cybersecurity major program is designed to help graduates achieve the following career and professional objectives. The program's graduates will:

  1. Contribute to their communities and societies in the area of cybersecurity and demonstrating an understanding of contemporary security issues, both technological and societal.
  2. Advance their careers through the application of their cybersecurity knowledge.
  3. Work effectively as team members and demonstrating ethical and responsible behaviors.
  4. Apply cybersecurity methods and concepts to the general area of their bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. 
  5. Maintain their skills through continuing professional development and life-long learning.

Curriculum Structure

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity consists of 70 credits, of which 30 credits are prerequisites taken prior to declaring the major, 32 credits are required core courses, 4 credits of elective courses from a selected list, and 4 credits are from a senior capstone project or a cyber-residency program.

Students must complete a minimum of 20 credit hours of their major required courses and/or major electives at Metropolitan State University. In addition, students must complete at least 30 credits at Metropolitan State University in order to graduate.

Student outcomes

After earning the BS in Cybersecurity, students will:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of cybersecurity concepts, tools, and technologies to prevent, detect, react, and recover from cyber-attacks.
  2. Articulate cybersecurity risks, threats, and countermeasures and apply this understanding to develop cyber defense strategies.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to design secure systems to meet organizational needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, and ethical expectations.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in communicating technical information in formal reports, documentation, and oral presentations to users and security professionals.
  5. Identify, analyze, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature relating to the field of cybersecurity to help solve specific problems and to stay abreast of the rapidly changing security context.
  6. Participate as an active and productive member of a project team engaged in achieving solutions to specific cybersecurity-related problems.
  7. Demonstrate sensitivity to and sound judgment on ethical issues as they arise in information security and cyber defense and will adhere to accepted norms of professional responsibility.

Metro State connects you to your future. Receive information from Admissions about taking your first step toward a degree!

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Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Cybersecurity BS now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Cybersecurity BS

Program eligibility requirements

Students interested in the Cybersecurity BS when applying for admission to the university will be given pre-major status and will be assigned an academic advisor in the College of Sciences.

To be eligible for acceptance to the Cybersecurity BS, students must submit a College of Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form when the following conditions are met:

  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 for ICS 265 and MATH 215 or equivalents.
  • Completed the General Education Goal I Writing Requirement.
  • Completed all prerequisite courses with a grade of C- or better.
  • Demonstrated competency in the "C programming language" either by coursework (e.g., ICS 265) or passing a competency exam.  

Students who do not meet the above requirements or are on academic probation will not be accepted to the major and will not be allowed to take any 400-level courses in the discipline.

Official admission to this major program and review of prior course credentials is done directly through the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department.

Students must complete all prerequisite and required courses with grades of C- or above. The CSC department determines transfer coursework equivalency.

Guidelines for completing the Cybersecurity BS

  • Students interested in the Cybersecurity BS when applying for admission to the university will be given a pre-major status and will be assigned an academic advisor in the College of Sciences.
  • Students should reference the program eligibility requirements noted in this catalog on the previous page and noted on the student’s Degree Audit Report System (DARS) report to declare the Cybersecurity major.
  • Students must complete all courses in the major with a grade of C- or better.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 20-semester credits of major requirements at Metropolitan State University.
  • Students must complete at least 28 credits of upper-division coursework (300 and above) at Metropolitan State University.
  • Students must read and understand the transfer courses and prerequisite requirements listed below under the General Guidelines. 

Course requirements

Pre-Major Foundation (30 credits)

To declare the Cybersecurity major, students are required to complete the following pre-major foundation courses with a grade of C- or better and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 for ICS 265 and MATH 215 or equivalents. Students should take Math courses before or concurrently with CFS/CYBR/ICS courses. For further details, reference the General Guidelines section below.

College Math Introduction

Choose one

MATH 115 College Algebra

4 credits

This course develops the fundamental concepts of algebra with an emphasis on the classification and analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. Applications to the natural and social sciences are given throughout. It aims to provide insights into the nature and utility of mathematics, and helps students develop mathematical reasoning skills.

