Cybersecurity (computer science)

Master of science University of Missouri-St. Louis
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Master of science

Cyber crime doesn’t let up or plateau temporarily. Instead, computer science and information technology professionals have observed a surge in threats over the past few years. With this wave comes increasingly crafty tactics meant to trap unsuspecting users and steal important customer, client and company data. Considering this unmitigated risk, the University of Missouri-St. Louis’s online master of science in cybersecurity degree with an emphasis in computer science accelerates your skills to help you face current and future challenges.

Advanced coursework covering the latest topics and techniques builds off what you learned as an undergraduate—upgrading your knowledge for a higher-level technical role. UMSL opens the program to individuals who majored in computer science and cybersecurity and individuals who majored outside of these fields but have completed the required foundational subjects. 

All industries, organizations and companies benefit from informed cybersecurity professionals who are ready to take charge. As a result of the number of emerging threats and the specialized competencies necessary for combatting them, a talent gap continues to widen. UMSL strives to close it with this interdisciplinary program, a partnership between the College of Business Administration’s Department of Information Systems and Technology and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Computer Science.

Along with deepening your skills to detect and mitigate the latest risks, the online MS in cybersecurity emphasizes hands-on learning through multiple pathways—in the classroom, through a comprehensive team-based capstone project and via the Cybersecurity and Information Technology Innovation Lab’s virtual environment. Your instructors will weave their professional perspectives into lessons, touching on the latest cybersecurity detection methods while also helping grow the field through cutting-edge research. 

For making a quality, career-advancing education in cybersecurity and computer science more accessible, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have designated UMSL a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Quick facts

Official name

Master of science in cybersecurity with an emphasis in computer science


University of Missouri-St. Louis

Program type

Master's degree

Academic home

College of Arts & Sciences | Department of Computer Science

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.


No business stays fully protected from cyber attacks. In fact, smaller entities often look like low-hanging fruit due to fewer protective mechanisms in place. From having trade secrets exposed to a data breach resulting in customer lawsuits, companies of all sizes and types, plus government organizations are at risk and have started building up their defenses. A robust cybersecurity team fuels these measures by developing and implementing crucial protective strategies.

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Career prospects

The online master’s in cybersecurity equips you for this role:

  • Understand the concepts and technologies involved in digital information storage and protection.
  • Learn more about cryptography methods, data and information security and network security measures.
  • Connect computer science and engineering methods with cybersecurity principles to develop a comprehensive defense strategy.
  • Identify threats and protect information systems using the latest techniques.
  • Monitor networks for security breaches, respond to attacks and gather evidence.
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
median salary

Potential careers

Highlighting the need for cybersecurity professionals at all levels, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies 31% more positions for information security analysts between 2019 and 2029.

The online master’s in cybersecurity, computer science emphasis, propels you ahead along your existing career path, allows you to specialize after years in information technology or helps you enter a lucrative and rewarding field. Possible job titles include:

  • Cybersecurity specialist
  • Cyber defense analyst
  • Cyber defense incident responder
  • Information security analyst
  • Vulnerability assessment analyst
  • Security architect
  • Cloud security speciality
  • IT/security auditor
  • Information systems security manager

Program structure

The online master’s in cybersecurity with an emphasis in computer science involves 30 credit hours divided between required courses and electives. Electives not only let you specialize your skills and advance your knowledge in an area of cybersecurity, but further allow you to obtain a certificate in artificial intelligence, data science, internet and web or mobile apps and computing. Learn more about all certificates and their specific requirements.

The program is 100% online—no on-campus visits are required. Courses are held in a semester format, with certain subjects additionally held during the summer session. Helping you get closer to your goal, you can attend the online MS in cybersecurity classes around your existing schedule. Students attending full time finish the program in about a year, and those taking courses part-time do so in two to three years. 

Along with course work, a capstone fortifies your skills, presenting an environment for strengthening and applying what you’ve just learned. Along with other students, you’ll actively engage in the full cybersecurity lifecycle through an immersive project experience. During the project, you’ll develop risk management systems, conduct vulnerability assessments, place technical and administrative controls to deter threats and manage security to prevent and rapidly respond to incidents. You’ll complete your capstone in a controlled virtual environment, through a real-world organization or have the option of allotting your credits toward a master’s thesis. 

Course work covers

A curriculum fusing a computer science foundation with up-to-date cybersecurity principles covers:

  • Computer network fundamentals
  • The structure of operating systems and the algorithms behind interprocess communication, process scheduling, resource and memory management, file systems and device management
  • Cyber threats and defense mechanisms for identifying and deterring them
  • Cryptography in the context of computer security
  • Advanced information security

Review the full curriculum and all course descriptions



100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

2 years

Typical course load

1-2 classes per semester


The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

Lav Gupta

Research interests:

  • Multi-cloud computing
  • Distributed deep learning
  • Cyber security
  • Software defined infrastructures
  • UAV Communication Networks
Lav Gupta, PhD
Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Abderrahmen Mtibaa

Dr. Mtibaa is currently the director of the cybersecurity program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to this position, he held several research positions, such as visiting assistant professor at the computer science department in New Mexico State University (NMSU), a research scientist at Texas A&M University and a postdoctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon University. During his PhD studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, he worked closely with the Technicolor Paris Research Lab. His research interests include next-generation networking and internet, cybersecurity, privacy, information-centric networking (ICN), mobile/edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless sensor networks.

Abderrahmen Mtibaa, PhD
Assistant Professor
Jianli Pan

Dr. Pan is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). He earned a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. Before that, he graduated from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in China. His research interests are: Internet of Things (IoT), edge/cloud computing, machine learning, cybersecurity, blockchain, smart energy/buildings and mobile and distributed systems. He's particularly interested in data-driven approaches to solving the emerging problems at the intersections of his interest areas, addressing the real-world challenges that our society faces and in enabling future vision of smart homes, campuses, factories, communities and cities.

Jianli Pan, PhD
Associate Professor, Computer Engineering

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Computer Science