Course and Certificate Information

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in close collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has developed a cybersecurity certificate program consisting of three online, completely asynchronous courses. The Education and Training Program seeks to provide a necessary level of training to those wishing to learn about cybersecurity. By taking these three courses in the required order, a certificate can be achieved in one year.

This page houses specific information about the required courses, what the certificate is, and how the learning is structured. 

Course and Certificate Differentiators

What makes our courses and certificate different?

Comprehensive Content

Varied instructional lectures, activities, and blog postings available fully online

Cyber-Social

Technical content situated in human (social) and organizational issues.

Learning Statistics

Advanced learning analytics

Foundational Concepts

Mastery of core concepts vs. coverage of thousands of concepts (not trying to boil the ocean)

Performance-Based Labs

Hundreds of performance based, hands-on lab exercises

Real World Application

Course concepts and learning objective mappings to external workforce frameworks (e.g., NIST Special Publication (NIST SP) 800-181 Rev. 1 (NICE Framework), NIST SP 800-160, A Multidisciplinary Approach in the Engineering of Trustworthy Secure Systems) and in-demand work role competencies.

Required Courses

In close collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has developed courses which will lead to a growing pipeline of cybersecurity professionals able to staff both technical and managerial positions in the public and private sectors. The Foundational Curriculum, developed by a team of University of Illinois experts, is comprised of the following three courses:

The course material covers converging computer and communications technologies and is designed to serve the needs of those interested in understanding the field of data communications and how it relates to other areas of information technology (IT) and cybersecurity.

The course content covers both the technical concepts and organizational issues related to the secure networking of systems, including their design, implementation, and administration. The course also provides the broad-based knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for further study in other specialized networking and cybersecurity courses/fields (e.g., Network Security).

Course Topics:

  1. Introduction to Networking
  2. Network Design & Architectures
  3. Network Communications 
  4. Network Components 
  5. Addressing 
  6. Protocols 
  7. Routing & Switching
  8. Network Security

Expected Course Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Utilize network diagrams. 
  • Plan the topology, layout, and placement of devices.
  • Implement, configure, and maintain the devices and services used to support secure communications. 
  • Configure and test Internet protocols.
  • Configure and administer authentication and access controls.
  • Perform routine maintenance to networking components/equipment.
  • Design and implement various addressing and naming schemes.
  • Utilize common network utilities to verify and troubleshoot networks.
  • Collect and analyze network traffic.
  • Document and support networks.
  • Design, build, and maintain both wired and wireless internetworks.
  • Situate technical challenges in the context of broader cyber-social problem sets.

This course will introduce the learner to the technical, human, and organizational fundamentals of secure systems administration: The installation, configuration, upkeep, and reliable operation of computing systems (especially multi-user systems), both on-premises and in the cloud. The course also provides the broad-based knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for further study in other specialized cybersecurity fields.

Course Topics:

  1. Defining Secure Systems Administration in the Context of Cyber-Social Systems 
  2. Commands and Command Line Utilities 
  3. File Systems
  4. Automation
  5. Identity Management and Access Control
  6. Network Management
  7. Server Services
  8. Systems Security 

It should be noted that this course introduces these above topics for both Linux and Windows-based systems.

Expected Course Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Work from a command line interface (CLI).
  • Utilize various commands (and related help files) to complete a given task.
  • Set general and advance permissions on files and directories.
  • Control processes locally and remotely via the network.
  • Manage user accounts and groups.
  • Install, configure, and manage services (e.g., web, email).
  • Automate system administration tasks.
  • Configure basic and advanced network settings.
  • Manage endpoint and server software.
  • Work with Internet protocols.
  • Setup host security.
  • Monitor hybrid environments (including cloud).
  • Situate technical challenges in the context of broader cyber-social problem sets.

This course will introduce the learner to the current risks and threats to an organization’s systems and data, combined with a structured way of addressing the safeguarding of these critical assets. The course also provides a foundation for those new to cybersecurity by delivering the broad-based knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for further study in other specialized cybersecurity fields.

Course Topics

  1. Defining Cybersecurity
  2. Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities
  3. Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
  4. Identity and Access Management (IdAM)
  5. Physical Security
  6. Cryptography and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
  7. Security Engineering
  8. Security Operations & Testing

Expected Course Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss why information security is essential in today’s enterprise environments. 
  • Determine an example organization’s threat model.
  • Identify the elements that make up an organizational security policy and describe the measures needed to implement and enforce it.
  • Recognize how an enterprise infrastructure is monitored.
  • Operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies, including principles of governance, risk, and compliance.
  • Identify common attacks and describe how to safeguard against them. 
  • Develop an information security program for a fictitious company, leveraging cybersecurity frameworks and standard operating procedures.
  • Work with cryptographic and public key infrastructure (PKI) tools.
  • Indicate how systems and services can be hardened.

Cybersecurity Foundations Certificate

By taking all three, fully online courses, this program provides learners with the knowledge and skills needed entry-level jobs in cybersecurity, even if you don't have prior experience.

Certificates vs Professional Certifications

Certificates are a credential that designates requisite knowledge and skills of an occupation, profession, or academic program. In academia, they can be offered for-credit or as non-credit; the latter is usually done through a Workforce Development/Continuing Education department or college (e.g., College of Engineering) within the higher education institution. They are designed to be completed in a short period of time (e.g., one year). In the case of for-credit certificates, learners can apply their course credits to an undergraduate degree later, should they choose that route. Lastly, certificates can also be stacked on top of each other, providing a pathway toward more advanced study and other certificates (see IT and Cybersecurity Foundations Certificate below).

Professional certifications are time-limited, revocable, and renewable credentials awarded by an authoritative body for demonstrating the knowledge and skills to perform specific tasks for an occupation. These can typically be revoked if not renewed, for a violation of a code of ethics (when applicable), or proven incompetence after due process. They are characteristically commercial endeavors that rely on charging for training and exams. It is in the interest of the controlling organization to offer a certification that industry recognizes as being reflective of true knowledge and skills, but the extent and scope of the certification coverage is determined more through the lens of a business model than through the lens of workforce development. Nevertheless, certifications have shaped what knowledge and skills are available to the cybersecurity workforce by offering an alternative to expensive and time-consuming formal education.

Certificate Information

This certificate provides the technical IT foundation for learners to branch into any number of either technical or managerial cybersecurity specializations.

Each course (3 in total) is available year-round and can be started at the learner’s convenience. The course content has been organized so a class can be completed in 8 weeks. For example, the first course in the sequence, Foundations in Secure Networking, could be taken the first eight weeks in the fall. The second course, Foundations in Secure Systems Administration, could be taken the second eight weeks of that same fall, and the third class, Foundations in Cybersecurity, could be taken the following winter/early spring. As such, a learner can earn the Certificate in under one year.

Although each course is "chunked" into 8 weeks, all classes are fully online and delivered asynchronously (the course content is completed anytime that suits the learner rather than at a scheduled day/time of the week, like a traditional in-person class). Again, participants can start a course anytime they want, but must take the courses in order, starting with Foundations in Secure Networking, then Foundations in Secure Systems Administration, and ending with Foundations in Cybersecurity. Once a course is started, the learner has access to that class content for 6 months.

Pricing

Each course costs $995 U.S. dollars.