MS in Cybersecurity Program Overview

Cybersecurity professionals are the gatekeepers of information systems and cyber-physical systems. They plan and execute security measures to shield an organization’s computer systems, networks, and networked devices from infiltration and cyberattacks.

Graduates of the Master’s in Cybersecurity program will understand how to prevent, monitor, and respond to data breaches and cyberattacks. The University of Arizona’s online MS in Cybersecurity enables you to bolster your technical and analytical skills, all from the convenience of your home or office.

The MS in Cybersecurity multidisciplinary curriculum draws courses from the University of Arizona’s programs in Management Information Systems (MIS), Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), and Systems & Industrial Engineering (SIE).

The program is designed for working IT, engineering, and other professionals who have three years of work experience and want to boost their skills for a cybersecurity career path.

Designed specifically for those with technical experience, the degree focuses on effectively applying analytical and critical thinking to plan and execute security measures to shield an organization’s computer systems, networks, and networked devices from infiltration and cyberattacks.

Students engage in theoretical and hands-on approaches to learning the critical components of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity courses cover topics such as business intelligence data mining, information security, risk management, systems security management, penetration testing, network security, and system cybersecurity engineering.

As a result of this program, students will:

  • Understand the breadth and scope of security issues on personal, corporate, national, and global levels
  • Assess, prevent, and manage information or systems security related risks
  • Perform system hardening, vulnerability testing, and forensic investigation procedures
  • Apply data analytics to develop threat intelligence for current and future information or systems security endeavors

Program Tracks

The MS in Cybersecurity program offers two different tracks for students: Information Systems and Physical Systems. No matter which track a student chooses they must complete 33 units of coursework, comprised of 12 units of Common Core and 21 units of their selected track. Courses from either track can fulfill elective requirements within both tracks.

12 units | 7-week accelerated courses
MIS 515 Information Security in Public and Private Sectors
MIS 543 Business Data Communications and Networking
SIE 571 Systems Cyber Security Engineering
SIE 573 Engineering of Trustworthy Secure Systems
Information Systems
21 units | 7-week accelerated courses
Physical Systems
21 units | 16-week courses

MIS 516 Information Security Risk Management
MIS 517 Systems Security Management
MIS 545 Data Mining for Business Intelligence
MIS 562 Cyber Threat Intelligence
MIS 566 Penetration Testing: Ethical Hacking and Social Engineering
MIS 689 Cyber Warfare Capstone

MIS 511 Social and Ethical Issues of the Internet
MIS 578 Project Management

ECE 509 Cyber Security: Concepts, Theory, Practice
ECE 523 Machine Learning and Data Analytics
ECE 524 Fundamentals of Cloud Security
SIE 530 Engineering Statistics
ECE 535A Digital Communications Systems
SIE 554A Systems Engineering Process
ECE 571 Fundamentals of Information and Network Security
SIE 572 Information Security and Research (INSuRE)

Course Structure

Cybersecurity courses are delivered using a combination of online voiced-over material supplemented by online labs, assignments, projects, reading materials, quizzes, and exams. Each course duration is seven weeks and materials are available online while students are enrolled in a course. Except for instructor-designated materials, students are also able to download material for later personal use or reference.

Courses in the common core and the Information Systems track (both required and electives) are offered in an accelerated seven-week format. Physical Systems track electives are 16 weeks long, and follow the UA's traditional fall and spring semester calendar. Physical Systems students should speak with one of the program advisors to create a plan of study that accommodates both 7-week and 16-week courses. 

Courses are NOT self-paced but are structured in weekly assignments that must be completed within a designated time frame. The course mix includes a variety of active learning opportunities including projects, discussions, chats, labs, extra credit opportunities, quizzes, and exams – all delivered online.

Courses are delivered via a secure online course management system called D2L (Desire to Learn). Students are given access and instructions to D2L upon acceptance into the program. In addition, students upload their assignments and conduct online discussions with the instructor and classmates through the D2L interface.

Course Calendar

The following course calendar is updated as of January 12, 2024. Courses and dates are subject to change.

