Duke Launches Master’s Program in Cybersecurity

July 2, 2020

Starting in Fall 2021, the new degree will train the ‘cyber-savvy’ engineers needed to protect humanity’s digital infrastructure

People walk atop binary code

From the smartwatch on your wrist to the traffic light-controlled intersection at the next corner, to the power stations that light your city, to farm machinery in agricultural fields, computing technology is embedded everywhere.

This technology has created efficiencies, lowered costs, and expanded access to communication and information—but not without risks. Among the most troubling are hackers, spies and other bad actors who could breach those systems and potentially cause havoc on a wide scale. In fact, the National Academy of Engineering named “Securing Cyberspace” as one its 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.  

To help meet the need for specialized engineers who can design and defend secure systems, Duke is launching a new Cybersecurity Master of Engineering degree program.

The 30-credit degree, available beginning in fall 2021 on Duke’s campus or online, will educate students with engineering or computer science backgrounds in the technical, ethical and business dimensions of cybersecurity.

The 30-credit degree, available on-campus or online, educates students with engineering or computer science backgrounds in the technical, ethical and business dimensions of cybersecurity

“This new degree is a strategic response to growing demand from businesses, educational institutions and governments for cyber-savvy engineering professionals,” said program director Jimmie Lenz. “By combining a highly interdisciplinary structure and technical instruction with business skills development, this Duke Engineering degree is designed to develop professionals with the skillset that organizations need to protect their vital networks and systems.”

The cybersecurity master’s program joins other new Duke graduate degree and certificate programs focused on leading-edge marketplace engineering disciplines, such as financial technology (FinTech) and artificial intelligence for product innovation.

The master’s program in cybersecurity, Lenz said, is available to all qualified students, including mid-career professionals with undergraduate degrees in engineering,  computer science or similar fields of study who are interested in acquiring cybersecurity knowledge and skills.

Online and on-campus students learn together, with all courses offered either live or on-demand. All students take the same classes, learn from the same faculty and earn the same Duke master’s degree.

Online and on-campus students will learn together, with all courses offered either live or on-demand. All students take the same classes, learn from the same faculty and earn the same Duke master’s degree. On-campus students can complete the degree in a few as three semesters, while online study can be pursued by working professionals over the course of five semesters.

Online students also enrich their Duke experience by attending three weeklong on-campus residencies during their studies, where they meet faculty and peers face-to-face and attend workshops and seminars.

Core technical courses examine risk modeling and management, law, policy, ethics and privacy considerations, and Cybersecurity Perspectives. Students may specialize in one of two elective tracks—technology or technology management. Elective courses include work in security incident detection and response, identity and access management, software development, applying machine learning to advance cybersecurity, and the management of cybersecurity operations.

"By combining an interdisciplinary structure and technical instruction with business skills development, this degree develops professionals with the skillset that organizations need to protect their vital networks and systems."

Jimmie Lenz
Director, Duke Cybersecurity Master of Engineering Degree Program

In addition to courses in cybersecurity, master’s students will participate in regular workshops and seminars featuring expert presenters from industry.  

Degree requirements round out with a required internship or research project.

All students will have access to Duke Engineering's dedicated master's career services and professional development team. In recent years, nearly 9 out of 10 Duke engineering master’s graduates had jobs or went on to further education within six months of graduation.

“I’m impressed by the thoughtful considerations given to the development of Duke’s Cybersecurity Master of Engineering,” said Bob Flores, CEO of business technology strategy firm Applicology Incorporated and a former chief technical officer for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. “The Pratt School of Engineering enjoys a well-deserved reputation for pioneering new approaches and methodologies, and is continuing that tradition with this program.”

Learn more at:

cybersecurity.meng.duke.edu