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) 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, students 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.7: Overview of Cyber Defense O.10: Embedded Systems
M.8: Security Fundamental Principles O.11: Digital Forensics
M.9: Vulnerabilities O.12: Systems Programming
M.10: Legal and Ethics O.13: Applied Cryptography

*M.6: Discrete Math and Algorithms is not covered by Cyber Ops coursework because all INI programs require incoming students to have a background in discrete mathematics and algorithms.

O.15: UX/HCI Security

Based on the INI’s mapping of courses to KUs, 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

14-642: Introduction to Embedded Systems 

M.3: Operating System Theory, O.12: Systems Programming

14-740: Fundamentals of Telecommunications Networks 

M.4: Networking

14-829: Mobile & IoT Security

M.5: Cellular and Mobile Technologies, O.2: Wireless Security, O.8: Software Security Analysis

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

14-684: Cyber Law and Ethics

M.10: Legal and Ethics

14-817: Cyber Risk Analysis

O.5: Risk Mgmt. of Information Systems

Note: All INI programs require background in discrete mathematics and algorithms as an admissions requirement, so the M6 KU is not covered by any course that PoS students would take. Rather, the skills in this KU are practiced and reinforced by the majority of courses that INI students take.

Additionally, 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

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