MSSI Course Registration Guidelines

Updated July 2023


First of all, please get very familiar with the MSSI degree requirements and the pre-approved MSSI courses. And please refer to the information on graduate registration including important dates and deadlines.

Course descriptions can be found at where you can register for courses online.

  • You can find a list of MSSI courses for Information Security Institute. These are security-focused and offered by ISI and CS.
  • For some courses on the lists of pre-approved MSSI courses, you may need to check a different academic unit, including EN.601.XXX (CS), EN.595.XXX (EP), EN.635.XXX (EP), EN.695.XXX (EP), EN.663.XXX (CLE), or ME.XXX.XXX (SOM), offered by Computer Science, WSE Programs for Professionals (EP), WSE Center for Leadership Education (CLE), or the School of Medicine (SOM). (Note the EP courses are listed under PE at SIS.)
  • Students must submit special requests related to course registration, e.g., the IDR form or the permission of the course instructor, using the Student Enrollment and Account Management (SEAM) system.

Ms. Revelie Niles, the MSSI/CS academic administrator, can provide you with specific information on academic paperwork and forms.

    • Please balance your course selections. Specifically, you should take one non-technology course each semester. So this way the supply of non-technology courses can match your need moving on. Three (3) regular graduate courses are considered a full load.
    • You must register for 1-credit EN.650.836/837 if you are on full-time student status and have not taken them. (Note that you need to take both during the program of study, in Fall and Spring respectively.) These seminar courses are to prepare you for the capstone but not the capstone itself. EN.650.836/837 do NOT count toward the 10-course requirement.
    • The capstone project can be done standalone or for EN.650.840 as one elective technology course in your program of study.
    • Popular courses may become full quickly. If the course is a popular one, depending on your position on the waitlist, there may be a quite small chance for you to get into it. So please plan proactively to have highly desired and desired courses for every semester.
    • Please reach out to the course instructor through email as soon as possible for permission, prerequisite, etc. Then you can use the approval from the instructor to register online or submit the request through SEAM.
    • A course may be offered by EP, SOM, or another academic unit (you can locate these courses at SIS, e.g., searching by the course number). You need to fill out an IDR (Interdivisional Registration Form) and your advisor (or MSSI Director) can sign it. Then you can submit it through SEAM.
    • Last, you can take a course, as long as its instructor allows you, even if it is not on the MSSI course lists. But it does not mean that you can automatically use this course for your MSSI degree. You may need approval (through email) from your advisor (or MSSI Director) to use the course for the MSSI ten-course requirement. Note the difference here regarding the permission for taking the course and the approval to count it for the degree.
    • Determine a plan of taking courses based on your own academic and career interest while satisfying all the degree requirements. Plan to take introductory or more basic courses first if you are new to information security.
    • Please note the differences between the T&R and P&M tracks. The study track is specified in your admission offer. Meet with your academic advisor early in the study to introduce yourself and to discuss your plan. You should fill out the Advising Worksheet for every term at the start and revise it through the program of study.
    • In general, most of the MSSI courses will be offered in either Spring or Fall, not both. And sometimes we may not be able to offer certain courses in a year due to special situations (e.g., a professor on sabbatical). So be prepared to adapt your plan.
    • Course numbers at JHU are in the form of ZZ.XXX.YYY, where ZZ indicates the school (e.g., EN = engineering), XXX indicates the Department/Program offering the course (e.g., 650 for MSSI), and YYY is the course number.
    • Balance the types of courses to help manage the course workload. You may consider a formula of one to three core technology courses plus one or two policy/management/health in one semester.
    • Three or four regular courses (excluding EN.650.836/837, academic conduct, etc.) are a typical workload in one semester. (At the beginning of a semester, you may want to attend the classes of a backup course in the first couple of weeks in case a planned course does not work for you for any reason.)
    • In general, students can count up to 2 online courses from our online EP program toward the MSSI degree. EP courses taken in Spring and Fall are included in full-time tuition. EP courses taken in Summer cost additional per-course tuition.
    • A US domestic student may become part-time after one year of full-time study. An international student only has the part-time option in the last semester of study if fewer than three courses are left to complete the degree, and save tuition costs. You need to submit a Reduced Course Load request. Please also out information related to Tuition and Fees.
    • An online academic ethics training course will be added automatically for all newly enrolled students. To graduate you also need to complete Responsible Conduct of Research Training through CITI, required of any student working in research, i.e., the MSSI Capstone project.
    • Most MSSI students take 3 terms (1.5 years) to complete the degree. However, it is not uncommon that a student uses 4 or even more terms for it.
  • The MSSI program offers a limited number of its own core policy and core management courses in a semester. Some times students like to take a core policy or core management course but it is already full because of a high demand. The following online EP courses are very helpful alternatives that our students take advantage of:

