The ACES Minor policies regarding academics and experiential learning are linked below. Current students may consult these policies regarding the requirements of the program. Please contact ACES Leadership with any additional questions.

Students enrolled in the ACES Minor Program are required to abide by policies set by the University of Maryland, the Honors College, and the ACES Program.


Students must complete at least 16 credits to earn the ACES Minor in cybersecurity. These credits are composed of foundational courses (HACS201, HACS202, and HACS318A), seminars (HACS408 and related academic department seminars) and at least 3 credits of experiential learning (HACS479 or HACS498).  All classes must be completed with a “C-“ grade or better. Students must have a 3.2 cumulative GPA in order to be granted the minor upon graduation.

HACS201 is required for any student entering the ACES Minor who does not have previous experience with the UNIX operating system.  It must be taken in the student’s first fall semester in the minor and in the same semester as HACS 202. HACS201 is a 1 credit class that takes place in the first third of the semester.

HACS202 is required for any student entering the ACES Minor who was not part of the ACES LLP.  This is a project-based course where students participate in group-based research using honeypots.  This course must be taken in the student’s first fall semester in the minor.
The ACES Minor also requires students to complete a program exit survey.

Course Selection

Different seminar courses (408’s) have different expectations of previous experience. If you are unsure if your background is a match with the course, we recommend you make an appointment with ACES leadership to discuss requirements.

With permission from ACES leadership, ACES minor students are eligible to take courses listed as 208 seminars. This permission will depend on the background of the student and the availability of seats in that course. These courses will not count toward the courses leading to the minor.
For the experiential learning requirements, see the policy statement specifically addressing those program requirements.

Repeat Policy

The Honors College Course Repeat Policy applies to all courses across the Honors College programs. The ACES Leadership may grant an exception allowing a course to be repeated in rare, extenuating circumstances after consultation with the Honors College Executive Director. In this case, the University Repeat Policy regarding how both final grades will be calculated in to the GPA will prevail. There are guidelines regarding GPA calculations based upon when the original course was taken and for how many credits. Students are advised to consult the undergraduate catalog for their matriculation year or meet with an academic advisor for more information. Course catalogs can be accessed online via the Office of the Registrar and clicking on Catalog-Undergraduate.

Honors College Warning and ACES Probation

Students who fall below a 3.0 cumulative GPA anytime while completing the ACES Minor are placed on Honors College warning. Students placed on Honors College warning are also considered to be on probation with the ACES Minor. If a student’s cumulative GPA remains below a 3.0, the student will be denied registration access to ACES seminars (HACS408 courses) in future semesters’ registration. It is possible for the ACES Leadership to grant registration overrides for students on probation, on a case-by-case basis.

Students placed on probation will be required to meet with ACES Leadership within the first two weeks of the next semester and as scheduled throughout the semester. After two semesters of probation, students who have not raised their cumulative GPA to a 3.0 will be dismissed from the ACES Minor.


The ACES Minor follows the University of Maryland's academic policies regarding satisfactory progress in a program of study. Earning a grade lower than a "C-" in any of the ACES courses will result in a student being dismissed from the program.

The ACES Minor also reserves the right to dismiss a student found in violation of the University's Student Code of Conduct and/or the Code of Academic Integrity. The Honors College is an intellectual community that engages high-achieving undergraduates to pursue knowledge in an atmosphere of honesty and trust. Students found responsible for a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity by the Student Honor Council, receiving an "XF" or worse, will be dismissed from the Honors College and therefore dismissed from the ACES minor.

In addition, we expect that students are good citizens of the ACES Minor. This means that we expect that students will attend extracurricular opportunities when possible, including talks and events outside the classroom, arranged by ACES and the Honors College. Many of these courses are part of the HACS318A.  HACS 318A is required for each student to take during one spring semester, but students are encouraged to attend these events outside of that one semester also.  These events are essential to the students’ intellectual and professional development and provide opportunities to network, make connections with industry professionals, and interact with the larger cybersecurity community.

Students will be officially dismissed from the ACES Minor if they have not made adequate attempts to complete the ACES Minor. If students have not made adequate attempts to complete the academic minor by raising their GPA to the 3.2 minimum and/or finishing the total 16 credit requirement they will enter a two-semester probationary period. Upperclass students not working towards finishing the minor after two consecutive semesters will be withdrawn from the program. ACES staff will prompt students with emails twice a semester during the two-semester probationary period regarding their commitment to finishing the program. An exception will be made for students who stay in contact with the program staff and are committed to finishing the minor. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis. 


