Graduate Certificate Programs: Cybersecurity Leadership

Designed for working information security professionals, the graduate certificate in Cybersecurity Leadership prepares you to build and execute strategic plans that resonate with business executives, create effective information security policy, design and deploy information security environments, and lead, inspire, and motivate cybersecurity teams.

Format Option: A 100% online option is available
Courses: 6
GIAC Certifications: 5
Credits: 16
Duration: 18-24 months
Total Program Cost: $29,250 USD


Strengthen Your Technical Knowledge and Skills

Gain practical skills you can immediately apply at your job or in a new infosec role.

  • Learn the latest cybersecurity tactics to protect your organization
  • Keep your skills current for career growth and advancement
  • Earn professional GIAC certifications as you complete the program
  • Train on your schedule, to balance work and school
  • Get personalized support from a student advisor 


The SANS.edu Advantage

Because cyber threats are constantly changing, our courses are continually updated for real-world relevance. But that's just the beginning.

GIAC Certifications

Earn 5 industry-recognized GIAC cybersecurity certifications.


100% Online Option Available

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


World-class Faculty

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


Pathway to a Master’s Degree

All credits earned in this program can transfer into our master’s degree program.


SANS.edu Academic Pricing

Get SANS.edu academic pricing on SANS courses and GIAC certifications.


Powerful Network

Make connections with some of the most talented students and teachers in the industry.

InfoSec professional attends SANS.edu info session

Join an Online Info Session for Graduate Cybersecurity Programs

  • Explore our 9 highly technical, job-specific graduate certificate programs for working professionals. Tue, June 18 at 12 pm (ET). Register here.
  • Get tips on crafting a strong application to our cybersecurity master’s degree program and information on the next steps in the admissions process. Thu, June 27, 12 pm (ET). Register here.
  • Learn more about our cybersecurity master's degree and graduate certificate programs for working professionals. Have questions? We'll answer them. Thu, July 10, 1 pm (ET). Register here.

SANS.edu Named One of the Top 10 Innovators in Cybersecurity Education 

The SANS Technology Institute has been recognized as a global leader in cybersecurity education by Help Net Security, joining the ranks of top institutions like Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Oxford.

“I have my master's in computer science, but I completed three graduate certificate programs with SANS so I could truly dive deep into technical areas of cybersecurity and learn from instructors who are leading the industry.” - Jeff Sass, Director of Application Security, Adobe

Learn How To:

  • Manage the information security function in an enterprise in a way that takes into account the relationship between and responsibilities shared by the communities of interest, including the general business, information technology, and information security.
  • Apply a standards-based approach to risk management, including business impact analyses, cost-benefit analyses, and implementation methods that map to business needs/requirements.
  • Integrate enterprise security operations, including policy, strategic and continuity planning, implementation programs, and personnel into an operation that can effectively manage the security needs of an enterprise.
  • Articulate legal positions to meet ethical and business needs associated with the protection of information and privacy of an enterprise.
  • Devise and implement strategies for incident detection and response, including business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning (BCP/DRP), that are cost effective and meet the business needs of the enterprise.

Curriculum | 16 Credit Hours

In this hands-on program, you'll learn from some of the world's top cybersecurity experts, gaining hands-on technical and leadership experience you can apply immediately on the job. This is the curriculum order for this program.

Required Core Courses | 10 credit hours

  • SANS Course: LDR512: Security Leadership Essentials for Managers
    Certification: GIAC Security Leadership (GSLC)

    3 Credit Hours

    ISE 5001 uses case studies, group discussions, team-based exercises, in-class games, and a security leadership simulation to help you absorb both technical and management topics. Covering a wide range of security topics across the entire security stack, this course empowers you to become an effective security manager and get up to speed quickly on information security issues and terminology. Data, network, host, application, and user controls are examined in conjunction with key management topics that address the overall security lifecycle, including governance and technical controls focused on protecting, detecting, and responding to security issues.

