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Undergraduate Certificate inSecurity and Risk Analysis

Program summary

Learn to secure systems, evaluate and measure risk, and maintain proper levels of privacy by using the latest tools and techniques with this online security and risk analysis undergraduate certificate program.

Application deadline

Apply by May 5 to start May 13

Credits and costs

15 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Earn an Online Certificate in Security and Risk Analysis

The speed at which technology changes and data travels is astonishing. In just 60 seconds, hundreds of terabytes of data are transferred around the globe. Our government and private industry data-sharing infrastructures — connected both physically and digitally — face increased vulnerability.

To address and prevent those vulnerabilities, governments and industries need qualified candidates to fill available positions. The online Undergraduate Certificate in Security and Risk Analysis offered through Penn State World Campus can help you earn the credentials you need to qualify for more career opportunities in this rapidly expanding field.

Why an Online Certificate in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA)?

The SRA certificate curriculum introduces you to information systems, information assurance (both digital and physical security), and intelligence analysis. The course work begins by addressing these questions:

  • How can we use technology to organize and integrate human enterprises?
  • How can technology help people and organizations adapt rapidly and creatively?
  • What can we do about information overload?

As a student in the certificate program, you can progress through four courses that broadly address the areas of security, risk, and analysis, as well as more specific topics such as:

  • social and legal issues as they relate to security, particularly identity theft and social engineering
  • risk analysis and risk mitigation
  • crime intelligence and forensics
  • information warfare and assurance
  • threats posed by both terrorists and criminal activity, and strategies to combat those threats
  • fundamentals of information security, security architectures and models, worms and viruses, and other Internet-secure applications

You will examine case studies related to cyberterrorism, bioterrorism, and critical infrastructure protection to determine the requirements for security needed in government agencies or businesses.

Who Should Apply?

According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, the number of cyberattack incidents reported by federal agencies has skyrocketed 782% since 2006 to nearly 49,000 in 2012. Attacks jumped 13% in 2012 alone.

The online Undergraduate Certificate in Security and Risk Analysis is designed to give busy professionals the opportunity to quickly develop essential skills in the area of security and risk. The certificate is an excellent way to augment your existing skills, expand your career opportunities, or change careers altogether.

If you choose to continue your education, credits earned in this program can often be applied toward the Associate in Science in IST or the Bachelor of Science in IST from Penn State. Contact an academic adviser for more information.

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. 


The online certificate in security and risk analysis is a five-course, 15-credit program of study. To earn this certificate, you must successfully complete each course with a grade of "C" or higher.

Prescribed Courses (12 credits)

  • 3

    The use, analysis, and design of information systems and technologies to organize, coordinate, and inform human enterprises.

  • 3

    This introductory course spans areas of security, risk, and analysis covering contexts in government agencies and business organizations.

  • 3

    Provides overview of nature, scope, and seriousness of threats to security as a result of terrorism and crime.

  • 3

    Provides an understanding of the overview of information security including security architecture, access control, and internet secure applications.

    • Prerequisite

      SRA 111 and (CMPSC 101 or IST 140 or CMPSC 121)

Prescribed Course (select 3 credits)

  • 3

    Fundamentals of computational thinking, including reasoning about problems at multiple levels of abstraction, and analyzing code for its behavior, efficiency, and correctness.

    • Prerequisite

      2 entrance units in mathematics

  • 3

    Introduction to programming techniques design and implementation of algorithms. Structured programming. Problem-solving techniques. Introduction to a high-level language, including arrays, procedures, and recursion

    • Prerequisite

      MATH 110 or prerequisite or concurrent MATH 140

  • 3

    A first course in concepts and skills for application development.

    • Prerequisite

      C or better in MATH 21 or placement above the level of Math 21 in the mathematics placement test.

    • Recommend preparation

      MATH 22

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

Undergraduate Tuition

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.

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?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

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?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

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.

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.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

  • Summer DeadlineApply by May 5 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by August 18 to start August 26
  • Spring DeadlineApply by January 1, 2025, to start January 13, 2025

All supporting materials should be sent following the submission of your application.

For current and future course registration deadlines, visit the Registrar's website to view the academic calendar by semester

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, email
[email protected]
or call 814-865-1146.

Admission Requirements

To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED. 

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this 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 undergraduate certificate?

Apply by May 5 to start May 13. How to Apply 

Start or Advance Your Career

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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.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

The certificate in SRA was designed so the skills learned can be applied to a variety of industries, including government, health care, financial services, criminal justice, and more. With the certificate in SRA, you can prepare for positions such as:

  • information security analyst
  • crime or forensic analyst
  • telecommunications engineering specialist
  • computer network support specialist

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 

Contact Us

For questions about admissions and applications, please contact World Campus Central:

World Campus Central
Phone: 814-865-1146
[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.

  • Megan Costello

    • Degree
      J.D., University of New Hampshire
    • Degree
      B.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.

  • James (Jim) Farrugia

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine
    • Degree
      M.S., Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Degree
      B.A., Mathematics, East Stroudsburg University

    Dr. James (Jim) Farrugia is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. His areas of interest include programming, software development, data synthesis, and design and development.

  • Marc Friedenberg

    • Degree
      J.D., Columbia Law School
    • Degree
      M.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.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.

  • Katherine Hamilton

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.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.

  • Steven Haynes

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Systems, London School of Economics
    • Degree
      M.S., Information Systems, London School of Economics
    • Degree
      B.S., Management Information Systems, University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Steven Haynes worked at Apple Computer, Adobe Systems, and several start-up software companies in the United States and Europe prior to undertaking his doctoral studies. He has been involved in the development of commercial and custom software solutions as a programmer, designer, analyst, and application development project manager.

  • David M. Hozza

    • Degree
      MPS, Information Sciences (Cybersecurity), Penn State
    • Degree
      B.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

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.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.

  • Jeffrey Rimland

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Computer Science, Penn State

    Dr. Jeffrey Rimland is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. His areas of interest are software development, vocal synthesis techniques, information fusion, assistive mobile device technology, and human-centric information.

  • Maryam Roshanaei

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Computer Networks, Kingston University London
    • Degree
      B.Sc., Joint Honor Degree in Mathematics and Computing, Kingston University London

    Dr. Maryam Roshanaei is an assistant professor of cybersecurity and IST at Penn State Abington. She teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in security and risk analysis, information security and cybersecurity, mobile technologies, and digital forensics and crime. She is an active researcher with expertise in AI, cyber trust, cyber hygiene, critical infrastructure protection, future networks (FN), cybersecurity, digital forensics and crime, Internet privacy, and surveillance. She is an active member of BSI, ISO, and ITU-T standards committees.

  • Don Shemanski

    • Degree
      J.D., Georgetown University
    • Degree
      B.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.

  • Greg Thomas

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Administration and Leadership Studies, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      MPA, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Criminal Justice, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Greg Thomas has more than 25 years of hands-on law enforcement and educational experience in intelligence. He has developed operational intelligence concerning criminal activities and selected, trained, and supervised analysts in a criminal intelligence center. He has extensive experience teaching intelligence and analytical techniques to college students as well as intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel.

  • 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.


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

Apply by May 5 to start May 13. How to Apply