Cybersecurity Minor

College of Sciences
Undergraduate minor

faculty and students in computer lab with virtual reality headsets

About this program

Cybersecurity is defined as the activity or process, ability or capability, or state whereby information and communications systems and their contents are protected from and/or defended against damage, unauthorized use or modification, or exploitation.

Metropolitan State's Cybersecurity Minor is a 24 semester credit program primarily intended for students majoring in Computer Science (CS), Computer Information Technology (CIT), Computer Application Development (CApp), or Computer Forensics (CFS). The minor consists of course work designed to develop analytical and problem-solving skills and provide students with both the theoretical and technical backgrounds along with the necessary practical experiences to secure challenging jobs in the field of cybersecurity.

The major goal of the minor is to prepare students with the necessary skills to enter into the cybersecurity workforce by demonstrating an in-depth understanding of contemporary technological and societal issues related to cybersecurity and to be able to contribute to the community at large in a responsible and ethical manner.

Potential cybersecurity careers include Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Security Auditor/Manager, Security Administrator, Security Analyst/Architect/Engineer, Penetration Tester, Vulnerability Assessor, Incident Responder, and Secure Software Developer. Metropolitan State University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

CAE-CD 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.

Student outcomes

A student graduating with the cybersecurity minor will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of cybersecurity concepts, tools and technologies to prevent, detect, react, and recover from cyber-attacks.
  • Understand cybersecurity risks, threats, and related countermeasures and apply this understanding to develop cyber defense strategies.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design cybersecurity systems to meet organizational needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, and ethical expectations.
  • Identify, analyze, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature relating to the fields of cybersecurity, information security, or information assurance to help solve specific problems and to stay current with the rapidly changing security context.
  • Participate as an active and effective member of a project team engaged in achieving solutions to specific cybersecurity related problems.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to and sound judgment on ethical issues as they arise in information security and cyber defense and adhere to accepted norms of professional responsibility.

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Enrolling in this program

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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.

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Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Cybersecurity Minor 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.

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Program eligibility requirements

After you are admitted to the university as an undergraduate student, you also need to be accepted to a specific major program. Official admission to this minor program and review of prior course credentials is done directly through the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department. To be eligible for acceptance to the minor, students must submit a College of Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form when the following is completed: 

  • 30 college credits with a GPA of 2.5 or better.

 

Students who do not meet the requirements above or are on academic probation will not be accepted to the minor. Students who are not accepted to the program will not be allowed to take 400-level courses in the discipline.  All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above. Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Computer Science and Cybersecurity Department.

Program requirements

The Cybersecurity Minor is primarily intended for students majoring in Computer Science (CS), Computer Information Technology (CIT), Computer Application Development (CApp), or Computer Forensics (CFS) to secure challenging jobs in the field of cybersecurity.

  • Students are responsible to both be aware of and abide by prerequisites for CFS and ICS courses for which they enroll, and will be administratively dropped from a course if they have not met prerequisites.
  • Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department and additional guidelines are noted below.

Course requirements

Minor Program Requirements (24 credits)

This program requires a core of 16 credits and 8 cybersecurity-related elective credits. Each student must complete 24 credits in the minor including at least 12 upper division credits and at least 10 credits from Metropolitan State University. Students are allowed to have up to 8 credits overlapped with their current or previously completed major or minors. Work with your academic advisor to assure both major and minor requirements are met when planning out your course load every semester toward graduation. All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above.

Core (16 credits)

Cybersecurity courses are identical with their cross-listed ICS courses.

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 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 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

Choose one of the following courses.

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

ICS 460 Networks and Security

4 credits

Principles and practices of the OSI and TCP/IP models of computer networks, with special emphasis on the security of these networks. Coverage of general issues of computer and data security. Introduction to the various layers of network protocols, including physical, data link, network, and transport layers, flow control, error checking, and congestion control. Computer system strengths and vulnerabilities, and protection techniques: Topics include applied cryptography, security threats, security management, operating systems, network firewall and security measures. Focus on secure programming techniques. Programming projects.

Full course description for Networks and Security

Electives (8 credits)

The contents of ICS 490 Special Topics in Computer Science and Cybersecurity vary from semester to semester, and may be taken more than once for elective credit with the permission of the cybersecurity coordinator or CSC department chair, as long as it is related to Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity courses are identical with their cross-listed ICS courses.

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 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 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 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

MIS 412 Administration of the Management Information Systems Function

4 credits

This is an alternate capstone course for MIS majors that emphasizes both the technical and strategic planning and as well as organization frameworks necessary to successfully select, deploy and manage information systems. Other areas of study include the roles of executive and staff, administrative structures, outsourcing decisions & outsourcing frameworks. Several IT management methodologies will be examined,including ITIL and COBIT. This course was formerly numbered MIS 312.

Full course description for Administration of the Management Information Systems Function

General Guidelines

Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department and initially evaluated upon admission with updates documented on Degree Audit Report (DARs). When transferring coursework, please be aware of the following:

Transfer Courses

• Many universities and community colleges offer courses equivalent to all of our Pre-Major courses. Many technical colleges offer some 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 courses at another university is equivalent to one of our lower-division courses. • For the purpose of calculating upper division credits for the minor 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, foundation ICS courses. • Students are responsible to both be aware of and abide by prerequisites for CFS, CYBR, and ICS courses for which they enroll, and will be administratively dropped from a course if they have not met 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.

Cross-Listed Courses

Some courses are cross-listed as both CYBR and ICS courses. The following pairs of courses are the same: CYBR 332 = ICS 382; CYBR 412 = ICS 482; CYBR 432 = ICS 483; CYBR 362 = ICS 383; CYBR 442 = ICS 484; CYBR 445 = ICS 487; CYBR 482 = ICS 486.