Spring 2024: January 10 - May 9
ECE 523 Machine Learning & Data Analytics
ECE 571 Fundamentals of Information Theory & Network Security
SIE 554A Systems Engineering Process
SIE 572 Information Security & Research (INSuRE)
Spring 1 2024: January 8 - March 3
Spring 2 2024: March 4 - April 28
MIS 516 Information Security Risk Management SIE 571 Systems Cyber Security Engineering
MIS 545 Data Mining for Business Intelligence MIS 517 Systems Security Management
MIS 566 Penetration Testing MIS 689 Cyber Warfare Capstone
Summer 1 2024: May 13 - June 30
Summer 2 2024: July 1 - August 18
MIS 515 Information Security in Public & Private Sectors MIS 511 Social and Ethical Issues of the Internet
MIS 543 Business Data Communications and Networking MIS 516 Information Security Risk Management
MIS 578 Project Management MIS 545 Data Mining for Business Intelligence
Fall 2024: August 26 - December 11
SIE 530 Engineering Statistics
SIE 554A Systems Engineering Process
ECE 509 Cybersecurity: Concepts, Theory, Practice
Fall 1 2024: August 26 – October 13
Fall 2 2024: October 21 – December 8
MIS 517 Systems Security Management MIS 515 Information Security in Public & Private Sectors
MIS 578 Project Management MIS 543 Business Data Communications and Networking
SIE 573 Engineering of Trustworthy Secure Systems MIS 562 Cyber Threat Intelligence
Spring 2025
ECE 571 Fundamentals of Information Theory and Network Security
SIE 572 Information Security & Research (INSuRE)

Course Descriptions

Click the course name or + adjacent to the name to view the course description:

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: This course provides an introduction to technical aspects of cyber security. It describes threats and types of attacks against computers and networks to enable students to understand and analyze security requirements and define security policies. Security mechanisms and enforcement issues will be introduced. Students will be immersed in the cyber-security discipline through a combination of intense coursework, open-ended and real-world problems, and hands on experiments.

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Machine learning deals with the automated classification, identification, and/or characterizations of an unknown system and its parameters. There are an overwhelming number of application driven fields that can benefit from machine learning techniques. This course will introduce you to machine learning and develop core principles that allow you to determine which algorithm to use, or design a novel approach to solving to engineering task at hand. This course will also use software technology to supplement the theory learned in the class with applications using real-world data.

Prerequisite knowledge: Probability/statistics

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Cloud computing is the model for ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. With the interest in cloud computing, the security challenges are raising concerns. This class discusses the cloud computing architecture and components along with the threat modelling and discusses physical, database, network, virtualization, services, and users level security concerns and their solutions.

Prerequisite knowledge: Prior computer programming experience in language C or Java.

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: The purpose of the course is to give students a comprehensive introduction to digital communication principles. The major part of the course is devoted to studying how to translate information into a digital signal to be transmitted, and how to retrieve the information back from the received signal in the presence of noise and intersymbol interference (ISI). Various digital modulation schemes are discussed through the concept of signal space. Analytical and simulation models for digital modulation systems are designed and implemented in the presence of noise and ISI. Optimal receiver models for digital base-band and band-pass modulation schemes are covered in detail.

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Shannon's approach to cryptography. Symmetric key cryptography, cryptographic hash functions, and public key cryptosystems. Authentication, key management and key distribution. Wireless and network security.

Prerequisite knowledge: Probability/statistics

Theory/Practical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Broad survey of the individual, organizational, cultural, social and ethical issues provoked by current and projected uses of networked computers on the Internet.

Theory/Practical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: This course covers using controls to protect information assets. Topics include internal and external IT auditing, the role of auditing role in information security, the IT audit process, system independent IT audit processes, system dependent IT audit processes, auditing outsourced IT systems and resources. Controls covered will include desktop computer controls, systems development controls, computer center operation controls, assurance of information related to on-line, client-server, web-based, internet, cloud computing, virtualization and other advanced computer topics. Students will learn approaches to evaluating and addressing technology risk throughout the organization from the perspective of internal and external audit in addition to the view of end users. Topics included in the class will include coverage of all areas to prepare students to take the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam.

Theory/Practical - 3 Credits – Common Core Course

Description: This course exposes the student to a broad range of computer systems and information security topics. It is designed to provide a general knowledge of measures to insure confidentiality, availability, and integrity of information systems. Topics range from hardware, software and network security to INFOSEC, OPSEC and NSTISS overviews. Components include national policy, threats, countermeasures, and risk management among others

Theory/Practical - 3 Credits - Core (for Information Systems Track)/Elective (for Cyber Physical Systems Track)

Description: The objective of our MIS 516 course is to provide students a thorough and operational knowledge of information security so that this critical area is recognized as a management issue and not an IT issue.

Technical - 3 Credits - Core (for Information Systems Track)/Elective (for Cyber Physical Systems Track)

Description: The information security arena contains a broad array of multi-level models for assessing, planning, implementing and monitoring the mitigation of security risks. At the very core of this information security spectrum are the actual system and network devices which store, manage, transmit and secure information. This course is designed to provide a working knowledge of issues and techniques surrounding the proper safeguarding of operating systems and related components. Filled with Information Assurance topics, this course offers a solid base for system administrators and technical managers.

