ACES Living-Learning Program Curriculum

Honors College Citation in Cybersecurity (15 credits)

The ACES Living-Learning Program offers an intensive curriculum in key technical, policy, behavioral, and social science components of cybersecurity. To prepare cyber-enabled graduates to lead in the workplace, this multidisciplinary living-learning program allows ACES students to live together, use embedded, state-of-the-art laboratories and work collaboratively together inside and outside the classroom.

Students who complete the living-learning program curriculum should demonstrate the ability to apply advanced technical skills required to approach and resolve problems in cybersecurity. In addition, students should understand the broad, multidisciplinary aspects of cybersecurity, such as the political, legal, and economical ramifications of local and global cybersecurity advances and decisions. ACES Living-Learning Program students will also gain professional experience through experiential learning both on and off campus.

Students complete 15 credits to earn the ACES Living-Learning Program Honors College Citation in Cybersecurity.

Category Course Title Credits

Foundation Courses

6 credits

HACS100 Foundations of Cybersecurity I 2
HACS101 Applied Cybersecurity Foundations 2
HACS200 Applied Cybersecurity Foundations II 2


6 credits

HACS208 Seminars in Cybersecurity 3
Experiential Learning
3 credits
HACS279 Undergraduate Research in Cybersecurity 1-3
HACS287 Undergraduate Research in Cybersecurity 3
HACS297 Cybersecurity Experience Reflection 3

Foundation Courses (6 credits)

HACS100 Foundations of Cybersecurity I (2 credits)
Prerequisite: Admission to the ACES Living-Learning Program
HACS100 introduces first semester living-learning program students to cybersecurity through a multidisciplinary exploration of current topics. Student driven investigation, discussions, and interactions with professional cybersecurity experts from industry and government allow students to explore both the technical and non-technical aspects of the field.

HACS101 Applied Cybersecurity Foundations (2 credits)
Prerequisite: HACS 100
HACS101 prepares second semester living-learning program students for team research that will be conducted in HACS 200. Students gain an understanding across the breadth of cybersecurity including system monitoring, networking basics and penetration testing. An applied approach to statistics is also included to prepare students to assess the data collected for their research projects. The course is conducted with a hands-on approach applying virtual environments to practice the concepts learned in the technical lectures each week.

HACS200 Applied Cybersecurity Foundations II (2 credits)

HACS200 continues the foundational training in cybersecurity for third semester living-learning program students through the research, planning, designing, building and execution of a honeypot experiment. A honeypot is a computer or a site intended as a "trap" for attackers. The honeypot appears to be an attractive target, yet is not truly part of a network and can be used as a monitoring toll to collect data about attacks.

Seminars in Cybersecurity

HACS208 Seminar in Cybersecurity (3 credits each)
Choose 2 seminars for a total of 6 credits
Students will have several seminar options each semester focused on varied topics related to cybersecurity:

  • A.  Accounting and Economic Aspects of Cybersecurity
    This course focuses on the relationships among accounting, economics and cybersecurity. Topics include: (1) the cost-benefit aspects of managing cybersecurity resources, (2) determining the costs of cybersecurity breaches on corporations (3) deriving the optimal amount a firm should invest in cybersecurity activities. Professor Lawrence Gordon.

  • C.  Human Actors and Cyber Attacks
    This course will explore the human actors behind cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and hacktivism. Drawing from scholarship in anthropology, criminology, psychology, law, public policy, and political science, the course will explore the nature of these activities and the motivations driving individuals and groups who engage in them. Students will participate in a multi-week, online simulation of a cyber-attack against the Maryland State Police Department, playing the roles of federal, state, and local departments and agencies responding to the incident. Professor Katherine Izsak.

  • E.  Introduction to Reverse Engineering
    Introduction to software reverse engineering tools and methodologies.  Fundamental topics will be introduced: compilers, linkers, loaders, assembly language, as well as static and dynamic analysis tools.  Hands on work will develop the skills and knowledge used to reverse engineer a binary without access to the original source code.

  • F.  France: A Global Perspective on Security
    A 3-week summer study abroad program in France. This program will engage students in a multidisciplinary, intercultural experience in cybersecurity, a critical area of global concern. Showcasing world-renowned French industrial sites and research centers, as well as practical aspects of security, students will attend classes and visit labs, industry and cultural sites in Paris and Toulouse. Led by ACES Director Michel Cukier & ACES Assistant Director Elizabeth Galvin.

