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Cyber Policy & Management

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Develop Needed Skills for the Cyber Policy Field

Students of the SPA Cyber curriculum will develop the following critical skills:

  • Understand how “cyber” is defined, in the context of both U.S. cyber policy and internal cyber management challenges and opportunities.
  • Understand the historic context and current dynamics of policy processes related to U.S. cyber policy.
  • Understand the current roles of government, the private sector, and individuals in the development, formalization, and implementation of U.S. cyber policy.
  • Master frameworks for analyzing cyber management issues in the public sector.
  • Compile a resource toolkit for tackling cyber management issues in the public sector.

Ready to engage?
Check out our Graduate Certificate in Cyber Policy and Management

This graduate certificate, which launched Fall 2021, is currently open to students with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution. Participants who are currently enrolled in an SPA master’s program may apply 12 relevant credits to this program. For those not currently enrolled in an SPA master’s program, if they choose to continue their studies toward a degree, they may transfer up to 12 credit hours as long as they indicate their plans before the 12-credit threshold in the certificate program. Students also may apply up to 3 hours earned at an accredited college or university as transfer credit toward a certificate

The new Cyber Policy & Management five-course graduate certificate is designed for students who seek non-technical, leadership roles in cybersecurity, in the areas of cyber policy and management, within both the public and private sectors.

Watch our Cyber Certificate Info Session.

How to Enroll

Contact the SPA Cyber Certificate team ( to guide you through the enrollment process.

Graduate Certificate Video

THSP Program Director Sasha O’Connell and AU Vice Provost Diana Burley discuss how THSP students will benefit from SPA’s new Cyber Policy & Management graduate certificate.

Certificate Highlights

By completing the four required courses and one approved elective, THSP students can earn the graduate certificate concurrently with their master’s degree, and complete their studies within their anticipated date of graduation.

The Cyber Policy & Management certificate program will appear on the transcripts of graduates, both separately and as part of their THSP degree.

Course Requirements

The Cyber Policy & Management graduate certificate requires 15 credits (five courses), 12 of which can also be counted toward general THSP degree requirements.

Required Courses (12 credit hours total)

  • JLC 683 Cyber Threats and Security
  • JLC 665 Who’s Who in U.S. Cyber Policy
  • JLC 696 Emerging Technology for Non-Technical Policy Makers
  • JLC 695 THSP Practicum: Cyber Policy

Electives (choose at least one; three credit hours each)

  • ITEC 666 Cyber Security Risk Management
  • SIS 619 Cyber Conflict: Surveillance, Activism and Privacy
  • JLC 496/696 Cybercrime
  • JLC 696-006 Cybercriminology
  • JLC 696-007 Cybersecurity Law for Policymakers

Other elective courses can be considered based on availability and the approval of the program director.

Course Highlights

Artificial Intelligence and Homeland Security (3) Revolutionary advances in artificial intelligence are changing homeland security in many ways. Although the precise nature of this change remains unclear, the arsenal of tools available to advance the mission has expanded alongside an evolving threat landscape. This practicum examines the implications of artificial intelligence for the homeland security enterprise. Students apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities on a practical, team-based project. The practicum builds professional skills crucial for success in careers in homeland security including project management, writing, teamwork, and conflict resolution. Students perform intensive research and analysis of academic, industry, and government sources to explore the threats and opportunities in this space. Students work with an external client to identify the scope of the project. The client for this practicum is Pangiam, a technology and consulting firm for government and industry partners and a global leader exploring cutting edge solutions to contemporary homeland security challenges.

Instructor: Trace Lasley

This practicum will focus on developing students' knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of various key stakeholders in responding to a serious cybersecurity incident. Students will learn how the U.S. government approaches cyber incidents from a legal, policy, and operational perspective, and how industry, the media, and partner nations must balance the challenges around a quickly unfolding cyber incident with incomplete information. Students will conduct a hands-on simulation of a National Security Council meeting, and role-play media companies, industry groups, and other affected organizations utilizing the policy analysis skills developed throughout this course. As part of the exercise, students will provide policy options to cabinet officials and advocate for particular actions. Following the simulation, students will have the opportunity to brief senior U.S. government officials in key cybersecurity agencies, as well as other cybersecurity experts. Students will gain a practical ability to prepare an incident response plan and develop concise, actionable written and oral policy options.

Iranga Kahangama, Director for Cyber Policy, National Security Council
Jonah Hill, Cyber Security Strategist, U.S. Secret Service

"Cyber policy is a dynamic and quickly-evolving area of U.S. national security policymaking. We're excited to share our experiences with the AU community and to offer a practicum that allows students to understand the challenges and options for responding to a cyber incident at a national level." - Jonah Hill, Instructor

"I’m looking forward to helping develop a strong talent pipeline for public service in the cyber policy sphere” - Iranga Kahangama, Instructor


Featured News

SPA Cyber launches new "Start Here" Podcast on Cyber Fundamentals for Policymakers 

SPA's Sasha O'Connell and Diana Burley, together with Drew Bagley (Crowdstrike) and Megan Brown (Wiley), have launched "Start Here," a new podcast diving into the essential aspects of cyber policy.
Learn More & Listen


More News

2023 Counter Ransomware Initiative

SPA Cyber student Kuhu Badgi and Olivia Bohart attended a closed panel event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). They both took the opportunity to ask question and speak with Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger after the event. Read about their experiences.

Kuhu's Write-up
Olivia's Write-up

Special issue on domain name system (DNS)

SPA Cyber Professor James Burrell published a guest editorial in the Journal of Cyber Policy on international cybersecurity policy and governance.

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Suleyman Ozeren

Department Spotlight ·

Five Questions with Dr. Suleyman Ozeren

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Risks to Cybersecurity from Data Localization

SPA Cyber Professor Drew Bagley has co-authored a paper on data localization policy efforts and their impact on cybersecurity.

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Photo of Fiona Alexander, strategist in residence at the School of International Service, and Zach Tudor, recipient of the award

Announcement ·

National Security Expert Honored by American University for Promoting Inclusivity in Technology Policy

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Trends of Artificial Intelligence book cover
Professor Diana Burley Speaking at the ITP Event

Technology ·

Third Year of Inclusive Technology Policy Award: A Conversation with AU Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Diana Burley

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Atlantic Council, CYBER 2/12 Strategy Challenge. Washington DC March 20-21, 2020.

Achievements ·

SPA Team Wins Cybersecurity Competition

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