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Bachelor’s Degrees in Applied Cybersecurity (BACS)


Prepare to be one of the most job-ready candidates in cybersecurity. Bring in 70 credits from any accredited community college or 4-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree after completing 50 credits at SANS.edu. No prior technical experience is required.

Format Option: A 100% online option is available
Total credits:
120 (70 from outside SANS.edu + 50 at SANS.edu)
SANS.edu program duration:
2 years
SANS.edu courses:
10
GIAC Certifications:
9
Internship:
1
Total SANS.edu Program Cost:
$35,750

Earn the degree that prepares you to win a high-paying cybersecurity job.

Becoming a cybersecurity professional isn’t easy, but hard work and commitment at SANS.edu pays off.

Numbers at a Glance

93%
93% of job seekers who completed our curriculum gained employment in cybersecurity within 6 months.
$91K
The median starting salary of students who complete our curriculum is $91K.
500K+
More than 500,000 job openings in cybersecurity are unfilled. (Source: cyberseek.org)
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Join us for a free online info session to learn more.

Learn from the Best

SANS Technology Institute faculty members are rock stars of the cybersecurity field. Their up-to-date examples and deep knowledge ensure that what you learn in class will be useful immediately on the job.

100%
Every member of the SANS.edu faculty is a highly skilled professional currently working in cybersecurity.
150+
More than 150 open source cybersecurity tools have been created by SANS Faculty.
40+
SANS faculty members have authored more than 40 books on information security.
3.5K+
SANS faculty members have produced more than 3,500 research papers and webcasts on information security topics.
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“I was having a hard time getting a job in information security due to my lack of hands-on experience. SANS gave me extraordinary training and the opportunity to rise to the top of the resume pile.” - AJ Langlois, Cyber Analyst II, BB&T

The SANS.edu Advantage

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Affordable

Earn a bachelor's degree without the high cost of a 4-year college.

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GIAC Certifications

Earn 9 professional cybersecurity certifications that employers recognize and respect.

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World-class Faculty

Learn the latest skills and techniques from the world's top cybersecurity practitioners.

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Flexible Schedule

Our programs are designed to fit into your busy work and life schedule.

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100% Online Option

You have the option of completing the program through live or rewindable online courses.

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Expert Career Support

We'll guide your career search and connect you to our global cybersecurity network.

How It Works

Step 1. Begin your studies at any accredited community college or 4-year college.

You'll need to bring in 70 transferrable college credits from an accredited college (or colleges).

Maryland General Education Requirements
You are not required to bring in specific “major” courses into the bachelor's program, but 31 of the 70 credits you earn outside of SANS.edu must meet these Maryland General Education Requirements.

General Education Requirements (31 credits)Credits

Arts and Humanities

3

English Composition

3

Social and Behavioral Sciences

3

Mathematics

3

Biological and Physical Sciences

3

Additional General Education Electives

16


Step 2. Complete your studies at the SANS Technology Institute.

Continue your studies (50 credits) and earn your bachelor’s degree from SANS.edu. 

  • Gain in-demand skills in immersive cybersecurity courses with hands-on labs designed and taught by industry leaders.
  • Earn 9 industry-recognized GIAC cybersecurity certifications.
  • Analyze and report on emerging threats in an internship with the Internet Storm Center, a global cybersecurity monitoring program.
  • Complete advanced cybersecurity coursework in areas of greatest industry need.

SANS.edu Suggested Course Sequence

Junior Year

  • SANS Course: SEC275: Foundations: Computers, Technology, & Security
    Certification: GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT)

    6 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    BACS 3275 is purpose-built to provide students with the fundamental technical knowledge and skills that serve as the baseline for all professionals in cybersecurity, reinforcing key concepts with interactive labs. You'll establish a core understanding of technology component functions and apply that knowledge to security concepts such as reconstructing a crime from digital evidence or locating exploitable flaws in software and websites. The course ensures a solid mastery of computer, hardware, network, and cybersecurity fundamentals, including the study of operating systems, Windows security tools, Linux, programming with Python and C, advanced Google searches, reconnaissance, virtualization, and encryption. You'll explore the inner workings of packets and protocols that allow the internet to function and learn the role of a computer's central processing unit (CPU), how it executes code, its relationship with memory, and the fundamentals of how attackers disrupt intended behavior.

