Credits and costs
Information and Cyber Security
Malware, data breaches, denial of service, phishing, and other cyber attacks are proliferating. Highly publicized attacks on major corporations, governments, infrastructure, and financial organizations are in the news almost daily, underscoring the need for professionals who are trained to recognize and deal with cyber threats.
Cyber attacks can come in a variety of forms, but often the intent is malicious — an attempt to bring down a computer system or an intrusion seeking to access and steal intellectual or proprietary data and information. At risk are such things as trade or industry secrets, corporate reputation, customer data including credit card information, and even physical damage to equipment. In fact, a report by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive highlighted the ease with which foreign collectors of economic information are able to operate in cyberspace with relatively little risk of detection by their private sector targets.
As governments and private entities become increasingly dependent on computer technology to transmit and store sensitive data, intellectual property, and financial transactions, the need for information security and risk analysis professionals will increase.
Why Security and Risk Analysis at Penn State?
Former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell warned that the U.S. government is not equipped to detect and deflect a catastrophic [cyber] attack.
Penn State’s security and risk analysis degree focuses on the technologies, education, and policies to protect people, information, and other assets. Students are introduced to the tools and skills needed to determine the required confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an asset (i.e., a person, structure, facility, information, material, or process that has value).
The degree looks at how to design secure systems, evaluate and measure risk, and ensure that proper levels of privacy are maintained for individual technology users, businesses, government, and other organizations. Courses specific to information and cyber security are embedded within the degree program. These courses can provide you with an understanding of the theories, skills, and technologies associated with network security, cyber threat defense, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection across multiple industries.
Penn State is recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense. The Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology is a leader among information schools, and the faculty are a diverse group of thought leaders from numerous fields, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and more.
Who Should Apply?
The SRA major is designed to provide a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates areas of study in information assurance (both digital and physical security), intelligence analysis, and cyber forensics. If you work in or aspire to work in areas of information and data security, system security, network security, cyber security, intelligence, cyber intelligence, intel analytics, or cybercrime prevention, this could be an excellent program for you.
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education and more than two decades of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
When you have successfully completed this program, you will receive the same Penn State diploma that all of our graduates receive. You will become part of a worldwide network of alumni and can choose to join the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world.
The Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis is intended to familiarize you with the general frameworks and multidisciplinary theories that define the area of security and related risk analyses. Courses in the major will engage you in the challenges and problems associated with assuring information confidentiality and integrity (e.g., social, economic, technology-related, and policy issues), as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various methods for assessing and mitigating associated risk.
To acquire the B.S. in SRA, you are required to successfully complete a minimum of 120 credits.
Because the IT profession is constantly changing, continued learning remains key to advancing your career. As you consider your education options, you might also be interested in the Associate in Science in IST, Undergraduate Certificate in IST, or the Undergraduate Certificate in SRA, as you work toward your bachelor’s degree. Many of the credits in these programs may be applied to the requirements for your bachelor’s degree, so that means you can benefit from Penn State's highly regarded name on your résumé even sooner. Your adviser can help you plan the best path for you to achieve your goals.
Prescribed Courses for the Major (26 credits)
Students must earn a grade of C or better in all prescribed courses for the major.
Additional Courses for the Major (21–23 credits)
Writing Courses (select 3 credits)
PSYCH/SOC Courses (select 3 credits)
Economics Courses (select 3 credits)
Math Courses (select 3–5 credits)
GEOG or PLSC Courses (select 3 credits)
Statistics Courses (select 3 credits)
Programming Courses (select 3 credits)
Prescribed Courses for the Information and Cybersecurity Option (15 credits)
Students must earn a grade of C or better in all prescribed courses for the option.
Additional Courses for the Information and Cybersecurity Option (select 3 credits)
Students must earn a grade of C or better in all additional courses for the option.
Supporting Courses and Related Areas for the Information and Cyber Security Option (12 credits)
Select 12 credits from College-approved list. At least 3 credits must be at the 400-level.
Electives (select 5–13 credits)
Students can choose electives in consultation with their adviser.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
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
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 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 transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
You must be a high school graduate or have completed a GED and have earned three and a half units of mathematics (selected from any combination of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry or higher math course) to satisfy the initial admission requirements to be admitted to the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Transfer applicants are expected to meet the minimum high school math requirements or equivalent college course work prior to enrolling at Penn State:
- completing MATH 022 (College Algebra II and Analytic Geometry) or MATH 026 (Plane Trigonometry) OR a higher-level math course offered by Penn State, determined in consultation with your academic adviser
- completing a trigonometry or higher-level course at another accredited institution with a grade of "C" or better
- receiving sufficient scores on Advanced Placement calculus exams
Important: Penn State's math placement exam results are used to determine the appropriate starting point for math. The results are NOT sufficient for satisfying the entrance into the College of IST requirement. The requirement must be demonstrated by letter grade or transfer credit. For more information about the entrance into the College of IST requirement for this program, contact an adviser.
Once you are admitted to the pre-major in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, you will work closely with your academic adviser to gain entrance to the security and risk analysis major.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
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 Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
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.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
As people and organizations continue to shift more of their business and personal interactions to the Internet, the need is growing for professionals who can keep information and data secure. You can find such careers in business and industry, government and intelligence, and protective services and criminology, among others.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
Michael R. Bartolacci
DegreePh.D., Industrial Engineering, Lehigh University
DegreeMBA, Lehigh University
DegreeB.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.
DegreeJ.D., University of New Hampshire
DegreeB.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
Megan Costello is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. Her areas of interest are copyright and trademark registration, business law matters, contract disputes, and privacy law. Prior to her appointment in the College of IST, she was the founder and solo practitioner for a boutique law practice that focused on cyberlaw issues and intellectual property.
DegreeJ.D., Columbia Law School
DegreeM.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
Marc Friedenberg joined the College of Information Sciences and Technology as an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology after practicing intellectual property and securities litigation for large law firms in New York. His legal practice experience also involved clerkships with federal judges in New York and Los Angeles.
DegreePh.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Psychology, Florida International University
Dr. Katherine Hamilton, an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology, teaches statistics and research methods. She conducts research on team effectiveness, particularly in the areas of virtual teams, team cognition, and team conflict.
David M. Hozza
DegreeMPS, Information Sciences (Cybersecurity), Penn State
DegreeB.S., Computer Science and Management, East Stroudsburg University
David M. Hozza is a lecturer in information sciences and technology. Prior to his appointment, he had a 30-year career in the IT industry, with responsibilities in storage architecture, systems administration, data analysis, and leadership management. His areas of interest include cloud computing, cybersecurity, data protection and storage, and enterprise integration.
Alison R. Murphy
DegreePh.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
Dr. Alison R. Murphy is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. She enjoys teaching students to think critically about the socio-technical impacts of technology on individuals, organizations, and society. She is also dedicated to researching how to improve the usability of health information technology for both individuals and organizations through the use of qualitative methods and UX design principles.
DegreePh.D., Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida
DegreeM.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida
DegreeB.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.
DegreeJ.D., Georgetown University
DegreeB.A., With High Distinction, German, Penn State
Don Shemanski joined Penn State as a professor of practice of information sciences and technology after a 23-year career as a diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service. Immediately prior to his appointment at Penn State, he served as counselor for global affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, responsible for high-priority policy issues such as counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.