  • I.  Security Incident Handling and Management
    This course examines the many roles, capabilities, organizations, and objectives involved in security incident handling and management. Core course content includes three major components: learning about the skills sets that people utilize in security incident handling and management, participating in role playing exercises to understand how organizations involved in security incident handling interact, and finally putting it all together by conducting exercises in a lab environment simulating security incident discovery, handling, and management. Instructor Paul Bellis.

  • N.  Digital Forensics
    Students in this course will understand and differentiate between the various fields of digital forensics, such as memory, hard drive, and network traffic analysis. The course will cover the legalities involved with forensics investigations, explore the wide variety of digital forensics tools, including both open source and proprietary, and learn about the different types of forensic artifacts that can be acquired and analyzed. Instructor Marcelle Lee.

  • P.  Beyond Technology, the Policy Implications of Cyberspace
    This course will examine the implications of the information revolutions of the last 30-40 years and the effects on politics, law (domestic and international), economics, and society. The course will provide an overview of some of the implications of a volatile, extensive, and ongoing technological change and discuss the need for professionals who see cyberspace as a broad domain requiring multidisciplinary conversations and skills.

  • Y.  Cyber Psychology
    Behind every cyber event is a human or group of humans with their own motivations, goals, and ideologies. This course focuses on understanding how behavioral science can be leveraged to understand, anticipate, and defend against the adversary in a national security setting. The science of influence, social media, behavioral analysis/profiling, and ethical considerations will all be covered.

  • Z.  Methods for Solving (and Not Solving) Puzzles
    This course is a survey of games and puzzles and the logic and mathematics behind them.  The course will include number theory, graph theory, and combinatorics, and will provide a broad survey of logic and math puzzles.  Throughout the course, students will learn about puzzles and their place in math, science and cryptography. They will also acquire the important critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to analyze and solve these puzzles and understand what makes them difficult. Instructor Mitchell Buchman.

Experiential Learning

Students will complete 3 credits of experiential learning from research and/or practical experiences.

  • HACS279 or HACS287 Undergraduate Research in Cybersecurity (1-3 credits)
    Students are encouraged to engage in research in order to gain greater insight into a specific area within cybersecurity, obtain an appreciation for the subtleties and difficulties associated with the production of knowledge and fundamental new applications, and to prepare for graduate school and the workforce.

  • HACS297 Cybersecurity Experience Reflection
    Reflection on an experiential learning opportunity, including internships (on and off campus), participation in the ACES cybersecurity competition team, cybersecurity awareness outreach, etc. Each experience will be reviewed and approved by the ACES Director.

General Education Requirements

ACES students can fulfill many of General Education requirements through ACES courses and Honors Seminars. Visit the Prior Learning Credit page to find out which AP, IB, or CLEP credits can be counted as transfer credits towards General Education requirements. ACES students should meet with their academic advisor in their first semester to design a four year plan that includes all requirements.

Honors Version Courses

ACES students have access to H-version courses each semester through the Honors College. H-version courses (e.g., PYSC100H, MATH140H) are offered by some academic departments as Honors versions of introductory classes. Typically, Honors students will take one or more H-version courses per semester. The courses differ from regular sections in that they are designed for and open only to Honors students (although Honors College students may take the standard, non-Honors version if they wish). H versions are generally smaller classes; they may treat the same material in a more sophisticated way; and/or they may be special in a way particularly suited to the subject and the audience. In a few cases, for example some lab courses and some language courses, students in the H section attend the regular section lecture but break out for separate lab or discussion sections. H-version courses typically satisfy major or General Education requirements.

Honors Seminars

Honors Seminars introduce students to seminar style learning—small classes (limited to 20 students) featuring engaging topics, taught by stellar faculty, and emphasizing student participation. Most Honors seminars satisfy one or more General Education requirements. Honors seminars are not extra classes; you can take Honors seminars instead of other courses to fulfill your graduation requirements. Please visit the University Honors website for a list of Honors seminars offered in the fall. Take some time to review the Honors courses and to select your first choice seminar plus a few back-up options that you would enjoy taking during your first semester as a Terp. You are not required to take an Honors seminar, but most students find them to be among their favorite and most intellectually challenging and inspiring classes.