  • SANS Course: SEC301: Introduction to Cyber Security
    Certification: GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3275
    4 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Note: this course can be taken concurrently with BACS 3402

    BACS 3301 instills familiarity with core security terms and principles. This course covers everything from core terminology to the how computers and networks function, security policies, risk management, a new way of looking at passwords, cryptographic principles, network attacks & malware, wireless security, firewalls and many other security technologies, web & browser security, backups, virtual machines & cloud computing.

  • Prerequisite: BACS 3275
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Note: this course can be taken concurrently with BACS 3301

    This unique course, built exclusively for those in cybersecurity, will strengthen your writing and speaking skills. During the first half of the course, you will learn the five "golden elements" of effective reports, briefings, emails, and other cybersecurity writing as well as understand how to pick the best words, structure, look, and tone. The second half of the course gives you the skills to put together an effective security briefing, secure the interest and engagement of your audience, and confidently deliver presentations to a variety of groups.

  • SANS Course: SEC401: Security Essentials - Network, Endpoint, and Cloud
    Certification: GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

    Prerequisites: BACS 3301, BACS 3402
    6 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    BACS 3401 is a technically-oriented survey course in which you'll learn the most effective steps to prevent cyber attacks and detect adversaries. In classes and hands-on labs, you'll learn to develop effective security metrics that provide a focused playbook that IT can implement, auditors can validate, and executives can understand. You'll explore methods to analyze and assess the risk to your environment in order to drive the creation of a security roadmap that focuses on the right areas of security. And you'll learn practical tips and tricks to focus in on high-priority security problems and on the actions required to protect and secure an organization's critical information assets and business systems.

  • SANS Course: SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, and Incident Handling
    Certification: GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3401
    6 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    BACS 3504 is an in-depth focus into the critical activity of incident handling. Students are taught how to manage intrusions by first looking at the techniques used by attackers to exploit a system. Students learn responses to those techniques, which can be adopted within the framework of the incident handling process to handle attacks in an organized way. The faculty instruction, lab exercises, and exam are coordinated to develop and test a student’s ability to utilize the core capabilities required for incident handling today.

Senior Year

  • SANS Course: SEC573: Automating Information Security with Python
    Certification: GIAC Python Coder (GPYC)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    4 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Note: this course can be taken concurrently with an elective course in the program

    This course teaches student in the pen testing specialization, and other students who want to use the Python programming language, how to enhance their overall effectiveness during information security engagements. Students will learn how to apply core programming concepts and techniques learned in other courses through the Python programming language. The course teaches skills and techniques that can enhance an information security professional in penetration tests, security operations, and special projects. Students will create simple Python-based tools to interact with network traffic, create custom executables, test and interact with databases and websites, and parse logs or sets of data.

  • Choose any 3-credit course from the list of elective courses below.

  • SANS Course: SEC503: Intrusion Detection In-Depth
    Certification: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    6 Credit Hours | 8 Week Course Term

    BACS 4503 delivers the technical knowledge, insight, and hands-on training needed to defend networks with confidence. Students will learn about the underlying theory of TCP/IP and the most used application protocols, such as DNS and HTTP, so that they can intelligently examine network traffic for signs of an intrusion. Daily hands-on exercises suitable for all experience levels reinforce the course book material so that students can transfer knowledge to execution.

  • Choose any 3-credit course from the list of elective courses below.

  • Choose any 3-credit course from the list of elective courses below.

  • Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    6 Credit Hours | 20 Week Course Term

    *Note: this internship can be taken concurrently with the elective courses in the program

    Much like the World Health Organization and its global disease monitoring network, the SANS Technology Institute, through its research wing in the Internet Storm Center (ISC), maintains and operates the world’s leading global cyber threat detection network.