Full course description for College Algebra

MATH 120 Precalculus

4 credits

This course is designed to prepare students for calculus. Topics include polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; the algebra of functions; multiple function representations; and an introduction to analytic geometry.

Full course description for Precalculus

Complete all of the following courses. ICS 251 may be waived with a demonstrated industry experience of 3 years AND with the CSC Program Coordinator’s permission. If waived, an additional two credits are needed from the elective category to complete the 70 credits major requirements.

CFS 262 Computer and Operating Systems Fundamentals I

4 credits

This course covers the fundamental concepts of a single user operating system. The topics discussed in the course are the basic concepts of computer organization and architecture, memory management, process handling, disk and file management and control, and peripherals operation. Students also have the opportunities to learn the techniques and procedures of system installation, configuration, administration, and trouble shooting. The operating systems illustrated in the course are MS Windows and/or Mac OS X.

Full course description for Computer and Operating Systems Fundamentals I

CFS 264 Computer and Operating Systems Fundamentals II

4 credits

This course covers the fundamental concepts of a multi-user operating system. The topics discussed in the course are conventional computer organization and architecture, memory management, process handling, disk and file management and control, and peripherals operation. Students also have the opportunities to learn the techniques and procedures of system installation, configuration, administration, and trouble shooting. The operating systems illustrated in the course are Linux and Unix.

Full course description for Computer and Operating Systems Fundamentals II

ICS 140 Computational Thinking with Programming

4 credits

An introduction to the formulation of problems and developing and implementing solutions for them using a computer. Students analyze user requirements, design algorithms to solve them and translate these designs to computer programs. The course also provides an overview of major areas within the computing field. Topics include algorithm design, performance metrics, programming languages and paradigms, programming structures, number representation, Boolean algebra, computer system organization, data communications and networks, operating systems, compilers and interpreters, cloud computing, data analytics, mobile computing, internet of things, and artificial intelligence) database, internet, security, privacy, ethics, and other societal and legal issues. Lab work and homework assignments involving flow charting tools and programming using a language such as Python form an integral part of the course.

Full course description for Computational Thinking with Programming

ICS 251 IT Work Skills

2 credits

This course prepares students for effective employment in the IT workplace. Through readings, activities, case studies, and assignments, the student will develop competency with interpersonal skills, teamwork, professionalism, adaptability, flexibility, communication, planning, organizing, entrepreneurial thinking, problem solving and decision-making.

Full course description for IT Work Skills

ICS 265 C Programming

4 credits

This course is designed to provide a fast-paced exposure to the C programming language for students majoring in a computer-related discipline. The following topics are briefly reviewed using C syntax: looping, selection, variables, scope rules, functions and pass-by-value arguments. New topics include pass-by-address arguments, formatted and unformatted I/O, user defined types (enum, struct, union), preprocessing directives, file handling, pointers, pointer arithmetic, string manipulation and selected library functions.

Full course description for C Programming

STAT 201 Statistics I

4 credits

This course covers the basic principles and methods of statistics. It emphasizes techniques and applications in real-world problem solving and decision making. Topics include frequency distributions, measures of location and variation, probability, sampling, design of experiments, sampling distributions, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression.

Full course description for Statistics I

Major Requirements (40 credits)

Once the pre-major foundation courses are completed, students must complete the following courses with a C- or better grade. Students who haven’t declared or not accepted into the major will not be allowed to take any 400-level courses in the discipline. For further details on prerequisites, reference the General Guidelines section below.

Core Requirements (32 credits)

CFS 280 Introduction to Computer Forensics

4 credits

In this course, students learn the fundamental principles and concepts in computer forensics. The topics include the classification of the digital evidence, the procedure of discovering and preserving evidence, types of computer and Internet crimes, and analysis of computer crime statistics and demographics. Students also learn how to search and retrieve information to find the evidence using some common tools. Related legal procedures, regulations, and laws are also discussed briefly.

