cybersecurity professionals conversing while looking at a computer screen

Master of Professional Studies inCybersecurity Analytics and Operations

Program summary

Improve your knowledge of cybersecurity analytics and operations in this online degree program that prepares you to better protect digital information from attacks. Penn State's cybersecurity analytics and operations courses are taught by a group of experienced practitioners and researchers.

Application deadline

Apply by July 1 to start August 26

Credits and costs

33 Credits$1,017 per credit

Nationally Recognized

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Our graduate IT programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As the important information we exchange for government administration, commerce, education, and everyday communication transitions from the printed page to digital platforms, it has never been more critical to protect the systems, networks, and programs we use, as well as the information itself, from the threat of attack and unauthorized access. The Penn State Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to stand in defense of our most confidential and sensitive data.

This online program, offered by the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in partnership with Penn State World Campus, is designed to create a deep understanding of cybersecurity analytics and operations by blending education relating to technology, incident response, strategic planning, and crisis management.  The program also aims to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity analysts to better protect digital information from attack through cyber-defense strategies, including incident response, strategic planning, and crisis management. From all levels of government to businesses of any size, advanced professional skills in cybersecurity protection are needed by all industries.

Why Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations at Penn State?

As a student in this online program, you’ll have the opportunity to understand and analyze the profound information and technological changes sweeping the world. You will learn how to meet those challenges using foundations in cybersecurity theory and tactics and be equipped to recognize, analyze, defend, and manage risks related to a wide range of threats to online information, data stores, and networks. Finally, you will have the option to customize your education with electives that match your interests and professional goals.

Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is a leading information technology school with courses taught by a diverse group of experienced practitioners and researchers from a number of fields, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, and artificial intelligence. You can trust the quality and value of your education — Penn State is recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense.

Who Should Apply?

The MPS program is multidisciplinary in nature; students from many different disciplines may be accepted for entry into the program. While not necessary for admission, a bachelor's degree in a related area (e.g., business, engineering, or science) is helpful in the successful completion of the degree. It is expected that students will have a basic level of competency in networking, as well as computer and information technology. Related work and certification experience can be used to demonstrate such competency. In addition, we offer an introductory course pathway for interested students lacking this STEM background.

Information for Military and Veterans

Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.

Courses

The 33-credit online master's degree program in cybersecurity analytics and operations can be completed in as little as two years on a part-time basis.

The core course of study includes:

  • information technology
  • cybersecurity
  • network management and security

Collaborative Learning

The online courses are interactive and collaborative, allowing you to build strong ties with other students and gain perspectives from other disciplines and industries. Maximum flexibility is maintained by the program in an effort to meet both the professional needs of individual students and academic quality standards.

Up to 9 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. 

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. 

Required Courses (18 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    This course teaches the principles and practice of software security. The course gives an overview of the foundations of computation models and languages.

  • 3
    credits

    Essential skills and knowledge for effectively utilizing networks and internet technologies to facilitate, manage, and secure data communications and applications.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of information security and assurance.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of fundamentals of network security, data sources, data collection techniques and tools, cybersecurity analytics infrastructure, machine learning and data mining, network forensics, anomaly and malware detection, security data visualization, and security dashboard design and implementation.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides an overview of techniques to assess and ensure the security of web applications and services that drive modern e-commerce transactions.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides students with the principles of project management and knowledge of the project management skills and processes needed to select, initiate, and plan a project.

Electives (select 12 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to emerging issues, technology forecasting and analysis; overview of emerging issues and leading technologies in IST and how they impact information systems, users, the IT labor force and society.

  • 3
    credits

    Introductory course on integration of information technology into different venues, including the planning, development, and implementation of the integration.

  • 3
    credits

    Advanced course on the integration of information technology into systems applications.

  • 3
    credits

    Legal environment of information technology, constitutional/political issues, intellectual property, management, e-commerce, privacy, access, computer contracting, cyberspace regulation.

  • 3
    credits

    Distributed decision-making theories and agent-based technologies, models, and systems with applications in command and control, emergency, and resource management.

  • 3
    credits

    This course examines the fundamental elements of crisis, disaster, risk, and emergency management.

  • 3
    credits

    This graduate course improves understanding in an organizational setting of the principles and practices of cyber forensics as well as the management of information security.

  • 3
    credits

    This course focuses both on monitoring systems and networks for real-time threats and on "ethical" hacking tools and techniques.

    • Prerequisite

      IST 544 and IST 815

  • 3
    credits

    Introduce visual analytic techniques for security informatics and intelligence. Survey technical approaches for data analysis, threats and vulnerability, communicating risk.

    • Prerequisite

      IST 816 or IST 554

  • 3
    credits

    Theoretical foundations and practice of enterprise architecture.

  • 3
    credits

    Theoretical foundations and practice of enterprise modeling.

    • Prerequisite

      EA 871

  • 3
    credits

    This course is intended to provide an exposure to the foundational concepts associated with each of the three primary layers of the enterprise information technology architecture stack: the enterprise applications architecture, the enterprise data architecture, and the enterprise technology infrastructure architecture.

