Graduate studies in cybersecurity and privacy

The University of Waterloo, in collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI), offers graduate students unique opportunities to learn and engage in world-leading research in cybersecurity and privacy with over 70 diverse faculty members, in 16 departments across various schools and faculties. By combining expertise from these various fields the institute is driving interdisciplinary collaboration and producing world-class technologies as well as the next generation of cybersecurity leaders through industry-academic partnerships.

CPI researchers work in 9 expertise areas:

  • Cryptography

  • Data Science - Security and Privacy

  • Human & Societal Aspects of Security and Privacy

  • Legal and Policy Aspects of Security and Privacy

  • Network Security

  • Operational Security Aspects

  • Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

  • Quantum-Safe Communication

  • Software, Hardware, and Systems Security 

Undergraduate courses

The following is a list of undergraduate courses related to cybersecurity and privacy currently offered at the University of Waterloo. CPI continually updates this course list with any new related undergraduate courses.

Courses that are regularly offered at the University of Waterloo:

AFM 347 Cybersecurity - This course explores emerging issues related to cybersecurity management, governance, and control, which pose significant challenges to organizations in a networked environment. The course focuses on cybersecurity risks and investigates how companies can more effectively protect their digital assets from both internal and external threats.

CO 485

The Mathematics of Public-Key Cryptography - An in-depth study of public-key cryptography. Number-theoretic problems: prime generation, integer factorization, discrete logarithms. Public-key encryption, digital signatures, key establishment, elliptic curve cryptography, post-quantum cryptography. Proofs of security.

CO 487

Applied Cryptography - A broad introduction to modern cryptography, highlighting the tools and techniques used to secure internet and messaging applications. Symmetric-key encryption, hash functions, message authentication, authenticated encryption, public-key encryption and digital signatures, key establishment, key management.

CS 458

Computer Security and Privacy - Security and privacy issues in various aspects of computing. Specific topics include comparing security and privacy, program security, writing secure programs, controls against program threats, operating system security, formal security models, network security, Internet application security and privacy, privacy-enhancing technologies, database security and privacy, inference, data mining, security policies, physical security, economics of security, and legal and ethical issues. [Note: Lab is not scheduled and students are expected to find time in open hours to complete their work.

CS 489

CS 453/459

Note: CS 489 is a temporary course code, CPI offers Undergraduate scholarships for the courses CS 453/459. See the Course Offerings List for topics available.

ECE 409

Cryptography and System Security - Introduction to cryptology and computer security, theory of secure communications, points of attack, conventional cryptographic systems, public key cryptographic systems, standards, firewalls, wireless system security, applications.

ECE 458

Computer Security - Introduction to computer security. Models of security. Elementary cryptography. Software security, vulnerabilities, threats, defenses and secure-software development processes. Threats to networks and defenses. Security issues at the application layer. Secure design principles, techniques and security evaluation. Privacy, ethics and legal issues

LS 213 & SOC 213

Surveillance & Society - An introduction to the central role of surveillance in shaping power relations and knowledge across a range of social and cultural contexts. Foundational historical, theoretical, and empirical texts that define the field of surveillance studies will be explored.

LS 329 & SOC 329

Security and Governance - The course examines the relationship between the framing of (in)security and policing as a dominant approach to govern risk in our modern era. Topics may include the policing of political protest, the Anthropocene, and the Internet. Students will analyze what's at stake with the diffusion of security in social life.

LS 413 & SOC 413

Surveillance and Society - An examination of the way monitoring technologies alter and shape social life in terms of security, fear, control, and vulnerability.

LS 435 & SOC 435

Cybercrime and Digital Harm - An examination of theoretical perspectives and empirical developments surrounding cybercrime, digitally-mediated harms, and associated regulatory responses. A range of topics may be explored, including hacking, technology facilitated abuse, (dis)information, censorship, human rights, and cybersecurity.

GBDA 303

Data and Society - In this course students will examine different digital phenomena, such as big data, open data, data-driven innovation, the personal information industry, the sharing economy, and the Internet of Things. Students will also become familiar with national and international principles of privacy protection. [Note: Offered at Stratford campus.]

GBDA 414

Special Topics in Interaction Design: Design for Trust, Transparency, and Safety - A study of selected topics in interaction design. Topics will be chosen by the professor according to their area of specialization. [Note: Offered at Stratford campus.]