Frequently Asked Questions

About the Program

What is the cybersecurity and public policy program?

The Tufts University Cybersecurity and Public Policy M.S. is an innovative on-campus master’s degree being jointly offered by The Fletcher School and the Department of Computer Science in the Tufts School of Engineering. This program integrates tech and policy, focuses on international issues and responses, and includes a wide range of in-depth policy focus areas for cyber, ranging from intelligence to digital approaches to development to role of force.

Is the program meant for tech students or policy students?

Both. Developing effective cybersecurity is increasingly understood to require not just technical solutions, but also policy, economics, and political controls and levers. Our program and faculty embrace an interdisciplinary approach, teaching and producing research through a variety of lenses across departments and schools. Therefore, students in the Cybersecurity and Public Policy master’s program will have many avenues to become cybersecurity policy experts, across both disciplines.

What is unique about the Tufts Master’s in Cybersecurity and Public Policy?

We pride ourselves on two differentiators – our focus is international and we integrate tech and policy in our curriculum.

What is the difference between Tufts Master’s in Cybersecurity and Public Policy and the Technology and International Affairs field of study within a Fletcher School program?

The Master’s in Cybersecurity and Public Policy is best suited for students with a primary interest in cybersecurity policy and a background in either policy or technology. Alternatively, the Technology and International Affairs field of study at the Fletcher School allows students to focus on how technology and communication affect global affairs.

What kind of professional skills will I receive from this program?

Graduates will gain a variety of skills. Depending on focus, they will be able to help organizations analyze policies for reducing risk and improving security, identify and manage cyber risk, determine the privacy threats from proposed technology, recover from cyber-attacks — and much more. Potential positions for graduates of the program include policy advocate for a civil society organization; a staffer in agencies and legislative bodies concerned with privacy or cybersecurity policy; a threat detection analyst in the private sector; a policy analyst at a think tank; or a policy officer in global private industry.

Students will also complete the Professional Development Program.

What’s the Professional Development Program? Why is it part of the CSPP degree?

The Professional Development Program is a lightweight no-credit, no-grade mandatory requirement for graduation. CSPP students can opt out for a good reason, e.g., returning to a previous employer upon graduation.

Taking PDP is a requirement for using the Fletcher Office of Career Services, which students have access to not only during their time at Tufts but afterwards; OCS often has postings and other valuable information for more senior positions. The first two OCS classes are taken via video module before students arrive.


Courses and Curriculum

What courses are required?

Students will fulfill a minimum of 10 courses or 30 credits over the course of 12-16 months, divided between computer science and policy studies. View the curriculum and courses offered.

I have a computer science degree (or an extensive background in computer science). Do I still need to take the three required computer science courses?

It’s likely that you know the material in How Systems Work, and that there may be more advanced security courses you could take instead of How Systems Fail. There will be placement exams that will help determine whether you should take the three required courses or more advanced ones.

How long should it take to complete this degree?

Full-time students should expect to take 12-16 months but are permitted to complete their degree over two years from the date of enrollment.

How many semester-hour units (SHUs) can I take each term as a CSPP student?

The normal load is between 9-12 SHUs per term. Any more requires the permission of the CSPP program director.

Is there an expected sequence of courses?

Yes. As the intention of the program is to integrate policy and technology into the learning experience, students, including part-time students, will be expected to take How Systems Work and How Systems Fail early. For full-time students, this translates to taking How Systems Work and Cyber for Future Policymakers in their first or second term in the program, and How Systems Fail in the second or third term. Note that How Systems Work and Cyber for Future Policymakers are taught each fall, How Systems Fail, each spring.

Is there a thesis or capstone in this program?

No.

Can students enroll part time?

Yes. The degree must be completed within four years of enrollment because the area is quite topical.

I’m planning to be part-time. Is there a particular sequence of courses that I should plan on taking?

Part-time students have many choices; however part-time students should plan on taking How Systems Work and How Systems Fail, and Cyber for Future Policymakers by their second, third, and fourth terms respectively.

May I take courses at other universities while enrolled in the CSPP program?

Students in the MS in Cybersecurity and Policy Program are eligible to cross-register at the Harvard University graduate schools for one full-credit course.  Please see myFletcher for details on cross registration information (access to myFletcher is limited to CSPP and Fletcher students).

How is tuition calculated?

Tuition for the M.S. in Cybersecurity and Public Policy program is charged per credit hour for all students enrolled in the program, at the standard School of Engineering graduate credit hour rate. View graduate credit hour tuition rates.

I’m a Tufts student from the School of Engineering with the requisite background in computer science. Can I do a joint BS/MS degree with an MS in Cybersecurity and Public Policy?

Yes. Two graduate-level credits (100-level or higher) Computer Science courses can cross-count toward the master’s degree so long as they fill the Cybersecurity and Public Policy requirements. The joint degree in Cybersecurity and Public Policy requires full-time enrollment and at least two semesters of residency during the MS program.

Learn more about the joint BS/MS degree program.

I am a Tufts student from the School of Arts and Sciences who is planning to enter the Cybersecurity and Public Policy program. Will any of the courses I’ve already taken count towards the CSPP degree?

