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Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity


The Master of Science in Cybersecurity: A Professional Science Master’s degree is a fully online program that uniquely combines technical courses, MBA-level business courses and real-world experience. Prepare for advancement in the cyber industry by gaining more experience in security management, risk analysis, network protocols, incident response, encryption algorithms, ethical hacking, intrusion detection and much more.  

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated CSUSM as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

NSA seal  DHS Symbol CAE Stamp

CSUSM’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity was ranked 7th among the nation’s best online cybersecurity master’s programs for 2022 in a list compiled by Fortune magazine. Rankings were determined by a number of factors, including acceptance rates, one-year retention rates, graduation rates and the total size of the program’s most recent graduating class. See the 2022 list.

CSUSM also offers certificates of advanced study in Cybersecurity Technologies and Cybersecurity Management, Risk and Governance. The courses in these certificates can be applied toward this Master of Cybersecurity program. 

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Upcoming Online Information Sessions

Application and document deadlines
  • Fall 2024: July 10, 2024

Program Details


    How to Apply

    Admission Requirements

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or equivalent education background
    • Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in a related field may be able to meet prerequisites with equivalent work experience in computer science and will be considered for conditional admission
    • Admission requires a minimum of 3.0 GPA in upper-division computer science courses and at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA in the last 60 semester units (or last 90 quarter units) attempted
    • One official transcript from each academic institution attended
    • A personal statement describing reasons for pursuing this program
    • Résumé or curriculum vitae
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • No GRE required to apply

    Please note: To be considered for admission you must reside in an approved state.


    The review committee looks for courses in:

    Operating Systems

    • Overall understanding of operating system design
    • Familiarity with the topics of process coordination and scheduling, interface devices, memory and device management


    • Overall understanding of communication network design
    • Familiarity with the general topics of network architectures and protocols

    Software Engineering

    • Overall understanding of programming paradigms and programming constructs in object-oriented languages such as C++
    • Knowledge of the important features and concerns of programming languages in common use today
    • Practical understanding of the basic principles and applications of software engineering, including process models and objected oriented analysis

    Please view the Work Experience Questions for Applicants to see if your work experience will satisfy some or all of the required prerequisites.

    View Catalog Page

    Semester Units* Subtotal**

    Fall Semester 1



    Spring Semester 1 9


    Summer Semester 1 3


    Fall Semester 2 9


    Spring Semester 2 8


    Total 38 $33,250

    *Unit rate for this program is $875

    **University semester fees not included. View complete breakdown of Extended Learning fees. Semester tuition subtotals based on sample program sequence. All quoted tuition rates are based on previous academic years and are subject to change without notice.

    Funding and Financial Aid

    • This program is eligible for financial aid
    • Visit the Extended Learning funding page or call 760-750-4850 to learn more about your funding options
    • Federal VA educational benefits can be used for this program (not eligible for Cal Vet fee waiver)
    • Active duty military, veterans and dependents should visit the military services page or call 760-750-8705

    View course descriptions and specific program requirements on the Cybersecurity Catalog Page.

    Please note: This program has a set schedule of courses that you are expected to follow as part of your cohort.

    Sample Schedule for Fall Start

    Semester Course (units)

    Fall Semester 1

    MCS 500 (2) - Intro to Cybersecurity

    MCS 511 (3) - Secure Features in Operating Systems

    MIS 522 (2) - Information Systems and Security Management

    MGMT 521 (2) - Organizational Behavior and Leadership for Security Management

    Spring Semester 1

    MCS 510 (3) - Security in Computer Networks

    MIS 622 (3) - Technology Assessment and Security Risk Management

    MATH 503 (3) - Cryptography

    Summer Semester 1 MIS 621 (3) - Information Security Governance
    Fall Semester 2

    MCS 512 (4) - Development of Secure Software

    MCS 610 (4) - Offensive Security and Penetration Testing

    MCS 680A (1) - Semester in Residence Project Writing Workshop

    Spring Semester 2

    MCS 611 (4) - Intrusion Detection and Incident Response

    MCS 680B (4) - Internship/Semester in Residence/Project

    Schedule is subject to change.

  • FAQ

    What are the Program Student Learning Outcomes?

    Students who graduate with a M.S. in Cybersecurity will be able to:

    1. Analyze an organization's critical information and assets, related to:
      • Building a security schema and developing an infrastructure;
      • Developing security practice methodologies to scrutinize threats and identify defenses within a constantly-changing environment.
    2. Exhibit management knowledge, skills, and behaviors, related to:
      • Structuring team dynamics, project management, and response to change;
      • Identifying economic and regulatory issues; and
      • Analyzing risks and operationalizing security decisions.


    What is a cohort?

    A cohort is a group of students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree. Because they are accepted into the same program, take their classes together and graduate together, students in cohorts tend to form a strong support system and professional network that benefit them during their degree program and beyond.

    What is the Semester-in-Residence?

    The Semester-In-Residence (SIR) program is a project-based capstone that helps you put your coursework in action by working with a cybersecurity business to address a real-world issue, project or problem. The SIR functions as a capstone experience in lieu of a master’s thesis.

    What does my personal statement need to address?

    The personal statement helps determine if work experience and prerequisites satisfy program requirements. Based on your experience, you may be able to waive, or need to take, Cyber Preparation Modules.

    What services do you offer to active military, veterans and dependents?

    Please visit our military and veteran services page to learn how we can help.

    What is a Professional Science Master's degree?

    • Professional Science Master's (PSMs) are designed for students who are seeking a graduate degree in science, and also understand the need for developing business, transferable and workplace skills valued by top employers
    • Students can be assured that this program meets and maintains the standards set by National Professional Science Master's Association (NPSMA) to infuse highly-valued business skills into a science master’s curriculum
    • The blend of graduate level, practical science knowledge with sought after soft-skills produces highly in-demand professionals ready to meet workforce needs and launch careers in science, business, government, or nonprofit organizations

    PSM logo

Recognized by NSA and DHS

CSUSM was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security

No GRE required

No GRE is required to apply for this fully online program that can be completed part time in five semesters

Play in the sandbox

Gain hands-on experience and practice real cyber defense within a secure network with opportunities to work in the sandbox

No thesis required

Program culminates in the presentation of a project-based capstone where you work with a cybersecurity company to address a real-world issue, project or problem


“There is no sitting in a hole and hoping no one will attack you. As they say in the industry, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’ We need many more smart people in the mix, we need fresh ideas and we need across-the-board collaboration.”




“If your goal is to become an information security officer, you need to be able to understand the business side of the house and to be able to communicate with the C-suite about security. You need to know what is important to them and how to frame the conversations with that in mind. The ability to convey technical concepts with nontechnical language is an asset in this field.”

– Chelsea Power

Graduate; Information Security Analyst, CSUSM

– Chelsea Power

Take the next step in your career - APPLY NOW

New cohorts begin every Fall semester.

Please note: We are temporarily accepting unofficial transcripts for applications for the Fall 2024 terms.

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