M.S. in Cyber Security and Operations

Mississippi State University's Cyber Security master's program is ranked #5 in Cyber Security Guide's latest list of best affordable master's programs.

You can check out the full ranking at Cyber Security Guide.

The program of study of a Master of Science in Cyber Security and Operations (MS CYSO) degree includes advanced courses in computer security that are selected according to the goals of the student.  The program of study includes a thesis option, a professional project option, or courses-only option. Students must currently be on the Starkville campus;  online education is not currently an option.


A student who wishes to study Graduate Cyber Security and Operations must have the ability to develop and analyze software for their study. An in-depth understanding the interface between computer hardware and software is also required, as is data communications. Some mathematical fluency is required. Students must demonstrate their potential for success in the program via strong previous academic work and demonstrated English proficiency as appropriate. Details for these requirements are provided here.

Admission and financial assistantships are separate decisions. For information on teaching & research assistantships, fellowships, and other scholarships, please refer here.

**Under normal circumstances, admissions requires a GRE score, but due to COVID-19, the BCoE has waived this requirement through fall 2021.**

Program of Study

The MS CYSO degree is a 31 credit program designed to be completed in 2 years for traditional students. Students must select either a thesis or a non-thesis option in their program of study. Working with a major professor and guiding committee, students will select appropriate core, concentration, and elective courses to develop mastery. This mastery will then be demonstrated as part of a comprehensive exam (which may include a thesis defense as appropriate).

Regardless of the program of study chosen, certain policies apply to all coureswork chosen. Please refer to our Graduate Handbook for these additional policies.

Two emphasis areas are offered:

  • Cyber Defense
    With the Cyber Defense option, graduates can go to work in any private corporation or government organization interested in securing their systems against outside aggression.
  • Cyber Operations
    With the Cyber Operations concentration, graduates can find many opportunities in government, but some cyber operations types can go to work for penetration testing firms, and those businesses are growing as the need for their services grows.

CSE's cyber security and operations master's program is:

  • One of the only degree programs in the Southeast to offer a cyber defense and a cyber operations concentration.
  • Fixed on defeating the full spectrum of cyber attacks, Mississippi State’s NSF CyberCorps program is the 3rd largest in the country.
  • Recognized nationally for its leadership in cyber security, MSU is one of only nine schools in the U.S. to hold all three of the National Security Agency’s centers of academic excellence credentials: CAE-Cyber Defense Education, CAE-Cyber Defense Research, and CAE-Cyber Operations.
  • Via its nationally ranked cybersecurity program, MSU’s M.S. in Cyber Security and Operations was selected by the US Navy as a model curriculum.