Cyber Security

Program Contact Information

Dr. Nitesh Saxena
Department of Computer Science
1300 University Blvd.
CH 133
Birmingham, AL 35294-1170

Program Information

The Master of Science in Cyber Security (formerly known as Computer Forensics and Security Management) (MSSec) is an interdisciplinary program that prepares graduates for a professional career in the field of cyber security by developing in them the necessary skills crucial for success. The program also provides current practitioners the opportunity to obtain advanced-level training to facilitate career advancement. The program includes a set of core, required courses and the opportunity to select from a default option or two tracks of specialization.

Admission Requirements

Students accepted into the program will have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or recognized university from abroad. Most of these students will have earned a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS and score 80 or higher on the TOEFL or 6.5 or higher on the IELTS. The GRE is NOT required.

Students seeking admission to the program who lack a background in computer science but meet the remaining minimum requirements for admission may be admitted contingent on them completing a set of prerequisite courses (or their equivalents) that may include the following (the program directors may require some courses in addition to the ones listed below depending upon the students’ specific background):

CS 103
Introduction to Computer Science in Python
and Introduction to Computer Science in Python Lab
IS 204Introduction to Business Programming3

Master of Science in Cyber Security

A total of 30 semester hours are required for the degree, organized into: (a) 15 hours of required core courses, (b) 9-12 hours of course work following a standard option or one of the two tracks of specialization, and (c) 3-6 hours of electives from an approved list of relevant courses. The two specialization tracks are Cybercrime Investigations and IT Audit/Fraud Examination.

Core courses
CS 534Networking3
CS 534LNetworking Laboratory0
CS 623Network Security 3
CS 623LNetwork Security Laboratory0
CS 636Computer Security3
CS 689Cyber Risk Management3
or IS 613 Information Security Management
CJ 502Computer Forensics 3
Total Hours15

In addition to completing the five (5) core courses worth 15 credit hours, students by default may choose three courses worth nine credit hours from the following list of approved courses in cyber security, followed by two additional computer science electives worth six credit hours at the 500+ level or 600+ level1. Alternatively, students may choose one of the two tracks of specialization (Cybercrime Investigations and IT Audit/Fraud Examination, both worth 15 credit hours) to fulfill the requirements of the Master’s degree. 

Approved Cyber Security Centric Courses

Choose any three courses9
Modern Cryptography
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment
Cloud Security
Total Hours9

Cybercrime Investigations Track

CS 519Investigating Online Crimes3
CS 537Digital Media Forensics3
CJ 675Law Evidence and Procedure3
CJ 696Graduate Internship in Criminal Justice 3
Choose one (1) CS elective at the 500+ level 13
Total Hours15

IT Audit/Fraud Examination Track

AC 572Information Technology Auditing
AC 573Fraud Examination3
LS 571Legal Elements of Fraud Investigation3
Select two (2) courses from the IS courses listed below or approved CS courses 16
Total Hours12


Byrd, Jim, Instructor of Accounting, Program Director, MAc, 2013, B.S. (Auburn), M.B.A. (Georgia State), M.A., Ph.D. (UAB), CPA, CHFP
Conover, Teresa, Department Chair and Professor of Accounting, 2019, B.S. (University of California at Davis), M.B.A. (Oregon State), PhD. (Texas A&M)
Earwood, Martha, Teaching Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice & Internship Coordinator, 2003, B.S., M.S. (Georgia State), Corrections, Victimology, Restorative Justice, Experiential Learning.
Johnston, Allen, Associate Professor of Information Systems, Director of Information Systems Programs, 2007, B.S. (LSU), M.B.A., PhD. (Mississippi)
Leece, Ryan, Associate Professor of Accounting, 2014, BS (University of Minnesota); MA (University of North Carolina), PhD (Virginia Tech)
Saxena, Nitesh, Associate Professor of Computer Science; MS CFSM Program Co-Director, 2011, B.S. (IIT Kharagpur, India), M.S., Ph.D. (California-Irvine)
Walker, Jeffery, Professor and Chair, 2015, B.S. (Arkansas), M.A. (Arkansas - Little Rock), Ph.D. (Sam Houston), Social Structures of Neighborhoods, Crime Analysis/Mapping, Crime and Place
Warner, Gary, Instructor and Director of the Computer Forensics Research Lab, 2007, B.S. (UAB), Digital Forensics, Cybercrime and Security
Zheng, Yuliang, Professor and Chair of Computer Science, 2015, B.S. (Nanjing, China), M.S., Ph.D. (Yokohama - Japan)