Technical - 3 Credits - Common Core

Description: This course provides an in-depth knowledge of data communications and networking requirements, including networking technologies, hardware and software. This course has two objectives. First, it focuses on basic networking standards and protocols. Second, students will learn to evaluate, select and implement different data network options and prepare a cost-benefit analysis for a proposed solution.

Prerequisite knowledge: Python

Textbook for MIS 543:

James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross, “Computer networking: a top-down approach”

Technical - 3 Credits – Core (for Information Systems Track)/Elective (for Physical Systems Track)

Description: Corporations today are said to be data rich but information poor. For example, retailers can easily process and capture millions of transactions every day. In addition, the widespread proliferation of economic activity on the Internet leaves behind a rich trail of micro-level data on consumers, their purchases, retailers and their offerings, auction bidding, music sharing, so on and so forth. Data mining techniques can help companies discover knowledge and acquire business intelligence from these massive datasets. This course will cover data mining for business intelligence. Data mining refers to extracting or “mining” knowledge from large amounts of data. It consists of several techniques that aim at discovering rich and interesting patterns that can bring value or “business intelligence” to organizations. Examples of such patterns include fraud detection, consumer behavior, and credit approval. The course will cover the most important data mining techniques -- classification, clustering, association rule mining, visualization, prediction.

Technical - 3 Credits - Core (for Information Systems Track)/Elective (for Cyber Physical Systems Track)

Description: This course is designed to provide students with a hands-on introduction to the fundamental concepts and tools of modern cyber threat intelligence. Students will become familiar with the cyber threat intelligence lifecycle, identifying, collecting, and integrating intelligence feeds, common intelligence formats, and standard cyber threat intelligence technologies (e.g., CIF servers, TAXII servers, SIEM's etc.).

Prerequisite: MIS 545: Data Mining for Business Intelligence and Python

Technical - 3 Credits - Core (for Information Systems Track)/Elective (for Cyber Physical Systems Track)

Description: This course introduces students to the principles and techniques of the cybersecurity practice known as penetration testing (pen testing), or ethical hacking, and covers the full pen test life cycle. Students discover how system vulnerabilities can be exploited and learn how to avoid such problems. Students will review various tools and methods commonly used to compromise information and control systems. Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing, is the act of breaking into a system with the permission and legal consent of the organization or individual who owns and operates the system, with the purpose of identifying vulnerabilities to strengthening the organization's security. Students will conduct hands-on penetration tests in a lab environment to practice the concepts presented and tools reviewed in the course. This course is an ethical hacking course and students will learn hacking techniques within a controlled environment for the goal of better securing the IT resources of their rightful owners.

Prerequisite knowledge: Python

Theory/Practical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Project Management is the application of knowledge, analytical skills, software tools and techniques related to various project activities in order to meet project requirements. It is increasingly recognized as an essential business skill. With a variety of exercises, demos, simulations and lectures, this course will present to you a systematic approach to project management that complements common sense with discipline.

Textbooks for MIS 578 are:

  • Contemporary Project Management, 4th Edition
  • Microsoft Project 2019, Step by Step 

Technical - 3 Credits - Core (for Information Systems Track)

Description: The focus of this course is the usage of common tools used during penetration assessments and hardening system defenses. Students will draw from previous classes to combine skills in online defense and penetration exercises of systems in a virtual environment. Along with course labs, this course will apply theory and techniques to provide the following learning base - knowledge, comprehension, and application.

Prerequisite: MIS 545, MIS 515, MIS 543 or ECE 578, SIE 571, MIS 562, MIS 566, MIS 516, MIS 517 and Python

Textbook for MIS 689:

  • Hacker Techniques, Tools, and Incident Handling, 3rd Edition

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Statistical methodology of estimation, testing hypotheses, goodness-of-fit, nonparametric methods and decision theory as it relates to engineering practice. Significant emphasis on the underlying statistical modeling and assumptions.

Prerequisite knowledge: Statistics

Technical - 3 Credits - Elective

Description: Process and tools for systems engineering of large-scale, complex systems: requirements, performance measures, concept exploration, multi-criteria tradeoff studies, life cycle models, system modeling, etc.

