Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security


Program Description

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

An in-demand skill set for the digital age.

High-profile domestic and global cyber attacks have made private sector and government decision-makers painfully aware of the need for well-trained cyber security professionals. In response to this growing need, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has established the first undergraduate curriculum guidelines for cyber security, while the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have developed a cyber security certification.

Mercyhurst University’s Cyber Security bachelor’s program is one of the first stand-alone programs in the nation to follow both of these guidelines. Already home to one of the nation’s most respected Intelligence Studies programs, Mercyhurst is now able to leverage our experience, faculty expertise, cutting-edge resources, and industry connections to provide an unparalleled cyber education at the undergraduate level.

Fast Facts

  • Mercyhurst’s Cyber Security programs are the only one in the nation to allow students to pursue a double major with Intelligence Studies, offered through the nation’s largest academic intelligence program.
  • The Cyber Security major couples technical computer networking and hacking skills with data analytic skills and cyber law and policy.
  • Cyber professions are among the fastest-growing careers in the nation, with projected 36 percent job growth by 2024 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and more than 3 million unfilled job openings in the next few years (Cybersecurity Ventures).
  • Mercyhurst’s on-campus Network Operations Center, operated by MCPc, offers majors internship opportunities to gain real-world cyber security experience.

Cyber Education

Dedicated in August 2018, the MCPc Cyber Education Center is an 8,000-square-foot state-of-the-art cyber training and mitigation facility on the campus of Mercyhurst University.

Specialized Education

The Cyber Security major is one of few undergraduate programs in the nation that can offer the professional training and specialized skill sets required for a cyber career.

Continuing Education

For majors interested in advancing their education beyond the bachelor’s level, Mercyhurst’s 4+1 master’s programs are excellent options.

High Tech Facilities

The MCPc Cyber Education Center includes four separate spaces:

  • A Cyber Security Lab
  • A Security Operations Room
  • Two Computer Labs

The Cyber Security Lab features 20 individual terminals, each outfitted with high-end computing power and large monitors. The lab operates on an independent network with its own servers and firewalls, completely isolated from the campus network. In addition, the lab features virtual forensic workstations, mobile devices for exploitation tests, threat-analysis software packages, and other relevant platforms.

The Security Operations Room is staffed and operated by Cleveland-based technology firm MCPc. Two full-time MCPc employees work with and hire Mercyhurst students to address real-time cyber security threats.

The Computer Labs provide hands-on education to undergraduate and graduate students in Mercyhurst’s cyber, data science and intelligence programs.

Career Opportunities

“America’s daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on secure cyberspace. A vast array of interdependent IT networks, systems, services, and resources are critical to communication, travel, powering homes, running the economy, and obtaining government services.” – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

For our majors, these experiences can open a world of opportunities that offer job stability, career mobility, and excellent earning potential.

As you consider future career opportunities, keep in mind these points about the cyber industry:

  • The cyber security market will be worth upwards of $230 billion by 2022 (Markets and Markets Research)
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 36 percent job growth in the IT security sectors by 2024
  • Globally, cyber crime losses are projected to top $6 trillion annually as of 2021.
  • Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that 3.5 million cyber security job openings will remain unfilled by 2021.

4+1 Programs

Students in the 4+1 programs can save time and money by earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s in five years. As a 4+1 student, you’ll complete grad-level coursework in your junior and/or senior years, earning master’s degree credits as an undergrad (included in your undergraduate flat billing). You’ll still graduate on time with your class before seamlessly transitioning to the graduate program to finish your master’s in one year or less.

The following Mercyhurst master’s programs include 4+1 options:

  • Cyber Security
  • Data Science
  • Cyber Risk Management

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements

Consistent with our mission and values, Mercyhurst University takes a holistic approach when reviewing applicants and making admissions decisions. We evaluate applicants in terms of their academic abilities and potential, leadership and extracurricular involvement, and the potential contributions they might make as members of our campus community. We strongly recommend that applicants meet with their admissions counselor, either through a campus visit, a high school visit or a conversation by phone.

Mercyhurst University does not charge an application fee.

Application Material Mercyhurst Application Common Application
Biographical, academic, and extracurricular information Required Required
Self-reported high school transcript Required
Official high school transcript Required
Letter of recommendation May be required Required
Self-reported SAT or ACT scores Optional
Official SAT or ACT scores Optional
Personal statement or writing sample Required Required

International students from non-English speaking countries must complete the TOEFL or IELTS and submit copies of their official scores.

SAT or ACT scores are optional, though applicants are invited to submit them if they believe they would constitute a positive component of the application portfolio.

Letters of recommendation are not always required, though they are required for students applying without test scores. We prefer recommendations from someone who knows the applicant well and has interacted with the student on a regular and ongoing basis, including a close teacher, coach, or work supervisor.

Test-Optional Admissions

We do not require the SAT or ACT for admissions, though students who believe that their SAT or ACT scores represent a positive component of their admissions portfolio are invited to submit their official test scores. To send your scores directly to Mercyhurst University, use SAT Code 2410 or ACT Code 3629.

Students who are required to submit SAT or ACT scores include student-athletes and homeschooled students. In addition, students seeking admission to colleges or universities with whom Mercyhurst University has affiliation agreements may also be required to submit their scores to the affiliated institutions.

Should you choose for Mercyhurst University not to consider SAT or ACT scores, please complete a Request for Test-Optional Consideration. For more information about our test-optional admissions policy, please consult answers to frequently asked questions.

