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M.S. in Cybersecurity Prerequisites

Business Essentials and Information Technology Qualification Courses

Before taking any cybersecurity 600-level course, students must first meet the following business essentials and information technology qualification courses:

Business Essentials Courses

These may be waived if the student has completed a business degree in the past seven years from an AACSB-accredited school and earned a grade of “B” or better in the course.

Information Technology Qualification Courses

Students must have completed at least one 3-credit undergraduate or graduate course in each of the following three areas with a grade of “B” or better:

  • One course in programming or application development fundaments (ITM 251 or similar course)
  • One course in network, IT Infrastructure or data communications (ITM 280 or similar course)
  • One course in information security principles or foundations (ITM 350, ITM 650 or similar course)

Note: The IT qualification courses must be met prior to taking any cybersecurity 600-level courses. Business essential courses can be taken prior or taken simultaneously with a cybersecurity course.

Work Experience and Professional Certification Substitutes

Applicants who do not have previous college credits to meet the IT qualification course requirements may use their professional certifications and work experience to substitute for some or all of the IT qualification courses.


Professional certifications can be used as substitutes for the IT qualification courses. A single certification can substitute for only one course. For example, to substitute for three courses, three different certifications would be required. Each certification must be verifiable and current within the last three years. Below are examples of some acceptable substitutions for each of the required IT qualification courses:

  • Programming language or application development certification (e.g., C/C++, Python, Java, Visual Basic, MCSD) may substitute for the programming course requirement.
  • A networking certification (e.g., Network+, CCNA, CCNP) may substitute for the networking and data communication course requirement.
  • A security certification (e.g., Security+, CISSP, SSCP, CISA, CISM, GIAC Security Essentials) may substitute for the information security principles course requirement.
  • A database certification (e.g., Oracle, SQL Server) may substitute for the database course.
  • A programming certification that includes a significant development methods component or a project management certification (e.g., PMP, CSM) may substitute for the systems analysis and development course.
Professional Work Experience

Work experience may be used as a substitute for a maximum of one of the four IT qualification courses. The work experience must be verifiable, full time, within the last 10 years and directly related to the substituted course. At least three years of full-time work experience is necessary to substitute for the specific course. To be verifiable, the experience must be described on a letter from an employee’s place of work as part of the candidate’s admission package. The experience substitute will be evaluated on an individual basis.