Carnegie Mellon University

Cyber Ops Certificate

Cyber operations (Cyber Ops) is a specialization of information security that is in high demand within areas of the government and military, including the National Security Agency (NSA).

If you have an interest in working for the NSA, or a similar organization, certification in Cyber Ops may be the right fit for you. To participate, students must be enrolled in the Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) degree program.

Cyber Ops Curriculum Meets MSIS Degree Requirements

MSIS students are able to earn Cyber Ops certification without taking additional coursework, however they must fulfill both sets of requirements. All courses used to satisfy the Cyber Ops certificate requirements must be taken for a letter grade. If completed, the Cyber Ops certificate will be issued at graduation. 

Note: International students can pursue the Cyber Ops Certificate.

Curriculum for Cyber Ops Certificate

The Cyber Ops certificate requirements focus on both mandatory and optional Knowledge Units (KUs) representing important areas of study in the field of cyber operations. Some KUs are covered by multiple courses, and other KUs require multiple courses.

To earn the Cyber Ops certificate, an MSIS student must successfully complete courses that cover all of the mandatory KUs and at least four (4) of the optional KUs. 

Mandatory KUs (Complete All)  Optional KUs (Complete At Least 4) 
M.1: Low-Level Programming Languages O.2:  Wireless Security
M.2: Software Reverse Engineering O.4: Cloud Security/Cloud Computing
M.3: Operating System Theory O.5: Risk Mgmt. of Information Systems
M.4: Networking O.8: Software Security Analysis
M.5: Cellular and Mobile Technologies O.9: Secure Software Development
M.6: Discrete Math and Algorithms O.10: Embedded Systems
M.7: Overview of Cyber Defense O.11: Digital Forensics
M.8: Security Fundamental Principles O.12: Systems Programming
M.9: Vulnerabilities O.13: Applied Cryptography

M.10: Legal and Ethics

O.15: UX/HCI Security

Based on the INI’s mapping of courses to KUs, MSIS students can accomplish the minimum requirements for the certificate by completing the following courses:

Course Number / Title 

KUs Covered 

14-513: Introduction to Computer Systems 

M.1: Low-Level Programming Languages 

14-819: Introduction to Software Reverse-Engineering 

M.2: Software Reverse Engineering 

15-605: Operating System Design and Implementation 
-OR- 
14-642: Introduction to Embedded Systems

M.3: Operating System Theory AND 
O.12: Systems Programming
 OR O.10: Embedded Systems

14-740: Fundamentals of Telecommunications Networks 

M.4: Networking 

14-829: Mobile & IoT Security 

M.5: Cellular and Mobile Technologies, O.2: Wireless Security 

15-354: Computational Discrete Math (*) 

M.6: Discrete Math and Algorithms 

14-761: Applied Information Assurance 

M.7: Overview of Cyber Defense 

14-741: Introduction to Information Security 

M.8: Security Fundamental Principles 

14-735: Secure Coding 

M.9: Vulnerabilities, O.9: Secure Software Development 

14-821: Legal and Ethical Background for Those Working in Cyber Ops 

M.10: Legal and Ethics 

14-782: Information Security Risk Management 
-OR- 
14-817: Cyber Risk Modeling

O.5: Risk Mgmt. of Information Systems 


(*) Students may be able to waive this requirement via petition with suitable documentation of equivalent undergraduate coursework.

Additionally, MSIS students can further supplement their Cyber Ops coursework with the following courses that cover additional Optional KUs (possibly in concert with required courses above). 

Course Number / Title 

KUs Covered 

14-848: Cloud Infrastructure: Design, Analysis, and Implementation 

O.4: Cloud Security/Cloud Computing 

18-732: Secure Software Systems 

O.8: Software Security Analysis 

14-822: Host Based Forensics 
-AND- 
14-823: Network Forensics 

O.11: Digital Forensics 

18-733: Applied Cryptography 

O.13: Applied Cryptography 

19-734: Usable Privacy and Security 

O.15: UX/HCI Security 

The following course schedules are examples of how an MSIS student can fulfill their degree requirements and earn the Cyber Ops certificate. Sample course schedules are provided for both the four-semester (144 unit) MSIS program and the three-semester (122 unit) MSIS program. 

Four-semester MSIS: 
 

Semester 

Course 

Coverage 

Fall, Year 1 (36 units) 

14-513: Introduction to Computing Systems 

M.1, program elective 

 

14-740: Fundamentals of Telecommunications Networks 

M.4, Networking core 

 

14-741: Introduction to Information Security 

M.8, Security core 

Spring, Year 1 (39 units) 

15-605: Operating System Design and Implementation 

M.3, O.12, Systems core 

 

14-761: Applied Information Assurance 

M.7, MSIS core / opt 

 

14-782: Information Security Risk Management 

O.5, Mgmt core 

 

14-788: Information Security Policy and Management 

Mgmt core 

Summer, Year 1 

Internship 

 

Fall, Year 2 (42 units) 

14-829: Mobile & IoT Security 

M.5, O.2, MSIS core / opt 

 

15-354: Computational Discrete Math 

M.6, program elective 

 

14-735: Secure Coding  

M.9, O.9, MSIS core / opt  

 

14-821: Legal and Ethical Background for Those Working in Cyber Ops 

M.10, program elective 

Spring, Year 2 (36 units) 

14-819: Introduction to Software Reverse-Engineering 

M.2, MSIS core / opt 

 

18-732: Secure Software Systems 

O.8, Security core 

 

19-734: Usable Privacy and Security 

O.15, program elective 

Three-semester MSIS: 

Semester 

Course 

Coverage 

Summer, pre-Year 1 (6/12 units) 

14-513: Introduction to Computing Systems 

M.1, program elective 

Fall, Year 1 (43 units) 

 

14-740: Fundamentals of Telecommunications Networks 

M.4, Networking core 

 

14-741: Introduction to Information Security 

M.8, Security core 

 
 

14-821: Legal and Ethical Background for Those Working in Cyber Ops 

M.10, program elective 

 

14-761: Applied Information Assurance 

M.7, MSIS core / opt 

 

14-601: APD1 

 

Spring, Year 1 (40 units) 

15-605: Operating System Design and Implementation 

M.3, O.12, Systems core 

 

14-819: Introduction to Software Reverse-Engineering 

M.2, MSIS core / opt 

 

14-782: Information Security Risk Management 

O.5, Mgmt core 

 

14-788: Information Security Policy and Management 

Mgmt core 

 

14-602: APD2 

 

Summer, Year 1 

Internship 

 

Fall, Year 2 (48 units) 

14-829: Mobile & IoT Security 

M.5, O.2, MSIS core / opt 

 

15-354: Computational Discrete Math 

M.6, program elective 

 

18-734: Foundations of Privacy 

Security core 

 
 

14-735: Secure Coding 

M.9, O.9, MSIS core / opt