Businesses, organizations and government agencies rely heavily on computer networks and the Internet, which makes them vulnerable to attack through spyware, hacker intrusion and malicious code. This 2-year program can prepare students to become experts in security procedures and policies, as well as technical aspects involved in securing digital information. Other training explores damage control methods following a security breach, including proper system shut down and repair. Thesis and non-thesis options are available. Students may be required to complete a research project.
Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as computer programming, computer engineering or computer science in order to be admitted into most master's degree programs in information security. Some schools accept students with a bachelor's from unrelated majors if sufficient computer coursework has been completed. Prospective students are typically required to turn in test scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
Master of Science in Information Security
Coursework focuses on hands-on experience in assessing, monitoring and auditing networks. Courses within the program can include:
- System development
- Enterprise application testing
- Network technology
- Operating systems
- Network security
Popular Career Options
Upon graduation, students have the skills to work in cryptography, computer security, cyber law and ethics, computer forensics or software assurance. Some possible job titles include:
- Information security director
- Administrator of computer security
- Data systems analyst
- Information technology senior security officer
- Cryptography specialist
The website PayScale.com reflected a median annual salary of $128,172 for information technology security directors in January of 2016. During the same time, the site reported that administrators of computer network security made a median income of $61,839 per year, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said systems analysts saw a median yearly salary of $85,800 as of May 2015. The BLS also noted that information security analysts made a median wage of $90,120 per year at that time.
Because technology is constantly changing, graduates can keep up with this dynamic field through certification programs such as those offered by organizations such as the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). Graduates can also attend professional conferences and workshops to keep abreast of the latest methodologies in information security.
A Master of Science in Information Security trains students to monitor, assess, and develop networks for security purposes. Graduates have multiple employment options, such as information security analysts, cryptography specialists and computer network security administrators, as well as access to certification programs and other continuing education options.