Master's degree programs in information assurance are available online or in a hybrid format that may include on-campus classes or a residency. These programs provide students with knowledge in information security analysis. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, business administration or math.
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Master's Degree in Information Assurance
An online information assurance master's degree program equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to develop and put in place systems needed to protect data from a variety of external and internal threats, including electronic fraud and identity theft. Focus is placed on ensuring only the right individuals are able to access secure information, as well as policy and business issues within information assurance. Graduates should be well-versed in information security policy implementation, risk detection technologies and computer network design. Additional areas covered may include wireless security, information assurance analytics, cryptography and system auditing.
Information and Requirements
Some master's-level information assurance programs, which are generally around 32 credits, are offered entirely online. However, some programs do offer students the opportunity to incorporate campus-based courses or may even require a short campus-based residency. Prospective students should have a bachelor's degree in computer science, business administration, mathematics or engineering. Students are generally able to download lectures and view them via online streaming video. They can also commonly obtain podcasts of lectures, course handouts and lecture notes online, as well as correspond with professors and other students through e-mail and message board discussions.
In order to complete online courses, students may be required to have access to a computer with a sound card, video card, microphone and an updated Web browser. Software and plug-in requirements may include Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash Player and Windows Media Player.
Sample Master's-Level Information Assurance Coursework
A master's-level information assurance curriculum combines coursework from a variety of disciplines, including information technology, business and criminology. A program may allow students to choose a concentration, either in a technical or contextual (understanding of the environment where they will apply their technical skills) area, depending on their background.
A risk management course focuses on the fundamentals of identifying computer security threats within an organization. Focus is placed on creating security plans, policy directives and database monitoring.
This course covers various legal and investigative components within information security. It also covers court testimony, incident response and computer security policies.
This course focuses on network protocols. Topics covered may include modeling concepts, IP routing, simulation techniques, network security issues and performance metrics.
An online information assurance master's degree program prepares graduates for a variety of information technology security positions, including IT security consultant, information assurance specialist, government IT employee, security administrator, network administrator and computer support specialist. Graduates may also be prepared for information technology management positions, such as chief security officer and chief risk manager.
According to the BLS, employment for information security analysts was expected to increase by 18%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports the median annual wage for information security analysts was $90,120 as of 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Online information assurance master's degree programs provide students with the skills needed to prevent digital threats and security breaches in network systems and databases. Graduates often work in information technology, computer support and network administration.