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Undergraduate Cybersecurity Education Programs

Minors

Virginia Tech's College of Engineering offers an undergraduate minor in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity broadly covers the fields of information security, network security, and computer system security. As bad actors seek to steal information, protecting that information, the systems that process and store it, and the networks that carry it becomes increasingly important.

This minor seeks to provide a core technical basis for careers in secure system design and operation. Students graduating with a degree in computer science or computer engineering with a minor in cybersecurity could expect careers in software engineering, embedded systems engineering, or information systems management, with an emphasis on designing, developing, operating, or analyzing security features or subsystems.

Note that Virginia Tech's undergraduate education in cybersecurity, while hands-on, focuses on core principles of security rather than specific information technology components and systems from specific vendors. Students may also find it beneficial to consider professional certification, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Given Virginia Tech's location in the mid-Atlantic region, there are a large number of employers in the Washington DC metropolitain area with a keen interest in cybersecurity, including defense contractors and federal agencies. Those considering careers in the national security sector should consider the requirements for the US Department of Defense Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program.

The undergraduate minor in cybersecurity is a College of Engineering program, principally focused on students majoring in Computer Science or Computer Engineering, but is open to any student able to meet the necessary prerequisites. The following are the requirements for completing the minor.

Requirements

One of the following networks courses:

  • ECE 4564: Network Application Design
  • CS 4254: Computer Network Arch and Programming
  • CS 4244 Internet Software Development
  • ECE 4614: Telecommunication Networks

One of the following computer systems courses:

  • CS 3214: Computer Systems
  • CS/ECE 4504: Computer Organization
  • ECE 3574: Applied Software Engineering

Two core security courses:

  • ECE 4560: Network Security Fundamentals
  • CS 4264: Principles of Computer Security

One of the following interdisciplinary course:

  • ACIS 4684: Information Systems Security and Assurance
  • FIN 4014: Internet, Electronic, and Online Law
  • MATH 4175: Cryptography I
  • MATH 4176: Cryptography II

One elective courses from either the networks, computer systems, or interdisciplinary list

One credit seminar course

Contacts

Cybersecurity Minor Program Director: Dr. Joe Tront

ECE Student Services

CS Student Services

Majors

Overview

The National Security Agency's (NSA) National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations Program supports the president's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE): Building a Digital Nation and furthers the goal to broaden the pool of skilled workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation.

The CAE-Cyber Operations program is intended to be a deeply technical, interdisciplinary, higher education program firmly grounded in the computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE), and/or electrical engineering (EE) disciplines, with extensive opportunities for hands-on applications via labs/exercises. Students who participate sufficiently in the cyber operations curriculum (i.e., take and pass courses that completely satisfy all of the mandatory Knowledge Unit requirements and at least four of the optional Knowledge Unit requirements designated by the NSA-CAE CO office) are recognized as being certified in Cyber Operations (CO). The classes below fulfill these requirements. 

As of 2017 Virginia Tech was designated a NSA-CAE CO.

Students who opt into this program will be offered a chance to apply for an annual scholarship of $1,000, which will be re-awarded annually as students make progress in the Cyber Operations track.  The Hume Center anticipates offering up to 10 scholarships during the 2020-2021 AY.

 

Curriculum

Cyber Operations Certificate

The curriculum to receive a Cyber Operations certificate can be fulfilled by following the checksheet for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, with a Major of Networking & Cybersecurity, PLUS the following courses:

Completing the Software Systems focus area, with at least the following three courses:

  • CS 3214 Computer Systems

  • ECE 4550 Real Time Systems

  • ECE 4574 Large-Scale Software Development for Engineering Systems

Plus:

  • CS 4984 Software Reverse Engineering

 

Cyber Operations Knowledge Units

The complete curriculum for a Cyber Operations student to fulfill the mandatory Knowledge Units includes:

  • ECE 2564 Embedded Systems
  • ECE 4805/06 Senior Design Project (Embedded System Design)
  • CS 3214 Computer Systems
  • CS 4264 Principles of Computer Security
  • ECE 2574 Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms
  • ECE 4560 Computer Network Security Fundamentals
  • ECE 4614 Telecommunications Network
  • CS 4984 Software Reverse Engineering
  • ECE 2500 Computer Organization and Architecture

To fulfill additional optional Knowledge Units, four of the following courses must be taken:

  • ECE 2544 Fundamentals of Digital Systems
  • ECE 3574 Applied Software Design
  • Software systems focus area with the following courses
  • ECE 4550 Real Time Systems
  • ECE 4574 Large-Scale Software Development for Engineering Systems
  • ACIS 4684 IS Security and Assurance
  • CS 3724 Introduction to HCI (Pending KU)
  • CS 3784 Cloud Software Development (Pending KU)
  • CS/ECE 4504 Computer Organization and Architecture
  • ECE 3544 Digital Design
  • MATH 4175 Cryptography I
  • MATH 4176 Cryptography II
  • FIN 4014 Cyber Law and Policy

Virginia Tech's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has launched a major in networks and cybersecurity as a primary concentration within its computer engineering degree program. In this program students will draw on hardware and software skills to ensure the efficient and safe transmission of data and energy through networks.

