From the Equifax breach to interference in the 2016 Presidential election, no target has proven too big for cyberspace’s bad actors. And as thousands of would-be criminals, terrorists and spies are using their knowledge to exploit vulnerabilities worldwide, those who wear the white hat need to stay a step ahead in safeguarding society.
Our Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Completion program combines highly technical, hands-on curriculum in labs and virtual environments with invaluable collaboration with government agencies, private companies and the military experts fighting everyday on cyberspace’s front lines. Designed for students with associate’s, applied associate's or non-technical bachelor’s degrees who are looking to advance in the field, you will learn the ins and outs of attack tools, IT defense countermeasures, encryption and more to help solve cyber’s toughest problems.
Program at a Glance
You can complete your bachelor's degree in two years through evening and weekend courses, convenient for working professionals.
The instructors are nationally and internationally recognized experts, and bring first-hand experience and real-life scenarios to the classroom.
GW has been designated a Federal Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Where You'll Study
Classes meet at GW's Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, VA or in Woodbridge, VA on the Northern Virginia Community College’s campus.
What You'll Study
The program targets competencies defined by the National Initiative for Cyber Security Education (NICE). Through significant technical and hands-on learning using computer labs and virtual environments, as well as our collaboration with government agencies, private companies and the military, you will learn to:
- Understand and implement Cybersecurity requirements
- Investigate and analyze Cybersecurity incidents
- Protect and effectively defend computer networks against malicious activities
- Identify and correct computer network vulnerabilities through penetration testing and hacking techniques
- Initiate and undertake critical analysis of security issues to develop and implement security policies and to solve problems
- Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals
Students take 60 credits of required courses. There are 15 courses, each 4 credits, and they are taken in lockstep as part of a cohort group of students.
To graduate within two years, students take 12 credits per semester and are advised to discuss scheduling with a faculty advisor.
Fall Semester/Year 1
PSCS 3100: Principles of Cybersecurity (4 credits)
PSCS 3103: Ethics, Law & Policy (4 credits)
PSCS 4110: Data Communications & Networking Technology (4 credits)
Spring Semester/Year 1
PSCS 2303: Compliance & Risk Assessment (4 credits)
PSCS 3101: IP Security & VPN Technology (4 credits)
PSCS 2304: Incident Response (4 credits)
Summer Semester/Year 1
PSCS 3109: Network Security (4 credits)
PSCS 4103: Securing Operating Systems (4 credits)
PSCS 3111: IT Security System Audits (4 credits)
Fall Semester/Year 2
PSCS 4102: Intrusion Detection & Vulnerability Management (4 credits)
PSCS 3113: IT Security Defense Countermeasures – BLUE TEAM (4 credits)
PSCS 2301: Cyber Investigation (4 credits)
Spring Semester/Year 2
PSCS 4202: Attacker Tools & Techniques – RED TEAM (4 credits)
PSCS 2302: Digital Forensics (4 credits)
PSCS 3117: Project Management for IT (4 credits)
PSCS 2301: Cyber Investigation (4 credits)
The investigative framework and tools needed for the investigation of cyber crime. Crimes that involve computer technology; procedural and tactical issues associated with the prosecution of cyber crime.
PSCS 2302: Digital Forensics (4 credits)
An introduction to digital forensic science and the systematic process of acquiring, authenticating, and analyzing digital evidence. Forensic methods and laboratories; tools, techniques, and methods used to perform computer forensics and investigation; and emerging technologies. Theoretical and practical experience using forensic equipment and software.
PSCS 2303: Compliance and Risk Management (4 Credits)
Data protection from a risk management perspective. Data retention; security and protection technologies; technology requirements for compliance, governance, and data security; the importance of e-discovery for civil litigation; the impact of third-party services in conjunction with data protection; and data processing facets, such as the role of tiering and server and storage virtualization.
PSCS 2304: Incident Response (4 credits)
Principles and techniques for detecting and responding to current and emerging computer security threats. Data breaches, advanced malware, and targeted attacks. Law and policy related to incident response.
PSCS 3100: Principles of Cybersecurity (4 Credits)
Basic principles and concepts in information security and information assurance; technical, operational, and organizational issues of securing information systems.
PSCS 3103: Ethics, Law, and Policy (4 credits)
Overview of ethical, legal and policy issues related to the impact of modern technology on society; ethical theories and decision making, professional responsibility and codes of ethics, copyright and intellectual property, information accountability, freedom of information and privacy, the Internet and considerations associated with information sharing and social networking.
PSCS 3107: IP Security and VPN Technology (4 Credits)
Risks associated with an organization’s network being connected to the public Internet; defensive technologies, types of encryption, enterprise firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention, and access control technologies; active threat agents and exploitation techniques used to compromise the digital infrastructure.
PSCS 3109: Network Security (4 Credits)
Security aspects of networks and network technology; intrusion detection, virtual private networks (VPN), and firewalls; types of security threats, security policy design and management; and security technologies, products, and solutions.
PSCS 3111: Information Technology Security System Audits (4 Credits)
Theory, methodology, and procedures related to IT system audits; proper audit procedures for discovering system vulnerabilities; documenting findings according to the standards of compliance based auditing.
PSCS 3113: Topics in IT Security Defense Countermeasures (4 Credits)
Theory, methodology, and practical experience relating to IT defense countermeasures; system vulnerabilities and how adversaries can exploit them. Topics vary by semester. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs. See department for more details.
