Undergraduate Cybersecurity Education

Cybersecurity Minor – College of Engineering

Virginia Tech's College of Engineering offers an undergraduate minor in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity broadly covers the fields of information security, network security, and computer system security. As bad actors seek to steal information, protecting that information, the systems that process and store it, and the networks that carry it becomes increasingly important.

This minor seeks to provide a core technical basis for careers in secure system design and operation. Students graduating with a degree in computer science or computer engineering with a minor in cybersecurity could expect careers in software engineering, embedded systems engineering, or information systems management, with an emphasis on designing, developing, operating, or analyzing security features or subsystems.

Note that Virginia Tech's undergraduate education in cybersecurity, while hands-on, focuses on core principles of security rather than specific information technology components and systems from specific vendors. Students may also find it beneficial to consider professional certification, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Given Virginia Tech's location in the mid-Atlantic region, there are a large number of employers in the Washington DC metropolitain area with a keen interest in cybersecurity, including defense contractors and federal agencies. Those considering careers in the national security sector should consider the requirements for the US Department of Defense Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program.

The undergraduate minor in cybersecurity is a College of Engineering program, principally focused on students majoring in Computer Science or Computer Engineering, but is open to any student able to meet the necessary prerequisites. The following are the requirements for completing the minor.


One of the following networks courses:

  • ECE 4564: Network Application Design
  • CS 4254: Computer Network Arch and Programming
  • CS 4244 Internet Software Development
  • ECE 4614: Telecommunication Networks

One of the following computer systems courses:

  • CS 3214: Computer Systems
  • CS/ECE 4504: Computer Organization
  • ECE 3574: Applied Software Engineering

Two core security courses:

  • ECE 4560: Network Security Fundamentals
  • CS 4264: Principles of Computer Security

One of the following interdisciplinary course:

  • ACIS 4684: Information Systems Security and Assurance
  • FIN 4014: Internet, Electronic, and Online Law
  • MATH 4175: Cryptography I
  • MATH 4176: Cryptography II

One elective courses from either the networks, computer systems, or interdisciplinary list

One credit seminar course


Cybersecurity Minor Program Director: Dr. Joe Tront

ECE Student Services

CS Student Services

BS in Computer Engineering – Cyber Operations Track

The National Security Agency's (NSA) National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations Program supports the president's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE): Building a Digital Nation and furthers the goal to broaden the pool of skilled workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation.

The CAE-Cyber Operations program is intended to be a deeply technical, inter-disciplinary, higher education program firmly grounded in the computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE), and/or electrical engineering (EE) disciplines, with extensive opportunities for hands-on applications via labs/exercises. Students who participate sufficiently in the cyber operations curriculum (i.e., take and pass courses that completely satisfy all of the mandatory Knowledge Unit requirements and at least four of the optional Knowledge Unit requirements designated by the NSA-CAE CO office) are recognized as being certified in Cyber Operations. The classes below fulfill these requirements. Mandatory and optional Knowledge Units are found here.

As of 2017 Virginia Tech was designated a NSA-CAE CO.

The Curriculum for a Cyber-Operations Student to fulfill the mandatory Knowledge Units and four of the optional Knowledge Units includes:

  • CS 4984 - Software Reverse Engineering
  • ECE 2500 - Computer Organization and Architecture
  • ECE 2574 - Introduction to Data Structure and Software Engineering
  • ECE 2534 - Microprocessor System Design
  • CS 3214 - Computer Systems
  • ECE 4616 - Telecommunications Networks
  • CS 4264 - Principles of Computer Security
  • ECE 4534 - Embedded Systems Design
  • ECE 4560 - Computer and Network Security Fundamentals

To fulfill additional optional Knowledge Units, the following courses can be taken:

  • ACIS 4684 - IS Security and Assurance
  • CS/ECE 4504 - Computer Organization and Architecture
  • ECE 2504 - Intro to Computer Engineering
  • ECE 3544 - Digital Design
  • CS 3704 - Intermediate Software Design and Engineering
  • ECE 4550 - RealTime Systems
  • MATH 4175/4176 - Cryptography I/II

BS in Computer Engineering – Major in Networks and Cybersecurity

Virginia Tech's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will be launching a major in networks and cybersecurity as a primary concentration within its computer engineering degree program. Check back for more information soon.

BS/MS Program – CyberCorps Scholarship for Service

Scholarship For Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government's critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education related fees; a health insurance reimbursement allowance; a professional development allowance; and a book allowance. Upon graduation SFS participants have a commitment to work for the federal government in an information assurance field for three years.

For more information, see the Scholarship for Service website.

CyberLeaders Program

Sponsored by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the CyberLeaders program is an alternative to the traditional study abroad experience for students who want to enhance their understanding of both the policy and engineering challenges of cybersecurity. Offered by the Hume Center for National Security and Technology in partnership with the School of Public and International Affairs and the Pamplin College of Business, this program is designed to create opportunities for students to grow their skills at the intersection of cybersecurity engineering and cybersecurity regulation and policy. The program offers students four tailored courses that provide a foundation for both disciplines, as well as a scholarship to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., doing coursework and research in Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region (NCR). During their time in the nation’s capital, students get the opportunity to work on a research project to solve real-world problems, while taking classes designed to give them the skills to be the policy and engineering leaders of the future.

For more information, see the CyberLeaders website.

© 2017 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University