University of Pittsburgh Courses

Pitt offers a range of cyber-related courses across disciplines throughout the University.

Featured Courses

Here are a few highlighted courses in Spring 2022 from Pitt Cyber Affiliate Scholars:

Instructor: Zia Hydari 

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the nomenclature, concepts, and applied techniques of Information Systems (IS) security. The course will introduce students to the body of knowledge needed to earn the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential. The course will give students insight into the psychology of hackers and hacking, and cover the basics of applied cryptography along with the different types of host and network attacks, how they are done, what firms can do when attacks occur, and how consumers and firms can prevent future attacks. We will look at access control and site security, review networking concepts as they pertain to security issues, look in-depth at attack methods, examine the elements of applied cryptography, functionality of firewalls, host security, and discuss methods of handling incident and disaster response. Finally, the course will examine how best to manage and govern the IS security function in an organization.

Instructor: Zia Hydari 

There is no such thing as a technology decision. There are only business decisions. The options and issues affecting the deployment and utilization of business information systems have grown in number and greatly increased in complexity since the internet and concomitant technologies have become the most important de-facto standards for business computing and networking. Business people who are involved in technology selection and deployment decisions need a basic knowledge of these areas as well as an understanding the value, costs and benefits they might offer to a business. They also must be able to find out about and evaluate new or emerging technologies and issues that could have relevance in their business situations. They then need to be able to explain all of this to other business people - in business terms.  This course will utilize: lectures and presentations by the instructor and outside speakers to present current and relevant architectures and issues that affect businesses deploying information systems; full-length case studies and class discussion to facilitate the examination of the business implications of and the context in which these system deployment factors are involved; team projects to give the students experience in researching, understanding, evaluating and explaining information technologies and issues within a business context.

Instructor: Anthony Rodi 

This course provides an overview of ethics concepts and decision-making as they are related to Information Systems and Computing. Emphasis is placed on the study of ethical situations and responsibilities of IS professionals around current and emerging technologies in a global setting. Research papers, Case studies and discussion of current ethical events around technology will be used to facilitate discussions in areas including, but not limited to: Cloud Computing, Data protection, Cyber Security, The Digital Divide, Social Media, Intellectual Property, Whistleblowing, Professional Codes of Conduct, Professional liability, Internet freedom in computing and international laws and governance. Invited Subject Matter Experts will conduct informative sessions on key subject matter areas aligned with the course content.

Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko

How are computational artifacts currently designed, and how can they be designed differently? What stories can be told by collaborating with computers? What stories can't be told? This project-based course will enable students to engage with and create computational narratives and interactive projects with data, hardware and algorithms. Each collaboratively taught iteration of the course will include 3-4 of these units, such as: fabrication, interactive hardware, computational narrative, interactive data, and prototyping. Students will consider what it means to compose with computers for human audiences, and with humans for computer audiences. Designed for Digital Narrative and Interactive Design (DNID) majors to take midway through the major, it will help students consolidate the interdisciplinary knowledge they have obtained in their prerequisite courses, introduce them to examples of interdisciplinary work that will inform their later capstone projects, and give them practice in working on collaborative projects that span the humanities and information/computing fields.

Instructor: William Clark or Dan Cole

This course will teach students how to build products and services using lean methods.  This will be done by solving real-world military and intelligence community problems.  The course uses the lean launchpad platform for entrepreneurship.  This is a highly customer-centered hypothesis-test approach to developing a mission modes, and is particularly well-suited for technology startups.  It incorporates customer needs and user testing to build a minimum viable prototype.  At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to understand the problems/needs of searching for product-market fit; understand all the stakeholders, deployment issues, costs, resources, and ultimate mission value; deliver minimum viable products that match customer needs in an extremely short time; produce a repeatable model that can be used to launch other potential technology solutions.

Instructor: Ahmed Ibrahim

This course covers issues related to administration and management of security of enterprise information systems and networks. Topics include intrusion detection systems, vulnerability analysis, anomaly detection, computer forensics, application logging, auditing and data management, risk management, contingency planning and incident handling, cyber defense/operations, and security program management and lifecyle. The course will study in detail principles and tools related to these topics. The course will also cover security standards, evaluation, accreditation and certification process; security planning, compliance issues ethical and legal issues in information; privacy, traceability and cyber-evidence.

Instructor: Lisa Nelson

Information technology and the information that it generates has increasingly become part of our daily lives shaping our practices, discourses, and institutions in fundamental ways. Personal information is used by consumers, professionals, and organizations to a variety of ends and in a number of different settings. The growing reliance on personal information not only challenges long-standing demarcations between public and private institutions in terms of responsibilities, obligations, and limits, but also calls for a reconsideration of how to ensure the protection of long-standing civil liberties and civil rights. This course will consider the impact of emerging technologies within existing constitutional, statutory, and international guidelines and will then explore a range of policy solutions for managing the use of personal information in our public and private sectors.

Instructor: Michael Kenney

Many argue that the 21st century security environment is fundamentally different from and more dangerous than that which existed in previous eras. There is some evidence to suggest that this claim might be true; the security challenges absorbing the majority of states' time, money, and military efforts since the end of the cold war ' and especially since 9/11 ' are notably different from those of the past and, at times, they seem more pervasive. However, it does not necessarily follow that such proximate differences are symptomatic of a deeper shift in the nature of the inherently dangerous international arena. This course explores the nature of the international security environment ' past and present ' and considers whether and to what degree the logics for coping with security challenges have changed over time. In doing so, students will be introduced to the arguments and debates in the academic literature on security and intelligence issues and learn to apply them to contemporary challenges. We will spend the first third of the semester examining traditional security studies concepts and issues like war, coercion, effectiveness in nuclear and conventional warfighting, and the effects of regime type on security policies and achievements. The second third will then be dedicated to considering the utility of traditional concepts in understanding the nature of and strategically-preferable responses to security challenges pervasive in the current international arena like asymmetric warfare, nuclear proliferation and missile defense, terrorism, and space and cyber warfare. The last third of the course examines the nuts and bolts of the United States national security apparatus to better understand how theory is (or should be) transformed into policy. We conclude by considering the costs and benefits of different American grand strategies moving forward.

Instructor: Sera Linardi

This class is designed to equip students passionate about social justice issues to work with public interest technologies and civic data using a curriculum co-developed by four Pitt centers: Center for Analytical Approaches for Social Innovation (CAASI), Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC), the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and the University Honors College (UHC). The goal is to discern the opportunities and challenges that can come from working with technology and civic data, prepare students to understand and account for community dynamics, develop socially-responsible research and data practices, and implement projects that hold benefits for both community partners and students. This is not a quantitative course and no programming experience is expected.

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