Full course description for Introduction to Computer Forensics

CYBR 332 Computer Security

4 credits

This course introduces principles of computer security with integrated hands-on labs. The course prepares students to effectively protect information assets by providing fundamental details about security threats, vulnerabilities, and their countermeasures ranging from a simple computer to enterprise computing. Topics include broad range of today's security challenges, common security threats and countermeasures, security management, access control mechanisms, applied cryptography, privacy issues, computer ethics, file system security, and network security. Overlap: ICS 382 Computer Security

Full course description for Computer Security

CYBR 362 Networking Protocols and Analysis

4 credits

Networks are the backbone of information technology operations within an enterprise and are responsible for a significant portion of an organization's security posture. Cybersecurity professionals are often tasked with securing network operations and responding to network threats which demonstrates the importance to networking knowledge in the cybersecurity industry. As a cybersecurity practitioner, it is imperative that there is an understanding of network operations, protocols, and administration practices. This course focuses on developing skills and taking a deep dive into networking protocols including TCP, UDP, ICMP, and IP, network design and architecture, network administration automation, network analysis, and network protocol and design impacts on security and defense measures. Overlap: ICS 383 Networking Protocols and Analysis

Full course description for Networking Protocols and Analysis

CYBR 412 Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

4 credits

To properly secure any organization's information infrastructure and assets, a periodic assessment of its security posture at various levels of the organization is essential. One key area is the direct assessment of vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure, systems and applications, followed by targeting and exploitation of the same. This course covers the theoretical bases for cyber threats and vulnerabilities, and delves into selection and application of penetration testing methodologies ranging from reconnaissance to the exploitation of vulnerabilities by probing infrastructure, services and applications. The course places a strong emphasis on the use of these methodologies to demonstrate, document, report on, and provide a clear roadmap for remediation of exposed security issues.

Full course description for Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

CYBR 432 Cryptography for Cybersecurity Practitioners

4 credits

This course provides students with a thorough foundation of applied cryptography for cybersecurity practitioners. As encryption technologies continue to integrate into everyday culture, the importance of cryptography and encryption knowledge of cybersecurity practitioners continues to increase. Students will learn and be able to apply and analyze: the history of cryptography from the earliest ciphers to current encryption methodology, mathematical foundations for cryptography, symmetric and asymmetric algorithms, and applied cryptography pertaining to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), SSL/TLS, strategies for defense utilizing encryption and cryptography, military applications, steganography, cryptanalysis, and more. Additionally, students will look to the future of cryptography and encryption including a look into quantum cryptography and encryption in cloud environments. Overlap: ICS 483.

Full course description for Cryptography for Cybersecurity Practitioners

CYBR 442 Cyber Operations

4 credits

Information is an asset that must be protected. Without adequate protection or network security, many individuals, businesses, and governments are at risk of losing that asset. It is imperative that all networks be protected from threats and vulnerabilities so that a business can achieve its fullest potential. Security risks cannot be eliminated or prevented completely; however, effective risk management and assessment can significantly minimize the existing security risks. In order to provide effective protection to the organization's critical infrastructure and services, continuous monitoring as well as various processes, procedures, and technology is required to detect and prevent cyber-attacks, breaches, and security violations. In addition, existence of a comprehensive incident response plan is vitally connected to the survivability of an organization after a severe security breach or compromise of critical business operations. This course focuses on the operational aspect of…

Full course description for Cyber Operations

ICS 311 Database Management Systems

4 credits

Covers concepts and methods in the definition, creation and management of databases. Emphasis is placed on usage of appropriate methods and tools to design and implement databases to meet identified business needs. Topics include conceptual, logical and physical database design theories and techniques, such as use of Entity Relationship diagrams, query tools and SQL; responsibilities of data and database administrators; database integrity, security and privacy; and current and emerging trends. Use of database management systems such as MySQL. Coverage of HCI (Human Computer Interaction) topics. Development of GUI front ends to databases with application of HCI principles to provide a high level usability experience. Overlap: ICS 311T Database Management Systems.

Full course description for Database Management Systems

Capstone Project OR Cyber Residency (4 credits)

Students must complete 4 credits of the capstone work (CYBR 498 and CYBR 499 in sequence) OR 4 credits of cyber residency (CYBR 350I). Students should work with their academic advisors to decide which option best supports their academic and career goals.

CYBR 350I Cybersecurity Individualized Internship

1-6 credits

Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Site supervisors give guidance and direction to customized internship projects. Faculty members serve as liaisons between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Students interested in internships within the Computer Science and Cybersecurity department should work with their advisor and/or faculty internship coordinator to discuss the process for your specific major.

Full course description for Cybersecurity Individualized Internship

CYBR 498 Cybersecurity Capstone I Concepts, Research and Planning

1 credits

This first course in a series of two course sequence is designed to assist students with ideation and planning for their final cyber security capstone project. At the end of this course, students should be able to identify and propose a concrete and well-defined problem in the field of cybersecurity. This course is a prerequisite for the CYBR 499 course. Both are required for graduation.

Full course description for Cybersecurity Capstone I Concepts, Research and Planning

CYBR 499 Cybersecurity Capstone II - Design, Development, and Implementation

3 credits

This project-driven course helps students integrate and apply cybersecurity knowledge, skills, and abilities into a comprehensive experience that demonstrate their summative expression of what students have learned in the BS Cybersecurity program. Students are expected to demonstrate their mastery through independently selecting and researching a project concept, its analysis and implementation, and presentation of a final report.

Full course description for Cybersecurity Capstone II - Design, Development, and Implementation

Major Electives (4 credits)

Complete 4 credits of major elective coursework from the list below. Note the following: The contents of CYBR 490 Special Topics in Cybersecurity vary from semester to semester and may be taken more than once for elective credits with the permission of the cybersecurity coordinator or CSC department chair, as long as they cover different topics. Students must pass the actual certification exam and provide proof if they would like to use any certification preparation courses (CYBR 313, CYBR 323, CYBR 333, CYBR 343, and CYBR 363) towards fulfilling the major or technical elective requirements.

CFS 380 Digital Evidence Analysis

4 credits

In this course, students continue not only to learn how to identify and collect digital evidence through forensics search tools, but also to study the emerging data mining techniques. The topics include how to design a plan for a computer crime investigation; how to select a computer software tool to perform the investigation; how to articulate the laws applying to the appropriation of computers for forensics analysis; how to verify the integrity of the evidence being obtained; how to prepare the evidence collected for the use in the court; and how to present the evidence as an expert eyewitness in court. Some hypothetical and real cases are also discussed in class.

Full course description for Digital Evidence Analysis

CFS 484 Computer Laws

4 credits

In this course, students will learn the law relating to computer software, hardware, and the Internet. The areas of the law include intellectual property, cyberspace privacy, copyright, software licensing, hardware patent, and antitrust laws. Legislation and public policies on cyberspace technology, cryptographic method export controls, essential infrastructure protection and economic development are also discussed in class.

Full course description for Computer Laws

CFS 485 Mobile Device Security and Forensics

4 credits

This course takes a hands-on approach to provide students with foundational concepts and practical skills in Mobile Device Forensics, which can be leveraged to perform forensically sound investigations against crimes involving the most complex mobile devices currently available in the market. Using modern tools and techniques, students will learn how to conduct a structured investigation process to determine the nature of the crime and to produce results that are useful in criminal proceedings. The course will provide walkthrough on various phases of the mobile forensics process for both Android and iOS based devices including forensically extracting, collecting, and analyzing, data and producing and disseminating reports. The course modules and labs will involve certain specialized hardware and software to perform data acquisition (including deleted data), and the analysis of extracted information.

Full course description for Mobile Device Security and Forensics

CYBR 313 EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification Preparation

2 credits

This course's primary focus is to teach the latest commercial-grade hacking tools, techniques, and methodologies used by hackers and information security professionals to hack an organization lawfully for the sole purpose of discovering vulnerabilities. It is imperative to identify vulnerabilities in your working environment before the attackers and guide your employer towards a better overall security posture. Ethical Hacking is an in-demand skill, primarily because the best defense is a good offense.. The course will prepare students for the EC-Council CEH certification exam. The CEH certification, a well-recognized industry certification, helps students develop the necessary skills needed to work in a red team environment, focused on attacking computer systems and gaining access to networks, applications, databases, and other critical data on secured systems.

