The field of cyber security engineering is concerned with the development of cyber-resilient systems that include the protection of physical as well as computer and network systems. It requires a proactive approach in engineering the design of systems, with cybersecurity incorporated from the beginning of system development.

The purpose of the MS in Cyber Security Engineering is to provide students with the currently rare combination of highly technical knowledge and skills, cyber security expertise, and a holistic systems engineering perspective. The program provides instruction on the design, planning, and management of systems and procedures for protecting critical physical and cyber infrastructure from external threats, including terrorism. The program provides students with the deep technical foundations of cyber security in the form of software, hardware, networking, and cryptography, as well as systems engineering tools and methods to design and secure complex cyber physical systems. Students learn homeland security policy, critical infrastructure policy, information security, matrix vulnerability assessment, threat assessment, physical security, personnel security, operational security, contingency planning, case analyses of specific industries and systems, redundancy planning, emergency and disaster planning, security systems, and intelligence operations.

Graduates are prepared to design and implement secure complex and cyber-physical systems consisting of software, hardware, and networking components; respond to, investigate, and remediate incidents involving these systems; and develop offensive and defensive tools and techniques to attack and secure these systems.


The MS in Cyber Security Engineering will build on the body of knowledge acquired in undergraduate programs of study in engineering, computer science, or closely related disciplines.  As such, applicants will be expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or closely related disciplines and to have completed the engineering math sequence as well as courses in probability and statistics, and computer science.  A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is required.

Domestic students lacking a working background in engineering mathematics and computer systems may be admitted provisionally and required to take one or more foundation courses.

  • For the engineering mathematics, the department may require SYST 500 Quantitative Foundations for Systems Engineering or an equivalent course with an intensive review of undergraduate engineering mathematics, including matrix algebra, calculus, differential equations, probability and statistics.
  • Students who have not completed a two-semester calculus sequence and matrix algebra will be required to complete these courses prior to taking SYST 500.
  • For the computer systems background, the department may require CS 531 Computer Systems and Fundamentals of Systems Programming or an equivalent course with systems level of programming with an emphasis on data structures and interfacing with operating systems.


Students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher, with no more than 6 credit hours of C grades. Please see AP.3 for additional information. The plan of study includes a 21 credit required Core component which includes a mandatory capstone course, and 9 credits of electives.

Banner Code: EC-MS-CYSE

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Plan of Study:

Before the end of the first semester, students must have a plan of study approved by their academic advisor. Students are responsible for keeping the plan of study current before the beginning of each semester and get advisor's approval for any changes to the plan.


Students, with the consent of the program director and of the faculty advisor, may also elect a 6-credit thesis (CYSE 799 Cyber Security Engineering Master Thesis). The thesis must be guided and approved by a committee of three appropriate faculty members and presented at an appropriate forum. Please see AP.6.9.3 for additional information.

Required Coursework:

CYSE 550Cyber Security Engineering Fundamentals3
CYSE 570Fundamentals of Operating Systems3
CYSE 580Hardware and Cyber Physical Systems3
CYSE 610Networks and Cyber Security3
CYSE 587Cyber Security Systems Engineering3
CYSE 690Cyber Security Engineering Capstone Project3
or CYSE 799 Cyber Security Engineering Master Thesis
Total Credits18

 No Concentration

Select four courses from the following (three in case of MS Thesis option):12
Cloud Computing Security
National Security Technology and Policy
Industrial Control Systems Security
Topics in Cyber Security Engineering
Secure Design of Connected and Automated Vehicles
Advanced Manufacturing Automation Security
Secure Energy Efficient Supply Chains
Formal Methods for Cyber Physical Systems Security
Reverse Engineering Industrial Automation
Unmanned Aerial Systems Security
Independent Study and Research
Advanced Topics in Cyber Security Engineering
Cyber Security Engineering Master Thesis (If thesis option is chosen.)
Malware Reverse Engineering
Penetration Testing in Digital Forensics
Kernel Forensics and Analysis
Learning From Data
Applied Cryptography
Advanced Applied Cryptography
Analysis of Financial Decisions
Information Systems Analysis and Design
Operating Systems Security
Secure Software Design and Programming
Secure Software Design and Programming
Technologies and Security for Cryptocurrencies and Financial Transactions
Total Credits12

 Concentration in Secure Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains (SAMS)

Required Coursework
CYSE 680Advanced Manufacturing Automation Security3
CYSE 681Secure Energy Efficient Supply Chains3
Industrial Control Systems Security
Formal Methods for Cyber Physical Systems Security
Reverse Engineering Industrial Automation
Cyber Security Engineering Master Thesis (If thesis option is chosen.)
Total Credits12

Cyber Security Engineering, BS/Cyber Security Engineering, Accelerated MS


Highly-qualified undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain a BS in Cyber Security Engineering and an MS in Cyber Security Engineering in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of a minimum of 144 credits.

See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree for policies related to this program.

This accelerated option is offered by the Department of Cyber Security Engineering.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfil all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

BAM Pathway Admission Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions Policies and Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree policies.

Students will be considered for admission into the BAM Pathway after completion of a minimum of 60 credits with an overall GPA of 3.0.

Students who are accepted into the BAM Pathway will be allowed to register for graduate level courses after successful completion of a minimum of 75 undergraduate credits and course-specific prerequisites.

Accelerated Master’s Admission Requirements

Students already admitted in the BAM Pathway will be admitted to the MS program, if they have met the following criteria, as verified on the Bachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s Transition form:

  • 3.0 overall GPA,
  • successfully meeting Mason’s requirements for undergraduate degree conferral (graduation),
  • and completing the application for graduation.

Accelerated Pathway Requirements

To maintain the integrity and quality of both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, undergraduate students interested in taking graduate courses must choose from the following:

Advanced Standing Courses

Students may take up to 12 credits of graduate-level courses that will count as advanced standing (i.e., overlap between the BS/MS program) from the list below:

CYSE 521Industrial Control Systems Security3
CYSE 570Fundamentals of Operating Systems3
CYSE 580Hardware and Cyber Physical Systems3
CYSE 587Cyber Security Systems Engineering3

These courses may be used as technical electives in the Cyber Security Engineering, BS program.

For more detailed information on coursework and timeline requirements, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree policies.