Cyber Defense & Security Education

About the Certificate Program: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) designated Florida's Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M University) as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education (IAE) in 2012. NSA/DHS now offers a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation in Cyber Defense Education (CDE) based on the University's robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units (KUs), validated by top subject matter experts in the field. 

Cyber Defense Certificate: The courses offered in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) under the Cyber Defense Certificate Program are the primary courses used to satisfy the 22 Cybersecurity-related Knowledge Units. These courses provide the education and training for cybersecurity skills that are critical to defending the nation's vital information resources and will prepare students to work in cyber-related professions. 

Information Assurance Certificate: Students who participate in the Cyber Defense Program will also qualify for the Committee on National Security Systems' (CNSS) Information Assurance Certificate that has been evaluated by National Level Information Assurance (IA) Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Students who receive this Certificate qualify to serve as Entry Level Information Assurance professionals and/or Information Systems Security officers.

Application Process: Students who successfully complete the courses listed below with a C or better, are qualified to receive both the Cyber Defense Certificate and the Information Assurance Certificate. Students interested in receiving one or more of the Certificates must submit an application upon completion of the required coursework. The certificate program consists of the following courses, two of the courses are required for all three Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) degree programs (denoted by **).

  • CIS 4385C - Digital Forensics (3 Hrs.)
  • CIS 4360 - Introduction to Computer Security (3 Hrs.)
  • CIS 4361 - Applied Security (3 Hrs.)
  • CNT 4406 - Network Security (3 Hrs.)
  • **COP 3710 - Database Management Systems (3 Hrs.)
  • **COP 3014C - Fundamentals of Programming (3 Hrs.)

Note: All courses are not offered each semester.

Cyber Defense Course Descriptions:

CIS 4385C: Digital Forensics – Technical issues in acquiring computer evidence and popular file systems are examined. The course covers reporting issues in the legal system, digital evidence collection and evaluation, and legal issues involved in network forensics. Students are exposed to concepts in digital forensics including investigative techniques and success skills through case studies, guided design assignments and use of computer forensic tools.

CIS 4360: Introduction to Computer Security - The purpose of this course is to provide the student with an overview of the field of information security and assurance. Students will be exposed to the spectrum of security activities, methods, methodologies, and procedures. Coverage will include inspection and protection of information assets, detection of and reaction to threats to information assets, and examination of pre- and post-incident procedures, technical and managerial responses, and an overview of the information security planning and staffing functions.

CNT 4406: Network Security and Cryptography - The goal of this course is to cover the theoretical and practical aspects of network security. This course will provide students with the understandings of what is computer/network security, the technologies involved and the current solutions to certain threats. This course will provide students up to date information on network-based and internet-based security applications. Upon completing this course, students should be able to: Understand threats and sources of attacks in network security and understand the limitation of the current security technology and able to choose proper security mechanism given types of network and threats involved. Be able to design and implement security measures based on requirements and identify and investigate threats to network security.

CIS 4361: Applied Security - This course provides an overview to issues relating to information security, the fundamental theories of security policy, security vulnerability and protection and the current issues that affect computing. The following topics are covered: determining which security goals are rarely implemented and their reasons, analyzing computer programs and computer applications for the most common flaws, the use of various tools to discover security vulnerabilities and increase cyber security.

**COP 3710: Database Management Systems – This course covers database concepts, logical models, and internal data models (network, hierarchical, relational). It also covers the use of database management systems, database administration and SQL.

**COP 3014C: Fundamentals of Programming – This course is an introduction to the use of a computer including the techniques of executing jobs, data entry, text editing and obtaining output. It also provides an introduction to microcomputer operating systems.

Other Cyber Defense Courses (Graduate Courses):

  • CNT 5412 - Network Security Active and Passive Defenses
  • CNT 5415 - Applied Computer Network Security
  • CIS 5396 - Cyber Security Forensics
  • CIS 5371 - Cryptography
  • CIS 5370 - Computer Security
  • CEN 5074 - Software Security


The Laboratory in the Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) department includes a variety of computer systems to support research and academic activities. The laboratory was originally funded through grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and CISCO Systems, Inc. It serves many educational functions such as undergraduate and graduate education, professional and continuing education, and outreach activities. This laboratory is an isolated lab in which students and faculty can conduct experiments on system and network securite

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