Jul 25, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2017-2018 
Graduate Catalog | 2017-2018 Previous Edition

Cybersecurity, M.S.

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is designed to equip students with the latest knowledge and skills in cybersecurity and privacy.  Graduates of the program are employable by both businesses and governments that have important information assets to be protected from increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Specific educational objectives of the program include:

  • A fundamental understanding of:
    • common vulnerabilities of computing and networked systems,
    • cyber-attacking methods,
    • human and organizational aspects of cybersecurity,
    • methods for compromising privacy, and
    • risk assessment of cyber-attacks.
  • Able to apply security techniques to analyze and evaluate the security risk of information systems and networks.
  • Able to design information systems and networks with security controls to minimize security risks.

The program requires students take four core courses, three concentration courses, and three elective courses.  The core courses are designed to prepare students with fundamental knowledge and skills in cybersecurity and privacy protection that are essential to all cybersecurity professionals.  The concentration courses give students an opportunity to specialize in network security, secure software development, or emerging technologies.  Elective courses give students an opportunity to further broaden their knowledge and skills in areas that are of particular interest to them.  Together, these three components equip students with necessary skill sets in specific areas in cybersecurity and privacy where they wish to pursue their professional careers.

Students entering the Master of Science in Cybersecurity program are required to have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and have acquired substantial experience in studying, applying, or developing information and computing technology.  Such experience may be developed by completing an undergraduate major in a discipline related to information technology, including but not limited to: business information systems, computer engineering, computer science, data communication, information management, information technology, mathematical and physical sciences, and software engineering.  For applicants who have an undergraduate major not directly related to computing, the experience may be acquired through work, professional training, or further education such as graduate certificates or post baccalaureate studies.

Admissions Requirements

Admission requirements specific to the program include:

  • Undergraduate or equivalent coursework in (a) data structures, (b) object-oriented programming in C++, C#, or java, (c) databases, (d) computer networks and (e) web application development, all with minimum GPAs of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.Applicants who have substantial work experience in applying or developing computing and information technology may be able to substitute their work experience for the above specific requirements, subject to review by the Graduate Program Director.
  • Undergraduate GPA or equivalent of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and a Junior/Senior GPA of at least 3.0
  • Satisfactory score on the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) (UNC Charlotte students with a GPA of 3. 0 or above who have completed or are enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree or Graduate Certificate program may request a waiver of the GRE or GMAT exams, subject to approval of the Graduate Program Director)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 30 credit hours for the M.A. in Cybersecurity degree program, of which:  (a) 12 are for 4 common core courses, (b) 9 are for depth in a particular area of cybersecurity, and (c) 9 are for electives in security and computing and information technology.

Concentration Courses (9 credit hours)

Select one of the following concentrations.  (Note: Students pursuing a M.S. thesis will use 6 credit hours towards their concentration in place of coursework.)

Network Security Concentration

Secure Software Development Concentration

Security for Emerging Technology Concentration

Select 9 credit hours of courses to achieve a clearly defined security theme.  Must be under the direction of a member of CCI graduate faculty with program approval.

Elective Courses (9 credit hours)

College of Computing and Informatics Elective Course (3 credit hours)

Select any additional course offered by the College of Computing and Informatics.


3 of the 9 required elective credit hours may be substituted by an approved IT Internship, which also serves as a capstone project.

Capstone Experience

Select from one of the following three options to complete the 30-credit hour program:

  1. Coursework + Master’s Thesis: 24 credit hours of coursework plus 6 credit hours of Master’s research thesis project
  2. Coursework + Internship: 27 credit hours of coursework plus 3 credit hours of an approved IT Internship
  3. Coursework + Capstone Report: 30 credit hours of coursework plus a capstone report

The thesis option requires the formation of a program committee.  The thesis option requires students to perform research under the supervision of an academic advisor, submit a written thesis, and orally defend their work before their program committee.

The internship option requires approval by the program director of an internship location and preceptor, and the submission of a written internship report.

The capstone report option requires completion of 30 credit hours of coursework and successfully completing a report describing a project experience in cybersecurity to fulfill the requirements of a culminating experience for the M.S. degree.  The report is submitted to and approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Grade Requirements

Students in the M.S. in Cybersecurity program must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 for continued enrollment in the program.  Accumulation of three C grades results in suspension from the program.  Accumulation of one unsatisfactory (U) grade results in suspension from the program.