    The ISC depends on continuous input from a series of DShield sensors and web application honeypots. Of course, all that collected data accomplishes nothing if it is not processed, interpreted, analyzed and very quickly reported to the global information security community. This is the role of the ISC handlers, the frontline personnel of global threat detection, whose main task is to take all the input received into the ISC and turn it into "diaries" (https://isc.sans.edu/diaryarchive.html).

    This virtual internship as an Apprentice Handler will provide a student with a continuous opportunity over the course of 20 weeks to observe emerging threats, to analyze and report upon those threats, and to gain experience under the mentorship of a Handler or Senior Handler. This hands-on, real-world experience will prepare the student for a first professional cybersecurity role in a way that few other programs can. That experience will include not only a deepening of practical understanding of real-world technical issues, but also the ability to effectively write and communicate about those issues.

UPPER DIVISION SPECIALIZATION ELECTIVE OPTIONS (choose 3)

Cyber Defense

  • SANS Course: SEC450: Blue Team Fundamentals: Security Operations and Analysis
    Certification: GIAC Security Operations Certified (GSOC)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4450 provides students with technical knowledge and key concepts essential for security operation center (SOC) analysts and new cyber defense team members. By providing a detailed explanation of the mission and mindset of a modern cyber defense operation, this course will jumpstart and empower those on their way to becoming the next generation of blue team members.

  • SANS Course: SEC487: Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) Gathering and Analysis
    Certification: GIAC Open Source Intelligence (GOSI)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4487 is a foundational course in open-source intelligence (OSINT) gathering that teaches students real-world skills and techniques that law enforcement, private investigators, cyber attackers, and defenders use to scour the massive amounts of information found on the Internet. Once the information is gathered, this course will show you how to ensure that it is corroborated, how to analyze what you've gathered, and how to make sure it is useful in your investigations.

  • SANS Course: SEC501: Advanced Security Essentials - Enterprise Defender
    Certification: GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender (GCED)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4501 brings together all the elements of a modern cyber defense program. Students learn how to identify threats and build defensible networks to minimize the impact of an attack, use tools to detect adversaries, decode and analyze packets using various tools to identify anomalies, understand how adversaries compromise networks, perform penetration testing against their own organization to find vulnerabilities, apply the six-step incident response plan, use tools to remediate malware infections, and create a data classification program to make data loss protection systems effective.

  • SANS Course: SEC505: Securing Windows and PowerShell Automation
    Certification: GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4505 shows students how to secure servers, workstations and portable devices running Microsoft Windows. Windows is the most frequent target of hackers and advanced malware. While other courses focus on detection or remediation of a compromise after the fact, the aim of this course is to substantially reduce these compromises in the first place. For scalability and automation, this course includes many hands-on labs with Group Policy and PowerShell scripting. No prior scripting experience is required. Learning at least the basics of PowerShell is an essential skill for anyone who manages Windows servers or clients in an enterprise.

  • SANS Course: SEC511: Continuous Monitoring and Security Operations
    Certification: GIAC Continuous Monitoring Certification (GMON)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    A new proactive approach to security is needed to enhance the capabilities of organizations to detect threats that will inevitably slip through their defenses. ACS 4511 teaches this new proactive approach and strengthens student’s skills to undertake that proactive approach. The Defensible Security Architecture, Network Security Monitoring (NSM)/Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM)/Continuous Security Monitoring (CSM) taught in this course will help students best position their organization or Security Operations Center (SOC) to analyze threats and detect anomalies that could indicate cybercriminal behavior.

Penetration Testing

  • SANS Course: SEC460: Enterprise and Cloud | Threat and Vulnerability Assessment
    Certification: GIAC Enterprise Vulnerability Assessor (GEVA)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4460 covers threat management, introduces the core components of comprehensive vulnerability assessment, and provides the hands-on instruction necessary to produce a vigorous defensive strategy from day one. The course focuses on equipping information security personnel from mid-sized to large organizations who are charged with effectively and efficiently securing 10,000 or more systems.

