Curriculum in a network security master's degree program emphasizes identifying and mitigating network security risks. Students in these programs work with network infrastructure components, such as firewalls, intrusion detection software, and router configuration. They can also expect to explore the latest computer forensics tools used in identifying and prosecuting information theft. These programs generally take one to two years to complete and are offered in both the traditional and distance learning formats. Prior to graduation, students are expected to complete a graduate thesis.
To be considered for this program, candidates must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program, preferably in an information technology-related field. Applicants must submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts along with GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays. Some programs also expect candidates to have industry certifications, such as those offered by Cisco or Microsoft.
Master's Degree in Network Security
Like many graduate degree programs, a master's degree in network security features a focused curriculum with few or no elective requirements. Some sample core course titles are included below.
- Logic and probability
- Artificial intelligence
- Database systems
- Information system ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for network and computer systems administrators will increase by 8% during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov.) The BLS lists the median annual salary for these workers at $77,810 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Currently, doctoral programs in network security are rare. For those students who want to continue their studies, there are doctoral programs in related fields, such as a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Security and Assurance.
In order to stay on top of network security threats, many network security professionals choose to continue their education by attending industry standard certification programs and seminars offered by software vendors and trade organizations. These programs may also help with job promotion or employment opportunities.
In conclusion, a master's degree in network security provides students with the advanced technology training that they need to prevent cyber crime and pursue careers as network and computer systems administrators.