Scholarship For Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government's critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education related fees; a health insurance reimbursement allowance; a professional development allowance; and a book allowance. Upon graduation SFS participants have a commitment to work for the federal government in an information assurance field for three years.

For more information, see the Scholarship for Service website.

About the Cybersecurity Management and Analytics (BIT-Cyber) Major option - Metro Washington D.C. area

BIT Major with Cybersecurity Management and Analytics option (BIT-Cyber) is a STEM major that emphasizes business processes and data analytics as applied to cybersecurity management. Students will gain proficiency in cyber policy, risk assessment, incident business response, using data analytics and AI to understand attacks on business assets, and overall management of the cybersecurity function within a business. Graduates of the program will be prepared for jobs as analysts, auditors, and planners within the cybersecurity function. BIT – Cybersecurity Management and Analytics option is available in Blacksburg and, as a degree completion program, in the metro Washington, DC area (at the Northern Virginia Center).

Students with a community college degree, living and working in Northern Virginia and interested in completing their undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech, now can obtain their BIT degree - Cybersecurity Management and Analytics option without leaving Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) students can pursue a guided transfer pathway and complete BIT-Cyber studies though the Guaranteed Admission Agreement with NOVA.

As an academic partner-university with CompTIA, Virginia Tech enables students to pursue their industry certifications. BIT-Cyber students are prepared to complete CompTIA Security+ certification (BIT 4614) and are encouraged to seek additional industry certifications. Further, BIT-Cyber has a strong experiential learning component, and all our students are required to complete at least 300 hours of on the job training through internships, co-op study, or apprenticeship.

Junior and Senior Level Course Requirements

Required Courses for all PAMPLIN Students:

  • MKTG 3104: Marketing Management
  • FIN 3104: Introduction to Finance
  • FIN 3054: Legal & Ethical Environment for Business
  • MGT 3304: Principles of Management
  • BIT 3414: Operations & Supply Chain Management
  • BIT 4604: Data Governance, Privacy & Ethics
  • MGT 4394: Strategic Management (Cyber Section)*

Required Courses for all BIT Students:

  • BIT 3424: Intro to Business Analytics Modeling
  • BIT 3434: Advanced Modeling for Business Analytics
  • BIT 3444: Advanced Business Computing
  • BIT 4484: Project Management

Required Courses for BIT-Cyber:

  • BIT 4614: Information Security
  • BIT 4624: Cybersecurity Management & Analytics
  • FIN 4014: Cyber Law & Policy
  • BIT 4964: Field Study in Cybersecurity

BIT Electives (choose one):

  • BIT 4424: Business Data Visualization
  • BIT 5114: Crime and Conflict in Cyberspace
  • BIT 5134: Cybersecurity Program Design & Operation
  • SPIA 4374: Federal Cybersecurity Policy & Regulation

About Cybersecurity Management and Analytics major with Cybersecurity Management and Analytics option (BIT-Cyber) - Blacksburg, VA

In the Department of Business Information Technology, we work with data, people and technology. We build decision support systems to help managers run their businesses and make better decisions.  We use data and technology to manage operations across a global supply chain. And now, with the launch of BIT-Cyber, we teach students how to make secure and ethical decisions about data use, keep IT systems secure, and protect both businesses and their customers from cyber harm. 

The BS in Business with the Cybersecurity Management and Analytics option is available in Blacksburg and, as a degree completion program, in the metro Washington, DC area.

Junior and Senior Level Course Requirements

Required Courses for all PAMPLIN Students:

  • MKTG 3104: Marketing Management
  • FIN 3104: Introduction to Finance
  • FIN 3054: Legal & Ethical Environment for Business
  • MGT 3304: Principles of Management
  • BIT 3414: Operations & Supply Chain Management
  • BIT 4604: Data Governance, Privacy & Ethics
  • MGT 4394: Strategic Management (Cyber Section)*

Required Courses for all BIT Students:

  • BIT 3424: Intro to Business Analytics Modeling
  • BIT 3434: Advanced Modeling for Business Analytics
  • BIT 3444: Advanced Business Computing
  • BIT 4484: Project Management

Required Courses for BIT-Cyber:

  • BIT 4614: Information Security
  • BIT 4624: Cybersecurity Management & Analytics
  • FIN 4014: Cyber Law & Policy
  • BIT 4964: Field Study in Cybersecurity

BIT Electives (choose one):

  • BIT 4424: Business Data Visualization
  • BIT 5114: Crime and Conflict in Cyberspace
  • BIT 5134: Cybersecurity Program Design & Operation
  • SPIA 4374: Federal Cybersecurity Policy & Regulation