  • SANS Course: LDR551: Building and Leading Security Operations Centers
    Certification: GIAC Security Operations Manager Certification (GSOM)

    3 Credit Hours

    Managing a security operations center (SOC) requires a unique combination of technical knowledge, management skills, and leadership ability. Whether you are looking to build a new SOC or take your current team to the next level, ISE 6700 provides the right balance of these elements to super-charge your people, tools, and processes. You will learn how to build a high-performing SOC tailored to your organization and the threats it faces. You will be given the tools needed to manage an effective defense, measure progress towards your goals, and build out more advanced processes like threat hunting, active defense, and continuous SOC assessment. Each section includes hands-on labs, introductions to some of the industry's best free and open-source tools, and an interactive game in which you will apply your new SOC management skills in real-world scenarios.

  • SANS Course: LDR514: Security Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership
    Certification: GIAC Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership (GSTRT)

    3 Credit Hours

    ISE 5601 gives you tools to become a security business leader who can build and execute strategic plans that resonate with other business executives, create effective information security policy, and develop management and leadership skills to better lead, inspire, and motivate your teams. The course will help you to develop strategic plans, create effective information security policy, and develop management and leadership skills using case studies from Harvard Business School, case scenarios, team-based exercises, and discussions that put you in real-world situations.

  • SANS Course: SEC405: Business Finance Essentials

    1 Credit Hour

    ISE 5605 takes information security leaders on a journey to help them understand and successfully navigate their organization's financial status. Understanding and effectively communicating financial stewardship will contribute to their success, the success of the cybersecurity team that they lead, and, ultimately, the success of their organization.

Elective Courses | 6 credit hours

Students can take two leadership electives or one elective from each group.

    Leadership Elective Options

    • SANS Course: LDR525: Managing Cybersecurity Initiatives & Effective Communication
      Certification: GIAC Certified Project Manager (GCPM)

      3 Credit Hours

      In ISE 5800 you will learn how to improve your project planning methodology and project task scheduling to get the most out of your critical IT resources. The course utilizes project case studies that highlight information technology services as deliverables. ISE 5800 follows the basic project management structure from the PMP® Guide 5th edition and also provides specific techniques for success with information assurance initiatives. All aspects of IT project management are covered — from initiating and planning projects through managing cost, time, and quality while your project is active, to completing, closing, and documenting as your project finishes.

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

      3 Credit Hours

      Cybersecurity attacks are increasing and evolving so rapidly that is more difficult than ever to prevent and defend against them. ISE 6001 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.

    • SANS Course: AUD507: Auditing Systems, Applications, and the Cloud
      Certification: GIAC Systems and Network Auditor Certification (GSNA)

      3 Credit Hours

      ISE 6715 is organized specifically to provide a risk driven method for tackling the enormous task of designing an enterprise security validation program. After covering a variety of high-level audit issues and general audit best practice, students will dive deep into the technical how to for determining the key controls that can be used to provide a level of assurance to an organization. Tips on how to repeatably verify these controls and techniques for continuous monitoring and automatic compliance validation are given from real world examples.

    Technical Elective Options

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

      3 Credit Hours

      By adopting the viewpoint of a hacker, ISE 5201 provides 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.

    • SANS Course: SEC530: Defensible Security Architecture and Engineering: Implementing Zero Trust for the Hybrid Enterprise
      Certification: GIAC Defensible Security Architect Certification (GDSA)

      3 Credit Hours

      Effective security requires a balance between detection, prevention, and response capabilities. Defensible Security Architecture and Engineering is designed to help you establish and maintain a holistic and layered approach to security. You’ll explore the fundamentals of up-to-date defensible security architecture and how to engineer it, with a heavy focus on leveraging current infrastructure (and investment), including switches, routers, and firewalls. You’ll learn how to reconfigure these devices to significantly improve your organization’s prevention capabilities in the face of today's dynamic threat landscape. The course will also delve into the latest technologies and their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Multiple hands-on labs will reinforce key points in the course and provide actionable skills you will be able to leverage immediately at work.

