Curriculum And Tracks

In this photo, Professor Shriram Krishnamurthi teaches students outside.

Our two tracks (Computer Science Track and Policy Track) allow you to choose a curricular focus. Upon graduation, your track appears on your transcript and helps you communicate your particular cybersecurity expertise.

Both tracks share two required courses and have a third required computer security course that explores similar content. These required courses enable students in both tracks to build a common foundation, learn from each other, and formulate a shared framework for creating cybersecurity solutions. Required courses cover cybersecurity from three complementary perspectives: computing, human factors, and law.

Note that course details and available courses are subject to change.

For more information about all Brown CS courses, click here. For more information about all Watson Institute courses, click here

For questions related to the Policy Track please contact Timothy Edgar (timothy_edgar@brown.edu), Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs & Director of Graduate Studies (Policy Track). For questions related to the Computer Science Track please contact Bernardo Palazzi (bernardo_palazzi@brown.edu), Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Computer Science & Director of Graduate Studies (Computer Science Track).

Required Courses

CSCI 1360 Human Factors in Cybersecurity 

This course examines the unique role that users play in being part of attack surfaces. A major goal of the course is to introduce you to the security mindset. The course will explore topics like social engineering, open source intelligence gathering, threat modeling, corporate security practices, and research design. Some class sessions will feature guest speakers with relevant industry expertise.

CSCI 1660 Computer Systems Security (Computer Security Requirement for the Computer Science Track Only)

This course teaches principles of computer security from an applied viewpoint and provides hands-on experience with security threats and countermeasures. The course additionally covers principles and skills useful for making informed security decisions and for understanding how security interacts with the world around it. The main topics covered are cryptography, authentication, access control, operating systems security, web security, and network security. Other topics include general security principles, the security of complex systems, and the tradeoffs of security. The course aims to balance theory and practice.

CSCI 1860 Cybersecurity Law and Policy

This course covers a variety of cybersecurity law and policy issues. Topics range from private sector information sharing and critical infrastructure protection to cyber crime, internet governance, and international law as it might apply in a cyber conflict. How can we address problems of network and computer insecurity effectively across organizational, national and international boundaries while upholding civil liberties and other fundamental values? You will participate in scenarios in which you will consider cybersecurity policy issues from a variety of perspectives.

CSCI 1880 Introduction to Computer Security (Computer Security Requirement for the Policy Track Only)

This course examines the basic principles of computer security for an organization, recognizing which system components relate to which principles. Additionally, the course covers methodologies and skills for making informed security decisions and understanding how to apply security principles to design security mechanisms while considering tradeoffs. Topics include general security principles, cryptography, authentication authorization, identity and access management, operating systems security, network security, web security, and applications security. Throughout the course, you will develop a preliminary cybersecurity plan for an organization.

Computer Science Track

Required Courses (All are required.)

  • CSCI 1360 Human Factors in Cybersecurity
  • CSCI 1660 Computer Systems Security
  • CSCI 1860 Cybersecurity Law and Policy

Track Courses (Select three.)

  • CSCI 1310 Fundamentals of Computer Systems or CSCI 1330 Computer Systems

  • CSCI 1510 Introduction to Cryptography (prerequisite: CSCI 1010 Theory of Computation, prerequisite/corequisite: CSCI 1660 Computer Systems Security)

  • CSCI 1650 Software Security and Exploitation (prerequisites: CSCI 1330 Computer Systems, CSCI 1670 Operating Systems)

  • CSCI 1670/1690 Operating Systems (prerequisite: CSCI 1330 Computer Systems)

  • CSCI 1680 Computer Networks (prerequisite: CSCI 1310 Fundamentals of Computer Systems or CSCI 1330 Computer Systems)

  • CSCI 1730 Programming Languages

  • CSCI 1950-Y Logic for Systems

  • CSCI 1951-L Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies (prerequisite: CSCI 1330 Computer Systems)

  • CSCI 2390 Privacy-Conscious Computer Systems (prerequisite: CSCI 1380 Distributed Computer Systems)

  • CSCI 2590 Advanced Topics in Cryptography (prerequisite: CSCI 1510 Introduction to Cryptography and Computer Security)

  • CSCI 2680 Management of IT Systems and Cyber Risk (prerequisite: CSCI 1660 Computer Systems Security)

  • CSCI 2950-V Topics in Applied Cryptography (prerequisite: CSCI 1510 Introduction to Cryptography and Computer Security)

  • CSCI 2951-E Topics in Computer Systems Security (prerequisite: CSCI 1660 Computer Systems Security)

  • CSCI 2951-U Topics in Software Security (prerequisite: CSCS 1650 Software Security and Exploitation)

Elective Courses (Select two. This may include up to two independent study courses.)

  • CSCI 1010 Theory of Computing

  • CSCI 1270 Databases

  • CSCI 1300 User Interfaces

  • CSCI 1380 Distributed Computing

  • CSCI 1410 Artificial Intelligence

  • CSCI 1420 Machine Learning

  • CSCI 1450 Probability

  • CSCI 1470 Deep Learning

  • CSCI 1570 Algorithms

  • CSCI 1800 Cybersecurity and International Relations

  • CSCI 1805 Computers, Freedom and Privacy

  • CSCI 1870 Cybersecurity Ethics

  • CSCI 1951-R Robotics

  • CSCI 2805 Advanced Topics in Cyber Law and Policy

  • CSCI 2980 Reading and Research

  • IAPA 1201-A Cyber Security: Strategy & Policy

  • Other appropriate courses are possible with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the instructor if you've satisfied their prerequisites.

Note this list is subject to change and not all courses may be offered or available in a given semester.

Policy Track

Required Courses (All are required.)

  • CSCI 1360 Human Factors in Cybersecurity

  • CSCI 1860 Cybersecurity Law and Policy

  • CSCI 1880 Introduction to Computer Security

Track Courses (Select three. Alternatively, if you're completing a two-semester project, you may choose two track courses and one elective course from the list below.)

  • CSCI 1800 Cybersecurity and International Relations

  • CSCI 1805 Computers, Freedom and Privacy

  • CSCI 1870 Cybersecurity Ethics 

  • CSCI 1970 Individual Independent Study/Cybersecurity Policy Project (This can count as 1 or 2 courses: shorter projects will count as one course and are completed in one semester; longer projects will count as two courses and are completed in two semesters.)

  • CSCI 2001 Applied Cryptography and Data Privacy 

  • CSCI 2002  Privacy and Data Protection 

  • IAPA 1201-A Cybersecurity: Strategy & Policy

  • Other appropriate courses are possible with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the instructor if you've satisfied their prerequisites.

Elective Courses (Select two.)

  • CSCI 0020 The Digital World

  • CSCI 0100 Data Fluency for All

  • CSCI 0111 Computing Foundations: Data

  • CSCI 0112 Computing Foundations: Program Organization (prerequisite: CSCI 0111 Computing Foundations: Data, or demonstrate equivalent competency)

  • CSCI 1300 User Interfaces and User Experience

  • CSCI 1951-L Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies

  • Other appropriate courses are possible with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the instructor if you've satisfied their prerequisites.

Note that this list is subject to change and not all courses may be offered or available in a given semester.