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.

Is the GRE required? What is the minimum GRE requirement? The GRE is not required. It is optional.

When will the program begin? The first class will matriculate in fall 2020. We will begin accepting applications in fall 2019 for admission for fall 2020

What kind of professional skills will I receive from this program? Graduates will gain a variety of skills, and, depending on focus, 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.

Will I be able to find a job with this degree? The landscape is auspicious. From 2013-17, demand for master’s-level cybersecurity policy professionals increased seven times and it is projected to continue to grow by 28% over the next decade. In 2017, the largest portion of cybersecurity policy positions are in the consulting and professional services (43%) industry, indicating that organizations may be outsourcing the function, potentially because it is challenging to find talent.

Courses and Curriculum

How many 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.

What courses are required? The following courses are required (though students with a computer science background may test out of the first two courses below and substitute more advanced computer science courses):

  • Computer Science for Future Presidents (4 credit hours)
  • How Systems Work (4 credit hours)
  • How Systems Fail (4 credit hours)
  • Cyber in the Civil Sector: Threats and Upheavals OR Cyberlaw and Cyberpolicy (3 credit hours)
  • International Cyber Conflict: An Introduction to Power and Conflict in Cyberspace OR Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare (3 credit hours)
  • Privacy in the Digital Age (3 credit hours)

Students will then be required to also complete 9 semester hours of policy or technical electives.

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.

Can students enroll part-time? Yes, but because the area is quite topical, the degree must be completed within four years of the start date.

How long should it take to complete this degree? It is possible to complete the degree in a single year studying full-time, though it is more likely to take somewhat more time. The degree must be completed within four years of matriculation.

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 Computer Science for Future Presidents in their first term in the program, and How Systems Fail in the second term. For part-time students, this means taking How Systems Work, and How Systems Fail, Computer Science for Future Presidents, and Computer Science for Future Presidents by their second, third, and fourth terms respectively.

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 Computer Science for Future Presidents by their second, third, and fourth terms respectively

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. For the 2019-2020 school year, that rate is approximately $1,718/credit.

Applying to Tufts

Who should apply for this program? Students with an interest in cybersecurity policy and a background in either policy or technology are encouraged to apply.

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 degree in political science, international relations, economics, or a related field.

Can I apply for spring admission? Yes, beginning in spring 2021.

Is there a thesis or capstone in this program? No.

When is the application deadline? December 15 for admission the following Fall; September 15 for admission the following Spring.

Can I apply to another program at Tufts at the same time? Students can apply to the M.S. 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. 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 partnering institutions may quality for special funding opportunities – see full details for current Tufts students and for students from partnering universities.

Is the TOEFL/IELTS required? Yes.

What are the prerequisites for entry into the program? Prior to entry in the program you must have taken an introductory course in programming: 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, but also introduce algorithmic thinking and data structures.

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