MSSI Course Registration Guidelines

Updated April 2022


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.

Note that some of these courses are offered by other academic units, e.g., the Center for Leadership Education (CLE), Whiting School of Engineering Programs for Professionals, or the School of Medicine (SOM). You need to look for these courses under those units.

Now students must submit all the requests related to course registration using the Student Enrollment and Account Management (SEAM) system.

  • Here we like to emphasize some common issues and suggestions:

    • 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.
    • 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.) This seminar course is to prepare for the capstone but it is not the capstone itself. EN.650.836/837 does NOT count toward the 10-course requirement.
    • The capstone project can be done standalone (or for EN.650.840 as one elective technology course) later in your program of study.
    • Many technology courses may become full quickly. So please plan proactively. 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.
    • Please reach out to the course instructor for information on permission, prerequisite, etc. Then you can use the approval from the instructor to register online or submit the request through SEAM.
    • For a course offered by EP or SOM (you should be able to 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. BTW on this form please use EN or ME for School, the first three numbers of the course number for Department, and the last three for Course Number.
    • 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 always use this course for your degree. You may need additional approval from your advisor (or MSSI Director) 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.
  • Please keep the following in mind while you plan your program of study:

    • Not all the courses are offered every semester. In general, all of them will be offered once in an academic year. But we may not be able to offer certain courses in a year due to special situations (e.g., a professor on sabbatical). So be ready to adapt your plan.
    • Determine a plan of taking courses based on your own interest while satisfying all the degree requirements. Please note the differences between the T&R and P&M tracks. Your study track is specified in your admission offer.
    • Course descriptions can be found at where you can register for courses online or check the course schedule. You can look up the MSSI courses listed for Information Security Institute. However, you may need to find a course under a different academic unit, including EN.601.XXX, EN.595.XXX, EN.660.XXX, EN.663.XXX, EN.695.XXX, or ME.XXX.XXX.
    • Balance the course categories to help manage the course workload. For example, you may consider a formula of one to three core technology courses and 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 have one additional backup course, if allowed, just in case a planned course does not work for you for any reason. You should attend all the classes in the first couple of weeks.
    • As a full-time MSSI student, you must register for EN.650.836/837 Information Security Projects (in Fall and Spring respectively) if you have not taken them before. These are weekly seminars. You need to have both EN.650.836 and EN.650.837 for your degree.
    • 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.
    • An online academic ethics training course will be added for every newly enrolled student automatically.
    • 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.
  • With prior approval by your advisor (or MSSI Director), you may take a course not preapproved 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
    • NOT a fundamental or generic topic, e.g., programming
    • A subject that is supportive of the MSSI study

    The approval must be in writing (e.g., email) to be included as part of your future graduation application.

    These courses often come from the Department of Computer Science or the WSE Engineering for Professionals (PE at SIS). 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.

  • 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. ***

  • 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:

    • Register online (if possible) 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.
  • 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 big 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.

    • First deadline – Last day to add a course and waitlists end. You 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.

The following is a summary of courses offered by ISI and CS, hopefully, be useful to your planning.

  • Please talk to the instructor for additional information.

    • EN.601.640 Web Security – This is a core technology course on web security issues.
    • EN.601.642 Modern Cryptography – This is the intermediate-level theoretical crypto course.
    • EN.601.643 Security & Privacy in Computing – This is a “Security 101” course. It is technical and requires computer and programming proficiency. In general, it serves as the prerequisite for EN.600.643 Advanced Topics in Computer Security in Spring.
    • 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 to me for approval if you are interested. 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.650.673 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.
  • Please talk to the instructor for additional information.

    • EN.650.624 Network Security – This course will cover network security essentials.
    • EN.650.631 Ethical Hacking – This course learns hands-on knowledge of offensive security engineering.
    • 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 essential tasks in intrusion detection including labs and a class project.
    • EN.650.672 Security Analytics – This course studies data analysis and machine learning methods used in cybersecurity.
    • EN.650.683 Cybersecurity Risk Management – This core management course covers risk management, central to cybersecurity practice. It will be taught by a new instructor.
    • EN.650.757 Advanced Computer Forensics – This course will focus on advanced and current topics in computer forensics. Please talk to the instructor about the expected background if you are interested in it.
    • 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. You cannot register for it directly. Please talk to me if you need more information.

JHU Information Security Institute