cyber security system

Graduate Certificate inInformation Systems Cybersecurity

Program summary

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.

Application deadline

Apply by July 1 to start August 26

Credits and costs

15 Credits$1,017 per credit

Information Systems Cybersecurity Certificate a Bridge for Advancement

The most effective way to acquire the knowledge and abilities necessary to successfully practice information security is through education. As the cybersecurity field is forecasted to generate many new jobs for the next generation, the industry will need more individuals with the skill set to meet this growing demand. Now is the time to consider expanding your expertise.

A Penn State Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity offers a bridge for individuals without an academic or professional background in cybersecurity to gain advanced education in the field. The certificate demonstrates your commitment to entering or advancing in the field and shows you have the skills required to keep information, systems, and networks safe from cyberattacks. This graduate certificate is designed to provide students with a foundation in information systems cybersecurity.

Upon completion of the course work, you should be able to:

  • understand the common body of knowledge in information cybersecurity and assurance
  • understand the core technologies used in making a networked information system secure and assured
  • understand how to build secure information systems
  • take an interdisciplinary approach to analyze the security and assurance of modern information systems
  • conduct penetration testing to identify and explore the essential vulnerability of a system

Why Penn State for Your Information Security Education?

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Penn State as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The designation demonstrates Penn State’s commitment to academic excellence in information cybersecurity and assurance education.

Who Should Apply?

The Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity is an attractive option to candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-technical or scientific discipline who are seeking a career change or who are already working in the industry with a sufficient professional background in networking, web services, or database development. The certificate could also be a good fit for individuals who do not wish to complete a full master’s degree program or for those who might wish to take a certificate to determine if they are interested in a complete graduate degree program in cybersecurity analytics and operations.

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. 


Penn State's online interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity provides a solid graduate-level education for mid- to high-level information technology professionals in all industry sectors who desire to strengthen their knowledge and skills in information security and information security management. All candidates must complete 15 credits to earn the certificate.

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • 3

    Studies foundations of cybersecurity and the threats it aims to prevent.

  • 3

    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

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

  • 3

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

Electives (select 3 credits)

Select 3 credits from the following courses or other courses as approved by the college.

  • 3

    Fundamental issues and concepts of network security, network security technologies and protocols, and emerging technologies in network security.

  • 3

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

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.

Paying for Your Certificate

Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.

Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.

Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Fall DeadlineApply by July 1 to start August 26

Admissions Help

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.

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 — For admission to the certificate program, a 2.75 undergraduate grade-point average (GPA), either overall or of the last 60 credits, is needed. A 3.0 GPA must be obtained in order to successfully complete the certificate. A minimum of 5 years relevant work experience is recommended. 

GRE test scores are not required and will not be accepted as part of your application.

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.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Current Résumé — should highlight any IT experience and/or certifications you have completed.

Reference (1) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering the name, email address, and mailing address of a reference from an academic or professional source. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each recommender requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program.  Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.

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

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: "Certificate Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
  • Choose "Information Systems Cybersecurity" for certificate 

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 graduate certificate?

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

Start or Advance Your Career

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Information systems cybersecurity professionals protect the data for organizations, companies, health care institutions, and government agencies. 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

This certificate can prepare you for a number of information security careers, including:

  • computer systems
  • security analyst
  • intel analyst
  • information assurance engineer
  • catastrophe risk analyst
  • information security/digital forensics and cyber threat advisor
  • penetration tester
  • information security director

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 

A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree

A figure standing halfway up a set of stairs leading towards a graduation cap

Not only can this program help create opportunities in your career, it can also give you a solid head start toward a full master’s degree.

Degree Programs Related to This Certificate

In addition to the information systems cybersecurity graduate certificate being an excellent stand-alone credential, the credits earned in the program may be applied toward the MPS in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations or the MPS in Homeland Security – Information Security and Forensics option.

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.

Learn more about the Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations

Contact Us

For questions related to the Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity, 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]


  • Michael R. Bartolacci

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      MBA, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      B.A., Engineering, Lafayette College

    Dr. Michael R. Bartolacci is an associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Berks. He conducts research in telecommunications modeling, electronic commerce modeling, customer relationship management, manufacturing modeling, and international aspects of telecommunications.

  • 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.

  • Mohamed Meky

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, City University of New York Graduate Center
    • Degree
      M.Sc., Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Egypt
    • Degree
      B.Sc., Electrical Engineering, Egypt

    Dr. Mohamed Meky has been teaching for more than 25 years in the U.S. and abroad. He also has more than 22 years of industrial experience in IT fields with AT&T. He is currently conducting research in the IT security field, and his areas of teaching interest are networking, cybersecurity, system administration, computer language programming, wireless communication, electronics, and other technology courses.

  • 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.

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?

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