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Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering

Cybersecurity Engineering for Real-World Applications – Online or on Campus

This Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering (MS-CSE) provides essential knowledge and skills training for information security practitioners (public or private) who work to protect the safety and prosperity of companies, communities and the nation.

Offered through USD’s Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the MS-CSE program emphasizes a mission-centric focus while engaging students in academically rigorous training on the engineering aspects of software and hardware security. It is designed for industry professionals and bachelor-prepared students who want to effect positive change by developing and deploying engineering solutions to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

This Cyber Security Engineering master’s degree program is distinguished by:

  • An integrated approach to cybersecurity education developed in collaboration with industry, military, intelligence community and government stakeholders to deliver specific, in-demand knowledge and skill sets.
  • Dynamic, highly relevant curriculum designed by instructors with years of applied experience protecting national assets from the worst types of cyber threats.
  • Intensive, in-depth focus on the most critical issues and threats being confronted by cybersecurity professionals today.

Who is the CSE Degree for?

Our Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program is ideal for bachelor-prepared students who are currently working in a wide range of cybersecurity roles or aspiring to work as a security engineer.

It is especially ideal for those with an engineering background who wish to effect positive change by developing and deploying engineering solutions to safeguard systems and networks, and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

Anyone interested in gaining a deep understanding of cybersecurity engineering concepts, theories and threat mitigation strategies will benefit from this program, which is designed to be an invaluable asset for career advancement.

Applicants come from varying backgrounds and fields including:

  • Traditional educational paths
  • Technology industries
  • The military
  • The intelligence community
  • Private industry
  • Government organizations
  • Law
  • Ecommerce
  • Private and public safety agencies

Admissions (Earn Your Degree in 20 Months)

Getting Started with Your Cybersecurity Engineering Master’s Degree Application

Students are admitted throughout the year for admission into one of three semesters (Spring, Summer and Fall). Each semester two courses are offered, with students focusing intensively on one course at a time – a total of seven weeks for each course.

Admission application packets are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted. For details on specific requirements needed for admission, please visit our Admissions page.

If you are interested but do not meet all of the published admissions requirements, please contact an enrollment advisor.

Or, if you are ready to apply, we make it easy to start your application process.

Innovative Curriculum

The USD Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program features an innovative curriculum dedicated exclusively to critical aspects of cybersecurity.

The curriculum covers digital and network forensics, and the technical considerations for incident response and continuity planning. It places students in simulated contested cyber environments where they will perform system assessments, potentially on solutions they have engineered, and understand the various types of penetrations an adversary might attempt on an information system.

The goal is a real-world experience in which the application of cybersecurity engineering can be applied in dynamic settings where innovation and problem-solving are required.

Required courses:

The 30-unit program consists of 9 courses. Some applicants may be required to take CYBR 505 as a prerequisite to the program.

  • Computational Roots of Cyber Security (CYBR 505)
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity Concepts and Tools (CYBR 501)
  • Cybersecurity Network Defense (CYBR 502)
  • Cybersecurity Domain (CYBR 503)
  • Applied Cryptography (CYBR 504)
  • Security System Life Cycle (CYBR 506)
  • Secure Network Engineering (CYBR 508)
  • Security Test Engineering (CYBR 510)
  • Incident Detection and Handling (CYBR 512)
  • Cyber Engineering Research I (CYBR 514)
  • Cyber Engineering Research II (CYBR 516)

For full course descriptions visit the curriculum page.

Program Goals

Core program goals for the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering include:

  • Developing an engineering knowledge and skill base focused on mitigation of advanced persistent threats toward the goal of increased cybersecurity. The engineering of secure, trusted systems is essential to guarding against the types of headline-grabbing electronic security breaches and that have caused extensive disruption and financial damage to industry and government, immeasurable loss of intellectual property and tremendous harm to personal privacy.
  • Preparing individuals capable of developing cutting-edge innovation, creating the next generation of cyber tools and solutions and becoming thought leaders in the cybersecurity engineering domain. Graduates will be equipped to become change agents, providing overall subject matter expertise as well as specific engineering and technology solutions to an organization’s unique set of risks and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Connecting students with a network of local, regional and national cybersecurity stakeholders, as part of the University of San Diego’s commitment to educational and professional development. MS-CSE program leaders are focused not only on keeping the innovative curriculum immediately relevant, but also on assisting with the placement of graduates.
  • Advancing the science and practice of cybersecurity engineering and education for the benefit of public and private-sector organizations, communities and the nation. Ongoing cyber threats and successful attacks have placed the United States at a critical juncture; our cybersecurity engineering graduates are groomed to be effective in this fight by contributing toward real-world, applied solutions.


