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 Master of Science in Cyber Security and Operations (MS CYSO) is designed for students who wish to help meet the challenges posed by increasing cyber-threats. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the program is designed to provide students with a focused education within a broad analytical framework for evaluating, understand, and solving cyber security problems. Starkville-campus and online programs are offered, thesis or non-thesis. The degree will focus on those aspects of cyber security that are needed to operate in the cyber domain. Material will prepare the student for advanced operations in the cyber domain such as penetration testing, after action analysis, and malware analysis. This degree is designed to satisfy the requirements for the Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations program of the Department of Defense.

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.


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. The GRE is not required, but can be helpful for admission decisions; English proficiency must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the committee. Details for these requirements are provided here. For students more interest in system administration and management (which includes security), please see the MSIS degree.

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

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 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 coursework chosen. Please refer to our Graduate Handbook for these additional policies.