Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate

Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate (CSF)

A lower division undergraduate program is proud to be an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Make your best first step into the field of cybersecurity and unlock a world of possibilities. Not just for undergrads, the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program provides you with a powerful introduction to the foundational skills, knowledge and tools needed to succeed in our more technical upper division cybersecurity undergraduate programs.

No prior technical experience is required.

Format: 100% online

Courses: 3

GIAC Certifications: 1

Credits: 12

Duration: 9 months

Total Program Cost: $3,000

What is the Paller Scholarship

Build the Confidence to Pursue Technical Cybersecurity Studies

Getting started in cybersecurity may seem daunting, but can help you lay the foundation for success. The lower division Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program equips you with the essential skills and knowledge needed to move confidently on to our more technical upper division undergraduate cybersecurity programs.

This program is open to students of any age (18+) who have previously earned at least 12 college credits.

How Our Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate Works


Start when you want to.

You're not limited to the standard semester schedule, so you can apply any month and start a few months later.


Take one online class at a time.

Take 3 online courses one at a time, with personalized support from a student advisor from start to finish.


Choose the course start dates that work for you.

Earn your Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate in 6 to 9 months while working full-time or pursuing a degree.


Earn an industry-recognized GIAC Certification.

You'll earn the GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT) certification, validating your knowledge of foundational concepts needed to get started in cybersecurity.


Move forward.

Apply to the Applied Cybersecurity Certificate or bachelor's degree program having completed the first course for either program.

SANS OnDemand Student

Flexible Online Courses Taught by Leading Experts

You'll complete all courses in the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program entirely online. Each course is a carefully designed sequence of video lessons recorded by the course authors all top experts currently working in cybersecurity.

  • Train at anytime from anywhere
  • Pause, play, and rewind content, including hands-on labs
  • Get personalized support from a student advisor and access to subject matter experts

The Curriculum | 12 Credits

Designed for students who need to refresh their knowledge or who have no prior technical experience, this sequence of 3 courses introduces you to the fundamental technologies and skills that serve as the baseline for all professionals in cybersecurity.

CSF 2395: Applied Mathematics for Information Security Professionals | 3 Credits

This course covers the most important mathematics foundations that apply to computer science and information security, namely the fundamentals of cryptography and the notions of sets and closed systems. You'll gain an understanding of how these tools are used in real problems that you will face in the field. At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to reason on and apply fundamental mathematics as they interface with computer science and cybersecurity topics.

  • Course focus: Fill in mathematical knowledge gaps relevant to cybersecurity and information technology.
  • Engaging content: Videos and animations illustrate mathematical concepts.

  • No extensive proofs: Focus is not on becoming a mathematician, but on providing foundational understanding for practical application.

  • Preparation for real-world scenarios: Gain the tools and understanding to tackle technical problems in SANS courses or in professional work environments.

CSF 2373: Introductory Python | 3 Credits

In this hands-on course, you'll actively write Python code, so you can see successful results and learn by doing. You'll learn how to install and maintain Python programs and modules, and utilize basic Python programming concepts such as functions, Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), modules, lists, and basic file input / output.

  • Popularity and Versatility: Python is the most popular programming language globally, with extensive usage in various domains such as web development, data science, artificial intelligence, automation, and scripting.
  • Understanding Tools: Reading and understanding code is crucial for security professionals to ensure the safety of their networks, as many security tools are distributed as Python source code.

  • Enhancing Tool Effectiveness: Learning to code allows professionals to create custom tools tailored to their organization's needs.
  • Facilitating Career Advancement: Coding skills are highly beneficial for technical professionals, leading to increased productivity, innovation, and potential promotions.

CSF 2275: Foundations: Computers, Technology, & Security | 6 Credits

This course provides you with fundamental skills and knowledge in key IT subject areas, preparing you for more advanced cybersecurity coursework. More than 60 hands-on labs and exercises build and test your skills in a real-life environment, and you'll gain a level of theoretical understanding and applied practical skills that will enable you to speak the same language as industry professionals. At the end of the class, you’ll take an exam to earn the globally recognized GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT) certification as validation of the skills you’ve gained.

  • The course covers the foundations of cybersecurity in 12 modules:
    • Computer Components and Concepts
    • Linux
    • The Web
    • Networking Fundamentals
    • Servers and Services
    • Practical Programming and Concepts
    • SQL
    • Windows Foundations
    • Advanced Computer Hardware
    • Security Concepts
    • Offensive Security Concepts
    • Network and Computer Infiltration

The Best Course to Start Your Cybersecurity Journey

Learn more about our cybersecurity Foundations course from the expert who built it.

James Lyne and a team of experts developed the lab-intensive SANS course SEC 275: Foundations: Computers, Technology, & Security so you could not only understand and discuss core cybersecurity concepts but actively put them into practice at your keyboard.

Together, SEC275 and the GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT) certification comprise CSF 2275, the final course of the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program. They are also the gateway to our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate and bachelor's degree programs.

Discover how you can start your cybersecurity journey on solid ground with SEC275 and GFACT certification.


A Pathway to Further Study at

The Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program provides an affordable way to gain foundational cybersecurity knowledge and prepare yourself for our more more advance upper division Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program or bachelor's degree program or for cybersecurity studies elsewhere.

If you previously applied to our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program or bachelor's degree program and were not admitted, the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program gives you the opportunity to demonstrate the academic grit and ability needed to transition into upper division study.

Applied Cybersecurity Certificate Program (ACS)

  • CSF 2275, the final course of the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program, is identical to the first course of the upper division Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program, so you'll enter the ACS program with the first of four courses completed.
  • If you don't meet the required 48 college credit (minimum) requirement for the ACS program, you can earn 6 credits in the CSF program.

Bachelor's Degree Program in Applied Cybersecurity (BACS)

  • CSF 2275, the final course of the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program, is identical to the first course of the bachelor's degree program, so you'll enter the BACS program with your first course completed.
  • The first 2 courses (6 credits) from the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program can be applied as credits to the bachelor's degree program.
  • The CSF Python course will prepare you for further Python studies in the BACS program.
  • Students who have been provisionally admitted to the BACS program can complete the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program to begin preparing for the BACS program. Students earn the GFACT certificate (so the first BACS course is completed) and earn 6 credits toward the 60 needed to start the BACS program (and the 70 credits required to graduate).
Coworkers talking

A Stepping Stone to a Cybersecurity Career

Although this program was designed as a bridge to further studies in cybersecurity, you'll also be primed with the skills and knowledge needed for various entry-level positions in cybersecurity and IT, including help desk, network administrator, and system administrator. When you learn to protect vital digital assets and thwart cyber threats, you'll begin a journey that will shape your future for years to come.

The Career Center only works with students in our upper division Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program and bachelor's degree program, but graduates of the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program are poised to transition into either program.

cybersecurity student

Take Your Next Step

Need more information? We’re happy to answer your questions. Join us for an info session, email or call 301.241.7665.

Ready to apply? We look forward to learning about you and your cybersecurity career goals.



Total Program Cost: $3,000 USD

Tuition includes the cost of the courses, textbooks, and one GIAC certification test that serves as the exam for the final course.


We're happy to help. Email or call 301.241.7665.

About the SANS Technology Institute

Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute ( 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, 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 (1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 - 267.284.5000), an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.