  • SANS Course: SEC542: Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking
    Certification: GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    With in-depth, hands-on labs and high-quality course content, ACS 4542 helps students move beyond push-button scanning to professional, thorough, and high-value web application testing. This enables students to demonstrate the impact of inadequate security that plagues most organizations’ websites. The addition of a series of enrichment exercises that strengthen students’ ability to work in Python and understand how the networks and operating systems enable web attacks to succeed so as to become even more insightful penetration testers.

  • SANS Course: SEC560: Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking
    Certification: GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Every organization needs skilled information security personnel who can probe for vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit in networks, web-based applications, and computer systems, and mitigate them. ACS 4560 is specially designed to get you ready for that role. The course starts with proper planning, scoping and recon, then dives deep into scanning, target exploitation, password attacks, and web app manipulation, with over 30 detailed hands-on labs. After building your skills, you'll conduct an end-to-end pen test, applying knowledge, tools, and principles from throughout the course as you discover and exploit vulnerabilities in a realistic sample target organization.

  • SANS Course: SEC575: Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking
    Certification: GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Cybersecurity attacks are increasing and evolving so rapidly that is more difficult than ever to prevent and defend against them. ACS 4566 will help you to ensure that your organization has an effective method in place to detect, thwart, and monitor external and internal threats to prevent security breaches. As threats evolve, an organization’s security should too. Standards based implementation takes a prioritized, risk-based approach to security and shows you how standardized controls are the best way to block known attacks and mitigate damage from successful attacks.

Security Management

  • SANS Course: SEC566: Implementing and Auditing CIS Critical Controls
    Certification: GIAC Critical Controls Certification (GCCC)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    Cybersecurity attacks are increasing and evolving so rapidly that is more difficult than ever to prevent and defend against them. ACS 4566 will help you to ensure that your organization has an effective method in place to detect, thwart, and monitor external and internal threats to prevent security breaches. As threats evolve, an organization’s security should too. Standards based implementation takes a prioritized, risk-based approach to security and shows you how standardized controls are the best way to block known attacks and mitigate damage from successful attacks.

Digital Forensics and Incident Response

  • SANS Course: FOR498: Battlefield Forensics & Data Acquisition
    Certification: GIAC Battlefield Forensics and Acquisition (GBFA)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    This course provides the necessary skills to identify the many and varied data storage mediums in use today and how to collect and preserve this data in a forensically sound manner despite how and where it may be stored. It covers digital acquisition from computers, portable devices, networks, and the cloud. It then teaches the student Battlefield Forensics, or the art and science of identifying and starting to extract actionable intelligence from a hard drive in 90 minutes or less.

  • SANS Course: FOR500: Windows Forensic Analysis
    Certification: GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    This course focuses on the critical knowledge of the Windows Operating System that every digital forensic analyst needs to investigate computer incidents successfully. Students learn how computer forensic analysts focus on collecting and analyzing data from computer systems to track user-based activity that can be used in internal investigations or civil/criminal litigation. The course covers the methodology of in-depth computer forensic examinations, digital investigative analysis, and media exploitation so each student will have complete qualifications to work as a computer forensic investigator helping to solve and fight crime.

  • SANS Course: FOR508: Advanced Incident Response, Threat Hunting, and Digital Forensics
    Certification: GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4508 teaches the necessary capabilities for forensic analysts and incident responders to identify and counter a wide range of threats within enterprise networks. This course is constantly updated and addresses today’s incidents by providing hand-on forensics tactics and techniques that elite responders are successfully using in real-world breach cases.

Cloud Security

  • SANS Course: SEC488: Cloud Security Essentials
    Certification: GIAC Cloud Security Essentials (GCLD)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4488 covers Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud, and other cloud service providers (CSPs). Like foreign languages, cloud environments have similarities and differences, and this course will introduce you to the language of cloud security. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to advise and speak about a wide range of cybersecurity topics and successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by cloud service providers.

