Graduate Certificate Program in Cyber Defense Operations


Program Description

Designed for working professionals in information technology, information security, and audit, the graduate certificate program in Cyber Defense Operations is a 12-credit-hour sequence of highly technical, hands-on courses focused on teaching the applied technologies used to defend and secure information assets and business systems at an organization.

"I have a master's degree from another school, and I can tell you that SANS courses are more technical in nature and taught by more experienced instructors," said Harvey Wargo, a Senior Intrusion Analyst for Walmart. "I joined the graduate certificate program in Cyber Defense Operations to advance my hands-on skills and fill the gap left by my previous program."

In the Cyber Defense Operations graduate certificate program, you'll learn the essential operational techniques used to defend an enterprise and you'll have the opportunity to customize the curriculum toward your specific interests or job role.

Applications are accepted monthly on the 15th of each month.

Learn How To

  • Utilize a broad range of current tools and technologies in the design and implementation of security solutions deployed across organizations.
  • Identify the information assets of an enterprise, classify them by value, and determine what management and technical controls can be used to monitor and audit them effectively.
  • Develop a program for analyzing the risk to the information assets in an enterprise and determining which technical and management controls can mitigate, remove, or transfer that risk.
  • Articulate important attacker techniques, analyze the traffic that flows on networks and identifies indications of an attack, engages in penetration testing within their organization, and respond to incidents associated with these activities within their organization.


Core Courses | 6 credit hours:

  • Intrusion Detection In-Depth | GCIA certification
  • Continuous Monitoring and Security Operations | GMON certification

Elective Courses | 6 credit hours:
Students select two of the following courses.

  • Implementing & Auditing the Critical Security Controls | GCCC certification
  • Advanced Security Essentials | GCED certification
  • Securing Windows & PowerShell Automation | GCWN certification
  • Defensible Security Architecture and Engineering | GDSA certification

Who Should Enroll

The Cyber Defense Operations graduate certificate program is designed for information technology professionals with a year or more of experience working with network infrastructures, or for information security professionals who are or seek to specialize in implementing defense-in-depth strategies and auditing for their effectiveness.

Please note that the SANS Technology Institute’s programs are non-residential. Although the college is based in Maryland, USA, its in-person training takes place across the United States and around the world. The college’s online study options can be completed from anywhere you have access to the Internet. At this time, the SANS Technology Institute does not issue I-20s or support F-1 student visas.

The SANS Technology Institute Advantage

Live and Online Study Options

The graduate certificate program can be completed entirely online, through immersive weeklong live courses, or in combination.

Flexibility for Working Professionals

Monthly admissions windows mean you can start on your schedule and earn the graduate certificate in roughly two years.

Credentials that Showcase Your Skills

Earn industry-recognized GIAC certifications that validate your skillset in critical, specialized areas of InfoSec.

World-class Faculty

Learn skills you can use immediately on the job from some of the world's best cybersecurity instructor-practitioners.

Pathway to a Master's Degree

Credits earned in the certificate program may be applied directly toward the master's degree program should you later apply and be accepted.

Last updated Jan 2021

About the School

The SANS Technology Institute prepares the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for what they will face in the field. Our programs are distinguished by our world-class faculty; our emphasis ... Read More

The SANS Technology Institute prepares the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for what they will face in the field. Our programs are distinguished by our world-class faculty; our emphasis on hands-on learning in SANS courses that are continually updated for real-world relevance, most of which lead to industry-recognized GIAC certifications; our innovative in-person and online course delivery options; and the proven success of our alumni. Cybersecurity is all we teach and nobody does it better. Read less