Master of Science with a Major in Security Engineering


Program Director: Suku Nair, Ph.D.


Security Engineering is the computer science and engineering discipline concerned with the design and development of secure systems and applications. Security Engineering covers security of computer networks and systems as well as physical security. In addition to the technical aspects such as cryptography, protocols, and access control, the curriculum deals with the policy and management issues, integration and logistics, and budgeting. Centering on the problems of working professionals in the critical field of security, the SMU program in security engineering serves the needs of both full-time and part-time students.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering admission requirements for an M.S. degree, applicants are required to satisfy the following:

  • Bachelor's degree in one of the quantitative sciences, mathematics, or computer science or in one of the engineering disciplines.
  • A minimum of one year of college-level calculus.
  • A minimum of two years of experience in industry experience or submission of official GRE general graduate school admission test scores.

Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering degree requirements for an M.S. degree, candidates are required to satisfy the following:

1. Satisfactory completion of the core curriculum encompassing four courses:

CSE 7339 Computer System Security
CSE 7343 Operating Systems and System Software
CSE 7349 Data and Network Security
CSE 7359 Software Security

2. Satisfactory completion of three advanced elective courses from the following:

CSE 7314 Software Testing and Quality Assurance
CSE 7331 Introduction to Data Mining and Related Topics
CSE 7338 Security Economics
CSE 7369 Hardware Security and Trojan Detection
CSE 8317 Software Reliability and Safety
CSE 8331 Advanced Data Mining
CSE 8349 Advanced Network Security
CSE 8352 (EE 8372) Cryptography and Data Security
CSE 8353 Digital Forensics
CSE 8356 Border and Transportation Security
CSE 8359 Advanced Software Security
CSE 8377 Fault-Tolerant Computing
EMIS 7340 Logistics Systems Engineering

3. Satisfactory completion of three elective courses; these courses may be any of the available graduate-level course offerings in the Lyle School of Engineering.

Any deviation from the stated requirements must be approved in writing from the student’s adviser and department chair.

Students entering the program without an undergraduate degree in Computer Science must satisfy the following competency requirements in addition to the degree requirements listed above:

A.  The ability to write programs in a high level language such as Java, C++, Python, etc.
B.  Demonstrate competence in six core areas of computer science

Students may fulfill (A) by either:

i.   Demonstrating their programming ability in a departmental examination,
ii.  Successful completion of CSE 1341, Principles of Computer Science, or
iii. Obtaining a certificate of achievement from EDX (or comparable entity) in one of the high‐level programming languages (e.g. Java, C++, Python)

Students may fulfill (B) by demonstrating competence in the following core areas of Computer Science:

1)  Computer Architecture
2)  Programming Languages
3)  Data Structures and Algorithms
4)  Database Management Systems
5)  Operating Systems and Concurrency
6)  Networks and Distributed Systems 

Competence in core areas may be demonstrated by one of the following:

i.   Completing a course from an ABET accredited program that covers a core area.
ii.  Obtaining 70% or better on a departmental examination that covers a core area.Exams will be based on a set of specified
     readings published by the Computer Science and Engineering Department and should be taken prior to beginning the first semester.
iii. Completing and passing one or more of the following core-area courses:

CSE 7101 Foundations of Computer Architecture
CSE 7102 Foundations of Programming Languages
CSE 7103 Foundations of Data Structures and Algorithms 
CSE 7104 Foundations of Database Management Systems 
CSE 7105 Foundations of Operating Systems and Concurrency 
CSE 7106 Foundations of Networks and Distributed Systems

These courses are 1 credit hour each and are offered pass-fail and do not count toward the 30 hour degree requirement. The grade for the course will be based on several assignments and a final examination.

Residency and Level Requirements

A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours must be earned toward an M.S. degree, of which at least 24 must be earned in residency at SMU. Up to six credit hours may be transferred with departmental approval. Of the 30 credit hours needed for graduation, at least nine credit hours must be at the 8000-level CSE courses, with the remainder at the 7000 level or above.

Degree Plan

Course Descriptions

Graduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog Archives

M.S. | Security Engineering Flyer (.pdf)