Master's degree programs in cyber security are designed to equip computer security professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to protect computers, computer networks and electronic infrastructures from internal and external security threats. The curriculum stresses both the theoretical and practical components of information security, including hardware and software engineering, computer forensics and file and system integrity. These programs are available both in the traditional classroom setting as well as in distance learning format. Prior to graduation, students must defend a graduate thesis.
Individuals applying to a cyber security master's degree program need to have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program from an accredited institution in a field related to cyber security. Some, but not all, programs require applicants to have significant information security work experience prior to enrolling. Other requirements may include standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and an admissions essay.
Master's Degree in Cyber Security
Coursework in master's degree programs in cyber security integrates concepts of technology, engineering and criminology. Some sample core course titles are included below.
- Information systems security
- Introduction to cyber-terrorism
- Firewalls and proxies
- LAN/WAN security
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates of master's degree programs in cyber security are eligible for senior security positions in industry, education and governmental offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for information security analysts are expected to increase by 32% between 2018 and 2028. As of 2018, the median annual wage for these professionals was $98,350 (www.bls.gov).
After earning a master's degree, students who want to continue their education can pursue a doctoral degree in computer security. Certification programs, offered by software and hardware vendors, are widely available and may increase employment or promotion opportunities. Working professionals may also take postgraduate courses or attend workshops in order to stay on top of trends in the field.
Overall, a master's degree in cyber security provides students with the advanced technological knowledge they need for careers safeguarding digital information against unauthorized access. Job growth is expected to be faster than average, and further education is available in this field.