Introduction to Cryptography

Course Description

The course is designed to be a perspective on cryptography over the years. We will explore the basic elements of cryptosystem design through activities and discussions. The course will provide an intuitive understanding of the concepts underlying modern-day cryptography. This includes historical ciphers, analyzing ciphertexts, modern encryption schemes, formalizing security, message integrity, and secure computation. We will also study relevant privacy topics and the role of cryptography, such as passwords, privacy in school settings, privacy and social media platforms (ex. Tiktok). The course will use a mixture of recorded lectures, supplemental videos, and news articles for instruction.

During the course you will:
• Be able to reason about what security means intuitively
• Acquire a sense of the different sub-fields of cryptography
• Understand how cryptography fits in the world we live in
• Comprehend the privacy and security concerns of modern systems
• Develop a healthy sense of skepticism when told that a system is secure because it "uses encryption"
• Be capable of reading news articles relevant to privacy and cryptography

This course will expose you to the core basics of cryptography and will prepare you for a college-level introductory cryptography course as well as related courses in security and privacy.


There are no strong prerequisites to this course. It is designed to be self-contained and self-explanatory, but a high-school level exposure to math (or even just an interest in math) will come in handy on occasion.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Ziyuan Qin
Course Number: 10376