Penn State's 33-credit online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security - Information Security and Forensics option includes core courses that build an understanding of the theories, skills, and technologies associated with network security, cyber threat defense and forensics, intelligence analysis, risk assessment, security policy development, and privacy protection and assurance.

The core curriculum for the information security and forensics option (ISF) includes the three required courses that unify the goals for all options in the iMPS-HLS program (HLS 801: Policies and Programs; HLS 803: Social and Ethical Issues; HLS 805: Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency). 

In addition to a Capstone project — IST 594 — and 9 credits of electives, four prescribed courses for the ISF option are required:

  • IST 454: Computer and Cyber Forensics – Fundamental issues and concepts of computer and cybercrime
  • IST 456: Information Security Management – Contemporary security issues
  • IST 554: Network Management and Security – Networks and Internet technologies to facilitate, manage, and secure data communications and applications
  • IST 815: Foundations of Information Security and Assurance – This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of information security and assurance

Learning Outcomes of the Program

  • Understand theories and technologies associated with: cyber and network security, cyber threat defense and forensics, risk assessment, security policy development, and intelligence analysis.
  • Build your skills in: information security and assurance, security audit and compliance, and emergency and security management across multiple venues.

Up to 10 graduate credits may be transferred into the program from an accredited institution (as permitted by the Graduate School). At least 18 credits must be in courses at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. 

Please note that as per the Graduate School transfer credit policy, credits that have been applied toward the degree requirements for a previous degree, whether at Penn State or elsewhere, may not be applied to degree requirements for a graduate degree at Penn State. 

Use the Course List to find course information, including course descriptions and prerequisites.

Course List - Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security - Information Security and Forensics Option

All students are required to complete the HLS Orientation (non-credit) as part of the HLS core curriculum before the end of their first semester. This orientation provides an overview of the HLS program and the field of homeland security.

Required Curriculum (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Homeland Security Administration: Policies and Programs HLS 801 Foundation for understanding homeland security history, the development of homeland security policies and organizations, and current management approaches. 3 credits
Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues HLS 803 This course will examine the social, political, legal, and ethical issues that arise in the context of homeland security. 3 credits
Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency HLS 805 Provides an overview of the domestic and global issues related to homeland security. 3 credits
Required Courses (12 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Computer and Cyber Forensics IST 454 Fundamental issues and concepts of computer forensics; aspects of computer and cyber crime; methods to uncover, protect, exploit, and document digital evidence; tools, techniques, and procedures to perform computer and cyber crime investigation. 3 credits
Information Security Management IST 456 Contemporary security issues; security management processes, architecture and models; risk analysis and management; security planning, analysis, and safeguards; security policies development and administration; contingency planning, incidence handling, and response; and security standards and certification processes. 3 credits
Network Management and Security IST 554 Essential skills and knowledge for effectively utilizing networks and Internet technologies to facilitate, manage, and secure data communications and applications. 3 credits
Foundations of Information Security and Assurance IST 815 This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of information security and assurance.  3 credits
Electives (Choose only 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Disaster Communication CAS 553 This seminar provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of disaster communication across phases of a disaster. 3 credits
Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security GEOG 571 The application of cultural geography in the intelligence analysis and synthesis process by identifying prominent threats to civil security. 3 credits
Disaster Psychology HLS 558 Explores psychological impact of disasters and terrorist attacks on victims, families, rescuers, and society and methods of reducing negative effects.

Prerequisite: permission of the program
3 credits
Web Security and Privacy INSC 561 A web-centric look at the latest techniques and practices in computer security as they apply to the Internet.

Prerequisite: IST 815
3 credits
Network Security IST 451 Fundamental issues and concepts of network security, network security technologies and protocols, and emerging technologies in network security. 3 credits
Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management IST 564 This course examines the fundamental elements of crisis, disaster, risk, and emergency management. 3 credits
Topics in Visual Analytics for Security Intelligence IST 868 Introduces visual analytic techniques for security informatics and intelligence. Survey technical approaches for data analysis, threats and vulnerability, communicating risk.

Prerequisites: IST 816 or IST 554 or IST 562
3 credits
Capstone Experience (3 required credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Research Paper or Project IST 594 In this project, all students in the program are required to focus on a well-defined issue or problem relevant to information sciences and technology. Each student will submit a project proposal to his/her faculty adviser for approval.

Note: IST 594 must be scheduled over the final two semesters in a 2-credit/1-credit consecutive sequence for a total of 3 credits.
3 credits


Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.