Master Degree in Information Assurance: Program Overviews

Master's degrees in information assurance combine coursework in computer science, information technology, and the social sciences to teach students about data protection. Learn about degree specifics and job and continuing education information.

Essential Information

Students who have academic or professional experience in information technology (IT) or computer science can earn a Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA). Programs build on academic or employment experience with IT to teach advanced methods of information security and prepare graduates for leadership and management positions. In addition to requiring incoming MSIA students to hold a 4-year bachelor's degree in IT, computer science, or a similar subject, some programs require applicants to have related work experience. Applicants also need to turn in undergraduate transcripts and official copies of their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The master's degree program is typically two semesters of coursework.

Master's Degree in Information Assurance

The coursework in MSIA programs is interdisciplinary, covering computer technology, criminology, and business concepts. Students typically complete research papers or group projects before earning their degree. Students are often required to take classes on the subjects below:

  • IA technology
  • Information assurance history and theory
  • Identity theft protection
  • Computer forensics
  • Computer network security

Popular Career Options

People who earn a master's degree in information assurance qualify for management positions with consulting groups, corporations, and the government. Graduates often choose the following careers:

  • IT manager
  • Network security consultant
  • Government information security specialist

Continuing Education Information

IA professionals can earn voluntary Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). Professionals can earn standard certification by completing a written exam, or they can complete the GIAC Gold certification program by writing a research report on a chosen IA specialty. Some people pursue GIAC Expert certification by participating in hands-on simulations, writing a research paper and taking a written test.

Students in an information assurance master's degree program learn to relate IA methods to the overall legal and cultural aspects of data security, personal identity protection and computer networking. Graduates can find many opportunities for employment from a variety of sources, as well as earn certification.

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