Computer Science Master's Degree - Computer Security

Computer Security

Online Program Overview

Degree Level
Master's Degree
Total Credits
Fully Online
Contact Us
Minimum GPA
Qualifying Exam
GRE Required

The Computer Security track is intended for students who wish to develop state-of-the-art knowledge of computer and network security technologies. Security considerations pervade personal, corporate, military, governmental, and national infrastructure systems and networks. This track will help you develop leading-edge knowledge in security.

"I found the CVN experience convenient. It allowed my to fit my education around my cluttered work schedule and select study times when my mind was ready to absorb the challenging material."
Chuck Schulz, IBM

Admissions Requirements

Degree required for admission: Most candidates have completed an undergraduate degree in computer science. Applicants with degrees in other disciplines and a record of excellence are encouraged to apply; these applicants are required to have completed at least six prerequisites: 4 computer science courses covering the foundations of the field and 2 math courses. 

Examples of computer science courses would be courses offered through an undergraduate computer science program: Intro to Computer Science (COMS W1004 or COMS W1007), Advanced Programming (COMS W3157), Data Structures and Algorithms (COMS W3134 or W3137), which is a prerequisite for most of our graduate-level courses, or/and Discrete Math (COMS W3203).  For the math prereqs, students are encouraged to take linear algebra and differential equations. 

Please note that these must be taken at a university (can be online) and must be grade- and credit-bearing.  MOOCs such as courses on Coursera and edX do NOT meet this requirement. These courses are not offered here at Columbia Video Network, but may be taken at another online institution or your local university.  Work experience does not waive this requirement.

GPA required: Most students admitted have earned a grade point average above 3.5 (out of 4.0); a GPA of at least 3.3 is required. 

GRE requirements: General test required. A subject GRE test is not required but may be helpful in strengthening your application. 

Competence in English: Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied at schools where English is the primary language must complete the TOEFL exam with a minimum grade of 600 on the written TOEFL, or 250 on the computerized version. 

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application.  For answers to your most common admissions questions, please review our FAQ page here.

Students must complete at least 30 points of graduate coursework as outlined below.

1.  Security Track requires:

  •         Breadth courses
  •         Required Track courses (15 pts)

  •         Track Electives (6 pts)

  •         General Electives (6 pts)

2.  5 required courses (15 pts): COMS W4118 (OS), COMS W4156 (Adv. Software Engineering), COMS W4180 (Network Security), COMS W4187 (Security Architecture and Engineering), and either COMS W4261 (Introduction to Cryptography) or COMS E6185 (Intrusion Detection).

3.    2 elective courses (6 pts) selected from the list of Elective Track Courses; at least 1 of these courses must be a 6000-level CS course.

4.     1 general elective graduate CS course (3 pts), at 4000-level or above.

5.     Must have 6 points at the 6000-level, at least 3 of these 6000-level points must be selected from the list of Elective Track Courses.


Students must complete all core courses and selected electives for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN while maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.7. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.

Course List

Core Breadth Requirement

Students are required to satisfy Breadth Requirements by taking one course from Group 1, one course from Group 2, one course from Group 3, and one more course from any of the three groups. Track courses taken at Columbia can also count towards the breadth requirement.

Group 1 - Systems

  • COMS W4111: Database Systems
  • COMS W4112: Database System Implementation
  • COMS W4115: Programming Languages and Translators
  • COMS W4118: Operating Systems
  • CSEE W4119: Computer Networks
  • COMS W4156: Advanced Software Engineering
  • COMS W4130: Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming
  • COMS W4180: Network Security
  • COMS W4187: Security Architecture and Engineering
  • CSEE W4824: Computer Architecture

Group 2 - Theory

  • COMS W4203: Graph Theory
  • CSOR W4231: Analysis of Algorithms I
  • COMS W4236: Introduction to Computational Complexity
  • COMS W4241: Numerical Algorithms and Complexity
  • COMS W4252: Introduction to Computational Learning Theory
  • COMS W4261: Introduction to Cryptography
  • COMS W4281: Introduction to Quantum Computing

Group 3 - Artificial Intelligence & Applications

  • COMS W4701: Artificial Intelligence
  • COMS W4705: Natural Language Processing
  • COMS W4706: Spoken Language Processing
  • COMS W4733: Computational Aspects of Robotics
  • COMS W4735: Visual Interfaces to Computers
  • COMS W4771: Machine Learning
  • COMS W4772: Advanced Machine Learning

Required Track Courses

Candidates are required to complete the following courses:

  • COMS W4118: Operating Systems
  • COMS W4156: Advanced Software Engineering
  • COMS W4180: Network Security
  • COMS W4187: Security Architecture and Engineering
  • COMS W4261: Introduction to Cryptography
  • or COMS E6185: Intrusion and Anomaly Detection Systems

Elective Track Courses

Students are required to complete two courses out of the following list; at least one course must be 6000 level.

Note: The list of electives may be updated to reflect changes in the schedule of course offerings.

  • COMS W4115: Programming Languages and Translators
  • CSEE W4119: Computer Networks
  • COMS W4261: Introduction to Cryptography
  • COMS W4995: VOIP Security
  • COMS W4995: Cryptography & Financial Processes
  • COMS E6118: Operating Systems,II
  • COMS E6181: Advanced Internet Services
  • COMS W6183: Advanced Topics in Network Security
  • COMS E6184: Privacy and Anonymity
  • COMS E6185: Intrusion and Anomaly Detection
  • COMS E6261: Advanced Cryptography
  • COMS E6998: Advanced Topics in Security
  • COMS E6998: Network Theory
  • COMS E6998: Virtual Machines
  • COMS E6998: Cloud Computing
  • COMS E6998: Formal Hardware & Software Verification
  • COMS E6998: Resilient Hardware Systems
  • COMS E6998: Cloud & Mobile Challenges
  • COMS E6998: Privacy in Online Social Networks
  • COMS E6901: Projects in Computer Science
  • ELEN E4703: Wireless Communications
  • ELEN E6761: Computer Communication Networks
  • ELEN E6886: Topics in Multimedia Security
  • ELEN E6950: Wireless & Mobile Nets, I
  • ELEN E6951: Wireless & Mobile Nets, II

General Electives

Candidates are required to complete at least one Computer Science graduate-level course. Students may take up to three points of non-CS/non-tech course approved by the advisor.

Tuition & Fees

2018 - 2019 Tuition & Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute, and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

CVN Credit Tuition: $2,018 per point (Credit Hour)
CVN Fee: $395 non-refundable fee per course
Transcript Fee: $105 non-refundable one-time fee

Estimated cost of each nondegree course: $6,554
Estimated total cost of certification (four online courses) : $25,901

Estimated total cost of MS (ten online courses): $64,595
Estimated total cost of DES (ten online courses plus a minimum of 12 research credits) : $90,391

Graduate Admission Application Fee: $150 non-refundable one-time fee
Certification Program Application Fee: $150 non-refundable one-time fee

Late Registration Fee: $100 non-refundable fee

CVN Withdrawal Fee: $75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees
For example: A three credit course would be $6,054 + transcript fee $105 (one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $6,554

Please note: CVN no longer offers courses for audit.


Payment should be mailed to:

Columbia Video Network
540 S.W. MUDD Building, MC4719
500 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027


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