  • SANS Course: SEC588: Cloud Penetration Testing
    Certification: GIAC Cloud Penetration Tester (GCPN)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4588 equips you with the latest in cloud-focused penetration testing techniques and teaches you how to assess cloud environments. The course dives into topics like cloud-based microservices, in-memory data stores, serverless functions, Kubernetes meshes, and containers, as well as identifying and testing in cloud-first and cloud-native applications. You will also learn specific tactics for penetration testing in Azure and Amazon Web Services, particularly important given that AWS and Microsoft account for more than half the market.

  • SANS Course: SEC510: Public Cloud Security: AWS, Azure, and GCP
    Certification: GIAC Public Cloud Security (GPCS)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4510 provides cloud security practitioners, analysts, and researchers with an in-depth understanding of the inner workings of the most popular public cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Students will learn industry-renowned standards and methodologies, such as the MITRE ATT&CK Cloud Matrix and CIS Cloud Benchmarks, then apply that knowledge in hands-on exercises to assess a modern web application that leverages the cloud native offerings of each provider. Through this process students will learn the philosophies that undergird each provider and how these have influenced their services.

  • SANS Course: SEC522: Application Security: Securing Web Applications, APIs, and Microservices
    Certification: GIAC Certified Web Application Defender (GWEB)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    This course covers the OWASP Top 10 and provides students with a better understanding of web application vulnerabilities, enabling them to properly defend organizational web assets. Mitigation strategies from an infrastructure, architecture, and coding perspective are discussed alongside real-world implementations that really work. The testing aspect of vulnerabilities is also covered so students can ensure their application is tested for the vulnerabilities discussed in class.

  • SANS Course: SEC540: Cloud Security and DevSecOps Automation
    Certification: GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    This course provides security professionals with a methodology for securing modern Cloud and DevOps environments. Students learn how to implement over 20 DevSecOps Security Controls for building, testing, deploying, and monitoring cloud infrastructure and services. Immersive hands-on labs ensure students not only understand theory, but how to configure and implement each security control. By embracing the DevOps culture, students will walk away battle tested and ready to build an organization’s Cloud & DevOps Security program.

Industrial Control Systems Security

  • SANS Course: ICS410: ICS/SCADA Security Essentials
    Certification: Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP)

    Prerequisite: BACS 3504
    3 Credit Hours
    8 Week Course Term

    ACS 4410 is designed to help traditional IT personnel fully understand the design principles underlying control systems and how to support those systems in a manner that ensures availability and integrity. In parallel, the course addresses the need for control system engineers and operators to better understand the important role they play in cybersecurity. Students will learn the language, the underlying theory, and the basic tools for industrial control system security in setting across a wide range of industry sectors and applications.

Build a Strong Foundation for Your Future

Course Delivery Options

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“The instructors, materials and labs all worked together to provide a comprehensive study of where cyber technology is today. The GIAC certifications I earned allowed me to reenter the workforce in stride." - A. Riley, Technical Support Engineer, Threat Quotient

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Already have a bachelor’s degree?

If you want to launch a cybersecurity career and already have a bachelor’s degree or higher, our undergraduate certificate program in Applied Cybersecurity may be a good fit for you.
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Tuition

Total Program Tuition (for SANS.edu program): $35,750

Tuition includes the cost of the course, textbooks, and certification tests that serve as exams for courses.

If you’ve taken SANS courses and passed the corresponding GIAC certification, for example SANS SEC275 and the GFACT certification, you may be able to waive 12-18 eligible credit hours (the equivalent of 3 courses) into this program. See our waiver policy.

Funding Options

A degree or certificate from SANS.edu is a great investment in your career. We offer a variety of tuition options to make that investment accessible.
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Questions?

We're happy to help. Email info@sans.edu or call 301.241.7665.

About the SANS Technology Institute

Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute (SANS.edu) is the independent, regionally-accredited, VA-approved subsidiary of SANS, the world's largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training, certification, and research. Offering graduate and undergraduate programs at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, SANS.edu is strengthening the cyber workforce through a career-focused curriculum built on proven SANS courses and industry-recognized GIAC certifications.

The SANS Technology Institute is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000), an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.