    • SANS Course: SEC595: Applied Data Science and AI/Machine Learning for Cybersecurity Professionals
      Certification: GIAC Machine Learning Engineer (GMLE)

      3 Credit Hours

      This course is squarely centered on solving information security problems. This course covers the necessary mathematics theory and fundamentals students absolutely must know to allow them to understand and apply the machine learning tools and techniques effectively. The course progressively introduces and applies various statistic, probabilistic, or mathematic tools (in their applied form), allowing you to leave with the ability to use those tools. The hands-on projects provide a broad base from which you can build your own machine learning solutions. This course teaches how AI tools like ChatGPT really work so that you can intelligently discuss their potential use by organizations and how to build effective solutions to solve real cybersecurity problems using machine learning and AI.

    • SANS Course: FOR578: Cyber Threat Intelligence
      Certification: GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence (GCTI)

      3 Credit Hours

      ISE 6445 will equip you, your security team, and your organization in the tactical, operational, and strategic level cyber threat intelligence skills and tradecraft required to better understand the evolving threat landscape and to counter those threats accurately and effectively. This course focuses on structured analysis to establish a solid foundation for any security skillset and to amplify existing skills.

    Study with the best faculty in cybersecurity


    Take Your Next Step

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

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

    “Earning a graduate certificate from SANS is what really accelerated my career. The technical skills I learned in the program have given me the confidence to successfully lead my team and prepare them for new challenges.” - David Cox, Manager, Cyber Threat Management, EY

    “You get a lot of personal attention to get through the program because of the student advisors. They are the foundation of the SANS.edu experience.” - Christopher Hurless, Systems Engineer, Northwestern University in Qatar

    Christopher Haller

    SANS.edu Graduate Certificate Student Wins National Cyber League Championship

    Christopher Haller beat out more than 6,000 competitors to earn the #1 individual player ranking in the Spring 2022 National Cyber League competition. See why he chose to pursue a graduate certificate at SANS.edu — and learn about his career path from the US Navy to his current role as Director of Professional Services at Centripetal Networks.

    Course Delivery Options

    Your mind has no borders. Why should your college? Our online and in-person course options are designed to fit your life and how you like to learn.

    Join us for a free online info session to learn more.


    This Program is DoD 8140 Approved

    If you're a Department of Defense (DoD) employee or contractor who wants to earn a career-focused cybersecurity degree or certificate, our DoD 8140 approved college programs can open new doors of opportunity.

    US Department of Defense 8140 Cyber Workforce Qualification Program
    DoD 8140 establishes baseline standards for qualifications that directly support operational needs and workforce readiness. All DoD personnel assigned to positions requiring the performance of cyberspace work are affected by DoD 8140.

    • Service members
    • DoD civilian employees (including non-appropriated fund employees)
    • Contractors
    • Foreign nationals


    Total program cost: $29,250 USD

    Tuition includes the cost of the course, textbooks, and certification tests that serve as mid-term or final exams for courses.

    Get the Credit You Deserve
    Students who have taken SANS training classes and have active GIAC certifications may be able to waive one course and GIAC certification into the program. See our waiver policy.


    Fund Your SANS.edu Program in Monthly Installments with No Interest

    For students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents — and don’t use employer education benefits or veterans’ education benefits to fund their SANS.edu program — we offer a Tuition Payment Program (TPP) that enables eligible you to spread out the cost of your program in monthly installments with no interest.


    Finance your education, build new skills, and add value for your company — using your employer-sponsored education benefits.

    If you want to get the best education in cybersecurity while you work, and your organization offers education benefits, let them help you take your next step. SANS.edu cybersecurity degree and certificate programs are designed for working professionals, and your employee benefits package may help cover the cost of pursing your goals.


    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 (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.