PSCS 3117: Project Management in Information Technology (4 Credits)
Concepts and basic functions of the project management body of knowledge, including scope, quality, time, cost, risk, procurement, human resource, and communication management and integration of these functions into a project management system; roles and responsibilities of various project staff.
PSCS 4102: Intrusion Detection and Vulnerability Management (4 Credits)
The use of intrusion detection systems (IDS) as part of an organization’s overall security mechanisms; implementation and testing of IDS security plans, security monitoring, intrusion detection, alarm management, analysis of events and trends, and vulnerability management.
PSCS 4103: Securing Operating Systems (4 Credits)
The security techniques and technologies integrated into Microsoft operating systems, which are a frequent target of attacks; primary threats and protection mechanisms developed by Microsoft and others; tools used to defend against known risks and vulnerabilities; client and server operating systems, OS hardening, application security, and Active Directory.
PSCS 4110: Data Communication and Networking Technologies (4 Credits)
Overview of the networking technologies deployed by modern enterprises. Hardware and software used to transfer information from source to destination, including switches, routers, firewalls, Ethernet, and the TCP/IP protocols suite. (Same as PSIS 4141).
PSCS 4202: Cyber Attack Tools and Techniques (4 Credits)
Linux-based introduction to traditional and contemporary attack tools and technologies used by threat actors. Constructing an effective computer network defense.
All applicants need:
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0*
- Proof of high school completion (final high school transcript, GED or copy of high school diploma), unless a university degree (Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate) was earned
Depending on the type of applicant you are, you may have additional requirements.
*Note: Applicants whose GPA is below 3.0 may still be eligible for conditional admission.
You need one of these degrees:
- Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Information Technology, Business Administration, Computer Science, or Engineering;
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Information Technology or Cybersecurity;
- Or 60 transferable credits from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
You need 60 credit hours that are transferrable from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, with a grade of C or higher (C-, D and F do not transfer).
Please contact us for guidance regarding core curriculum requirements.
You need a bachelor’s degree in a non-technical field from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
Please contact us for guidance regarding core curriculum requirements. Student transcripts will be reviewed and recommendations made on a case-by-case basis.
Students from NOVA can apply to the Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree completion program with these credentials:
- Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Information Technology, Business Administration, Computer Science, or Engineering
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Information Technology or Cybersecurity
- 60 transferable credits with required general education distribution
All other degrees will be evaluated and bridge courses may be recommended.
For students without a technical degree, these bridge courses are recommended (choose one class from each of the categories):
- ITN 100: Introduction to Telecommunications (or)
- ITN 101: Introduction to Network Concepts
Hardware & Software
- ITE 221: PC Hardware and OS Architecture (or)
- ITN 107: Personal Computer Hardware and Troubleshooting
Linux & Unix
- ITN 170: Linux System Administration (or)
- ITN 171: UNIX 1
International applicants must have completed applications at least two months before the listed admissions deadline and accepted international students must submit their visa applications by July 1st for Fall.
Fully completed applications submitted on or before the priority deadline will receive an application fee waiver. An application file is considered “complete” when academic transcripts, recommendations, test scores (if applicable), employment verification (if applicable), and the completed online application (including resume and statement of purpose) are received.
Applications received after the priority deadline will continue to be processed, space permitting.
GW tuition and fees are comparable to the national average for private universities. These costs, set by the GW Board of Trustees, generally increase from year to year and may vary by program and location. If needed, you can find financial aid opportunities as well as specific grants offered for students in this program. If applying for loans, keep these deadlines in mind:
- May 1 to receive funds by the beginning of Fall semester
- October 1 to receive funds by the beginning of Spring semester
- March 1 to receive funds by the beginning of Summer semester
Tuition (Summer 2017-Spring 2018 Term Rates):
60 credits @ $730 per credit hour
5 registration sessions @ $35 each
Tuition + fees over the average completion time
Other Costs to Consider
- Application fee: $80*
- Texbooks: $1,800 (approx.)
- Matriculation fee (one time): $200
- Students admitted to the program will be required to have a laptop computer.
*The application fee may be waved for students submiting complete applications by the priority deadline.
- Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program: sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Students who have earned an Associate’s degree at an accredited Virginia two-year institution and meet other eligibility requirements could receive an annual award of up to $2,000.
- Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant: sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (PDF): Designed to assist Virginia residents who attend accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia with awards up to $3000.
- National Science Foundation Scholarships for Service (NSF-SFS Grant): There are five scholarships available for eligible students attending Prince George’s, Northern Virginia and Anne Arundel Community Colleges. Contact your community college's academic advisor for more information.
Information regarding veteran’s education benefits may be obtained from the Veterans Benefits Office through Colonial Central, located in Rice Hall, Room 310, 2121 I Street NW, (202) 994-1586. Veteran students requesting benefits must communicate their status to the Veterans Benefit Office at least 30 days prior to course start date in order to obtain an advance payment from the VA.
"We live, work, and play in cyberspace. However, our increasing reliance on cyber technologies makes us more vulnerable to those adversaries who would attack our digital infrastructure with the intent of undermining our security and our economic prosperity. Graduates of GW’s cybersecurity bachelor’s degree completion program are well prepared to address a variety of threats facing our nation today and in the future."
Dr. Scott J. White, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director,
GW Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program
We periodically offer online and in-person information sessions about the Cybersecurity Bachelor's Degree Completion Program. Contact the program representative to learn more about upcoming events.