University of San Diego tuition rates are competitive with other leading institutions. The cost for each program varies by credit hour; the Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program requires 30 total credit hours. Information on cost per credit for the program can be found on the MS-CSE Program Snapshot page.

Financial Aid

One of University of San Diego’s highest priorities is to ensure that sufficient tuition and financial aid support is available to all eligible students. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

In addition to financial aid, the University of San Diego provides assistance in securing additional financial support for students to further their education, including scholarships and grants.

Learn More About Financial Aid at USD


Accreditation is an important quality indicator for college and university degree programs, generally regarded as a stamp of approval that ensures you will be able to apply for financial aid and transfer your credits if you decide to switch schools. Most state universities and private non-profit universities will have a regional accreditation. The University of San Diego has earned both regional and national accreditations. These include:

The WASC Senior College and University Commission – WASC is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education – NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit programs for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.


  • Top 100 nationally ranked university (U.S. News and World Report)
  • Recognized as a Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation
  • Selected as a designated Ashoka Changemaker Campus

Careers in Cybersecurity

Now that the global epidemic of cyber crime has triggered a worldwide effort to beef up cybersecurity across all industries, employers are paying top dollar for cybersecurity engineering professionals who possess the needed skills, experience and education.

The cybersecurity job market is booming, with a projected 3.5 million expected job openings by 2021. U.S. News and World Report lists Information Security Analyst as a top technology job — based on median salary ($95,510), employment rate, growth, stress, work-life balance and job prospects. For these and other reasons, there has never been a better time to start a career in cybersecurity. 


How to Land the Best Jobs in Cyber Security [Includes Salary Data] >>

Cyber Security Career Tips and Resources >>

Enrollment and Academic Advisors

Applying to a graduate program can be complicated — that’s why our team of advisors is here to help answer all of your questions.

When you first inquire about one of our graduate degree programs, you will be assigned a personal Enrollment Advisor who will be available to answer your questions, help you assess your eligibility for admission and guide you through the application process.

In addition, each of our graduate degree programs has an Academic Advisor, who is responsible for evaluating applications and admitting new students, monitoring your academic progress and providing guidance as needed. Program Advisors also serve as instructors for their respective programs.

Right from the start, you’ll receive support and guidance from experienced advisors who are invested in helping you achieve your education goals!

Speak to an Enrollment Advisor   

Frequently Asked Questions

Are classes scheduled to accommodate working professionals?

Yes. The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering degree program is designed specifically with working professionals in mind, offering both on-campus and online options for maximum convenience.

The online program can be completed on your own schedule (as long as deadlines are met). The on-campus program typically meets twice a week (Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday) with classes scheduled after 6 p.m.

It is important to note that all of our professors are industry practitioners, meaning that they have a significant amount of experience and are often well-respected leaders within the cybersecurity industry.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program is designed to be completed in 20 months.

Does the program have to be completed within 20 months?

The curriculum schedule functions on a rotational system, meaning that if a student skips a course they will have to wait for the rotation to complete before jumping back in. We encourage individuals who are interested in the program to speak with an enrollment advisor, or to work with their program coordinator, who is available to help every step of the way.

How long is each course?

Students take two courses each semester, focusing intensively on one course at a time. Each course lasts a total of seven weeks with the only exception being introductory courses, which last a total of 14 weeks.

Does the program require applicants to take the GRE or GMAT?

No. The admissions committee takes a comprehensive approach when reviewing applications. A GRE or GMAT score is not necessarily a good indicator that someone is, or will be, a successful cybersecurity engineer.

Who will benefit the most from this program?

This advanced degree program was designed specifically to help foster the next generation of cybersecurity engineers.

For students already working in cybersecurity who are looking to take the next step in their career, our program offers an academically rigorous program — including hands-on coursework utilizing a virtualized Cybersecurity Sandbox — that will prepare you for more advanced positions within the field of cybersecurity engineering.

For students with less experience, who may be at an earlier juncture in their professional career, or for those switching careers from more traditional IT roles, our engineering master’s degree program offers a strong and comprehensive foundation, allowing you to quickly advance into your desired career.

*Tuition amounts shown here, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, University of San Diego reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at USD at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors.
**Some applicants may be required to take CYBR 505, Computational Roots of Cyber Security, as a prerequisite.
USD is unable to accommodate international students who require an F1 student visa. Contact an enrollment advisor if you are interested in our program, but do not meet all listed admissions requirements.

Position yourself for the future and contribute to the mitigation of modern threats.

Download the eBook:
Why Cyber Security Engineers Are in Such High Demand

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