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Cybersecurity Curriculum

Curriculum Details

You’ll complete 12 courses to earn your MS in Cybersecurity degree at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. The curriculum delves into cybersecurity theory and emphasizes hands-on experience via lessons on emerging technologies and a capstone. Our program also includes a Cyber Defense and Intelligence track with online courses on gathering and analyzing insights to counter cybersecurity threats.

During each online course, you’ll learn from faculty with deep ties to the cybersecurity industry. With their support, you’ll develop ethical, social, and technical abilities to become a versatile professional. The online cybersecurity courses align with CompTIA and ISC2 certifications that you can pursue after completing our two-year program.

Course Competencies

Competency: Collect, analyze, manage, and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities using evidence-based decisions related to cybersecurity.

Key Skills:

  • Compare and contrast common threat actors and motivations
  • Identify and describe common threat vectors and attack surfaces
  • Identify and describe cyber-related vulnerabilities
  • Analyze indicators of malicious activity
  • Explain the purpose of mitigation techniques used to secure the enterprise
  • Conduct assessments of threats and vulnerabilities
  • Determine deviations from acceptable configurations, enterprise or local policy
  • Assess risk levels
  • Develop and/or recommend appropriate mitigation countermeasures in operational and nonoperational situations
  • Define and provide examples of evidence-based decision making
  • Transform data into insights and make data-informed decisions

Competency: Integrate and use fundamental information and emerging best practices about security architecture and technology to address.

Key Skills:

  • Compare and contrast security implications of different architecture models
  • Describe and apply security principles to safeguard enterprise infrastructure
  • Compare and contrast data protection concepts and strategies
  • Explain the importance of resilience and recovery in security architecture
  • Identify common programming languages used in cybersecurity, and describe their capabilities along with scenarios in which they are best used
  • Compare and contrast various types of security controls
  • Explain the importance of using appropriate cryptographic solutions

Competency: Design and perform cybersecurity tasks following operations’ workflows, legal guidelines, and within established technology and leadership structures.

Key Skills:

  • Apply common security techniques to computing resources
  • Explain the security implications of proper hardware, software, and data asset management
  • Describe activities associated with vulnerability management
  • Provide examples of effective security alerting and monitoring concepts and tools
  • Illustrate how enterprise capabilities can be used to enhance security
  • Describe ways to implement and maintain identity and access management
  • Explain the importance of automation and orchestration related to secure operations
  • Identify and describe incident response activities, and explain what makes some more effective than others
  • Evaluate processes and tools for acquiring, organizing, interpreting, and managing data
  • Analyze data, measure impact, and make projections
  • Identify and correct biases in data collection and analysis
  • Choose and employ data sources to support an investigation
  • Explain the importance of change management processes and their impact on security

Competency: Design, implement, manage, and evaluate cybersecurity programs and projects using a systems-thinking perspective.

Key Skills:

  • List and describe the role of the different components that ensure effective security governance
  • Describe and illustrate the risk management process
  • Research and describe the processes associated with third-party risk assessment and management
  • Summarize key indicators of effective security compliance
  • Explain types and purposes of audits and assessments
  • Implement security awareness practices in real-world scenarios

Competency: Use defensive measures and information collected from a variety of sources to identify, analyze, and report events that occur or might occur within the network to protect information, information systems, and networks from threats.

Key Skills:

  • Analyze threat information from multiple sources, disciplines, and agencies across the Intelligence Community
  • Synthesize and place intelligence information in context; draw insights about the possible implications
  • Analyze collected information to identify vulnerabilities and potential for exploitation
  • Apply current knowledge of one or more regions, countries, non-state entities, and/or technologies
  • Identify and assess the capabilities and activities of cybersecurity criminals or foreign intelligence entities; produce findings to help initialize or support law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations or activities

Competency: Design, develop and deploy incident response, investigation workflows, and improvement plans.

Key Skills:

  • Develop and implement a plan to collect information about an incident
  • Map the timeline of the incident
  • Assess potential remediation actions
  • Implement remediation
  • Communicate with affected stakeholders
  • Ensure improved security post-remediation

Competency: Integrate relevant policies, standards, frameworks, and best practices into cybersecurity initiatives.

Key Skills:

  • Assess, compare, and recommend additions and extensions to existing federal and international cyber policies
  • Develop an internal cyber threat posture and response policy
  • Compare the history of policies related to cybersecurity, information collection and security, and cyber weapons
  • Analyze the compliance of countries’ actions with existing cyber treaties and policies
  • Identify and assess cybersecurity frameworks

Competency: Communicate complex cybersecurity concepts, ideas, and results through multiple channels to diverse internal and external audience.

Key Skills:

  • Communicate technical cybersecurity concepts to nontechnical audiences with a goal toward promoting common understanding and inspiring commitment to response and action
  • Summarize and present risk analysis, threat analysis, and threat mitigation plans to stakeholders
  • Describe technical concepts at a range of levels of sophistication (layperson, student, professional, expert)
  • Communicate cybersecurity concepts clearly to different audiences

Competency: Foster effective collaboration within and across public, private, and nonprofit organizations to address systemic issues that cannot be addressed via individual action alone.

Key Skills:

  • Engage in active listening
  • Identify and demonstrate collaborative problem-solving, decision-making, and consensus-finding skills
  • Identify and demonstrate facilitation skills that foster inclusivity and trust
  • Describe and provide examples of conflict resolution and negotiation strategies
  • Identify key principles of intercultural collaboration, and demonstrate those principles in practice
  • Analyze private-public partnerships (PPP) and identify collaboration challenges and possible solutions to those challenges

Competency: Collect, analyze, manage, and visualize data to make evidence-based decisions related to cybersecurity.

Key Skills:

  • Define and provide examples of evidence-based decision making
  • Identify key problems, opportunities, and research questions in cybersecurity
  • Evaluate processes and tools for acquiring, organizing, interpreting, and managing data
  • Find and use public datasets
  • Analyze data, measure impact, and make projections
  • Visualize data to tell compelling stories
  • Identify and correct biases in data collection and analysis
  • Transform data into insights and make data-informed decisions

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