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Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity (ACS)

Not just for undergrads, our cybersecurity certificate program is for anyone with 2 years of college credits who wants the hands-on experience and certifications needed to launch a cybersecurity career.

No prior technical experience is required.

Format Option: 100% online option available
Courses: 4
GIAC Certifications: 4
Credits: 12
Duration: 10-18 Months
Total Program Cost: $17,875

Launch your new career with a cybersecurity certificate from the best college in cybersecurity.

Earn a cybersecurity certificate from the most recognized college in the cybersecurity industry. As you complete the program, you’ll earn certifications that prove you’ve got the skillset employers want right now.

93%
93% of our graduates gained employment in cybersecurity within 6 months.
$91K
The average starting salary of our graduates 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.

New to the field? No problem.

Our undergraduate cybersecurity certificate program is for anyone with college credits who wants to join the growing cyber workforce — whether you're about to finish your associate degree, you’re in a 4-year college program or a theory-based master’s degree program, or you’re a mid-career professional who wants to transition into cybersecurity.

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“If you're new to cyber security and looking for a way to break into the field, I highly recommend the SANS.edu undergraduate certificate program. You'll learn all the fundamentals and get hands-on experience that is so important when it's time to look for a job.” - Yukyung Jung, Cloud System Engineering Consultant, EPAM Systems, Inc

How It Works

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Start when you want to.

We don’t have fixed semesters, so you can apply any month and start a few months later.

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Take one class at a time.

The program consists of 4 courses you’ll take one at a time, with personalized support from a student advisor from start to finish.

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Complete the certificate at your pace.

Earn your undergraduate cybersecurity certificate in 10 to 18 months while working full-time or pursuing a degree.

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Earn 4 professional GIAC certifications.

As part of our program, you will earn 4 of the most highly regarded certifications in cybersecurity.

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Get career services for life.

Our Career Center will help you choose a career path, build your resume, prepare for interviews, and land a job or advance your current career.

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“I've been crazy impressed with the SANS.edu career services folks. After I reworked my resume per their recommendations, I got a hit from a recruiter for a job I hadn't even applied for." - Preston Fitzgerald

The Curriculum | 12 credits

Our cybersecurity courses are written and taught by the top experts in the field and focus on hands-on practical skills you will use in your new job. All the coursework and hands-on labs can be completed online at your own pace or at one of our intensive weeklong in-person sessions.

Click on each course title for a full description.

Core Courses | 9 credits

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

    3 Credit Hours

    ACS 3275 Security Foundations is the best course available to learn core knowledge and develop practical skills in computers, technology, and security foundations that are needed to kickstart a career in cybersecurity. The course features a comprehensive variety of innovative, hands-on labs, and practical exercises that go far beyond what is offered in any other foundational course in cybersecurity. These labs are developed by leading subject-matter experts, drawing on the latest technology, techniques, and concepts in cybersecurity.

    The course provides a level of sufficient theoretical understanding and applied practical skills that will enable you to speak the same language as industry professionals. You’ll develop fundamental skills and knowledge in key IT subject areas such as:

    • Computer Components & Concepts
    • Operating Systems, Containers, & Virtualization
    • Linux
    • Networking Fundamentals
    • The Web: Search Engine & Servers
    • Practical Programming – Python and C
    • Windows Foundations
    • Advanced Computer Hardware (e.g., CPU & Memory)
    • Encryption
    • Introduction to Basic Security Concepts
    • Introduction to Forensics
    • Introduction to Reconnaissance, Exploitation, and Privilege Escalation
    • Introduction to Network & Computer Infiltration (e.g., Lateral Movement)
  • SANS Course: SEC401: Security Essentials - Network, Endpoint, and Cloud
    Certification: GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

    3 Credit Hours

    ACS 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)

    3 Credit Hours

    By adopting the viewpoint of a hacker, ACS 3504 provides an in-depth investigation of the critical activity of incident handling. You'll be taught how to manage intrusions by first looking at the techniques used by attackers to exploit a system. You'll 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 your ability to use the core capabilities required for incident handling.

Elective Courses | 3 credits (choose one)

  • 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.

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

    3 Credit Hours

    ACS 4503 delivers the technical knowledge, insight, and hands-on training you need to defend your network with confidence. You will learn about the underlying theory of TCP/IP and the most used application protocols, such as DNS and HTTP, so that you can intelligently examine network traffic for signs of an intrusion. You will get plenty of practice learning to master different open source tools like tcpdump, Wireshark, Snort, Bro, tshark, and SiLK. Daily hands-on exercises suitable for all experience levels reinforce the course book material so that you can put your knowledge into action.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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.

Success Stories

Our Grads Get Hired

Our graduates get hired by companies like Amazon, Deloitte, Dragos, Google, Northrup Grumman, Red Canary, Wells Fargo and Walmart. More than half our students received their first cybersecurity job offer before they finished the program.

Job Titles Earned

SOC Analyst

Cyber Threat Intel Associate

Information Security Analyst

Security Engineer

Security Consultant

Cyber Software Engineer

Penetration Tester

Detection & Response Analyst

Incident Handler

Cyber Risk Consultant

Intrusion Analyst

Cybersecurity Specialist

InfoSec Specialist

Security Administrator

Forensics Examiner

Vulnerability Management Engineer

Incident Response Team

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What makes someone good at cybersecurity?

You don’t need a background with computers to succeed. In fact, some of our most successful students didn’t. As part of our admissions process, you’ll take a 2-hour quiz that tests your natural ability to succeed in cybersecurity. If you like solving puzzles and have a desire to learn about technology, cybersecurity could be a great fit for you.

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Tuition

Total Program Cost: $17,875

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

If you’ve taken a SANS course and passed the corresponding GIAC certification, for example SANS SEC275 and the GFACT certification, you may be able to waive one course 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.

Partnership with the University of South Carolina Aiken

The SANS Technology Institute (SANS.edu) is proud to partner with the University of South Carolina Aiken and to welcome selected UofSC Aiken students into our undergraduate cybersecurity certificate program. Learn more.

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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.