    • Core Policy – EN.595.731 Business Law for Technical Professionals
    • Core Management – EN.635.775 Cyber Operations, Risk, and Compliance, EN.595.660 Planning and Managing Projects

    These course normally are offered in each semester (please verify at SIS and here for EP courses). You need to fill out an IDR form to register for them.

  • The several Health Informatics courses starting with ME in course number are offered by the JHU Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Note that these courses are online on a quarter calendar basis (one WSE semester equals two SOM/SPH quarters). So you can take two such courses on our approved list to satisfy the requirement of one Core Health course for the MSSI degree. Please check the course descriptions.

    You need to follow special steps to ensure that you succeed in registering for these online ME courses:
    (1) Fill out the Interdivisional Registration (IDR) form for these courses because these are not WSE courses. Please make sure to use the ME.XXX.XXX course numbers as shown on our course list. Contact the course instructor for permission. Take it to the Registrar’s office after your advisor signs it or use the SEAM system.
    (2) Before you take these online SOM classes the first time, you need to register as a distance learning student and complete Introduction to Online Learning. Then please send to the contact at the bottom of the BIDS homepage the Online learning ID you are issued together with the course registration information to make sure that you get access to the online course materials.

    Please keep in mind that these courses are covered by full-time tuition. It becomes complicated for part-time students, regarding not just the tuition to pay but also required special student status with SOM. So all School of Medicine courses MUST be taken while on FULL TIME to avoid any delay in graduation.

    ***Please plan proactively as soon as possible since this registration process, especially the required online learning training, takes extra time so you cannot join a course at any time. ***

  • With prior approval by your advisor (or MSSI Director), you may take a course not on the MSSI course lists for the “Two Additional Courses” category in the MSSI degree requirements. Such a course needs to satisfy ALL the following criteria:

    • A graduate course at 600 level or above (6xx or higher in course number)
    • NOT a fundamental or generic topic, e.g., programming
    • A subject that is supportive of the MSSI study

    The approval must be in writing, usually through an email, to be included as part of your graduation application.

    These courses often come from the Department of Computer Science or the WSE Engineering for Professionals (EP). They can be from other departments as well.

    You can also use MSSI courses in one category to satisfy the requirement of another. For example, on the Technology & Research Track, you can consider those courses listed under the Foundational Management category for the “Two Additional Courses” category. Again, you need to talk to your advisor and get approval.

  • Please talk to (email) the instructor of a course that has prerequisites or requires special permission, and provide documents such as past transcripts and/or information as needed.

    Once you have the approval from the instructor, you have several ways to register for it:

    • If possible, register online and wait for acceptance by the instructor.
    • You can submit the request through SEAM.
    • Or, fill out a course change form (either the instructor signs it or the MSSI director can sign it with the approval proof from the instructor) and then take the form to the Registrar’s office.

    Similarly, if there is another situation, e.g., a course is full, you should always talk to the instructor to see whether you can be helped out.

  • If you plan to audit a course without receiving credit for it, please pay attention to the following:

    • The general expectation of a student to audit any course should be to attend the class and study all the materials.
    • A student MUST talk to the instructor for specific requirements. These requirements can vary. If the student cannot satisfy such requirements the instructor may ask the Registrar’s office to drop him/her from the course at any time.
    • An audit course will not count toward the MSSI degree requirements.
    • An audit course has the same weight in determining a student’s tuition. Note that three or more courses for credit or audit will convert part-time status to full-time.
    • First deadline – Last day to add a course and waitlists end. You still can drop a course after that.
    • Second deadline – Last day to drop a course; last day to change the grading system (audit/letter).
    • Last deadline – Last day to withdraw from a course (in person with special approval (3 signatures) and with a “W” on transcript).

    Please check out the schedule for graduate course registration in each semester.

