Dec 12, 2018  
Graduate Catalog 2018-2019 
    
Graduate Catalog 2018-2019

Cyber Defense, M.S.


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Program Description

According to the National Security Agency definition, information assurance involves protecting and defending information and information systems by “ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and nonrepudiation.” As the world’s dependence upon computers and networks continues to grow, its vulnerability to cyber-attacks increases. Yet, there is an acute shortage of properly prepared security professionals who can meet the needs of organizations and governments to understand, prepare for, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks at all levels. The federal government has reported that thousands of jobs in the computer/network security area go unfilled every year and the unmet demand continues to grow.

The Masters of Science in Cyber Defense (MSCD) degree is designed to prepare professionals who will have the skills to:

  • develop and implement security strategies to improve the security poster of organizations;
                                                          and
  • provide technical leadership for the organization’s efforts to adopt new technologies, implement security strategies, and protect organizational assets against attack.

Program Completion

The program can be completed on a full or part-time basis. Full-time students will complete the program in two years. On a part-time basis, the time to complete will depend upon the number of credit hours taken per semester. Students must complete the program within 5 years of the semester of their admission.

Admission Requirements Specific to the MS Cyber Defense

The Dakota State University Masters of Science in Cyber Defense program seeks highly motivated and ethical individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful graduate students and security professionals. Admission to the program is based upon a combination of the following requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in networking, network administration, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, computer security, information technology, and information assurance from an institution of higher education with full regional accreditation for that degree. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree that is the equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S.
  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Essay in response to a security problem scenario. The scenario is on the additional information required of MSCD student’s sheet which is included in the application packet.

Program Faculty

Kevin Streff, Program Chair

Kyle Cronin, Steve Graham, Wayne Pauli, Ashley Podhradsky, Josh Stroschein, Yong Wang

Program Requirements

Coursework

The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:

  • 8 core courses (24 credit hours)
  • 2 elective courses (6 credit hours)

Certain courses will have mandated lab components and lab assignments. Lab assignments may require specialized hardware and/or software.

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in networking, network administration, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, computer security, information technology, and information assurance may be required to take an additional knowledge course. Actual coursework required will depend upon previous academic coursework.

Supporting Courses


Knowledge Courses


Students are expected to have a strong background in network security, information assurance or information technology. Those who do not have an undergraduate degree in these areas may have to take an additional knowledge course. The DSU equivalent of this course is:

Required Core (30 Credits)


All students must take the required core courses (24 cr. hrs.) and choose 6 credit hours of electives. Students without the required undergraduate coursework may have to take a specific knowledge course before entering the program.

Assessment/Evaluation Activities


All candidates for graduation must participate in an assessment activity. Currently, the MSCD students complete a comprehensive examination during their final semester. The exam must be successfully passed prior to graduation.

Course Grades


Course Grades are used as an indirect measure of student attainment of specific program goals and objectives. DSU Program Guidelines require students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program, receive no grades below a C, and have no more than 2 grades of a C. If you do not maintain the required “B” average you will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to raise your GPA to 3.0 within the next nine credit hours. If you do not raise your GPA to 3.0 you will be suspended from the program. If you receive more than 6 credits of “C” or any grade lower than a “C” you will be suspended from the program. You may appeal the suspension. If you have questions regarding these goals or objectives or grading, you should review the Satisfactory Progression Guidelines or speak with your advisor.

MSCD Course Rotation


Knowledge Courses


Course #

Course Title

FA 18 SP 19 SU 19 FA 19 SP 20 SU 20 FA 20 SP 21 SU 21
INFS 750 IT Infrastructure, Technology and Network Management   X X   X X   X X

Core Courses


Course #

Course Title

FA 18 SP 19 SU 19 FA 19 SP 20 SU 20 FA 20 SP 21 SU 21
INFA 701 Principles of Information Assurance     X     X     X
INFA 713 Managing Security Risks X     X     X    
INFA 720 Incident Response X     X     X    
INFA 721 Computer Forensics   X     X        
INFA 723 Cryptography   X     X        
INFA 735 Offensive Security     X     X      
INFA 751 Wireless Security X     X     X    
INFA 754 Intrusion Detection X     X     X    

Elective


Students must choose 6 credits of 700 or 800 level courses from INFA, CSC or INFS prefix with approval by advisor (6 credits).

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