Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Biometrics

This program is offered to WVU students, government personnel (military and civilian), and contractor personnel who meet the program acceptance requirements. Potential career options for students completing this certificate program are in security related fields most likely in the military, banking industry, or within various law enforcement agencies.

Program Description

The graduate level Information Assurance and Biometrics Certificate Program at West Virginia University (WVU) provides a student-centered learning environment to educate and train professionals to meet the changing needs of the industry, government, and academia in West Virginia and the nation.

The graduate level Information Assurance and Biometrics Certificate Program offered at WVU provides a broad overview of the information assurance and biometrics field and addresses relative and recent advances and current research issues. It is interdisciplinary in nature and covers many educational materials. Included are the elements of biometrics technology, system security engineering, and principles of trusted systems. The course content of this program emphasizes ethical, economic, social, and legal impacts of biometrics technologies and information assurance techniques.

The goal of the graduate level 15 Credit Hour Information Assurance and Biometrics Certificate Program is to provide students with the following:

  • A solid understanding of biometrics technology, system security principles, and their scientific foundations, and
  • An awareness of the social, psychological, ethical, and legal policies and requirements in the field of information assurance and biometrics (IAB), and
  • The ability to communicate with professionals in the wide range of public services, including law enforcement, military, science and who employ the principles and techniques of IAB.

The coursework includes 15 credit hours of classes. As part of the certificate coursework, students will be expected to take four (4) required classes, and choose the fifth class between two approved electives. Titles of the required classes are:

  1. BIOM 426.     Concepts in Biometric Systems
  2. CS 465.     Introduction to Computer Security
  3. STAT 536.     Forensic Statistics
  4. BIOM 693.     Advanced Biometrics

The fifth class can be selected from the following list of approved electives:

  1. CS 665.     Computer and Network Security
  2. EE 465.     Digital Image Processing

A&B. Admission and Performance

General admission requirements (applicable to all students applying to enroll into the IAB certificate program):

  1. One year of college level calculus (comparable in content to MATH 155, Calculus I, and MATH 156, Calculus II, at WVU).
  2. Calculus based introductory knowledge of statistics (comparable in content to STAT 215, Intro to Probability and Statistics, at WVU).
  3. BS degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Management Information Systems, or physical/experimental sciences.

Specific (discipline) requirements (can be fulfilled by adequate past coursework or equivalent work experience):

  1. Introductory level knowledge of computer science (comparable in content to CS 110, Intro to CS, and CS 111, Data Structures, at WVU). This requirement implies the demonstrable ability of an individual to program in at least one high-level programming language.
  2. General knowledge of computer system concepts (comparable in content to CS 350, Computer System Concepts, at WVU).


The certificate program requires that students take and successfully complete five regular (one semester long) classes. Minimal class completion grade is C. The grade point average in all certificate classes must be no worse than 3.0 (B or higher).

This certificate program course of study can be taken by non-degree graduate students. We plan to maintain the academic records of these non-degree graduate students in the college/school graduate records office as well as in the files of the department offering the certificate. Should any of these non-degree students later decide to pursue a graduate degree in the department awarding the certificate, they must formally apply to the degree program and their credentials must conform to the limits established for the transfer of credit obtained by non-degree students. Namely, a maximum of 12 credits obtained by a non-degree student can be applied towards any degree.

C. Courses and Examination

The following four courses are required:

BIOM 426 Concepts in Biometric Systems

The objective of this course is to present an introduction to the principles of operation, design, testing, and implementation of biometric systems and the legal, social, and ethical concerns associated with their use. Students will be introduced to a variety of techniques used in identification and verification of individuals, the physiological basis of these techniques, and the algorithms and statistical methods employed to achieve acceptable false-accept and false-reject ratios. Major and emerging biometric technologies, testing and evaluation, standards, and case studies will be discussed. The course is structured to provide an overview of the topics that will comprise the IAB Certificate and to meet the education needs of the students.

STAT 516 Forensic Statistics:

The objective of this course is to present an understanding of the role that statistics plays in forensic and identification science. Students will be introduced to a variety of statistical methods that are used in this discipline. Specifically, probabilistic models of evidence and uniqueness are studied. Students will be exposed to case studies of the use of statistics for identification.

CS 465 Introduction to Computer Security:

The objective of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the threats to computer security, technologies for security assurance and engineering approaches to security solutions. 

BIOM 693 Advanced Biometrics

The course introduces students to advanced topics in biometrics and information assurance and provides hands-on experience with collection, storage, image processing, matching algorithms, statistics, encryption, and public acceptance of biometric signatures. Instruction will include lab experience.

In addition, students will choose one of the following courses:

CS 665 Computer and System Security:

The objective of this course is to describe modern approaches to information and system security, including an in-depth coverage of encryption techniques and security protocols, contemporary trusted computing base and intrusion detection techniques.

EE 465 Digital Image Processing

The objective is to introduce students to the fundamental topics in digital image processing, and to give them some experience using the mathematical techniques of image processing by doing assignments that involve actual biometric digital images and MATLAB toolset.

Capstone Project

A capstone project will be required as part of the Advanced Biometrics course. Advanced Biometrics is a required capstone course taken after Concepts in Biometric Systems and Information Assurance (BIOM 426), Introduction to Computer Security (CS 465), and Forensic Statistics (STAT 5165). This course includes a once-a-week advanced topics seminar series and a three-hour laboratory. The laboratory will have both formal laboratory exercises and time devoted to the project. The project will provide the students with an opportunity to integrate the knowledge gained from the core courses to the program. The project description is as follows:

  • The student's first task will be to choose a scenario for implementation of a biometric system. Examples of scenarios include: door security, individual laptops, user authentication in network of personal computers, ATM applications, airport screening of employees, and identification of passengers at airports. Students can instead develop their own scenario, pending approval from the instructor. The first part of the project will be to develop the details and specifications of the scenario including such issues as number of people, one-to-one or one-to-many matching, number of systems, etc.
  • The major part of the project will be to select and evaluate a biometric system for the above scenario. The students must choose from systems, which are available in the laboratory, excluding fingerprint systems, since most of their laboratories are focused on this modality. The systems may include voice, facial thermograph, facial recognition, hand geometry, iris, and smart card.
  • Data on the following biometric system attributes, ease of use, universality, false accept/false reject ratio, acceptance, longevity, template storage confidentiality, template integrity, authentication protocols, and comparative studies, should be collected and analyzed along with a methodology by which these attributes can be measured. The data and analysis should be included in the written project report due at the end of the course.

D. Program Outcomes

Program graduates should possess:

  1. Ability to apply a variety of techniques in identification and verification of individuals, understand the physiological basis of these techniques, and the algorithms and statistical methods used in the field.
  2. Ability to apply the principles of system security, understand the strengths and weaknesses of specific security policies/tools and their scientific foundations.
  3. Awareness of the social, psychological, ethical and legal policies and requirements in the field of IAB.
  4. Ability to communicate with professionals in the wide range of public services, including law enforcement, military, science and technology.