Full course description for EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification Preparation

CYBR 323 CompTIA Linux+ Certification Preparation

2 credits

This course's primary focus is to provide targeted content and integrated hands-on skills in Linux Operating System and prepare students for the CompTIA Linux+ certification exam. The CompTIA Linux+, a well-recognized industry certification, helps students develop baseline skills needed to perform common tasks in major distributions of Linux, including the Linux command line, essential maintenance, installing and configuring workstations, and networking.

Full course description for CompTIA Linux+ Certification Preparation

CYBR 343 CompTIA CySA+ Certification Preparation

2 credits

This course's primary focus is to provide targeted content and integrated hands-on skills to apply behavioral analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect, and combat cybersecurity threats through continuous security monitoring. The course will prepare students for the CompTIA CySA+ certification exam. The CompTIA CySA+, a well-recognized industry certification, helps students develop baseline skills needed to proactively capture, monitor, and respond to network traffic findings and emphasize software and application security, automation, and threat hunting, and IT regulatory compliance, which affects the daily work of security analysts.

Full course description for CompTIA CySA+ Certification Preparation

CYBR 363 CompTIA Network+ Certification Preparation

2 credits

The main focus of this course is to provide targeted contents and integrated hands-on skills in telecommunication and computer networking and prepare students for the CompTIA Network+ certification exam. The CompTIA Network+, a well-recognized industry certification, helps students develop a career in IT infrastructure covering troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks.

Full course description for CompTIA Network+ Certification Preparation

CYBR 445 Cyber Incident Response and Handling

4 credits

As cyber breaches and intrusions continue to increase, enterprises are now looking to hire professionals who can identify and respond to breaches and incidents before they have adverse impacts on information systems and data networks. This course provides an in-depth coverage of applying Digital Forensics and Incident Response methodologies and frameworks to address and manage the aftermath of security breaches or incidents with the goal of limiting the damages and reducing the recovery time and costs. The student will be able to identify, contain, eradicate and recover from an attack in an enterprise network. Topics include identifying threat actors and security breaches, analyzing artifacts and logs, restoring back the system, performing postmortem analysis, and implementing and/or modifying mitigating techniques. Overlap ICS 487

Full course description for Cyber Incident Response and Handling

CYBR 482 Malware Analysis

4 credits

Malware infections have reached epidemic proportions with over 600 million types of infection reported to date. Traditional antivirus techniques are not sufficient to stem the tide. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of malware analysis techniques which will allow them to recognize, analyze and remediate infections. Basic static analysis techniques using antivirus scanning, hashing, string searching and other automated analysis tools will be reviewed. Dynamic approaches using system and network monitoring will be employed to detect snooping and attempts to exfiltrate data. Students will set up virtual workspaces, download tools and malware and analyze software in a secure environment. Reverse engineering will be introduced.Overlap: ICS 486

Full course description for Malware Analysis

ICS 325 Internet Application Development

4 credits

This course focuses on how to design and establish information services over the Internet from the server side. Topics include advanced concepts and issues on Internet architecture, server-side design strategies, current technologies and Internet security. Through labs and programming projects, students learn how to use current scripting and markup languages to build nontrivial state-of-the-art applications.

Full course description for Internet Application Development

General Guidelines

Transfer Courses

Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department and initially evaluated upon admission with updates documented on the DARS report. When transferring coursework, please be aware of the following: Many universities, community, and technical colleges offer courses equivalent to some of our Pre-Major courses. Sometimes a course at the lower division at another university or college is equivalent to one of our upper-division courses, or an upper-division course at another institution is equivalent to one of our lower-division courses. To calculate upper-division credits for the major electives or for university graduation requirements, the status of the course at the institution where the student took the course is what matters.

Prerequisites

Math courses should be taken before, or concurrently with, pre-major foundation CFS/CYBR/ICS courses. Students must be aware of and abide by prerequisites of any CFS/CYBR/ICS courses in which they are enrolled. No student may be enrolled in any CFS/CYBR/ICS courses unless they have completed all course prerequisites with a C- or better grade. Students will be administratively dropped from a course if they have not met the required prerequisites. For some courses, prerequisites are enforced automatically by the registration system. If your DARS report shows you have met the prerequisites for a course, and the registration system will not let you register, please contact your academic advisor.