Students who are doing a BA or BS degree at Tufts may cross-count two graduate-level (100-level or higher) Computer Science courses, one Fletcher and one graduate-level Computer Science course, or two Fletcher courses toward the master’s degree, as long as the courses fulfill the Cybersecurity and Public Policy requirements. Students will still have to fulfill the Tufts BA or BS residency requirement as well as other requirements for the CSPP degree; these include three computer science and three Fletcher courses (four Fletcher courses if the student is not taking the Fletcher versions of Cyber for Future Policymakers, How Systems Work, and How Systems Fail).

Learn more about the joint BA or BS/MS degree program.

I’m applying as a Tufts undergraduate and I have already taken some of the required policy courses (e.g., Privacy in the Digital Age and Cyberlaw and Cyberpolicy). What would the degree requirements be in my case?

All students enrolled in the CSPP degree must take a minimum of three Fletcher courses to complete their degree (they must also take a minimum of three computer science courses as well). If you’re skipping one of the required courses for the degree because you already know the material or have taken the course, you would work out the courses you’re taking with your advisor to ensure you have a balanced program.

I was or am currently a MALD/LLM/MIB/MGA student from The Fletcher School who is now planning to enroll in the Cybersecurity and Public Policy program. Will any of the courses I’ve already taken count towards the CSPP degree?

No, we do not cross-counting courses between the degrees.

I’ve already taken lots of computer science and I believe I know the material in Cyber for Future Policymakers, How Systems Work, and How Systems Fail. What would the requirements for the CSPP degree be in my case?

You would first need permission to skip those courses. If you are granted that permission, you would need to take three advanced computer science courses from the list provided as well as four Fletcher courses—one more than the norm—as Cyber for Future Policymakers, How Systems Work, and How Systems Fail have a policy component in addition to the technical aspect. If you’re skipping one of the required courses for the degree because you already know the material or have taken the course, you would work out the courses you’re taking with your advisor to ensure you have a balanced program.

For other questions about enrollment or coursework, please contact Josh Anderson, Program Administrator.


Application Requirements and Deadlines

Who should apply for this program?

Students with an interest in cybersecurity policy and a background in either policy—which could mean political science, international relations, law, economics, etc.—or technology are encouraged to apply.

When are the application deadlines?

MS degree application deadlines:

  • Spring 2022 - November 15, 2021 (domestic only)
  • Fall 2022 - January 15, 2021

BA or BS/MS combined degree application deadlines:

  • Seniors - December 15
  • Juniors - March 15

Start or resume your application.

What are the application requirements?

Prospective students should submit an application online using the Graduate Admissions application portal. Completed applications include:

  • Application Fee
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo if applicable
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
Are there are any prerequisites to apply?

Prospective students should have a solid background in computer science (major, strong minor, or the equivalent) or an undergraduate or advanced degree in economics, international relations, law, political science, or a related field.

Prior to enrolling, if you have not already taken an introductory course in programming, you must successfully complete the equivalent of Tufts courses COMP 10 or 11. The introductory programming course can include programming in C++, Python, or Java, but should not be Javascript based. The course needs to teach not only programming (in any language), but also introduce algorithmic thinking and data structures. Examples of good introductory courses in computer programming include:

  • CS 10 or CS 11 at Tufts University (those who have never studied programming should take CS 10)
  • Compsci 101 Introduction to Computer Science at Duke University:
  • CS50 at Harvard University
  • CS 1301 Intro to Computing at Georgia Tech University
  • CS 101 Introduction to Computing Principles at Stanford University
  • CSE 142 Computer Programming I at the University of Washington
Can I apply to another program at Tufts at the same time?

Students can apply to the MS in Cybersecurity and Public Policy and to another program at the same time, as long as that second program is not administered by the Department of Computer Science. Please note that it is not possible to pursue a dual MS in Cybersecurity and Public Policy with any degree program at The Fletcher School. Students will pay the required application fee for each program applied to.

What funding opportunities are available?

There is currently no funding available for new domestic or international students enrolling in this program. Current Tufts undergraduate students and undergraduate students who attend select bridge institutions may quality for special funding opportunities – see full details for current Tufts students.

For information about graduate student loans and how to apply for financial aid and services, visit the Tufts Financial Aid site, email studentservices@tufts.edu, or call 617-627-2000.

I am applying for January admission, but I will need to take a programming course prior to enrollment. There’s no time between my acceptance and my enrolling for me to do so. Is there any way possible for me to enroll?

Yes! You can take policy courses in the spring term (International Cyber Conflict and Privacy in the Digital Age, both required for the degree, are offered in the spring, as are a number of policy electives). Then you must take a programming course before enrolling in courses in the fall; this can be in your initial spring term or in the summer. Note that the programming course does not count towards the degree.


Contact

I have further questions. Who should I speak to?

The Tufts University Office of Graduate Admissions can assist with questions regarding your application and admissions (gradadmissions@tufts.edu, 617-627-3395). For questions about the MS program in Cybersecurity and Public Policy, please contact program administrator Josh Anderson at joshua.anderson@tufts.edu.