Technical - 3 Credits – Common Core Course

Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce selected topics, issues, problems, and techniques in the area of System Cyber Security Engineering (SCSE), early in the development of a large system. Students will explore various techniques for eliminating security vulnerabilities, defining security specifications / plans, and incorporating countermeasures in order to achieve overall system assurance. SCSE is an element of system engineering that applies scientific and engineering principles to identify, evaluate, and contain or eliminate system vulnerabilities to known or postulated security threats in the operational environment. SCSE manages and balances system security risk across all protection domains spanning the entire system engineering life-cycle. The fundamental elements of cyber security will be explored including: human cyber engineering techniques, penetration testing, mobile and wireless vulnerabilities, network mapping and security tools, embedded system security, reverse engineering, software assurance and secure coding, cryptography, vulnerability analysis, and cyber forensics. After a fundamental understanding of the various cyber threats and technologies are understood, the course will expand upon the basic principles, and demonstrate how to develop a threat / vulnerability assessment on a representative system using threat modeling techniques (i.e. modeling threats for a financial banking system, autonomous automobile, or a power distribution system). With a cyber-resilience focus, students will learn how to identify critical use cases or critical mission threads for the system under investigation, and how to decompose and map those elements to various architectural elements of the system for further analysis. Supply chain risk management (SCRM) will be employed to enumerate potential cyber threats that could be introduced to the system either unintentionally or maliciously throughout the supply chain. The course culminates with the conduct of a realistic Red Team / Blue Team simulation to demonstrate and explore both the attack and defend perspectives of a cyber-threat. The Red Team will perform a vulnerability assessment of the prospective system, with the intention of attacking its vulnerabilities. The Blue Team will perform a vulnerability of the same system with the intention of defending it against cyber threats. A comparison will be made between the outcomes of both teams in order to better understand the overarching solutions to addressing the threats identified.

Upon completion of the course, students will be proficient with various elements of cyber security and how to identify system vulnerabilities early on in the system engineering lifecycle. They will be exposed to various tools and processes to identify and protect a system against those vulnerabilities, and how to develop program protection plans to defend against and prevent malicious attacks on large complex systems.

Graduate students will be given an additional assignment to write a draft Program Protection Plan (PPP) for the system that the class performed the threat analysis for. Program protection planning employs a step-by-step analytical process to identify the critical technologies to be protected; analyze the threats; determine program vulnerabilities; assess the risks; and apply countermeasures. A PPP describes the analysis, decisions and plan to mitigate risks to any advanced technology and mission-critical system functionality.

Prerequisite knowledge: Python


Technical - 3 Credits – Physical Systems Track

Description: This course engages students in diverse and varied national cybersecurity/information systems security problems, under an existing and very successful umbrella program called “INSuRE”, that enables a collaboration across several universities, Cyber professionals and cross-disciplined Cyber related technologies. Led by Stevens Institute of Technology, and made possible by a grant from the NSA and NSF, INSuRE has fielded a multi-institutional cybersecurity research course in which small groups of undergraduate and graduate students work to solve unclassified problems proposed by NSA, other US government agencies, and/or private organizations and laboratories. Students will learn how to apply research techniques, think clearly about these issues, formulate and analyze potential solutions, and communicate their results with sponsors and other participating universities.

Working in small groups under the mentorship of technical experts from government and industry, each student will formulate, carry out, and present original research on current cybersecurity / information assurance problems of interest to the nation. This course will be run in a synchronized distance fashion, coordinating activities with other INSuRE technical clients and sponsors, along with partnering universities which are all National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R).

Examples of past research projects are noted below. These are representative of the types of projects that the various organizations have sponsored over prior semesters of the INSuRE program. The exact projects for any given semester are not provided until the start of the semester, and therefore the following list should be used as reference only.

  • NSA: The Impact of Known Vulnerabilities on Layered Cyber Defensive Solutions
  • NSA: Cryptographic Protocol Analysis and Verification
  • NSA: Cloud Forensics
  • NSA: Internet of Things (IoT) Forensics
  • Argonne National Labs: Using Blockchain as a Device Authentication Framework for IoT
  • Argonne National Labs: A Risk Based Approach Towards Vehicle Security Networks
  • John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab: Software Assurance: Defect Localization
  • Oak Ridge National Labs: Leverage User Interactions to Detect Malicious Behavior

Prerequisite knowledge: Students may come from computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or any related technical field (e.g., electrical engineering, information systems, math). Each student is expected to bring expertise, interest, and experience in at least one relevant Cyber related technical area. (If you are uncertain whether you have the necessary technical background to participate in this course, coordinate with the instructor prior to enrolling.) One of the following courses is required to insure an appropriate background in Cyber related technical areas: SIE 471 / 571, ECE 478/578, ECE 509, or MIS 416/516. (Other relevant coursework or professional work experience can also be used to fill the prerequisite requirements with the approval of the instructor.)


