Professional Science Masters Degree in Cyber Security

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of the different programs?

For students completing the graduate certificate or professional science masters program, starting in the Fall of 2023 courses are charged at a fixed rate per credit for all in-state, regional and out-of-state students. The fixed rate is pinned to the graduate, regional per credit fee as published by Enrollment Services. These costs are subject to change each year.

For full-time undergraduate students completing a minor, the cost is included as part of the students’ full-time tuition. All other students taking these courses will be handled on a case by case basis.

When should I apply?

We accept applications from January 1st through June 3oth.

When will I hear about being accepted?

Once a full application has been received, it will be reviewed first by the Computer Science Department, and then by the Graduate School. If your application is accepted you will receive official acceptance from the Graduate School within 4-6 weeks. You will then be notified via e-mail from the Computer Science Department shortly after.

Can I apply the courses I’ve taken for the graduate certificate program towards the Professional Science Masters Degree program?

Yes! The credits earned in the graduate certificate in cybersecurity can be applied directly to the cybersecurity Masters Degree.

Can I apply the courses I’ve taken for a minor in the Professional Science Masters Degree program?

No. Undergraduate students may use up to three courses taken as advance standing credits to be applied to a graduate degree. You may enroll in courses as an undergrad and save them for later. It is important to note that the credits earned can only be put towards one program, thus you cannot take a course and apply the credits to both the minor and the PSM. Students should include a memo from the department (advisor or chair) with their intent to graduate form just stating which courses are not being used for their undergrad degree.

Can I start the course sequence at any time?

No. The courses are in sequences that build on each other. All programs start with specific Starting Core Courses. These courses are offered in the Fall semester, and thus students must start the program in the Fall. Students may not take any course without the prerequisite course(s). For a specific list of what the prerequisite courses are, please look at the page for the specific program in which you are interested.

Is it required that I take the courses in a specific order?

At the beginning of the program, yes. It is important that you take certain Starting Core Courses before taking some of the more advanced courses. However, once you have taken the required Starting Core Courses, you have some flexibility in what courses you want to take and when you want to take them in order to finish your certificate program. For more details on this, please look at the page for the specific program in which you are interested.

What makes URI’s program better than other online programs in cybersecurity?

Most other online programs require students to complete readings in place of lectures and write summary papers instead of working with hands-on assignments. URI’s program is composed of online video lectures that students watch at times of their choosing. These video lectures allow students to learn material at their own pace, and students can review any portions that they may find challenging. To complement these online lectures, URI’s program supplies a hands-on homework assignment for each week. This allows students to gain practical experience with the latest tools that are being used by professionals in the field. Finally, URI’s program makes use of a discussion board that acts similar to a professional list-serve. Here, students are able to post interesting discussion points about relevant news in the industry and ask for assistance with problems that they may be having pertaining to assignments.

The format combines the best aspects of being self-paced in that students do lectures, readings and assignments at the time of their choosing during the week, and of collaborative learning where all students and instruction are focused on the week’s topic.

Do I get college credits for the courses that I complete?

Yes. All of the courses are offered through the University of Rhode Island and you will receive URI credit for all course work that you complete. This means that if you decide to continue on towards a full academic degree, such as a B.A., B.S., M.S. (PSM), or PhD, your credits can be put towards that degree.

Are the courses self paced?

The courses are self paced within a week, which typically runs on a Friday to Friday schedule (i.e. new material is released on Friday and due the following Friday). Each week students will receive a new reading assignment, lecture, and hands-on assignment. Students will have one week to complete each of these. Within each weekly module students can work at their own pace, however, students are expected to complete the weekly modules on time in order to not fall behind.

How many hours a week should I plan on spending on course work?

In general, the University policy is that for each course credit you should expect to do a minimum of 4 hours worth of work a week. For a 4–credit course then, you should expect to complete between 14~18 hours worth of coursework each week. Typically, this will consist of 2~3 hours a week of watching video lectures, and an additional 12~14 hours a week completing reading assignments, homework assignments, and studying. Depending on the topic being covered during the week and a student’s previous knowledge or experience in an area, some weeks will require students to put in more time, while other weeks will require students to put in less time. Students in the Graduate programs will also need to allow extra time to complete additional research projects.

What kind of industry certificates will I be eligible to receive after having completed the course series?

Our courses, in addition to an academic treatment, are designed to provide background for several of the primary professional certificates in technology and cybersecurity. In the cybersecurity programs, this includes helping to prepare students for the Security+, GCFA, GISF, GSEC, and GCED exams. Check the individual course descriptions to see which industry certifications a course may help prepare you for.

All certifications are looked for by employers, and clients as credentials that qualified candidates hold. We strongly encourage students take these additional certificate tests soon after the program; our teaching staff provides information to additional study material and details on how to take the certification examinations.

What happens if I don’t or can’t take classes one semester?

If you need to take a semester or two off because of personal or family circumstances, or simply need a break, taking a leave of absence might be wise. All students who are going to take a leave of absence must inform the academic program coordinator preferably by email. Additionally, students must file a formal leave of absence request form. This form should also be submitted to the academic program coordinator.

Additional information about leaves of absence can be found from Enrollment Services, the Graduate School Manual, and the University Catalog.