CYSO Non-thesis Option

Non-thesis students develop their professional skills to prepare them for employment or further graduate study. They pick a Concentration to develop their skills, with a set of CYSO Core and electives to flesh out their study. Under the guidance of a major professor and guiding committee, they demonstrate their mastery via a comprehensive exam and possible professional project.

Program of Study

For the MS program with thesis, the program of study requires 31 graduate credit hours:

  • 10 hours (3 courses + seminar) in the CYSO Core (Seminar & Theory)
  • 15 hours (5 courses) in the Concentration
  • (Optional) 3 hours of Directed Project (CSE 8080)
  • 3–6 hours (1–2 course) Electives

Any required courses in the Core or a Concentration previously completed by a student may be applied for completion and replaced with another free course of the student’s and committee’s choosing. Students cannot have more 6xxx level credits then 8xxx credits on their final program of study and majority of credits must have course code CSE. See the Graduate Handbook for additional course policies.

Core

The CYSO core introduces students to fundamental areas in computer security. These courses explore the nature of computer and information security, how to find security breaches in disks, and network/cryptographic protocols.

  • CSE 8011: Graduate Seminar
  • CSE 6243: Information & Computer Security
  • CSE 6273: Introduction to Computer Forensics
  • CSE 6383: Network Security

Note that CSE 6383 has a pre-requisite, CSE 6173: Cryptography, that will need to be completed for enrollment; this course counts as a Concentration elective.

Concentrations

CYSO Concentrations allow students to focus on operational cyber security or cyber defense. Within each concentration students can choose different courses to specialize in; these specializations delve deeper into core topics or cover mission critical areas of Operations and Defense. Students choose three courses appropriate to their concentration; each is listed with which concentrations are valid.

For all Concentrations, one security elective course can be replaced with CSE 7000: Directed Individual Study, counted at the 6xxx or 8xxx level as appropriate. Similarly, any security elective course can be replaced by a special topics 6/8990 by committee permission. Regardless of courses chosen, students cannot have more 6xxx level credits then 8xxx credits on their final program of study.

The student’s Graduate Committee has final approval of all applicable courses.

Cyber Operations
  • Required: CSE 8713: Advanced Cyber Operations
  • Electives: 12 hours (4 courses) Cyber Operation elective
Cyber Defense
  • Required: BIS 6113: BIS Security Management
  • Electives: 12 hours (4 courses) Cyber Defense electives

Other Graduate Hours

Students have 3 additional credit hours (6 if Directed Project was not taken) of graduate coursework of their choosing that are not tied to Core or Concentration. The only restrictions is that CSE 8000 Thesis Research or any Ph.D. level (9xxx) courses cannot be applied.

CYSO Electives

Shared Electives

  • CSE 6173: Cryptography
  • CSE 6743: Operating Systems II
  • CSE/ECE 8823: Wireless Networks
  • CSE 8743: Advanced Network Security
  • ECE 8753: Distributed Systems

Operations Electives

  • CSE 6363: Software Reverse Engineering

Defense Electives

  • BIS 8113: Management Information Technology & Systems or other 8xxx CSE elective

Directed Project

A non-thesis student my further develop their professional skills by taking a Directed Project (CSE 8080) under the direction of their major professor. This replaces three credit hours (1 course) from their elective portion of their study.

The first step in developing a project is to write a formal project contract. The contract should specify the goals of the project, a list of the deliverables, and must be signed by the student and committee before commencing CSE 8080. The student will then work on the project. While it may take more than one semester to complete the project, CSE 8080 can only be taken once.

At the end of the project (usually the end of CSE 8080), a final report with deliverables must be prepared. The report must follow the same format as theses and dissertations, as specified in the latest edition of the Standards for Preparing Dissertations and Theses available from the Library and departmental requirements, except that the approval page should include the signatures of the student's Graduate Committee only; a LaTeX template is provided by Dr. Ramkumar.  A copy of the original project contract should be included in an appendix. Deliverables of the project (user guides, design documents, etc.) can be included as appendices, but normally will be separate documents. The format of any deliverables (user guides, technical manuals, etc.) not included as appendices shall be as appropriate for the client of the project. Deliverables included as appendixes must follow the same form and format as the report.

Comprehensive Exam

The non-thesis option of the CYSO Masters degree program requires that the degree candidate successfully demonstrate mastery of graduate material. At the end of the program, the student will sit for a comprehensive exam covering their graduate coursework; students with a Directed Project will focus on defending their project and its relation to their coursework. The guidelines below supplement, but do not supersede, those provided by the Graduate School; see their guidelines for additional details such as the deadlines, exam process, and so on.

For students electing this option, the following steps must be followed:

  1. If doing a Directed Project, the student develops a project contract at least one semester before graduating. A copy of this contract will be kept by the CSE office.
  2. The semester before their anticipated graduation, students should review their Program of Study via CAPP on Banner to ensure all coursework will be completed.
  3. Upon completion of their project and coursework (or within 6 hours of completing), the student must schedule their exam. Part of this process requires students to complete the Graduate Exit survey for the College. Contact the CSE office to schedule the exam.
  4. The student will sit for the exam with their major professor and committee. The exam will go over their graduate studies, with focus on courses related to the project for those doing a Project. The student will be asked to give a presentation on their Directed Project or on some other major classwork for non-Project students.
  5. The student graduates once the Comprehensive Exam has been successfully passed and coursework concluded.

Directed Project Format Requirements

The report must follow the same format as theses and dissertations, as specified in the latest edition of the Standards for Preparing Dissertations and Theses available from the MSU Office of Graduate Studies, and departmental requirements, except that the approval page should include the signatures of the student's Graduate Committee only.

A copy of the original project contract should be included in an appendix. Deliverables of the project (user guides, design documents, etc.) can be included as appendices, but normally will be separate documents. The format of any deliverables (user guides, technical manuals, etc.) not included as appendices shall be as appropriate for the client of the project. Deliverables included as appendixes must follow the same form and format as the report.

Previous Catalogs

For students that were admitted before the current Graduate Catalog, please refer to the Catalog archives for relevant information on your program of study: