Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering

The MS-CSE program provides knowledge and skill in architecting, developing, and fielding secure network solutions against advanced persistent threat.  It explores the role assurance plays in security, particularly in the development and deployment of software products, and how one must account for this in security planning.

Students in the Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program learn the design, evaluation and certification and accreditation of trusted systems. Students will subsequently understand how to take the design of trusted systems and develop/engineer these into secure systems, with a focus on hands-on experiences in laboratory settings.

The curriculum covers digital and network forensics, and the technical considerations for incident response and continuity planning.  It places students in simulated contested cyber environments where they will perform system assessments, potentially on solutions they have engineered, and understand the various types of penetrations an adversary might attempt on an information system.  The goal being a real-world experience in which the application of cyber security engineering can be applied in dynamic settings where innovation and problem solving are required.

The 30-unit program will consist of nine courses, including an integrative capstone course. Courses will be offered year-round with three semesters every year; Spring, Summer, and Fall. Each semester will last 14 weeks.  In the first semester, students take a single six-unit course: CYBR 500.  In subsequent semesters, students will take two courses per semester.  Each course will run for seven weeks meeting two times per week.  This intensive format will allow student to focus on one course at a time and still complete the degree program in approximately 20 months.

The curriculum is designed to achieve the following learning outcomes, in addition to the graduate learning outcomes shared across all of USD’s Master’s level programs.

  1. Develop and implement encryption methodologies into secure system solutions.
  2. Examine and assess the role policy plays in engineering secure systems, technology for policy implementation, and the role of policy in driving the composition of cyber security solutions.
  3. Apply the foundational elements of cyber security, and engineering principles in architecting, developing, and fielding secure network solutions against advanced persistent threat.
  4. Explore the role assurance plays in security, particularly in the development and deployment of software products, and how one must account for this in security planning.
  5. Design and evaluate trusted systems and implement designs into secure systems.
  6. Perform system assessments using knowledge of network forensics, technical knowledge that incorporates incident response and continuity planning and using knowledge of various types of penetrations an adversary might attempt on an information system.

Requirement for the MSCSE Degree

CYBR 505Computational Roots of Cybersecurity6
CYBR 500Foundations of Cyber Security6
CYBR 520Applied Cryptography3
CYBR 530Security Policies3
CYBR 540Security Assurance3
CYBR 550Secure Network Engineering3
CYBR 560Trusted System Design, Development, and Analysis3
CYBR 570Secure Systems Engineering3
CYBR 580Digital Forensics and Incident Response3
CYBR 590Cyber Security Operations3



Units: 6

Primarily, the course will serve as an introduction to the fundamental science of cyber security and its applications to engineering of secure systems. This includes understanding the concept of the Reference Monitor, information as a protected asset, and security policy as the definition of “security” for a system. We will examine types of security policy, and provide definition and examples of threats, vulnerabilities, and risk. The course will survey common, contemporary technical, administrative, and physical security controls, examining basic concepts of network, operating system, and application security. We will survey common attacks and mitigations, and the shortcomings of common, contemporary cyber security models. The course will provide introduction to the topics of assurance, forensics, and incident response.


Units: 6 Repeatability: No

Accelerated introduction to software systems with an emphasis on computer programming, computer architecture, and operating systems. Six hours of lecture-lab weekly.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Introduction to core principles of modern cryptography. Mathematics of cryptographic methods and systems. Description of common cryptographic algorithms, pseudorandom generators and encryption. Aspects of applying and assessing cryptographic systems including defense against attacks and vulnerabilities.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500

Advanced concepts in security and privacy policies. Formal policy models, including Bell-La Padula confidentiality, Biba integrity, and non-interference. Formal reasoning about security properties of models. Interpretation of formal policy models and application to real systems.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500

Assurance as the basis for believing an information system will behave as expected. Approaches to assurance for fielding secure information systems that are fit for purpose.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Fundamental concepts of network security including policies, procedures, and controls. Evaluation of network security including planning, architecture, system design and deployment. Evaluation of best practices to conduct risk assessment and identify network security threats.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500

Methodology for developing Trusted Systems that can withstand attacks by skilled, motivated adversaries with high assurance; Design and implementation of Reference Monitors and alternative security architectures; Design considerations for being able to evaluate the security of a system.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500 and CYBR 560

Architecting and engineering secure systems based on the policies they enforce and the threats they defend against. Techniques for architecting and engineering secure, distributed systems using a trusted system base. Case studies of experimental and fielded systems in different application domains.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500

This course gives an overview of basic network and computer forensics tools and techniques for discovering, collecting, preserving, and interpreting digital data for the purpose of detecting, analyzing and recovering from intrusion events. Students study best practices for incident handling and gathering legal evidence when intrusions are detected. Hands-on lessons using common tools on sample data in practical scenarios.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: CYBR 500 and CYBR 580

Strategies for implementing system policy and controls to defend against offensive operations in contested cyber environments. System vulnerability types/classes and methods of exploitation. Penetration testing. Malware types/classes, utilization, detection, isolation and analysis, and counter-forensics.