The Science of Protection and Prevention
Every day seems to bring another headline about a major computer security breach, whether at a corporation, government agency, or communications system. From online banking to electronic commerce to transportation operations, our world increasingly depends on a cyber infrastructure. Hardening these diverse software and control systems against malicious users has become a national priority. To achieve this goal, there is a broad need for computer experts with the deep technical training and expertise to protect vital networks and electronic systems.
To meet the burgeoning demand, we offer our master’s students in the Computer Science department the opportunity to specialize in cyber security. The specialization encompasses courses that focus on technical issues related to safe software, languages, and architectures, as well as broader societal issues of privacy and legal ramifications. Through an eight-course program, students will be trained in topics ranging from cryptographic methods, data and information security, fault-tolerant computing, network security, privacy and anonymity, software safety, and system security.
Cyber security students also have the opportunity to work closely with Boston University’s Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security (RISCS), which promotes and coordinates research and education in system reliability and information security. Current research includes cryptography, network and software security, economic and game-theoretic approaches to Internet computing, database security, and secure cloud computing, among others. The center has earned the University the distinction of being named a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research by the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.
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A Well-Rounded Degree
Our CS students have the opportunity to study cyber security not only at an intimate level, but from a broad perspective as well. In particular, students are encouraged to enroll in courses from other RISCS-affiliated programs at BU, including Metropolitan College (MET), the ECE department in the College of Engineering, and the School of Management (SMG). These courses focus on lower-level issues, such as secure hardware design, as well as higher-level ones such as digital forensics and managing security.
The MS specialization in cyber security has the same course requirements as the MS in Computer Science: eight graduate courses (totaling 32 credits), including five breadth courses (with at least one course from each of the four breadth areas).
Of the eight courses required for the MS in Computer Science, students in the cyber security specialization are required to take:
- At least two courses from list A below of core CS security courses;
- At least three courses from list B below of CS security-related courses;
- Up to two courses from list C of elective non-CAS/CS security-related graduate courses, taught in a RISCS-affiliated program and approved by the faculty advisor; and
- CAS CS 538: Cryptography
- CAS CS 548: Advanced Cryptography
- CAS CS 558: Network Security
- All courses from List A can count towards List B
- CAS CS 512: Formal Methods II
- CAS CS 552: Operating Systems
- CAS CS 565: Data Mining
List C is updated each semester and comprises courses from other RISCS-affiliated programs:
- MET CS 693: Digital Forensics and Investigations
- MET CS 703: Network Forensics
- MET CS 713: Advanced Digital Forensics (Malware Forensic Analysis)
- MET CS 895: Developing Secure Systems
- ENG EC500: Cybersecurity
- ENG EC 727: Advanced Coding Theory
- ENG EC 761: Information Theory and Coding
- QST IS 828: Managing Information Security
Note: A CS course can be used toward satisfying multiple requirements. For example, CAS CS 552 can be used to satisfy both the Systems breadth requirement and cyber security requirement (ii), or CAS CS 538 can be used to satisfy both the Applications breadth requirement and cyber security requirements (i) and (ii). A sample student program is provided below.
Language Requirement: The department does not have a foreign language requirement.
A sample program might consist of the following eight courses:
- CAS CS 530 Algorithms: satisfies the Theory breadth requirement.
- CAS CS 512 Formal Methods II: satisfies the Software breadth requirement.
- CAS CS 552 Operating Systems: satisfies both the Systems breadth requirement, and cyber security requirement (ii) as a list-B course.
- CAS CS 538 Cryptography and CAS CS 558 Network Security: satisfy both the Applications breadth requirement and cyber security requirements (i) and (ii) as they are designated on both lists A and B.
The above five courses meet the CS core breadth requirement of five breadth courses, with at least one course in each subject area (Theory, Software, Systems, and Applications). Cyber security requirements of (i) at least two courses from list A, as well as (ii) at least three list B courses, are also satisfied.
The three remaining courses can include two list C (elective) courses, and one directed study course to complete the master’s project:
- MET CS 693: Digital Forensics and Investigations
- SMG IS 828: Managing Information Security
- GRS CS 9XX: Directed Study in Cryptography or Security
How to Apply
To apply to the MS in Computer Science with Specialization in Cyber Security, please fill out our online application.
The department reviews master’s applications on a rolling basis to expedite admission decisions and we aim to make admission recommendations within four weeks of receiving a completed application.
Deadlines (rolling admission)
Fall Enrollment: May 1
For admissions questions, please contact email@example.com.
Meet Our Faculty
Our cyber security professors are internationally recognized experts in their fields. Meet faculty members Ran Canetti, Sharon Goldberg, Steve Homer, Assaf Kfoury, Leo Reyzin, and Nikos Triandopoulos.
From cell phone privacy to data mining to image and video computing, our professors and researchers are continually exploring and breaking new ground. See where they’re headed next.
Careers: Next Steps
Our CS Connections program is designed to link students and potential employers in the computer science and cyber security fields. We also offer plenty of professional resources, networking events, and the latest job and internship listings.