Holistic Review

Mercyhurst University evaluates applicants in terms of their academic abilities, leadership and extracurricular involvement, and the potential contributions they might make as members of our campus community. Generally, students who are performing better than average within their high school are considered for admission. The median SAT score for last year’s accepted students was 1050.

In addition to considering your academic and personal credentials, we also consider your application in the context of your life circumstances by considering the availability of resources in your high school and the strength of its curriculum, your unique family and economic circumstances. We do this to ensure applicants are not unfairly penalized if they did not have sufficient access to college-application resources and services.

Generally, we look for students who took a college preparatory curriculum in high school:

  • 4 units of English
  • 5 units of social studies
  • 3 units of mathematics
  • 2 units of science (with corresponding labs)
  • 2 units of foreign language
Supplemental Review

Some applicants are chosen for supplemental review. In some cases, your admissions counselor believes that his or her admissions and financial aid decisions would be better informed with additional information. In other cases, we randomly select students for supplemental review as part of our assessment and continuous improvement practices. If you are selected for supplemental review, there is no need to worry; it is not a reflection of your admissibility. Supplemental review applicants are generally admitted at the same rate as traditional applications.

If you’re selected for supplemental review, your admissions counselor may request: 1) an on-campus or phone interview to learn more about you, 2) completion of a supplemental questionnaire, or 3) a graded writing assignment you completed as part of your high school curriculum (the paper must be analytical/critical in nature and demonstrate your ability to integrate and communicate complex ideas; your arguments must be well-supported).

Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Policy

Earned from high school prior to entering Mercyhurst, for course equivalency to be awarded, students must earn a score of 4 or above on the AP exam. Official scores from the College Board can be sent to the Office of Admissions prior to enrolling, or to the Registrar's Office if a student is already enrolled.

Undergraduate Cost and Financial Aid

Tuition and Fees

College education represents a significant investment in your future and cost is an important factor to consider. Mercyhurst University prides itself on being one of the most affordable and accessible private universities in the tri-state region and practically every incoming freshman receives financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, work studies, and other programs.

Tuition, Fees, and Costs (2019–20 Academic Year) Residents Local Commuters
Basic Tuition $37,500 $37,500
Basic fees $2,980 $2,980
Room (standard freshman options) $6,420–$8,570 --
Board $6,460 --
Total tuition, fees, room and board $53,360 $40,480
Minus financial aid (average freshman student aid 2017–2018*) ($39,882) ($32,670)
Average total out-of-pocket cost $13,478 $7,810

*for domestic students, includes all sources of aid including PLUS and alt. loans, scholarships, grants and sources of self-help aid such as work-study

Mercyhurst University bills students on a “flat” basis for each semester enrolled; full-time students enrolled between 12 and 18 credit hours are billed at the flat semester rate, allowing for a double major or a minor. Enrollment beyond 18 credits is billed at $1,150 per overload credit hour. Additional costs may be incurred for special programs, courses, labs, travel experiences, etc. Please refer to our Full Fee Schedule for more information.

Room and board costs vary, depending on the student’s selected living and dining arrangements. Resident freshmen are required to have a full meal plan. Partial meal plans for upperclassmen begin at $2,560.

You may want to consider indirect costs in your college financial planning for things like books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses.

Value and Affordability

Mercyhurst University offers a flexible education designed to address a diverse range of disciplines leading to careers in cutting edge fields. Mercyhurst offers:

  • A customizable Core Curriculum with a range of courses helps keep you on track for timely graduation.
  • The highest four-year graduation rate in Erie County. Graduating on time means not paying for a fifth year of tuition!
  • Opportunities for employment or further education directly after college. Ninety-five percent of our graduates secured jobs or enrolled in graduate school within a year of graduation.
  • Hands-on experience working within your intended field helps prepare you for a career immediately upon graduating.
  • The Best Value education in the North Region, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Financial Aid and Scholarships

When considering financial aid, it is important to keep in mind the “sticker cost” and “actual cost” of each institution. At Mercyhurst, we are committed to helping students reach their academic goals without incurring a significant financial burden.

Last year, 99 percent of freshmen qualified for financial assistance from Mercyhurst, with the average four-year scholarship totaling more than $70,000 – and that is in addition to any scholarship or grant from state federal or external sources. Please refer to our Federal and State Grants page for more information. Transfer students are also eligible for a number of awards or scholarships. Unless otherwise noted, all Mercyhurst University financial aid is automatically renewable for four years of study. Please refer to our Awards and Scholarships page for a complete list of available grants.

In order to qualify for financial aid, you must include Mercyhurst University on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Use school code 003297 to send your FAFSA® report to Mercyhurst. To apply for financial aid, please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, on a hill overlooking Lake Erie, our 75-acre campus is known as one of the most beautiful in the region. Elements of English Gothic architecture are carried throughout o ... Read More

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, on a hill overlooking Lake Erie, our 75-acre campus is known as one of the most beautiful in the region. Elements of English Gothic architecture are carried throughout our Old Main, academic buildings and student residence halls. Grounded in the ideals of service, hospitality, and entrepreneurship that inspired our founders, a Mercyhurst education encourages the development of lifelong passions and engagement with the larger world. Inspired by our motto, "Carpe Diem," our faculty and students embrace innovation and leadership in service, as they make a difference within our gates and around the world. Read less