Program mission

The Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems Security provides for the scholarly and professional needs of several groups who have either accepted or are keen to take on the challenge of protecting information resources of firms and society at large.

Program goal

Graduates of this program are expected to take on leadership positions, including as chief security officer, in computer and information systems security in organizations. VCU’s program takes a broad interdisciplinary approach to computer and information systems security that will help develop the student’s ability to see the larger organizational, social, political, ethical and economic aspects of information security.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates of the program will be:

  1. Prepared to take leading roles in planning, organizing, managing, designing and configuring security solutions in public and private organizations
  2. Familiar with state-of-the-art security technologies and best practices

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

 

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S.FallJul 1GRE or GMAT
SpringNov 1TOEFL for international students

Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School.

The Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems Security, jointly offered by the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and the Department of Information Systems in the School of Business, is designed primarily for students interested in professional roles in business, industry or government. Program graduates will serve as leaders within the computer and information systems security community and as strategic partners within the enterprises in which they work. They will stay attuned to, and anticipate changes in, the computer and information systems security environment and ensure that security solutions create a sound, competitive, cost-effective advantage for the enterprise.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to take leading roles in planning, organizing, managing, designing and configuring security solutions in public and private organizations and will be familiar with state-of-the-art security technologies and best practices. The program takes a broad interdisciplinary approach to computer and information systems security that will help students develop the ability to see the larger organization and social, political, ethical and economic aspects of information security, as well as offering a unique graduate-level curriculum that is both technically and managerially oriented.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the M.S. in Computer and Information Systems Security requires 30 graduate credit hours, including a core curricular component and an elective component. The elective component consists of three courses chosen by the student and selected from CISS course offerings or, with the approval of the program co-directors, from courses offered by the departments of Computer Science, Information Systems, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science.

Curriculum requirements

Students with an accredited bachelor’s degree or post-baccalaureate certificate in fields such as computer science or information systems should be adequately prepared for the graduate curriculum. Students from other academic backgrounds may need to complete undergraduate prerequisite courses. Prerequisites are determined by the faculty adviser at the time of admission.

Prerequisite courses

CMSC   312Introduction to Operating Systems3
or INFO   361 Systems Analysis and Design
CMSC   355Software Engineering: Specification and Design3
or INFO   370 Fundamentals of Data Communications
CMSC   401Algorithm Analysis with Advanced Data Structures3
CMSC   508Database Theory3
or INFO   364 Database Systems
MATH   211Mathematical Structures3
or CMSC   302 Introduction to Discrete Structures
STAT   212Concepts of Statistics3

Curriculum

Core component
CISS/CMSC 618Database and Application Security3
CISS/CMSC 622Network and Operating Systems Security3
CISS 624/CMSC   620Applied Cryptography3
CISS   634Ethical, Social and Legal Issues in Computer and Information Systems Security3
CISS/INFO 644Principles of Computer and Information Systems Security3
INFO   646Security Policy Formulation and Implementation3
Elective component
Choose four of the following courses. Students must select a minimum of one CMSC and one INFO course12
Parallel Algorithms
Computer Networks and Communications
Introduction to Software Analysis, Testing and Verification
Game Theory and Security
Special Topics in Computer Science
Data-centric Re-engineering Analysis/Planning
Data Re-engineering
Data Mining
Data Warehousing
Business Process Engineering
Strategic Information Systems Planning
Decision Support and Intelligent Systems
Topics in Information Systems
Total Hours30

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30 

Graduate program director
Gurpreet S. Dhillon, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Information Systems
gdhillon@vcu.edu
(804) 828-1737

Additional contact
Milos Manic, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Computer Science
misko@vcu.edu
(804) 827-3999

Program websites: computer-science.egr.vcu.edu/graduate/computer-and-information-systems-security and business.vcu.edu/graduate-studies/ms-in-computer-and-information-systems-security