    • Prerequisite

      EA 871

  • 3
    credits

    Analytical skills to produce credible, meaningful answers to critical risk management questions across enterprise architecture layers, including the supply chain.

    • Prerequisite

      EA 871

Culminating Experience (3 required credits)

    • 3
      credits

      Students are trained to identify a specific problem within a general topic area, frame a research question, conduct a literature review, and develop a research plan to collect and analyze data. Then students continue by implementing the research plan, actually collecting and analyzing a small amount of data, and presenting results in a formal research paper.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      This course is a laboratory-based course that requires students to apply skills and knowledge from previous course work to "real-world" cybersecurity scenarios and problems. Students are expected to utilize the knowledge and skills gained in previous course work to solve each cybersecurity scenario/problem in a given week of the class.

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.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,017 per credit
12 or more$12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,027 per credit
12 or more$12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all materials, must be received by the deadlines below to be considered complete. You may apply several months in advance and indicate your planned semester start date in the application. We encourage you to apply early.

  • Fall DeadlineApply by July 1 to start August 26
  • Spring DeadlineApply by November 1, 2024, to start January 13, 2025

To help you manage the application process, our online application management system will provide you with complete details regarding the required elements of your application portfolio — and will even help you track your progress.

Admissions Help

Admission to the MPS in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations program is competitive. A faculty-led admissions committee considers all submitted materials and makes admissions decisions based on the strength of the candidate's credentials. Limited spaces are available. If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

The MPS program is multidisciplinary in nature; students from many different disciplines may be accepted for entry into the program. A bachelor's degree in a related area (e.g., engineering and science), while not necessary for admission, is helpful in the successful completion of the degree. It is expected that students will have a basic level of competency in statistics, as well as computer and information technology. Related work and certification experience can be used to demonstrate such competency. In addition, we offer a course sequence for interested students lacking a background in STEM. A student may be accepted into the program with "provisional status" for no more than one year while work is completed to meet these expectations.

The most qualified applicants will be accepted into the program until all spaces for new students are filled.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — GRE test scores are not required and will not be accepted as part of your application. Successful applicants are expected to have an overall GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or higher for their undergraduate study (and/or graduate-level studies). However, accomplishments demonstrated through work experience and recommendation letters from an applicant's academic adviser or employer will also play an important role in the admission decision. A minimum of 2 years of relevant work experience, related security certifications, or completion of the introductory course pathway is recommended.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References (2) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two professional contacts. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each contact requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders that they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.  

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.

Program-specific questions — Please submit your responses with your application.

Original Statement of Written Expression Please include a brief sample illustrating your writing skills, organization and clarity, critical thinking, and consistent use of citations and references. This may be extracted from a previous academic paper (e.g., class essay, dissertation, thesis, journal article, capstone project, or research paper) or work-related report (e.g., white papers, policy briefs, news articles, and grant applications). If part of a group report, only include the part for which you were responsible and/or include a note explaining the document’s context and authorship. As a suggested length, limit your sample to less than ten pages, double-spaced. At the top of each page, please indicate "WRITING SAMPLE," along with your name, numbering each page.

Statement of Interest Please include a written personal statement in your application to share information that you deem important to your candidacy. Be sure to include why you are a qualified applicant and how this degree will assist you in meeting your future career goals. You may wish to describe aspects of your background and interests — intellectual, personal, and/or professional — and how you will uniquely contribute to the IST community and/or the related professions. As a suggested length, limit your statement to one or two pages, double-spaced. At the top of each page, please indicate "STATEMENT OF INTEREST," along with your name, numbering each page.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by July 1 to start August 26. How to Apply 

Start or Advance Your Career

A homeland security professional working at a computer

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Cybersecurity Project Manager
  • Information Systems Director (IS Director)
  • Information Systems Security Analyst
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Network and Security Engineer

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

15.4%
employment growth (10 years)
533,220
total employment

Information Security Analysts

31.5%
employment growth (10 years)
163,690
total employment

Detectives and Criminal Investigators

1.5%
employment growth (10 years)
107,400
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way

A figure walking on a path that includes a certificate part of the way through their progress

Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.

Certificate Program Related to This Degree

The following certificate can be earned while completing this degree program:

Build your understanding of information systems security, risk management, digital forensics, knowledge management, cybersecurity, crisis and disaster management, and web security and privacy with this online graduate certificate.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity

Contact Us

For questions related to the Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology, please contact:

Chrissie Fitzgerald
Graduate Programs Manager
College of Information Sciences and Technology
The Pennsylvania State University
E108 Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802
[email protected]

For general questions about Penn State World Campus, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

Faculty

  • Jennifer Breese

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Systems and Communication, Robert Morris University
    • Degree
      M.A., Liberal Studies Concentration in Leadership, Duquesne University
    • Degree
      B.A., Political Science/Pre-Law Track, California University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Jennifer Breese is an assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Allegheny. She is an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience, including nine years at FedEx in both Pittsburgh and Boston. She has also spent thirteen years in the collegiate education environment as both an adjunct and full-time professor. She has teaching interests in cyber education, security risk analysis, and information systems technology.