A student can withdraw from the ACES Minor at any time. When a student has determined that it is necessary to withdraw from the program the student should:

  • Contact the ACES Program Coordinator
  • Withdraw from all registered ACES Minor courses
  • Complete the ACES Minor Withdrawal Form
  • Notify their academic advisor of their withdrawal from the ACES Minor
  • Students who withdraw from the University of Maryland are automatically withdrawn from the ACES Minor.


Students who either withdraw from the University of Maryland or transfer to another institution are also withdrawn from the ACES Minor. If a student withdraws or transfers to another institution but then re-enrolls at the University of Maryland in a future semester, the student is eligible to return to the ACES Minor.

Students who take a leave of absence from the university in good standing may return to the ACES Minor upon their return to the University of Maryland.

The ACES Minor Program requires at least 3 credits (and up to 6 credits) of experiential learning as part of the 16 credit curriculum. Two-course options are available to complete these credits:

HACS479 Undergraduate Research in Cybersecurity, 1-3 credits in one semester and can be taken multiple semesters to a maximum of 6 credits.

HACS498 Cybersecurity Group Problem Solving, 3 credits in one semester and can be taken multiple semesters to a maximum of 6 credits.

The University of Maryland considers one credit of experience to be equal to 45 hours; therefore students must complete a total of 135 experiential hours in order to receive 3 credits.


The ACES Minor experiential learning requirement may be completed either during an academic year or during a summer. HACS479 is typically available either during the summer term or during the semester, dependent on the availability of research mentors.  HACS498 is typically offered during the fall and spring semesters, dependent on project availability.

In order to register for HACS479, you must agree upon a project with a UMD faculty member and your application must be completed in the online system.  This application must include a proposal which will be reviewed for its level and its application to cybersecurity. The final date of submission is one week before the end of the schedule adjustment period for the semester you would like credits, but it is best to make the arrangements with the professor and submit the proposal during the registration period for that semester (about halfway through the semester before).

In order to register for HACS498, you must submit your interest and your project preference in an online survey sent out by ACES Leadership. You will be given permission to register during the registration period when you are scheduling classes for the following semester.  


All experiences must be approved by the ACES Leadership before the student can register for that course. Experiences must be related to cybersecurity and fulfill the hour requirement. Permission may be contingent on background, skills, experiences, and the proposed project topic and content.

HACS479 Undergraduate Research in Cybersecurity

Students who intend to complete cybersecurity research with a UMD faculty member may register for HACS479 to receive research credits. In order to register students must complete a project proposal. The project proposal describes the project, the planned schedule for the semester, the student’s role, and other details. The ACES Leadership will review the proposal and, if approved, grant permission for the student to register for the appropriate course section under their faculty mentor.

The research proposal must be submitted within the first week of the semester in which credit is to be earned. Students should contact ACES Leadership to receive details on completing the proposal.

During the semester there are no course meetings, but students work directly with their faculty mentor to attend project meetings and complete the required hours. Students must submit a mid-semester report to ACES Leadership with updates on the project and progress, as well as a final professional paper detailing accomplishments, challenges, and conclusions. The student’s final grade is assigned by their faculty mentor.

HACS498 Cybersecurity Group Problem Solving

Information will be provided to all ACES Minor students each semester regarding available project topics. Projects are sponsored by ACES Corporate Partners and are directly related to current topics in the cybersecurity industry. Students who intend to complete their experiential learning hours through the problem-solving course will have the opportunity to express interest in the available project topics and will be asked to provide their current resume and unofficial transcript for the sponsoring company and the ACES Leadership to review. The project sponsor, in coordination with ACES Leadership, will select students to form teams for the available projects.

Project teams are expected to meet once per week with their project mentor(s) throughout the semester. Students will be required to complete periodic self and peer evaluations, and project mentors will complete periodic evaluations of the students’ contributions to the team.

In order to gain permission to register for HACS498 students must be approved by both the ACES Leadership and the project sponsor. Students approved to participate will then be granted permission to register. Students interested in participating must contact ACES Leadership by the end of the first week of classes in which they plan to enroll.