Knowledge Unit

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For a list, see the sidebar for approved, current, and proposed Knowledge Units

A Knowledge Unit (KU) is a coherent defined block of knowledge related to cybersecurity.

While the amount of knowledge covered in any particular KU will vary to some extent based on the particular area, the goal is to target a KU to be roughly a 2-5 week block of instruction. A KU should not cover an entire course, nor should it be so limited as to be covered in a single lecture. However, the outcomes and topics in a KU do not need to be covered in a single contiguous block. They could be covered over a period lasting throughout a single course, or could be covered across multiple courses. The goal is that students, over the course of their program are able to achieve the outcomes from the KU. Demonstrating that students achieve the outcomes is accomplished either through an accumulation of coverage of component topics, or through direct assessments of the students' accomplishment of the outcomes.

All Sets of Knowledge Units

Structure of a KU[edit]

The structure of a KU should include a Title, Description, Outcomes, Topics, Categories, Specialization Areas, See Also, and Further Reading.


Needs to be descriptive, unique, unambiguous, and fully qualified. Each KU has a unique three letter identifier related to the title.


Provides a content fence and justification for inclusion in the KU canon.


  1. Outcomes explain what the students must be prepared to demonstrate as a result of their knowledge of the subject. Outcomes define the KU.
  2. Outcomes are directly related to the title and description and are phrased in the stylings of Bloom's Taxonomy.
  3. Outcomes are limited to 3-7 per KU. If a KU requires more, then it either isn't sufficiently defined, or the outcomes are at too low of a level.
  4. Outcomes need to be at a realistic and attainable level for a student, and must be measurable.
  5. An outcome may be labeled as an extended outcome.
    1. All basic outcomes must be demonstrated.
    2. 'Extended' outcomes are encouraged, but need not be demonstrated.
  6. Outcomes will be designated as to whether they can be assessed through the accumulation of all topics or as to whether they need to have a specific lab or assignment which is used to demonstrate student achievement of the outcome. These will be marked as (A). For example: "Students will demonstrate the ability to use tools, such as nmap, to map and evaluate a network (A)." Those not so marked can be demonstrated either through the accumulation of coverage of topics, or through a specific lab or assignment.
  7. Outcomes are numbered sequentially in a simple numbered list.


  1. Topics list the knowledge elements which go into enabling the students to achieve the outcomes.
  2. Each topic needs to be descriptive and not a simple word or list. The context of each topic must be unambiguous.
  3. Each topic should be attached to one or more outcomes. Each topic will have the relation to the outcome listed as 'core' or 'supporting'. Example: "Using SQL to write basic queries (1 - C, 2 - C, 4 - S)."
  4. In using the coverage of topics to determine the achievement of the outcome, all topics labeled 'core' for the outcome must be covered. Some topics labeled 'Supporting' should be covered.
  5. In general there should be no topics which are not supporting an outcome, however there may be special cases in specific KU's where that is not the case.
  6. Topics are numbered sequentially in a simple numbered list.


Categories include:

Specialization Areas[edit]

A list of Specialization Areas can be found here.

See Also[edit]

A list of related Knowledge Units and other topics that may be relevant.

Further Reading[edit]

A list of suggested textbooks and academic readings.