  • As in a previous suggestion, you may want to register for and attend ONE additional course, if allowed, as a backup at the beginning of a semester. We appreciate that you seriously think through your plan and register for an appropriate number of courses. In general, a full-time student should not register for more than 4 regular courses from the pre-approved MSSI course lists; a student on part-time status should not register for more than 2 courses. When one student registers for too many courses, it causes problems to fellow students and course instructors.

    *** Note that the rule of the number of courses that you can register for in one semester has changed. Please be considerate and professional! ***

    Some MSSI students have experienced challenges with registering for courses they planned for. We closely monitor over-registering practices and may take penalizing actions as necessary. If over-registering is observed, you may not be able to add/drop a course after an advisory hold is imposed on your account. We expect you to be considerate and professional in order for us to support your program of study.

The following is a summary of courses offered by ISI and CS recently. Additional courses on the MSSI pre-approved lists are offered by other departments and programs. Please email the course instructor for additional information on a course.

    • EN.601.640 Web Security – This is a core technology course on web security issues.
    • EN.601.643 Security & Privacy in Computing – This is a “Security 101” course. It is technical and requires computer and programming proficiency.
    • EN.601.742 Advanced Topics in Cryptography – This is an advanced level theoretical crypto course. (Cancelled)
    • EN.650.601 Introduction to Information Security – This course is also a “Security 101” course. It is less technical and aims to accommodate students on both MSSI T&R and P&M tracks. Students should possess basic computer and programming knowledge.
    • EN.650.614 Rights in Digital Age – This core policy course is delivered through teleconferencing by a practicing attorney.
    • EN.650.621 Critical Infrastructure Protection – This course covers cybersecurity issues of critical infrastructure and cyber-physical systems, a current focus of cybersecurity research and practice.
    • EN.650.656 Computer Forensics – This course presents the fundamental topics of digital forensics.
    • EN.650.658 Introduction to Cryptography – This entry-level course on both crypto theory and practice is for students who have never taken a crypto course before. Please send a request with relevant information to the instructor for approval. After I verify that this is the first crypto course you can register for it online and will be accepted.
    • EN.650.660 Software Vulnerability Analysis – This course is very technical.
    • EN.650.663 Cloud Computing Security – This course covers the security of cloud computing systems. (Cancelled)
    • EN.650.673 Mobile and Wireless Security – This course studies current wireless and mobile systems and their security issues.
    • EN.650.683 Cybersecurity Risk Management – This core management course covers risk management, central to cybersecurity practice.
    • EN.650.836 Information Security Projects – This course is REQUIRED for all full-time MSSI students in their first two semesters. It presents topics related to information security research through a set of seminars. This course does not count toward the 10-course degree requirement.
    • EN.650.840 Information Security Independent Study – This independent research course requires an agreement with a faculty member as the supervisor. It can only be taken for the capstone project. You cannot register for it directly. You must talk to the instructor first.
    • EN.650.681 Global Cybersecurity Trends and Practices – This core policy course covers the international landscape of cybersecurity norms and practice.
    • EN.601.641 Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies – This is a popular elective technology course.
    • EN.601.740 Language-based Security – This is a new and current security topic.
    • EN.601.743 Advanced Topics in Computer Security – You can consider this research-oriented course if you have taken any security course before.
    • EN.650.624 Network Security – This course will cover network security essentials. It is very technical.
    • EN.650.631 Ethical Hacking – This course learns hands-on knowledge of offensive security engineering. It is a very popular course.
    • EN.650.640 Moral & Legal Foundations of Privacy – This is a core policy course.
    • EN.650.654 Computer Intrusion Detection – This course will go through different issues and tasks in intrusion detection including labs and a class project.
    • EN.650.672 Security Analytics – This course studies data analysis and machine learning methods in cybersecurity.
    • EN.650.667 Mobile Device Forensics – This new core technology course will focus on the very current forensic study of mobile devices.
    • EN.650.837 Information Security Projects – This course is REQUIRED for all full-time MSSI students in their first two semesters. It presents topics related to information security research through a set of seminars (likely fewer seminars compared to its counterpart course in the Fall). This does not count toward the 10-course degree requirement.
    • EN.650.840 Information Security Independent Study – This independent research course requires an agreement with a faculty member as the supervisor. In general it can only be taken for the capstone project. You cannot register for it directly. You must talk to me first about it.

JHU Information Security Institute