Undergraduate Certificate in Practical Aspects of Computer Security (PACS)

The PACS undergraduate certificate will provide students with essential computer science concepts, basic security principles, and the tools and experience necessary for an entry-level position in IT-Security.  This certificate provides a foundational knowledge in computer security principles, firewalls, malware, intrusion detection, physical security, wireless network security, mobile device security, social network security, and web application security.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The PACS undergraduate certificate is comprised of 4 courses (15 credit hours) delivered in a web-based format. All 15 credit hours are transferrable into the College of Engineering and Computer Science's Computer & Information Science (CIS) or Digital Forensics B.S. degrees. This certificate is distinctly unique in that it creates a pathway for a student to receive a credential before transitioning into the degree program.

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in any UM-Dearborn major are eligible to apply, along with any person (especially IT professionals) who want to pursue more formal training in computer networking and security.

    Minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (as recorded on the high school or college transcript if previous college coursework was completed). Completion of calculus 1 is recommended, but is not required for admission. Students lacking the necessary math background will be able to register for mathematic courses as part of their certificate course plan.

    Upon completion of the required 15 certificate credit hours, students must have a CIS cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher in order for the PACS certificate to be granted.

  • Students wishing to pursue a certificate who are not currently enrolled at UM-Dearborn, apply for admission to the program using the Certificate Program Application. If admitted, students will be classified as non-degree seeking students in the certificate program.

    Students currently enrolled at UM-Dearborn apply for the certificate via a "Declaration of Certificate Form" available in their unit's academic advising office.

    Up to 7 transferrable credits from an accredited institution may be applied to this certificate program.

  • Any individual interested in entering or advancing within the computer science industry will benefit from the Practical Aspects of Computer Security (PACS) certificate. The benefits of obtaining this certificate include gaining knowledge in computer security principles, firewalls, malware, intrusion detection, physical security, wireless network security, mobile device security, social network security, and web application security. Additionally, companies and organizations needing entry level programmers, computer support specialists, and cyber-security analysts will benefit through the hiring of our graduates of this certificate program. Individuals and companies can continue to benefit from this program if the student uses the 15 credits earned in this certificate toward a B.S. in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance.

  • The PACS undergraduate certificate will provide students with essential computer science concepts, basic security principles, and the tools and experience necessary to secure computers, mobile devices, data and connections to the Internet from malicious activities. This certificate provides a foundational knowledge in computer security principles, firewalls, malware, intrusion detection, physical security, wireless network security, mobile device security, social network security, and web application security.

    After completing this certificate, students will be able to: 
    (1) Understand basic security principles.
    (2) Understand potential threats regarding the use of mobile devices.
    (3) Understand potential threats regarding the use of social networks.
    (4) Understand potential threats regarding the use of wireless networks and the Internet.
    (5) Understand standard security defense mechanisms and apply them in protecting computer systems.

  • Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that job growth projections will increase 12% through the year 2022 for individuals with backgrounds in computer security. However, with the increase in cloud computing, this percentage has the potential to be even higher. As the utilization of information technology increases, there is also anticipated job growth in the healthcare industries. This growth, coupled with the impending federal government hiring regulations for military veterans, makes the job prospects extremely favorable for students who possess this credential.

    Individuals who earn the Practical Aspects for Computer Security (PACS) certificate will be prepared for entry-level positions in the computer and technology field.  These positions may include, but are not limited to, computer support specialist or customer service representative.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median pay for these positions ranged between $32,000 and $52,000 annually. 

  • Applicants should have completed a math course equivalent to Calculus 1 (MATH 115) or have received College Level Exam Program (CLEP) credit for Calculus 1. It is also possible to take Calculus 1 (MATH 115) concurrently with CIS 150. Students who have not completed the calculus prerequisite have the option to take the UM-Dearborn Math Placement Test and complete the required mathematic courses as part of the certificate program.

  • This web-based 15 credit hour certificate is comprised of 3 required core CIS courses, along with an applications course in practical computer security.

    • CIS 150 - Computer Science I (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer semesters)
    • CIS 200 - Computer Science II (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer semesters)
    • CIS 275 - Discrete Structures 1 (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer semesters)
    • CIS 280 - Practical Computer Security (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer semesters)
  • Yes, this certificate was approved for VA Funding in Summer 2017.  The Office of Registration and Records houses the Office of Veterans Affairs. Questions regarding this funding can be addressed to this office.

Program Educational Objectives

The educational goal of the PACS certificate is to provide students with essential computer science concepts, basic security principles, and the tools and experience necessary for an entry-level position in IT-Security.