Technical - 3 Credits – Common Core Course

Description: The purpose of this course is to explore widely accepted security frameworks, industry standards, and techniques employed in engineering trustworthy secure and resilient systems. We will study and explore several National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) frameworks such as the Cyber Security Framework (CSF), the Risk Management Framework (RMF), and other standards. These widely adopted standards have been have been developed to ensure that the appropriate security principles, concepts, methods, and practices are applied during the system development life cycle (SDLC) to achieve stakeholder objectives for the protection of assets across all forms of adversity characterized as disruptions, hazards, and threats. We will also explore case studies within the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) 16 Critical Infrastructure elements, to understand how government and private sector participants within the critical infrastructure community work together to manage risks and achieve security and resilient outcomes. Cyber resiliency is the ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources regardless of the source.

Upon completion of the course, students will gain experience in understanding, assessing and complying with the various NIST and DHS frameworks and standards in order to proactively design security features into systems/products to prevent or minimize asset loss or compromise, and reduce system defects that can lead to security vulnerabilities that could render a system susceptible to exploitation. They will also learn how to develop systems that are more cyber resilient.

Prerequisite knowledge: A basic course in computing or computer applications (ECE 175, CSC127A, or equivalent) or consent of the instructor. Learners (including pre-med students and undergraduate biomedical, computer, electrical, systems engineering, and computer science students), trainees, fellows (including clinicians), graduate students, and scientists from all fields with interest in either biomedical and healthcare applications or computing are welcome.

NOTE: SIE 471 / 571 is recommended, but not a firm pre-requisite for enrollment in this course.


In the process of earning the Master’s in Cybersecurity, students could also earn the Department of MIS’s Enterprise Security Certificate, which leverages the department’s designation – by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security – as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

Committee on National Security Systems
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. National Security Agency



Enterprise Security Certificate Courses
Each course is 3 credits

MIS 515 Information Security in the Public and Private Sectors  
MIS 516 Information Security Risk Management  
MIS 517 Systems Security Management  

With the completion of the courses above, students are also eligible for:

  • CPE units for CISSP, ISSAP, ISSEP, ISSMP, CAP and SSCP designation(s). These designations are offered by (ISC)².
  • CPE units for CISM and CRISC designations which are offered by ISACA.
  • One year of qualified work experience towards the Certified Information Security Manager® (CISM®) designation.*

* As of May 17, 2012, the University of Arizona, Department of Management Information Systems, Eller College of Management, Security Graduate Certificate as submitted to ISACA was found to be in alignment with the ISACA® Model Curriculum for Information Security Management, 2nd Edition. Graduates of this program qualify for one year work experience toward the Certified Information Security Manager® (CISM®) designation.

Computer Requirements

MS Cybersecurity students use a variety of online applications including discussion boards, chats, and virtual labs. Suggested hardware and software requirements include:


PC or Mac*

  • Intel i5 or i7 processor
  • 8 gigabytes system RAM
  • 500 megabytes free hard drive space
  • Preferred minimum 3 Mbps upload/download speeds or faster
  • Web cam and microphone

Required Software

For accessing course content:

Macs: Parallels, VirtualBox, Boot Camp or equivalent solution that allows running of x86/x64 operating systems (e.g. Windows, Linux) and applications on the Mac. See note below for more details. 

Expected Student Computing Environment

  • Windows 10, or Mac OS 11 operating systems or higher with Parallels or equivalent solution for allowing Windows OS to run on Mac; we recommend VirtualBox.
  • Microsoft Office or another compatible Office program
  • Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or other web browser supporting the above required software

For more information on Eller recommended configurations see

* Some courses require software that will only run on an Intel x86/x64 architecture. This includes Windows operating system, many of its applications, and some Linux distributions.  Mac users should have a virtualization platform (e.g. Parallels, Virtualbox) or dual-boost solution (e.g. Boot Camp) that allows them to run x86/x64 operating systems and applications. Apple M-series processors cannot run x86/x64 software, even with a virtualization platforms or dual-boot solution, as they are a different processor architecture entirely. 

Meet the Advisors

The MS in Cybersecurity program has three advisors:

Bryn Pallette


Bryn works closely with our enrolled and potential MISonline and Master’s in Cybersecurity students to ensure their academic needs are met from registration to graduation. She advises students on policies, procedures, and academic requirements for graduation and assists students in course scheduling and planning to achieve academic success.

Tami Whelan


Tami works with Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate students. She advises students on policies, procedures, and academic requirements for graduation and assists students in course scheduling and planning to achieve academic success.

Cindy Nguyen


Cindy works closely with Systems and Industrial Engineering graduate students. She advises students on policies, procedures, and academic requirements for graduation and assists students in course scheduling and planning to achieve academic success.