Jun 20, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 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 to take four core courses and six 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 elective courses give students an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills in major areas of cybersecurity.  Together, these two 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 a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body 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.

Admission 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).  The GRE/GMAT requirement will be waived for applicants who:  1) Have a cumulative undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0 and above from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body, 2) Are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at UNC Charlotte, and have completed at least 3 courses successfully with a GPA of 3.2 or better, or 3) Have a minimum of five years of relevant work experience in information technology or related fields in the United States.
  • 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.S. in Cybersecurity degree program, of which:  (a) 12 are for 4 common core courses, (b) 15 are for 5 elective courses in cybersecurity, and (c) 3 are for one elective course in computing and information technology.

Elective Courses (18 credit hours)

3 of the 18 required elective credit hours may be substituted by an approved IT Internship, which also serves as a capstone project.

Capstone Experience

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

Coursework + Master’s Thesis

24 credit hours of coursework plus 6 credit hours of Master’s research thesis project.  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.

Coursework + Internship

27 credit hours of coursework plus 3 credit hours of an approved IT Internship.  The internship option requires approval by the program director of an internship location and preceptor, and the submission of a written internship report.

Coursework + Project Report

30 credit hours of coursework plus a project report.  The project 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.

Degree Total = 30 Credit Hours

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.