Advanced Certificate in Cybersecurity

Center of Excellence in Information Systems Assurance Research and Education (CEISARE) Director Shambhu Upadhyaya addresses the Buffalo Niagara Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Panel Session. Photo credit: Ken Smith

The Advanced Certificate in Cybersecurity is designed to equip students at UB with a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of  Computer Security.  With the rapid growth of the Internet and, in turn, the creation of numerous new information channels, the task of securing these channels and their underlying systems has become an industry-wide and national-level top priority.

Certificate Programs

The department offers non-degree-granting certificate programs that enhance our degree programs by conveying deep experience in specific research areas.

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Description

However, the lack of professionals with the skill set to tackle such complex security issues is clearly evident. Several  universities in the country have established research and education centers in Cybersecurity to address the challenges and to reduce vulnerabilities in the National Information Infrastructure. The University at Buffalo aims to fill this void by offering this certificate. The  program provides coursework giving a broad overview of the  interdisciplinary aspects of Computer Security as well as specialized training with respect to a chosen discipline.  Within the Advanced Certificate program, students may elect to  follow one of two paths: Technical versus Managerial. The program of study follows from the option chosen. The Advanced Certificate Program requires that students must complete a total of 14-15 credits of coursework - 3 credits of which are common to all  students, 6 credits of which are defined by the track chosen,  and 5-6 credits of possibly interdisciplinary electives.  This program structure ensures that students receiving this certificate possess the necessary foundation in Cybersecurity as well as allows them a certain degree of freedom to tailor the Certificate to their interests.

At present, there are four disciplines participating in the  program in terms of the applicable courses they offer: Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), School of Management (SOM), Mathematics (MTH), and School of Law (LAW).  The certificate will provide recognition of this training earned by students in Cybersecurity. These graduates will then enter the federal work force and industries with an expertise in Cybersecurity, better prepared to meet the needs of our increasingly technological society.

The State Education Department has approved and registered (HEGIS Code: 0701.00) the proposal for an Advanced (Graduate) Certificate program at the University at Buffalo.  This program is currently  being offered under the aegis of the National Center of  Excellence in Information Systems Assurance Research and Education (CEISARE) at UB.

Curriculum

The Advanced Certificate will be awarded upon completion of the  following requirements: 

Completion of 14-15 credit hours of coursework, consisting of:

  1. 6 credit hours of required coursework defined by the track chosen
  2. 3 credit hours of the required integrative course, Information Assurance.
  3. 5-6 credit hours of elective coursework limited to departmentally-approved courses. 

Students must maintain a B average over all Certificate courses and must be in good academic standing in their department.  As mentioned, the Program consists of two possible tracks: Technical vs. Managerial.  The Technical track is defined by the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department; whereas the Managerial track is defined by the Management Science and Systems (MSS) department.

Based on the track chosen, the 6 credits of coursework in 1 (above) fall into two options: 

Technical Track

In addition to the integrative course MGS 650* Information Assurance,  students must take two courses from a set of three core courses:

  • MTH 535 Introduction to Cryptography or CSE 664: Applied Cryptography and Computer Security
  • CSE 565 Computer Security
  • CSE 566 Wireless Networks Security or CSE 7XX: Seminar on Wireless Networks Security

The remaining two or more courses could be taken from a list of approved electives including the third core course above to make  up the total of 14-15 credit hours. 

Managerial Track

In addition to the integrative course MGS 650* Information Assurance,  students must take:

  • MGS 642 IT Audit for Managers
  • MGS 651 Managing Computer Networks

The remaining two or more courses could be taken from the list of  approved electives to make up the total of 14-15 credit hours. 

Approved Electives

  • CSE 505 Fundamentals of Programming Languages
  • CSE 512 Operating Systems Internals
  • CSE 562 Database Systems
  • CSE 589 Modern Networking Concepts
  • CSE 605 Advanced Concepts in Programming Languages
  • CSE 610 Topics in Web Security
  • CSE 626 Data Mining
  • CSE 671 Secure Wireless Sensor Networks
  • LAW 696 Intellectual Property
  • LAW 891 Copyright
  • MGA 643 Fraud Prevention and Detection
  • MGS 610 Digital Forensics
  • MGS 613 Database Management Systems
  • MGS 640 IT Risk
  • MGS 641 Advanced IT Risk
  • MGT 681 Intellectual Property
  • MTH 529/530 Introduction to the Theory of Numbers I/II

For course description, refer to the respective departmental  webpages. This Certificate program is open to currently enrolled M.S. and MBA students who like to specialize in Cybersecurity. Such students can obtain a Certificate by properly choosing courses  to meet the Certificate requirements as well as their own program core requirements in a way that doesn't unduly extend their stay  beyond the normal duration of study. Candidates who already  have an M.S. or MBA or applicants from industries who may just want to obtain this certificate could subscribe to this program through University's normal admission process via Slate. The basic admission requirement is a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering or Mathematics or Business Administration or a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.0. GRE or GMAT may be required to complete the certificate as a standalone program. The Certificate also satisfies the IA concentration for DoD's Information Assurance Scholarship Program participants and NSF's CyberCorps SFS program participants.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to: 

  1. Identify and apply the principles, methods, and practices of cybersecurity in multiple domains, including operating systems, networks, and software.
  2. Identify and evaluate cybersecurity risks and develop and implement appropriate solutions for those risks.
  3. Use penetration testing tools to identify potential weaknesses and use security hardening tools to address known weaknesses.
  4. Effectively recognize and communicate potential ethical issues related to cybersecurity systems, solutions, and technology to both technical and non-technical audiences.

* Should have MGS 602 (Information Technology/ Data Communications) or equivalent as a prerequisite (or co-requisite)

Procedure for Filing for the Certificate

The advanced certificate requirements can be viewed in students' Academic Advisement Report (AAR) in HUB. Students wanting to file for the certificate can request from their department that they would like to add the advanced certificate to their current graduate degree via the Petition to Change Degree Type for Current Graduate Students. Students will then ''Apply for Graduation'' in HUB by the deadline for the respective conferral term. The participating departments require the students to complete a certificate checklist and handed in to the department coordinators with due signatures for internal records.

Program Director