  • Guoray Cai

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Science, University of Pittsburgh
    • Degree
      M.A., Geography, West Virginia University
    • Degree
      M.A., Geography, West Virginia University
    • Degree
      B.E., Electrical Engineering, Tianjin University, China

    Dr. Guoray Cai is an associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State, with affiliate appointments in geography as well as in computer science and engineering. He is the founding director of the College of IST's Spatial Information and Intelligence Laboratory. His research includes geographical information systems, geo-collaboration, human-computer interaction, information retrieval, and spoken-dialogue systems.

  • Wei-Fan Chen

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Instructional Systems, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.Ed., Instructional Systems, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Computer Science and Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan

    Dr. Wei-Fan Chen is an associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. His research and teaching interests include cognitive and information sciences and technology as related to learning.

  • Robert J. Cole

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Delaware

    Dr. Robert J. Cole has been an adjunct instructor for the College of IST since 2013. He is also a systems engineer and data scientist for Raytheon Intelligence and Information Services.

  • Edward J. Glantz

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      MBA, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., General Arts and Science, Penn State

    Dr. Edward J. Glantz, P.E., has been with the College of IST faculty since 2009. Prior to joining IST, Dr. Glantz served 10 years as a faculty member of Penn State's Smeal College of Business. His career spans more than 20 years of managing technology, research, and marketing in the manufacturing and telecommunication industries, including startup work.

  • Taegyu Kim

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University
    • Degree
      M.S., Electrical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)
    • Degree
      B.S., Electronics and Communications Engineering, Kwangwoon University

    Taegyu Kim has been an assistant professor in the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology since 2022. His research interests include robotic vehicle security, software security, and systems security. Taegyu has published fourteen peer-reviewed papers, including eight at top venues such as USENIX Security, IEEE S&P, NDSS, MobiSys, and ICRA.

  • Johnson Kinyua

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
    • Degree
      M.S., Digital Communications, University of Kent at Canterbury, United Kingdom
    • Degree
      B.S., Electronics Engineering, University College London, United Kingdom

    Dr. Johnson Kinyua has been an associate teaching professor with the College of IST since 2018. His career spans more than 35 years of teaching, research, and industry experience. He served as a director of a school for six years and as a dean for five years at different universities. His teaching interests are in cybersecurity, enterprise information systems, networks, computer architecture, operating systems, software engineering, database management systems, object-oriented programming, distributed database systems, and enterprise integration.

  • Abdullah Konak

    Degree
    Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh

    Dr. Abdullah Konak is a professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Berks and teaches courses on database management systems, information security, and technology-based entrepreneurship.

  • Anna Levy

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      MLS, Library and Information Sciences, Pratt Institute School of Information
    • Degree
      B.A., Library Science and Bibliography, Moscow State University of Culture and Arts

    Dr. Anna Levy has been an instructor for the College of IST and World Campus since 2014. Prior to joining IST, Dr. Levy served 8 years as an adjunct faculty member of Queen College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (CUNY). Her career spans more than 30 years of conducting library and academic research, including work as a reference librarian and a bibliographer. Dr. Levy’s primary research interests include e-government research at the municipal level, public administration, and town-gown relations, particularly focusing on the analysis of the impacts of social media and mobile technology on local governance in the information age.

  • Mahdi Nasereddin

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida
    • Degree
      M.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida
    • Degree
      B.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida

    Dr. Mahdi Nasereddin is an associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Berks. His current research interest is in the application of artificial intelligence, simulation metamodeling, simulation optimization, and experimental design.

  • Syed Rizvi

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering, University of Bridgeport
    • Degree
      M.S., Computer Engineering, Old Dominion University
    • Degree
      B.S., Computer Engineering, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology

    Dr. Syed Rizvi is an associate professor in information sciences and technology at the Penn State Altoona campus. His research interests lie at the intersection of computer networking, network security, and machine learning. Dr. Rizvi teaches cybersecurity, risk analysis, and IST courses such as fundamentals of information security, networking and telecommunications, secure software engineering, security risk assessment, network security, incident response handling, and capstone projects. He is a member of the IEEE Communications Society and ACM.

  • Steve Tomasko

    • Degree
      M.S., IT, Capella University
    • Degree
      B.S., Professional Studies, Mount Aloysius College
    • Degree
      A.A.S., Electronics Technology, Penn Highlands Community College

    Steve Tomasko has spent more than 29 years working in networking, communications, program management, and cybersecurity. He has dozens of professional certifications in these fields. His experience includes many years of cybersecurity research in support of the DoD and IC. His current professional work and research focus on cybersecurity for 5G and satellite systems.

  • Mimi Zhang

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.Sc., Information and Knowledge Management, Loughborough University, UK
    • Degree
      B.Mgt., Information Management and Information Systems, Hefei University of Technology, China

    Dr. Mimi Zhang is an adjunct faculty for the College of IST. Her primary areas of research and teaching interests are data science, web analytics, and technology industry.

News

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by July 1 to start August 26. How to Apply